Express your artist identity, build your profile

How do you want people to feel when they engage with your art?

What vibe or personality do you want your work to evoke?

What ideas, messages or themes do you want to share?

Who are your collectors and how do you want them to describe your work to others?

The answers to these questions come from your personal brand – otherwise known as your artist identity. They form part of your reputation or profile. 

In the early stages of your career, it’s not productive to think too hard about your artist identity because you’re still experimenting, learning and refining your skills. You’re still learning who you are and where you fit in as an artist.

But now you’ve begun to refine your style and have a cohesive body of work, you’re ready to be more purposeful with how you talk about and present your art. 

Memorable marketing starts with your artist identity and brand

At the core of every well constructed art proposal, marketing plan or PR strategy is a strong brand, or in your case, a memorable artist identity. It’s more than your logo, colours, fonts and style of photography (although these do play a part). It’s also your voice, vibe, values, and vision. 

In this blog, you’ll learn how to define your artist identity and curate it with purpose – to make you and your art memorable. 

Your voice

Defining your voice is part of our brand identities that is often overlooked. After all, we each have an instinctual tone in our writing. And it’s easy to write what comes naturally. This is okay for some, but the problem is, we unknowingly adapt our tone all the time, based on 

  • who we’re talking to (would you use the same language in a message to your bestie as you would to your mum, your lecturer or dentist?)
  • the platform or tool we’re using to communicate (an email to a colleague sounds different to a comment on Instagram or a proposal to a gallery)
  • the purpose of our content (are you trying to evoke an emotion within your art or sharing the best ways to frame it?)

An inconsistent tone muddies your audience’s impression of you. So it’s time to get purposeful with the language you use. Consider how you want to come across and choose words that align with that impression. The tricky part is to do it in a way that’s authentic.

Learn how to combine storytelling and art to make a bigger impact.

Image Description: A close up of a black person making a paint stroke on a portrait. The camera is zoomed in on the bridge of the nose and barely more than the eyes are in shot.

Your vibe

The vibe or personality of your art and practice forms a big part of your identity. It influences how people approach your art, and how they remember and connect with it. 

Are you straightforward, silly, serious or serene? Or are you adventurous, analytical, antagonistic or alluring? 

What kinds of spaces would your art fit best in? Are they open and airy, or grungy and industrial? Minimalist and modern? 

With this in mind, think about the vibe of your identity and describe it in five words.

Make a mind map for each, that elaborate on what they mean to you. Highlight words that naturally convey you and your work. Cross any out that feel wrong. It’s good to define who you are, by also acknowledging who you’re not.

For example, you might use lots of muted, pastel tones in your art but don’t want it to be perceived as bland or neutral. Instead, you’d prefer to talk about how soft, soothing and organic it feels. See the difference?

Use a Thesaurus to help if you get stuck. 

Your values

A big part of your brand identity are your core values. These often come across in the common ideas, themes and messages within your art. 

They might be influenced by life experiences, or environmental, political or social justice issues that are important to you. You may also choose to keep these things entirely separate. It’s up to you how and what details you choose to include when sharing your work.

Think about why you started creating? Was it something internal (like a desire to express yourself)? Or was it external (like a need to create space for calm and wellbeing)?

Research shows that 74% of consumers choose to buy from brands who share the same values as them. Being transparent and standing up for the things that are important to you, can be a powerful way to make people feel like they belong in your circle.

Your vision

Your vision combines the reason you create (your *why*) with the impact you’re wanting your art to have on others. It’s the story of how, why and who it is created for. And this evolves over time.

It begins as a creative expression of something personal to you – the artist (connected to your story).

But as soon as you make the decision to share it and put it up for sale – it’s no longer about you (it’s about why it’s meaningful to your audience).

Suddenly, the artwork has a greater story beyond your own. It has a bigger purpose – a shared purpose between you and your audience.

This is your vision for your art. 

When you share it like this, you give collectors a way to see how your art helps them achieve a shared goal. Supporting your art practice becomes a radical act of co-creation in a future that’s meaningful to both of you.

Curate your artist identity with purpose

These elements of your artist identity form the foundations of everything you do. Not only will they influence how people perceive you, but once you’re clear on them, you’ll gain confidence in sharing your work, and clarity on your purpose and goals.

The values and themes you hold dear will be meaningful to the buyers and collectors and they love what you do – because they’ll get you.

Need more help? Get help from an arts copywriter to define your brand identity and build your profile.

Over to you

Have you thought about your voice, your vibe, value or vision in this way before? Let me know if this was helpful.