I’ve thought about how to explain this just shy of a thousand times. No, seriously. It’s been one of my biggest struggles I didn’t even know I had, at first. I realized in early 2019, after about six months of running my business, that I needed to figure this out. After meeting with Marta Staudinger and Meghan Masius from Latela Art Gallery at their Business How-To’s & Marketing Strategies for Artists + Curators workshop, and trying to explain the products and services I offered to prospective clients at two art shows, it became clear that this was something I needed to address.
A little background: typically, fine artists present their artwork by their full name. It’s quite fitting actually, since they pour so much of themselves into each piece. Think Van Gogh, Dali, and Monet, if you will. On the other hand, many calligraphers and artists who create gift-like items (or “bespoke” customized items) usually go by a business name.
Well, I didn’t really make that connection at first . . .
So I went on my merry way, ignoring many of the useful lessons I learned while obtaining my business degree - namely to create a solid business plan, decide what I was selling, who I was selling to, etcetera. I created DC Brushes & Strokes not thinking that I also wanted to market my fine art like other fine artists do. Oops. Well, it wasn’t a total catastrophe, but something was still not quite right.
By this time, I felt that changing my Instagram and Facebook page names wasn’t something I wanted to do. I had already enlisted a very talented friend to help me create a logo, and ordered business cards and stickers. I gained a following (small yet important) and didn’t want to confuse people. How was I supposed to figure this out?
Some more background: I knew I would be studying for the bar during the Summer of 2019, and working as a lawyer full-time beginning in Fall 2019. For a time, I toyed with the idea of running two separate art instagrams. Needless to say, running ONE business account is tricky enough. With all of these upcoming changes in my life, running two businesses was not looking like a realistic option.
After a lot of thinking, I decided to start rebranding my fine art pieces as Carina Tenaglia Fine Art. This will include all my abstract pieces. On the other hand, all of my other items and calligraphy services will remain under my “DC Brushes & Strokes” line. I’m still fine-tuning the branding components of all of this, but I finally feel like something clicked for me during this process.
Is this still confusing? Maybe. I don’t think I’ve seen any other artist take this approach (yet). But then again, I firmly believe it’s possible to achieve success even if I have to break a little artist tradition. I’m risk-averse, so carving my own path in the art world has been daunting to say the least. Nonetheless, we all need to pave our own paths in some way. I’m excited to see where this path leads!
Have you or anyone you know experienced similar struggles when branding? I’d love to know your thoughts & solutions. Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow along on Instagram, and check out my other social media links on the bottom of this page.