In his book, Blink, author Malcolm Gladwell makes a convincing case that you have exactly two seconds to make an impression.
And remember that you only get one shot at that first impression. People might give you a second chance, but they’ve already judged you. You’ll have to work hard to overcome that judgment if it’s less than flattering.
That’s where a strong artist brand comes into play.
Not too long ago, artists didn’t have to worry about things like their brands. But in an increasingly competitive market, and the noisy online space, we will do better when we know where we fit.
A brand is not a logo.
Let’s be clear. A brand is not a logo. A logo is only the visual expression of a brand.
Branding expert Re Perez says, “A brand is a desired perception.”
Your art is created in the studio. Your brand is created in the mind. Not your mind, but in the minds of others. Your brand exists in the minds of viewers, buyers, collectors, and gallerists.
Above all, knowing your brand (how you want to be perceived in the eyes of others), helps you make decisions. If opportunities aren’t aligned with your brand, you say No.
Branding makes you memorable, which therefore leads to more fans. Branding might also lead to higher prices and more consistent sales.
It also helps you make decisions because your selections should align with your brand.
Your art is the basis for your brand.
The first step to becoming a branded artist is always the work. That means it looks like you did it and not like a variety of styles by your various mentors or teachers.
This is why studio practice must come before anything else. You have to make lots and lots of art!
Once you have that art, you can think about how it should be presented in the form of marketing materials: your website, blog, business cards, letterhead, brochures, and so forth.
My guest for this episode of The Art Biz, to talk about her intentional artist brand, is Alexandra Squire.
Alexandra was clear from the get-go about what she wanted her business and career to look like. She hired professionals to help her pull together a branded identity to present her work to the world. And it was always based on the work. Her strong work backed up the beautiful packaging.
Alexandra and I talk about her decisions, marketing, and how she finds time for her painting and business while raising three young girls.
📄 This Week's Assignment
Consider your artist brand. In particular, think about and even write in your journal about this one question: How do you want to be perceived in the minds of others?
If you want to take it to the next step, consider whether your social media, newsletter, website, marketing material, and exhibition venues are aligned with how you want to be perceived.
New for 2023: the Art Biz Accelerator
for busy artists who like knowing there is someone nearby to help
- Alexandra’s long and winding road to becoming an artist. (3:25)
- “I looked at myself as a brand.” (7:09)
- Marketing yourself effectively. (11:26)
- Hiring professional help for your photography. (14:03)
- Your brand exists in the eye of the viewer. (18:42)
- Making the trade offs that pay off. (22:16)
- The moment when you identify your artist brand. (26:20)
- How Alexandra shows and sells her work. (28:15)
- Keeping an artist’s schedule while raising a family. (33:38)
Alexandra Squire Quotes
- “I decided from the beginning I wanted to be a certain type of artist.”
- “You have to present yourself in a certain way, and that’s how people will view you.”
“I turned down a bunch of opportunities that I felt didn’t best reflect my brand.”
About My Guest
Alexandra Squire is an abstract painter defined by the pairing of vibrant colors and muted tones to create simple yet deceivingly complex works. She focuses on blending and layering to make pieces that are rich in color and depth with unexpected palettes. Her paintings serve as a metaphor for life in that they depict the multitude of ways in which our experiences meld together. Alexandra’s work has been exhibited nationally, and her paintings are a part of private and corporate collections throughout the United States.
Follow her on Instagram: @alexandrasquireart