Monday, February 11, 2008


Branding as Acceptable Baggage

Branding is the baggage or preconception people bring when they meet you (that could be in person or in an article…or a blog)…sometimes the baggage is a Louis Vuitton or maybe a plastic grocery bag.

Branding sounds like such a harsh term when it comes to a creator of aesthetic appreciations.

However…one of the ways artists are branded is not being great business people and, if one plans on making a living from art, artists have got to make ART their business.

The business of art includes simple things like keeping a good inventory (you don’t want your heirs to have to pay for someone to catalogue what you left). And it will save time for your studio if you know where your different pieces of art are….as in shows entered, hanging in galleries, or just under the bed.

I have several friends that keep art under the bed. I wonder if there is more to this thought process than “it was a safe place to keep them flat”…..I digress……

The business of art includes more complicated things like marketing and advertising and WHAT SELLS!!!

Creating art itself has a lot of learning and education and it ALL takes time in development to become so WELL saturated that the good stuff becomes a “tool” that your brain just reaches for to move through the art process.

All of this acknowledged, by those of us that create aesthetically, I wonder why a majority of people still brand artists as lazy or as people that “only work when they are moved to do so”?

Art is hard work! In fact, there is a great book written by screen writer Steven Pressfield called THE WAR OF ART. Not a truer book, in my opinion, has been written about the dedication and focus it takes to create.

I have a theory that when a person is addressed by a mass communication medium, their branding is taken over by the public and voila, there is new baggage brought for the artist’s image to carry.

Recently, I have felt that my paintings are just starting to get to a more public level and it’s time I address my own branding. I had honestly thought that I was going to “let” the public hang a description on me, after enjoying my paintings of course, however I have just recently seen several interviews with artist and director Julian Schnabel.

I have never met Mr. Schnabel however I found it very interesting that when asked how people perceived him that he gave several different views of how people have responded to him and, I thought I heard in his voice, that NONE of those descriptions seemed to be telling the truth.

My guess is that he doesn’t have much intention for EVERYONE to know his inner thoughts however the falsehoods seemed to slightly bother him.

Folks used to say: “It doesn’t matter what they are saying about you as long as they spell your name right.” Well, I think with the advent of instant messaging that message is past.

Correct branding of an artist and their work is important for the artist to acknowledge so that the right emphasis for sales and sales pitches is aimed. No one has time to find out that if you live in an area that typically buys non-objective abstract art it’s a waste of the artist’s time and money to pitch absolute realism in still-lifes.

And one of my main concerns is to not be so narrowly branded that I can’t move on to the next exploration and keep evolving. If I am bored, the paintings are boring, and the buyers get bored and aren’t interested anymore in my art.

Today, I am trying the thought of my “branding” as “a pastel painter (that is the given) who paints fabulous in-situ animal paintings where birds and horses are featured and, many times, to the abstraction of the images.”

Okay…too long for a title however it IS place to start…..and as we all know: Life IS an adjustment.

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