The Artist as Personal Brand and Authentic Human: Finding a Balance
A weird part of being an artist on your own and not working for someone else is that you literally become your brand. That is both a blessing and a curse, and definitely a strange experience. Everything you make, show, sell, and put out there is consumed - and because your art Is from your hand and mind directly, that means the public consumes you. You are, essentially, selling your self in all its various incarnations. Sometimes this makes my head spin! (Most other times, though, I truly do love it.)
When I hit stumbling blocks in my personal outside-of-business life, it can be hard not to feel guilty that my work slows in productivity. Here in independent artist land it can feel as though there are no “sick days” or “mental health days” because your work is always with you and your person always under scrutiny, and eager eyes are always watching in wait. But that is why I chose to build a personal art brand that is 100% myself, and nothing less. I make sure my work is honest, raw, loud, a little too much, a little weird...because I want people to see my art, read my writing, and truly understand I am a real human being. Your choosing to buy my work or invest in my projects means you’re investing in me. It’s been working out in the most brilliant of ways, because I have made the most glorious and kind friends from both clients and fellow artists I’ve met.
When you are yourself and your work is congruent with that, you will find that magical things happen. To all my creatives out there, don’t be afraid to change your expression to your most authentic self. Your audience will grow and embrace it and the vapid all-consumers won’t get it and will fall off - leaving you with the purest of support and understanding. You have the power to build your world ahead and live it as you wish. If that means some days you express everything and others you create nothing, so be it. You do you.
You can’t be anyone else, and can’t live to anyone else’s expectations.