In response to my Art Marketing Action newsletter about using two names for your art, K. Henderson commented:
What a timely column!!! I do a contemporary work and really want to expand into something more traditional. I've been thinking of using another name but I'm wondering how to do it. I use my first initial and last name now. If I make up a totally fictitious name it opens up problems like how will I cash checks at the bank? What do I use as a resume? I'm thinking of using my husbands name. I really don't want to start a new DBA business because I do enough paperwork now! Any suggestions?
Oh, boy! This is a can of worms. I suspected two names would create problems and it’s not my favorite solution, but these are great questions. I presume that you would have all checks made out to your real name. Beyond that, can anyone help K.?
And more difficulties with doing business under two names raised by Mark Levin:
If you're going to be consistent you would have to apply to shows with two different applications and if only one series got in a show and the other didn't-you wouldn't be allowed to show that series of work or if both got in, you'd have two booth fees-per a couple of promoters I've spoken with about this. With a 20′ booth going for over $2000 at the better shows that's starting to really add a lot of additional expense. It costs me on average $5750 to do a show on the east coast as it is.
Secondly, if your work is being collected you have diminished the "collectabiltiy" of the series with the new name. Once you have developed your name where it becomes a brand and collectible, having a second name would really convolute and dilute that issue-this is per one of the most esteemed curators in American Studio Craft.
Yes, Mark, you're right. It's not the best solution for at least 99% of artists. I would say that most artists who use two names don't worry too much about collectibility. My hunch says they're in it for sales.
Anyone else care to comment?
Images (c)The Artists: (top) K. Henderson, Sacred Clown. 30 x 36 inches.
(bottom) Mark Levin, Flower Petal Hall Table.