"There's so many good artist names out there! Is mine good enough?" many people ask themselves.
artists debate the importance of good “Artist names". This tends to be
in question when an artist has a common name and feels they may get lost
in the crowd because of it.
This becomes even more puzzling when they are interested in many different forms of art, right from painting and sculpting to singing and dancing. Because of the lack of focus in their style of art, should they make up a name to work as a brand for all that they do?
Do you have a common name?
Do you have a name that you feel too boring?
Should you go by an Alias like many in the music industry?
Being very woven into the art industry myself, I would like to offer my opinion and those of the artists I’ve met through the years. So should you change your name from Jane Smith to something a little more exciting? Should we think of interesting artist names like Leonardo Da Vinci or Vincent Van Gogh?
If you're going to be choosing an alias for yourself, which some artists
do, you need to keep in mind that you may not always have a common
name. Artist last names become a variable thing especially when you're a female artist.
I myself changed from a common name (which was so common that there were 3 other girls with the same name of no relation in the same town) to along Italian last name when I got married.
However, it was only after I got married that I realised that having
a fancy name didn't make any difference to how memorable I was. In
fact, it affirmed the fact that visual artists don't need artist names
that are really fancy at all! But we'll talk about that in a minute.
I personally think that only writers and musicians should use aliases.
And here's why:
Writers often get stuck to a certain genre, type-casting. If someone has always written books about crime mysteries, they find it hard to move into a genre of romance.
This is because when people see the name of the author, they often expect a particular way of writing.
When they get something different to what they were expecting, they often get disgruntled.
This can also happen in the music industry.
Could you imagine Celine Dion singing rap? If she wanted to branch off to something different, she would have to make an alias, or she could get a really bad wrap (no pun intended).
However, with a visual artist it's a whole other ball park.
Think of for example Pablo Picaso. He drew pictures, painted pictures
and did sculpture work. However he happily sold all of them under just
Some of his collectors grew concerned when he shifted from paintings to sculpture because they were afraid he would stop painting (which is the subject they may have been collecting) but the annoyance caused was fairly minimal. It didn't affect how much money he made.
So typecasting doesn't really occur as much with visual artists.
One thing that is vital for a visual artist is to develop a sense of
relationship with the collector. Anyone can purchase a painting they
like whether or not they know the artist. However, this source of income
is usually one off.
A visual artists bread and butter comes from collectors, and collectors won't collect from a particular artist unless they feel they have a connection with them.
If you are using an alias- this provides a huge hurdle for them to get over. If they don't know your real name, do they really know what you're all about, or is that an alias too? So to a collector artist names are very important.
Common or uncommon, there will be only one "YOU" who creates artworks in your style. Everyone has their own style which is very difficult to copy, even if someone tried.Only you
will have created x amounts of artworks with this style, with this life
story, with this experience, with these awards, in this place. Your
name may be common, but everything else added to that name makes you an
entirely unique individual. That may sound cliche, but collectors want
to know the real story, not the alias.
We've established that for your visual art endeavors you probably should keep your real name. But perhaps you want to get found easier? Ah, that's different. Most artists these days have an online presence in a website or a blog or something. This you can be more creative with.
"Journeys Through Fine Art- by 'insert name here' " is an example. You've made it whimsical, yet you've only used "fine art" as an example so you can cover any sort of visual art, and you've sub-lined it with your name, so you can still connect with your readers. Obviously, you don't have to use that one, it's just an example. But I do highly recommend making a website of a blog with Fine Art or another good keyword in the title. Fine Art is a highly searched topic on the search engines. If you make the title too obscure, you may not turn up when people are searching for artists.
For example, if you're a pop singer and you only go by something like "Echoes from the Shower"- only people renovating their bathrooms are going to find you online, which isn't exactly your target audience.
Search engine traffic is a big thing for an emerging artist. You must make your name obvious too, like in a sub-header. People need to know who you are straight away. Artist names are important, even online.
My biggest suggestion is if you create visual art and performing art- to think of an alias or brand for the music etc. you make, and have a website dedicated to that.
Do all your visual art on another website and have your real name. But definitely keep the 2 separate. You don't want to confuse your audience with too much to look at.
Another big thing to keep in mind is to focus on one project at a time. To do two things at once is to do neither. Have fun, still paint and draw and sculpt, but if you have decided to make a website about your music, leave the visual art one until you have the music site well established ... or visa versa of course.
So artists everywhere should embrace their Artist Names, because it's theirs. That name has their life pinned to it- which means that the artist names out there have taken lifetimes to earn. Don't be so eager to give it up.