What is a brand, and why do you need one?

A brand is anything that makes your work consistently identifiable as unique to you.  This could be the way you frame your work. Your signature.  Your color palette. Your subject.  Certain techniques.  Truly anything, or any combination of elements.

And why is this important? It helps to establish trust in your work.  It signals that you are a serious artist, and that you can and will consistently produce a certain level of quality of work.

How do you develop a brand?  Some artists automatically have a style.  No matter what they paint, you can just tell it is their painting.  Other artists, like myself, enjoy painting in a variety of styles.  In this case, you can give yourself certain parameters in order to develop a unique style, or brand.

Some of the parameters I have for myself are my color scheme (bright, happy colors), black & white stripes, and certain techniques I use.

Another approach is to try every style.  Experiment with lots of different subjects and techniques.  See what draws you in.  See how others react to your work.  Just keep creating, and over time, narrow your focus.  Work towards creating a cohesive body of work; at least 10 - 15 paintings that have something in common.

One hesitation you might have is worrying that you are locking yourself in; that you will have to continue creating the same thing for the rest of your artistic career.  This is not true.  You can and should continue to develop your skills, improve over time, make thoughtful and purposeful advances in your work.  Once you have established yourself with collectors, and/or reputable galleries, you can make changes that make sense within your existing body of work.  If you are successful, then change just 1 thing at a time, rather than totally reinventing yourself.  If you haven’t felt successful, then maybe you consider trying something totally new.  Either way, you should not fear consistency.  You are not stuck.  Always be thinking “what’s next”?

One thing you should not do is chase trends.  Be true to yourself.  Authenticity will stand the test of time.  Trying to paint what is currently popular and selling will box yourself in, and is a very short-term view.  It may require patience, but you will eventually find your audience.

Coming soon on “Joy of the Journey”:

  • How do I know if I have a brand? How do I know if it resonates?
  • My own story of developing my brand