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Branding 101 — Top Tips for Artists

BoldBrush Show Episode #68

Show Notes:

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In today's episode, we've compiled several moments in the podcast where we have discussed branding. Before we dive in, I'd like to clarify that in the realm of art, branding entails crafting a distinct identity for an artist through unique visual styles, thematic elements, and the embodiment of personal values. The goal is to stand out in the art community, create a positive and memorable impression, and cultivate a dedicated following. Successful artist branding involves consistent expression, a strong artistic identity, and the development of a unique artistic voice. In other words, your artwork is an extension of your overall brand. Of course, not every tip will work for everyone, but it's good to know what other successful artists have done so you can try it out yourself and see what works for you. All of the guests mentioned in the episode are linked in the show notes as well as their respective episodes so you may go listen to them if you'd like. We hope that hearing their stories will inspire you all in this new year!

Nicholas Dawes:
Episode 9 -

Ryan S. Brown:
Episode 19 -

Mark Thompson:
Episode 22 -

Mike Adams:
Episode 27 -

Diego Glazer:
Episode 33 -

Christopher Remmers:
Episode 34 -

Eric Armusik:
Episode 47 -

Mathieu Nozieres:
Episode 48 -


Eric Armusik: 0:00

But that realization that you know people aren't going to buy from unless they know that what your art is. So it's our responsibility to really think of, of the internet every day as an opportunity to get in there and to share. I said this toward a lot of people. What people don't understand about marketing is that we all have to do it. It doesn't matter who you are.

Laura Arango Baier: 0:23

Welcome to the BoldBrush show, where we believe that fortune favors the bold brush. My name is Laura Arango Baier, and I'm your host. For those of you who are new to the podcast. We are a podcast that covers art marketing techniques, and all sorts of business tips specifically to help artists learn to better sell their work. We interview artists at all stages of their careers as well as others who are in careers tied to the art world in order to hear their advice and insights. For today's episode, we've compiled several moments in the podcast where we've discussed branding. Before we dive in, though, I'd like to clarify that in the realm of art branding entails crafting a distinct identity for an artist through unique visual styles, thematic elements, and the embodiment of personal values. The goal is to stand out in the art community create a positive and memorable impression, and cultivate a dedicated following successful artists branding involves consistent expression, a strong artistic identity, and the development of a unique artistic voice. In other words, your artwork is an extension of your overall brand. Of course, not every tip we mentioned will work for everyone. But it's good to know what other successful artists have done. So you can try it out for yourself and see what works for you. All of the guests mentioned in the episode are linked in the show notes as well as their respective episodes. So you may go listen to them if you'd like. We hope that hearing their stories will inspire you all in this new year. We're starting off with Nicholas DOS, who tells us what he recommends to his own students when it comes to branding.

Nick Dawes: 1:52

One piece of advice I'd give to any young artists today is to brand yourself, I teach a class at Parsons and the students are mostly in a very high end design world of fashion design or something else. I asked the class at the beginning how many of you consider yourself a brand and I usually get out of 18 students, I might get five or six. By the end of the class, I'll ask the same question. And they all do. You have to be if you're going to be in a creative world, it's part of being interesting. It's part of being commercial, it's part of being able to sell yourself, you have to be a brand, not your art, you have to be a brand

Laura Arango Baier: 2:39

Rhiness brown prefers to carve his own path rather than settle into only one brand. In

Ryan S. Brown: 2:44

terms of branding, that's where probably again, I've shot myself in the foot because I know that if you choose one thing and you do it over and over and over, it's very easy to brand yourself and break through. You know, everybody wants to label you, right? The Rock. I don't want to see him play Shakespeare, you know, is an action star. I don't want to hear Snoop Dogg's Western album. I want you I people you want to like people are labeled, they have their thing. In art. They always you know, I don't know how many times I've heard, you gotta find your niche. I hate that. I think that's insane. I think that, I mean, I don't disagree with it. I just don't want it for me. Because I feel like as soon as I finish a landscape, or a winter landscape, I want to do a seascape. And then when I do a seascape, I want to go do a reclining nude or, or figure out doors. And then I want to do like, it's cherry blossom season. So oh my gosh, I gotta paint those cherry blossoms. And so I feel like creativity. I, I've always thought, you know, I want to be respected as an artist. If I make if I make a coffee table, I want that to have value because I made it you know, and I love working. I'm not very good at it. I don't spend time on it. But you know, I love sculpting. I do very little of it, but I love it. And I feel like I know that that has set me back because my work. I don't know how my work ties together. I don't I haven't done well at branding myself because I'm unwilling to settle on a subject matter. And even I guess last January, I thought I'd be really disciplined and just like stick to landscape for a couple of months. If I could just do that. Then maybe, you know, the galleries will be happy and they can like start to brand me and I sent I think 20 different landscapes to one gallery. And they got him and they hung him up and they said their response was these look like they were done from 20 different artists. And even even when I tried to do something that like tied together I had Like a big cityscape with this, you know, really complex sunset. And then I had a high desert mountain scene. And then I had a winter landscape with a barn. And then I had like, like, it didn't even occur to me that these things were. They were all landscapes in my head. But I don't pay attention to style, I just try to paint to the subject. And I'm vastly interested in in a wide range of subjects. So I'm not the one that people should look to when it comes to like branding and marketing, because I don't know what the hell I'm doing. I do know what the hell I'm doing. Actually, I'm I know that I'm not doing it right. But I'm not willing to change. I'm not willing to, like settle on, on a thing. Mark

Laura Arango Baier: 5:47

Thompson believes your brand arises naturally, as you create your work.

Mark Thompson: 5:51

Well, don't you think branding is related to the idea of a voice, you know, as your career develops and matures? I mean, that's one of the reasons why it's going to be interesting to be a mentor. You know, one of the questions that inevitably comes up a lot is, you know, how do I find my voice as an artist, ignoring the fact that it's been there all along, and you can't help your voice coming out, the only thing that happens as you cover it over with things that you feel like you ought to be doing, I guess, I've always been a bit bloody mind. But really, if I'm completely honest about it, about one, following it through continuing to work in sort of no matter what, and again, decoupling it from conventional success, you know, you achieve a different kind of success. You know, if I wanted to kind of splash about in the pool of money that's in the art world, I'd be making a different kind of work. And that would be a different kind of life. But it's not to say that, you know, pays calls tomorrow and visa, Yeah, lovely. You know, it's trying to think of a good way to describe it. I think, like I said, at the beginning, this now seems like what life is for, you know, I make your work, the work is landscape based work. You know, I'm always a little hesitant to say, these are just landscape paintings, because, you know, there will be inevitably about a whole lot of other things that require landscape to be the vehicle. But these are places that we lose a fundamental to experience, you know, how we experience the world, you know, we look at the world and decode it. So where are we? We're within landscape. So it's a question of what does that then mirror back at us, which makes it fundamentally unflashy. But I think also, you know, and I think this is this, this might be an important point, we'll see. But where does our work fit into our history? What does it contribute to our history, the world is full of objects, you know, it's full of things that we haven't quite figured out on even what on earth they are. And, you know, without piling too much pressure on myself, I'd rather be standing on the shoulders of giants in a useful way and thinking so the world is full of ugly things, you know, and beautiful things. And I'd like to contribute on the plus side of things. Mike

Laura Arango Baier: 8:03

Adams believes a brand that should be authentic, and in tune with your own preferences and inspiration. So

Mike Adams: 8:10

I think branding, and overall aesthetic is pretty important. Like you mentioned, I do a lot of spooky kind of stuff, whether it's my tattooing or, or my painting, you know, if I want to paint a medieval still life, or a painting, like a very heavy kind of spooky sky, it just goes with my overall aesthetic. And people are, you know, can be drawn to that, especially when you stay consistent. If you're known for doing a scary castle, and you're doing that kind of stuff all the time. And then you paint something kind of like very happy and neon, it's gonna throw your, your your clientele off, and they're going to be confused. But I think that having an overall vibe is going to, you know, work in your favor. And it's, I think it's the right balance of, of sharing your work, but also, you know, letting everyone know what's for sale without being too aggressive without begging. So I think it's important to take yourself serious, but I don't think you should be to the point where it's off putting where you're sitting where you just come off as so serious that you're intimidating, or just written off as that

Laura Arango Baier: 9:16

Diego Glaser reminds us that a brand helps collectors notice you and feel more secure in your work.

Diego Glazer: 9:22

And the other advice I'd give myself and I would hate myself for giving you this advice, but I would tell my younger self something that everyone else told me and it's to start working in series, at least a small series because I wanted to paint a building and then I wanted to paint a butterfly and then an eagle and then a chair. And all my work would be very diverse not only stylistically, but in terms of genre, and that can be a little bit discouraging to buyers because they're looking for a brand or they're looking for a signature some Think recognizable about your work, you know. So even though I'm still painting a variety of subject matter, I think my style is now landing. And something that's a little bit recognizable to me. But point being is that I would tell myself to rather than just do all these little independent little pieces, I would do series of two or three, you know, it doesn't have to be a series of 10 paintings, and you get bored of the same subject matter style. But let's say you want to paint a human figure. So you hire a model, take three, take a lot of pictures of the model kick, the three best ones that are going to be wearing the same outfit in the same environment. And paint those three, a series of three doesn't have to be more, but that's going to give you some consistency. And it's going to give buyers something to look at where like, okay, he's developing a brand, he's developing something recognizable, and they have something to choose from from those three, if not just buying all three of them together, you know. So that's a great word of advice that I would give my younger self

Laura Arango Baier: 11:13

help BoldBrush We inspire artists to inspire the world, because creating art creates magic. And the world is currently in desperate need of magic. BoldBrush provides artists with free art marketing, creativity, and business ideas and information. This show is an example. We also offer written resources, articles, and a free monthly art contest open to all visual artists. We believe that fortune favors the bold brush. And if you believe that to sign up completely free at BoldBrush That's BOLDBRUSH The BoldBrush Show is sponsored by FASO. Now more than ever, it's crucial to have a website when you're an artist, especially if you want to be a professional in your career. Thankfully, with our special link forward slash podcast, you can make that come true. And also get over 50% off your first year on your artist website. Yes, that's basically the price of 12 lattes in one year, which I think is a really great deal considering that you get sleek and beautiful website templates that are also mobile friendly e commerce print on demand in certain countries, as well as access to our marketing center that has our brand new art marketing calendar. And the art marketing calendar is something that you won't get with our competitor. The art marketing calendar gives you day by day, step by step guides on what you should be doing today, right now in order to get your artwork out there and seen by the right eyes so that you can make more sales this year. So if you want to change your life and actually meet your sales goal this year, then start now by going to our special link forward slash podcast. That's Clint Watson and Christopher Remmers. Give us their perspective and advice when it comes to marketing and branding. Well,

Clint Watson: 12:59

at the point though, when you reach where you you find I call it your truth. I don't even know if that's the right way to say it. But when you uncover that thing that you want to be doing. I'm not saying marketing is bad, I think marketing at that point, but but you're everything that you uncover as far as what you want to be saying and doing well affect the way you market in terms of it's going to affect the you know what you're willing to do, you may not be willing to do certain things, it's going to affect the wording of things you say. I mean, if you're, if you're doing pieces that are uplifting and inspiring and elegant and important, then there's a lot of techniques you see done that you probably don't want to do for that work. Because they're going to cheapen it. Right? I can't imagine you holding the duality painting and, you know, dancing next to it on Tik Tok or something like it's like, that's a that's a serious, inspiring piece, you know, and the messaging around it.

Laura Arango Baier: 14:18

And that's branding, basically.

Clint Watson: 14:20

And when you know that it clarifies so many things. I think, what you're willing to do, what you're not willing to do, where you're willing to do it, what techniques you might try to copy what techniques you're definitely not going to try to copy.

Laura Arango Baier: 14:35

Hmm, yeah,

Christopher Remmers: 14:37

yeah. Yeah. I think it was like a thing that you just brought up about, like, you know, branding, you know, which I don't I've always seen branding and marketing. They're kind of they're, they're, they're one in the same and some sense but, you know, one thing that I also like to do with with folks when I'm helping them kind of figure out their idea is to you know, we play with this extra Like, imagining what like your mythic creative identity is, and then work from, like work through that lens as as an artist, you know, and Intel, it's like what you were saying plant Intel, it's like, you've worked with it long enough that it becomes this thing that you're inspired by, or what I like to refer to it as, like, it's the spirit that's inhabiting you, it's like, you become obsessed by the idea of the thing that you're in pursuit of, and it becomes you. And so like, I love that, you know, that's just a way that you can look at how you engage with community in the world through marketing and branding is like you are, in some sense, I mean, we all have a persona, right? So why not have it be a persona that like, is the thing that you're most inspired by, and then like, go x that out into the world. And in some way, it's like, I also think of that in that sense of like, like, like the turbo like you have this, this symbol of the thing that you are trying to cultivate in yourself, right? And so just like have that be the particular thing that you want to become an act it out? As it as as one way.

Clint Watson: 16:11

Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah, it makes a lot of sense. But it has to be authentic. It has to be authentic, because what happens is people Bice, that to niche down and people, people, they artificially pick a niche, and then they sort of trapped themselves on it, but you're a human day, or what you want to evolve over time, and you want to if you're an artist, and I'm using that term very broadly, you need to be free to pursue different directions, you can't just, you can't just become a brand in the sense that Nike is our brand, and we do shoes, and then that's it. That's all you can ever do. You know, like, you know, I mean, I get this, I get the term brand. And I just don't like to use it in reference to people because I feel like,

Laura Arango Baier: 17:06

yeah, because it's about the people or

Clint Watson: 17:08

people be broader than our brand. But yeah,

Christopher Remmers: 17:12

yeah, right. Right. But I do,

Clint Watson: 17:16

I do understand why people use that term.

Laura Arango Baier: 17:19

Yeah, because it also helps Eric, our music talks about the importance of branding and visibility,

Eric Armusik: 17:25

is the realization that nobody buys something that they can't see. Now, that's, that's very different from you know, when I left school, a lot of my friends ended up going right to New York City. That was the way to make it, you know, was to go to the city because you had to be in a place had to be a beatings and yeah, to be there, the galas and talking with people and making connections. Soon after, you know, the internet model became the way that we all communicate. And for me, I moved into an area that was, it's a small town 5000 People not very, very big, close enough to New York, I can get there and an hour or so. And I can get to Philly if I need to wherever I need to go. But that realization that people aren't going to buy from unless they know that what your art is. So it's our responsibility to really think of, of the internet every day as an opportunity to get in there and to share. I've said this before, to a lot of people. What people don't understand about marketing is that we all have to do it. It doesn't matter who you are. Coca Cola is the most recognized name in the world. All the languages in the world can say Coca Cola to each other, and they know what they're talking about. Now, why would Coca Cola still be doing advertisements today? Why everybody knows why they need to keep doing it. Because you need to keep marketing, you need to keep that name out there, you need to keep that brand recognition out there. And you need to get it out into the public square where people can see it and make a decision about it. So that's one big thing that I for me, I realized that it was it had to be a habit like just like brushing your teeth, you need every day to do some marketing. And you need to create that brand out there every day. And the only way you do it is by putting it out there as much as possible. So you know, like, even when people were trying to, you know, they were trying to sell the whole idea of the Intel logo, you know, and you see that logo on the screen. What do you hear afterwards? Yeah, here's a couple of notes that come after it. How many times did it take before people understood that that sound meant Intel? Not one time, not 10 times maybe? No but so many times over time that people recognize it. It's the same reason why a lot of artists fail that advertise in a magazine one time I did I was that foolish to believe that if I put my art in one magazine one time people just come run into me and oh my gosh, just saw your work and magazine. Guess what? There's tons of people in those magazines to stand out. You need to do it consistently. And I think that I started thinking after a while, and I think it's great at first I encourage it to do a lot of group shows where people and to get your, your artwork out there. But at some point, you need to start thinking like an individual. And you need to start preparing yourself or creating opportunities where you can be the star, where you can be the only person in the room and sharing your work in such a way that it gets out there consistently, as as a single item, you know, not not like, even like in a magazine, where there's so many, you know, a group of people showing up, we're just gonna claim to buy all that or even in a group show, you're gonna go right by it. But if you create some kind of, you know, uniqueness around what you're doing, and put it out there consistently, you will become something that has a lot more of a spotlight on it. And you need to find something that you believe in something that's that's very close to your soul is something that individually you resonate with completely, that you're willing to stand up for and fight. Like, we're not supposed to be people like the see some of these infomercials like, hey, you know, become a real estate guy or something or, you know, sell something that's not you, you know how quickly people give up on that stuff. If you're not, if you're not finding who you are as an artist, and creating something that you truly enjoy, that you're willing to fight for every day, you really need to make that your habit, you're gonna go nowhere. So, you know, you got to really start thinking about that thing. And stop overthinking the fact that you need to be original or unique or anything like that. Unique is what I'm using for something else. But you know, that you got to do something so different, that everybody's gonna go, wow, the most original person I've ever seen, we're gonna give you everything, all the attention and all the money and everything else, it's just not going to happen. You need to just think of yourself as you're creating a brand every day, just like Coca Cola, just like anybody else, you're carving a niche into the market by doing what you do best. And I think the sooner you realize that, that's about lucrative. That's, that's a longevity of being lucrative. Don't think about, you know, a couple of years ago with a banana with duct tape on the wall, all of a sudden, everybody's painting versions of that doing artwork about that. It's funny, but it's a one liner, it's a joke, it's a one line kind of thing. Or when a movie comes out and everybody starts painting or drawing that particular character. It's great. I mean, I'm not saying it's not something that's, you know, fun, and I hope you sell that work and stuff, that's great. But it's a one liner, you need to think about longevity, and you need to think about building something bigger and being consistent. So that's, that's where the word lucrative, I think is applied best is when you start thinking long term. And you could do that on day one.

Laura Arango Baier: 22:53

Finally, Matthew, nausea gives us his personal critique on branding, and reminds us that what truly matters is staying authentic to yourself, especially

Laura Arango Baier: 23:02

when you're a professional as for people who aspire to become professional, always, as you mentioned before, the pressure grows when you become a professional. Because once you're a professional, you have no matter if you like it or not, at some point, you're going to have to be recognizable. So you, you're going to have to brand a little bit yourself your imagery. And and that's where the pressure rises, because you're like, I have to be identifiable. So what should be my visual identity? what should be my, my content identity? And when you're not a professional, you can explore whatever because you know, you don't have to. Yeah, you don't have to read how to say

Laura Arango Baier: 23:53

you can send a friend. Yeah. recognizable, recognizable.

Unknown: 24:00

Yeah. And and that creates some some pressure sometimes in my mind, because I'm like, Okay, now I need to go straight into a direction. So let's make this direction, authentic and what I want. And the process of becoming an artist is very long. So you, you don't want to have to say like, go in zigzag all the time in my foot. I mean that you can but for me, I feel better when I go like with a distant clear destination in mind. So this clear destination sometimes can get confusing and because you're a professional, you don't you shouldn't show it too much because it's your show and what you're uncertain. I don't know by which magic but people will feel it and they won't be too hyped about your work. They won't buy your work. On the other way when you're so confident about what you're doing people somehow feel it and things you know, so or to flow. So it's always kind of things which you know creates like stress and and when you're starting to doubt it can fastly become a bit overwhelming.

Laura Arango Baier: 25:11

We here at BoldBrush want to give a huge thank you to all of our fantastic guests for the amazing and wonderful advice they have shared with us. We hope you enjoyed this episode, and if you did, it would help us a lot if you can. Leave us a review on Apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. And also remember to follow our Instagram at BoldBrush and subscribe to our YouTube channel where we have begun posting the video episodes of the podcast. If you want to see the video episodes before everyone else and also get the best marketing advice out there. Simply go to BoldBrush And of course you can find all the links in the show notes

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