The term "branding" also brings on the ick for me. I worked for brand driven companies and I get it, but it's not the same when you are selling work you have loved all along the way of making it. To brand yourself as an artist isn't quite the same as a Mac apple or a Nike swish. It's more about the visual and mental connection someone makes with you and your name when they see a piece of your work.
So that has been my goal. To make work that represents me and not be all over the place with inconsistent design, like I was before. You know what I'm talking about. The potter down the road makes the perfect soap dish and you say to yourself, hey I like that, I can make that, and you make one. And then you are picking up your fired work at the local community studio and you see such a cool handbuilt vase, and you say, hey I can do that, and you make one..... and so on, until you have nothing but a hodge podge of work that was inspired by someone else and your voice is nowhere to be found. I did this. And then I took workshops and everything I made looked like the person that taught us workshop participants how to make the same thing they were making. And then I tried to make everything I saw in Ceramics Monthly magazines. And then I bought the work of other potters and tried to figure out how they turned that foot, or how they got that rim like that. Mine never had the same feel as those pieces. They weren't authentic.
And then...... I searched for my own voice, because my skills were stronger, I had more knowledge and I could go forth and make work and when someone saw it they said, hey Tracey Broome made that. I picked an iconic image of my work. Then I put that image on postcards and business cards, and blog headers and every publication that asked for a photo. I kept my body of work consistent, my themes, my colors, my forms, all consistent. And I got brand recognition, ta da! And then I got burnt out, haha!
My point is, I want my art to be honest. I want it to speak to someone. I would also like to earn a decent income with my work, but I'm afraid the process of selling what I make takes away from what I make. What a pickle! Another pickle is being a Libra. What I say and believe today might be gone tomorrow and I might say and believe something entirely different.
For instance. I have been deciding to slow my work down and make what I want, spend time with it, get a nice collection together and then decide where to show it, if anyone wants to, that is.
Then yesterday, I was talking to a gallery that is interested in my work. I sent some samples, lots of price points and they said, "we love your stars". Well, I love my stars too, they are very pretty. But, that takes me down the road of inexpensive mass producing, exactly what I was thinking I would get away from. But, those stars sell, so make them I shall...... and there is also the fact that I bought a loom and I took a jewelry making workshop, so where do I fit all of that in? How do you stay consistent with a body of work when you want to do so many different things? So..... I ponder all of this and while my studio is a frozen tundra, I sketch, make notes, do yoga, drink tea, spend time with my family, make some jewelry, think about weaving (the math!) and hope for some warmer days sooooon, so I can get on with some new ideas!