Why You Should Use Your Name for Your Art Business

Art history is a history of individual artists. Imagine if Andy Warhol had never used his name.

What is the name you are using to promote your art business?  Is it your name?  Or is it a made-up name or company-sounding name?

I’ve looked at a lot of art blogs on WordPress and the internet and I am always surprised to read the variety of names people choose for their art business.

Some are really funny, others are creative and some are just plain dumb.

Whenever I see an artist not using their name to promote their work on the internet, I have to stop and wonder why she would want to do that.

You want to be a famous artist, right?

You want the world to know your NAME.  Okay!!!!!!!  You want to shout it from the rooftops (in bold letters across the top of your blog and website).  Got it!!!!

Art history is a history of individual artists, not of company names. I use my name to promote myself, and I want you to use your name when promoting your art.

Using a company name puts you in league with all of the companies out there who are manufacturing and promoting unremarkable products.

You’re different. Art is different. Art is not a mass-produced product. It’s remarkable!

Using your name as your business name tells the world that your art is different from the mass-produced stuff they can pick up at Target or Pier One. It says “This is made by hand, and not just any hand, but the hand of an artist.” While it may seem safer to hide behind a business name, ask yourself what playing it safe has ever done for anyone. Seriously. You have to take risks and put yourself out there when you want an art career–when you want to be known.

If you think your name is too common, you have a couple of options. You can change it (hey, it’s been done!) or you can embrace it and distinguish it somehow. Add your middle name, your middle initial, or your maiden name. The big question to answer is: How do you want to go down in the history books? As Gary Bolyer? As Gary L. Bolyer? G.L. Bolyer? G. Bolyer? The choice is yours! But you have to pick one and stick with it. You will use this name whenever you create a promotional piece, be it your Web site, newsletter, exhibit label, press release, business card, or letterhead.

This will become your brand, your trademark. You will use it on facebook, twitter, everywhere.

– – > And it should be prominent on every single page of your Web site, including any enlarged photo pages. Double check this on your Web site and blog right after you read this.

But this doesn’t mean that you have to sign your name this way on your art. A signature is just a mark. You can sign your art with whatever feels natural. For example, I have signed my paintings with only my last name “Bolyer” since I was a teenager. “Gary Bolyer” was just too long to write out.

If you’re reading this and bumming out because you aren’t using your name, stay tuned. I promise to write a follow-up blog to give you some parameters for using a business name.


About Gary Bolyer Fine Art

I am a New York City-based landscape artist.
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6 Responses to Why You Should Use Your Name for Your Art Business

  1. Hag 1 says:

    But what if fame isn’t the objective? What if making kick ass art and leaving a legacy of greatness or grace or something else behind is the objective? Fame is bullshit. It’s not a barometer of great art or talent at all for that matter. Look at, ugh, reality television. Talent? Nope. Greatness? Nope. Something to say about culture? Perhaps the vapid nature of consumption, but the audience generally won’t see it that way.

    How about taking ownership of one’s work? How about taking pride in one’s accomplishments? How about claiming your stuff so someone else doesn’t? Just saying….

  2. karenlongden says:

    Hi Gary, You gave me a start when I read your blog today! I have got my Facebook Art Page, Twitter, my own website and all links to other online art sites in my own name but I created a blog with another. Have I made a mistake? Could/ should I still change it? I’ve only had it about three months and have only got a couple of subscribers so far! Of course I want to be professional and although I feature my art on the blog, I saw that most blogs have other names and because I write about informative things I chose a fun name. But yes, I do want to build a brand and so I thank you for this advice Gary. You’re a saviour and an inspiring Art Coach!

  3. Geez. You certainly give a person something to think about. Thanks. I guess…

  4. Hi Gary,
    Thanks for a great post and a very important topic. I almost made the mistake of not putting my name as the website name. I am so glad I had learned that it was the right thing to do. Now you are confirming it was. Thanks so much. I have had a website and blog for only 9 months, and I am learning very useful things from your blog. Hey we got to constantly improve our site, increase visibility, content, SEO, and all those things that I didn’t even know about a year ago. We are constantly learning and your site is great.
    Thanks again and please keep these great posts!

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