Sunday, October 14, 2007

Branding and Marketing: vs Creativity and Exploration

I opened a post today from a friend who runs one of the art groups on Yahoo. It is a very good group of edgy artists who engage in discussion and swaps, and today she asked what I thought to be a fabulous question: "Does one "limit" one's self in an attempt to be more "marketable" or does that self imposed limitation kill some of the creative spirit and in the end, limit output - or one's interest in your own art?"

She is talking about the buzz work of marketing called "branding", of imagery, color, style etc. in the arts.

I thought about it for a while, and this is an excerpt from my response to the group.

"I struggle with the same thing. I am one who likes to break rules, all
sorts of rules, which includes ones like "branding yourself".

I am sure Thomas Kincaide is perfectly happy with his branding. Why not? It
has made him a very very rich man, who by the way, does not even paint all
his own paintings, as there are factories that make them. Kenneth Baker, art
critic for the San Francisco Chronicle said of his work "He might as well not
exist. He could just be a branding concept. He might as well be selling
hamburgers." In my not so humble point of view, Kincade is dead as an artist. He may be the guru of marketing, but not the guru of fine art.

Picasso went through phases all through his career. He was considered a
genius. The rose phase, the blue phase, etc. Yes, agreed, it was fairly easy to
recognize a Picasso, but there are some pieces that I would have never guessed as his.

Many well known photographers have multiple bodies of work which are vastly different than one another. As they grow, their work changes. Sally Mann. Emmett Gowin.

As our lives as artists change so does our medium, our subject matter, our
color perhaps. Perhaps one day we say "ENOUGH OF THAT, I HAVE EXPLORED IT IN EVERY WAY AND I AM READY TO MOVE ON." So be it.

I, for one, would hate to be pigeonholed into a style, a palette of colors. Part of our creative freedom and challenge is to stretch our limits,experiment, explore.

The one thing that I do believe in is if one is going to have a show, that
you must have consistent body for that particular show. I have many bodies going on at once, some tied together by subject, some by medium. My last show about six years ago was a variety of my surreal collages, my vision for the next one will be called "Telling Stories", collages of my narrative work. Another show will be small landscape paintings inspired by the Hudson Valley. As an artist I am working on several bodies, several medium at once. That keeps me fresh.

Comments welcome!

Today's card seems appropriate for this fall Halloween season. Sold on Etsy the other day to a wonderful customer!



Laume said...

I don't know what else to say, really, you've said it all rather well. It occurs to me that even when people don't see their style, it's often more apparent to others, even if you work with different mediums. Sort of like how it's easier for someone outside the family to see how much everyone in the family look like each other, than for you to see it yourself.

DesigningFairy said...

Hi Patti. I like what laume said. I think when we try to put ourselves in a box we are defeating the purpose of creative expression! I think there are way too many shoulds and rules in the art biz that don't make any sense anyway.

tangled stitch said...

Very interesting post and very relevant to what I am feeling at the moment. Thank you for giving me more to ponder