Deep Thought Thursday: Looking like an artist

Is it important to look like an artist?

What does it mean to look like an artist?

Has anyone ever told you you look like an artist?

If you dress the part of an artist, tell us about it.

Share this post

Your mailing list is your #1 marketing asset.

Your Artist Mailing List report

A transcript with the 3 lists every artist should have + a 3-page assessment for understanding the health of your list. FREE with opt-in.

27 thoughts on “Deep Thought Thursday: Looking like an artist”

  1. Just curious how one would dress to look like an artist. Does one throw acrylic paint on their clothes so that it looks like they have been painting. Or do you do like I do and get glue on my hands and wipe them on pants. I think feeling like an artist comes from the inside and what you think of yourself mentally. I don’t think what you wear will indicate that you are one. If it does I want to know what to wear.

  2. I wear 3J Workshop clothing…heavily embroidered very gorgeous slightly ruff around the edges…My favorite esprit jeans have birds embroidered down the front right leg…My chocolate ballcap hat from D & Y has roses sewn on the front…My fanny pack from Victorian trading company has yellow flowers on black velvet …Lululemon pants in grey are for more corporate attire, with matching Star Trek looking jacket with zipper…I made friends with a clothing designer several years ago (Kal Lee) & she taught me about clothing…(Before then I was a blank slate)…Since I started dressing well, people stop & talk to me about my clothing…I give them a business card…the difference has been incredible…plus I am happier & convey that…(I must note that I bought my wardrobe out of season, at one third cost, mostly from & delivered…)For painting, Kal made me all in one fleece jumpsuits, that even oil paint I can get off with Kiss-off the artist paint remover stick…(I totally recommend dressing great to increase business & joy)…

  3. People always tell me I look like an artist — probably because I don’t pay a lot of attention to makeup, wear my hair short short carefree and occassionally a different color. Everything but my shoes and my underwear comes from thrift stores. I do wear quite a lot of interesting black and white (designer brands at 1/10th the price and usually not even worn). And usually a color of the season that I chose at the beginning of said season:right now I am in aquas, odd greens and tans. since I invest so little, I pack up everything I get sick of at the end of a season and either trade it at a clothes trade or turn it back in to Goodwill.

  4. Michael Lynn Adams

    I wear jeans and t-shirts layered with English Laundry “dress” shirts, and very cool shoes – I like shoes. I am too lazy to get my hair cut more than a couple times a year. My hair is wavy and I can let it grow pretty long without looking totally disheveled. Some strangers guess that I’m an artist. But I think it has more to do with how I carry myself and say than how I dress. I simply act like me. I believe without pretense. Some business acquaintances think both me and my wife, a very successful designer and artist, have a “peculiar” take on the world. We don’t know what that means, but we take it as a compliment. So whatever it is that makes someone seem artist-like, we and all our artist friend apparently have it. The “dress code” for most of my artist friends is casual. Women artist often in flowing/baggy pants and tops with colorful abstract patterns or solid neutrals. There is also a propensity to wear huge necklaces and other jewelry. Male artist friends primarily wear black, long hair or shaved heads and a wide assortments of facial hair. – maybe because it’s L.A. Sari comments reminded me of title insurance salesman I knew. He would go to realtor board meetings in a bright red tuxedo with matching patent leather shoes. He handed out roses and business cards. He was also filthy rich. Sari’s point is well taken. Clothes can help you be noticed and start a conversation. Unlike my salesman friend, Sari does it with good taste.

  5. I tend to dress very casually (re: cheap!). Denim capris & cotton shirts are may favorite because they are lightweight for painting or being in my festival booth and not expensive in case I get paint on them. In the studio or when doing demos, I use my husband’s old long-sleeve, button down workshirts as smocks. If our Texas heat is pushing 90 and above, my favorite outfit is cutoffs and a tank or t-shirt. When teaching art classes in my studio, I wear a colored t-shirt with an iron on “logo” of my name and a picture of one of my paintings. It is cheap and can take a lot of paint, ink, etc before I need to make a new batch. Now if I’m attending an art opening or reception, I do take the opportunity to dress up a little and sport a little bling!

  6. I’m a basic jeans wearer, but I think the way I carry myself conveys “artist”. I’ve been asked “are you the artist?” when I’m just looking at another artist’s work. A highly successful artist advised me to dress like the wealthiest clients. He apparently buys super-expensive shoes because that’s what his collectors wear. It’s supposed to make them treat you like you’re “one of them”, but I’d rather be true to myself. Anyway, artists are supposed to be a breed apart.

  7. Years ago, I had the chance to meet at an exhibition Wojtek Siudmak ( whose paintings are on the cover of many science fiction books. Considering his wild imagination, I imagined him as a hippy or dressed in an exotic way. What a surprise when I met a very calm man in a grey suit with white shirt and tie. Then I realised that he did not need to dress as an artist: he was an artist. He asked to see my work and gave me two inavulable pieces of advice: paint thinner to have more control and study the paitings of Tiepolo.

  8. I make pins called “No Boxes” where people are skipping around wearing boxes that say that. I started painting some of these when I felt that I was being discounted one day because of my gray hair (and maybe I had something really boring on – who knows?) But I’ve noticed since then how much I also put people in boxes. I’ve run into a couple of people recently who turned out to be artists – would never have guessed by their clothes or their day jobs, but they do really interesting and good work. I can see sari’s point that the clothes could be good conversation starters – but you have to be comfortable with yourself, whatever you wear.

  9. Because I’m at home a lot, either in my studio or taking care of my family, the temptation would be to dress very casually. I’ve found, however, that I feel more productive and successful when I dress nice no matter what I’m doing. I wear nice jeans or casual pants and dress everything up with a great shirt, shoes and accessories. When I paint, I just put on a smock and apron.

  10. I wear jeans and t-shirts a lot for working. I try to keep a division between “studio” clothes and good clothes but the line always blurs because I wander into the studio and without thinking before I know it my “good” clothes look like studio clothes. I always think of my “artist” clothes as what I wear to an opening or a show, which usually entails linen slacks, solid blouse, bright overblouse and a necklace/earrings of my own jewelry. I do tend to wear my jewelry a lot and get a lot of compliments on it which then allows me to offer a card (if I have one. I’m bad about that too if I don’t have my purse with me). It really isn’t about what other people think – it’s about what makes me feel good for whatever instance I happen to be in.

  11. Leslie Beauregard

    I have been told that I “do not” look like an artist. Because I dressed conservatively. I haven’t made an effort to look like a creative person, and I think that it has hindered my ability to present work to gallerys and stores. I hate to say that it “matters”, but I think it does.

  12. I think all black is the stereotypical artist look. (Or designer look.) Personally, I dress pretty normally, business casual (Banana Republic) at my day job, and jeans and polo shirts or sweaters any other time. Most of the artists I know in Nashville dress fairly normally, except at art shows, they sometimes dress a little more outrageously. Maybe it’s just Nashville, but it seems the more flamboyantly dressed people tend to be at rock concerts than art galleries.

  13. I think quite often people buy not only the painting, but the artist. Meaning that it’s not just the art that sends a message, but the artist does too, as does their lifestyle. I think clothes are a big part of that and I like to try for a consistent branding image. Yes, I’m part of the brand. I have an artist casual look, an artist business look and an artist formal event look. And no, it’s not constrictive. My art is who I am, so dressing that way doesn’t feel contrived. Clothing can be an artform in itself.

  14. I think it is more important that I dress ‘true to myself’ than that I dress like someone else’s perception of how an artist dresses. Just as it is important that my painting be a reflection of me rather than a copy of someone I admire. I do adapt my style according to what I am doing however, since I’m aware that I need to dress in a way that allows people to take me seriously. For work in the studio I wear old clothes with a painting apron since acrylics get everywhere. For the rest of my life I wear jeans, skirts or shorts with pretty t-shirts. For art events I wear smart clothes in shapes and colors that I know make me look good.

  15. I save my paint stained clothes for painting because I make a huge mess. Whether at a gallery reception or an outdoor art fair, I dress up. Presentation is very important. I frame the work well to show that I value it and I also dress well (though not necessarily conservatively) again to show the work respect and show that I value what I do and I’m serious about it. Dressing as a free spirit may work for entertainment value (and I do that in my spare time believe me), but in a selling situation I dress like I mean business. I try to choose clothes that have some unusual style, but low key, so that the clothes complement, don’t compete, with the work. The paintings are the focus, they come first, not me. Since I’ve been stepping up the framing, booth/exhibit presentation and the way I dress for the public, I’ve been able to command higher prices. I’d love to think that it’s totally about the artwork and how it’s grown and improved, but good presentation is important too.

  16. I dress pretty conservatively, but I have a tiny nose stud and wear cool glasses. Maybe it is my tired, worn Danskos that give it away. I wear them with everything, whether they match or not. They totally save my back from standing on concrete all day!

  17. Oh boy, in my life as an artist I have morphed from the hippie days, thru punk, 80’s big shouldered jackets and “Flock of Seagulls” hair, to the present day where I wear jeans and tee shirts with paint all over them, everywhere. I got so tired of getting paint on all my “nice” clothes that I just wear painting clothes most of the time now. People have actually asked me where I got my pants done, or they’ve tried to buy my shoes. Both are covered in tons of paint. I wear the same jeans and shoes all the time. When I go home at night I throw my jeans in the washer and wear them again the next day. I have 5 or 6 painting tee shirts that I keep using until they wear out. The other day my mother-in-law saw me as I went out of the house to go to the studio and she says, “oh, you’re going to the studio, I see you have on your uniform!” What a hoot. I do get some strange looks at the grocery store or the bank. Some folks just stare, but every once in awhile I make a nice connection. Then I give them my business card and invite them to the studio. Making friends as I go!

  18. I have found myself in a local boutique I sell to in my jammie top! Thankfully it was cold out and my coat hid that fact from MOST of the customers!

  19. Trezora - Art Glass & Glass Jewelry

    Clothes may make the man, but they don’t make the artist. I am a director of product marketing by day in high-tech and a glass artist on the weekends and evenings. I don’t look like an artist and am only vaguely aware of what that might look like. My vague imagery is driven by what painters may look like. What does a glass artist or composer or sculptor look like? They look like you and me.

  20. Most people seem to be surprised when they learn that I am an artist. A lot of my clothes have paint on them from when I decide to paint not realizing what I am wearing. Something that often get attention is when I wear a tee shirt that I painted the words on;SUPPORT AN ARTIST!

  21. I think it is more important to “walk the walk” as opposed to “talking the talk” so to speak. When I was at Old Miss, getting degrees in biology, I would see the art students wandering around campus looking like they were trying to be the epitome of “artist”, all in black. What I noticed often was that many of them could not draw, they were drawn to the idea of “artist”, as seen in popular fiction and movies. Hard drinking (oops, that may be writers). drugs, sex, and rock and roll. What I have found is that it is best to be your self and wear what you are comfortable in, whether it is bright and expressive or blue jeans, which is more my style. Pesonality does play a part in how you deal with the public but your work should be able to stand alone. Bill Beckwith is wearing jeans everytime I see him but that doesn’t seem to affect the popularity of his work or diminish his talent in the least.

  22. I like to think about how certain famous artists looked. Pollock in his black Levis jeans and coat, or van Gogh in his big straw hat. The only thing I do is to dress nice for my own shows (twice in tuxedo) and at art fairs I remember to wear a hat – the uniform of art fair artists!

  23. As well as being an artist I also work in an art gallery (lucky me!) so I would usually find myself dressed pretty well with fitted clothes and jewelry often made of colourful and chunky beads. I also have a small nose piercing. Like “becky” I would usually just throw on an apron over my clothes to paint after work, but for very large paintings or “all day long” painting I could be seen with an old pair of paint covered jeans and my “crocs” going down the shop..!

  24. I absolutely do look like an artist. Every single day I wear something hand-made by someone. I am tall and people stare, so I give them something to look at…a walking art gallery, if you will. I also have my haircut assymetrical and have artsy specs. I wear on the outside who I am on the inside. No seersucker for me!!!

  25. Good question, Alyson! The stereotype that I’ve picked up, is all black, but how boring is that? I am a blue jeans kind of person, as well as having a low maintenance haircut! For me, I’d like to just be me; you won’t see me in a dress and nylons and pumps, that’s for darn sure. I admire artists who have flair in their wardrobe, e.g tallgirl, you go girl.

  26. Thank-you Lynn Friday, 30 May 2008 at 10:01 AM I think if you want to be taken professionally, then you must look professional. Paint in whatever you want, then dress nice (not necessarily conservative) to share your work! People do seem to take me and my work much more seriously when I’m dressed nice (and that has led to sales!).

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top

Your Artist Mailing List: Rethinking + Assessing

Get a transcript of episode 182 of The Art Biz (Rethinking Mailing Lists for Artists) followed by a 3-page worksheet to evaluate the overall health and usage of the 3 types of artist lists.

Where can we send it? 

To ensure delivery, please triple check your email address.

You’ll also receive my regular news for your art business.

Privacy + Terms

Your Artist Mailing List: Rethinking + Assessing

Get a transcript of episode 182 of The Art Biz (Rethinking Mailing Lists for Artists) followed by a 3-page worksheet to evaluate the overall health and usage of the 3 types of artist lists.

Where can we send it? 

To ensure delivery, please triple check your email address.

You’ll also receive my regular news for your art business.

Privacy + Terms