Married Names and Difficult Names

Yesterday's Deep Thought was inspired by two different emails I have received this week.

©Jill Rumoshosky Werner, Knitted

The first was from Jill Rumoshosky Werner, who wrote:

I know that I don't have an easy name, but it's my name and the one I choose to use professionally. However, the majority of the shows in which I'm exhibited seem to think it's all right to change it. To me, my name is my professional reputation and all my paperwork is submitted with the name the way I want it to be. This situation happens so frequently that when I get into a show, I always send them a note requesting that all three names be used on anything printed (signs, press releases, webites, etc.). This note is often ignored, even when I ask them (very sweetly) multiple times in different ways.

I can't possibly be the only person who encounters this problem. What more can I do to change this situation and am I being overly sensitive about this? How important is it to maintain a consistent name presence in the art world?

The second was from Beth Jasnoch Turner, who is going through a divorce. She cautions:

For about the first 7-10 years I continued to use my maiden name when I signed my artwork and then I got to the point where I thought that was kinda silly for an artist, so I went to just my married name.  Now, after 38 years I'm going  back to my maiden name professionally and will not change it again!  I wish I'd had the foresight, I would not have changed it.  Keeping an individual and consistent professional identity for an artist is important.

By the way, for all of those years, Beth was known only as Beth Turner. When this post was first published, she  had started adding her maiden name to her professional name (Beth Jasnoch Turner). She is now known as Beth R. Jasnoch.

This post was originally published on June 13, 2008 and has been updated with comments intact.

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.

12 thoughts on “Married Names and Difficult Names”

  1. Oh, yes, the editing game. I just went through that and can see why the organizers left out the middle (maiden) name – their little handwritten cards didn’t really allow for long names of anything. My contact apologized to me about it at the opening reception which I appreciated. Usually no one says anything as if it doesn’t really matter. A friend who had traveled to the opening and was sharing her impressions and what she hoped were helpful suggestions as I build my art career, noted that in the future she would advise I use my full name (including that maiden name) when I exhibit. I do, and I always have, I had to inform her, and I have no control over whether that is the way I’ll show up in print. She was quite surprised. Come on Alyson, any suggestions? Those of us with otherwise common names need the additional initial or name to differentiate ourselves from the crowd.

  2. The dropping of middle or maiden name happens to me frequently too. I’ve never understood why people feel free to change my name when I’ve clearly written or typed it the way I want it shown. I used to hypenate my name, which caused its own challenges, but decided against it when I remarried 7 years ago. I will be changing my company name to some combination of my three names and “Studio” (I think–still deciding!), and I’m sure it will mangled, deleted or changed in ways I can’t even imagine now.

  3. A thousand years ago I used to hyphenate my last name. (in the early 70’s) The good news about that was that I always kept my maiden name and it was easy to drop the married name when I dropped the ex-husband. The complicated part of it was that when my work was listed in shows and catalogues no one knew whether to put it under the first or last name of the hyphenated duo. I have chosen to stick with my name ever since.

  4. I guess I’ve had it easy with no husband or married name to add or subtract. (Though sometimes I sign work as TLW and sometimes with my name) Liza brings up a good question that I have come across when adding names to my patron list. If someone uses maiden and married, do you alphabetize them under the middle maiden or the ending married? Or, do you put both words under the last name category?

  5. Alyson B. Stanfield

    Sheila (and Jill): Let me answer your question in a separate post. Tracy: You alphabetize under the last name in the list of names (married name) UNLESS it’s hyphenated. Then, under the first name in the hyphenation. So, my friend Rachelle Disbennett-Lee would be under the “D”s. If there was no hyphen, we’d put her under the “L”s.

  6. Can anyone, that doesn’t speak German, spell Friedrichsmeier? Nope. No one can pronounce it either. VERY distinctive, but lots of issues with length as well. When I was 13 I assumed I was going to get married and thought I HAD to change my name, so I decided that I would change to a nickname – “Keena” (a contraction of Christine – you pronounce the “e”) so that when I got famous I wouldn’t have to worry. Hee hee! Got the name – now just working on the fame 😉

  7. Pingback: Quel pseudo utiliser pour promouvoir son activité artistique ? | Art Deco Online

  8. I’ve been married for 29 years. Not changing back to my maiden name now – hated it growing up, still hate it. Have had many galleries/exhibitions tell me they are glad my name is short and easy to remember. Isn’t being memorable to potential clients more the point than personal vanity?

  9. Well, now I am more confused than before. I would like to use my maiden name again. And be just Aleta Pavia. It kind of rhymes. So what do you do will all the legal things like the bank and IRS? If I don’t go back to my maiden name it would be Aleta Jacobson. I sign my work, A. Jacobson. My web site is, my studio name is Aleta Jacobson 511 Art Studio.
    What to do??



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

You're invited!


  • More than 7 strategies for growing your list lists, and why 1 shines above all.
  • How to redirect your energy for better results.
  • How a gratitude practice can help you shift your mindset.

I’ll also give you a peek behind the scenes at our classes and community.

This event is coming up soon. Will you come?