How NOT to Market Yourself as a Brand
Updated: Nov 3, 2021
The conventional wisdom is that as an artist, you are your brand. Your face, your story, they are every bit as important as the work that you create. The most important thing you can do to promote yourself is to create a coherent, cohesive story and artwork. Present yourself in an interesting, but reliable manner.
One of the most influential books in my life has been "The Golden Notebook" by Doris Lessing, which advances the theme of fragmentation. Its heroine, Anna Wulf, finds herself breaking down into multiple identities. She's Anna, the mother. Anna, the girlfriend. Anna, the best friend. Anna, the political activist. Anna, the published writer, the blocked Creative. She dons a different mask for every aspect of her life, to meet the needs of those she loves. She takes to keeping five different journals, each chronicling a different aspect of her life. The fragmentation continues and increases over the course of the novel, climaxing with the ultimate question: how does she stop the fragmentation? Can she ever be a whole being?
Like Anna, I feel that fragmentation. I'm Loveday, the mother. Loveday, the girlfriend. Loveday, the spiritual seeker. Loveday, the marketer. Loveday, the would be salesperson. Loveday, the lover of Victorian portraiture. Loveday, the lover of graveyards. Loveday, the abstract dabbler. Loveday, the beader. Loveday, the poet.
So many people trying to co habitat in my head, each has their challenges, needs, desires. So many people I have to be. Too much to juggle.
Unlike Anna, I only maintain one journal, but I find myself fragmenting creatively: my Victorian portraiture, my graveyard photography, my dream imagery, my abstracts, my jewelry, my poetry.
I've tried to take control of it by setting up multiple Instagram accounts and linking them to multiple Facebook business pages. I want to be able to present a cohesive face, or, actually, four separate coherent faces to the world.
The various threads of my passions simply cannot be reconciled to one coherent art brand, meaning that I either abandon them or continue on, fragmented, every bit as conflicted as Anna Wulf.
By the end of the book, Anna has completely broken down, but begins again, putting all the fragments of herself into one brand new, Golden Notebook. Issue resolved.
I'm not sure how to do that. So far, I'm managing, juggling all the things, as most of us do in response to the demands of modern life. I'm running all the accounts, not as well as I should, but I do aspire to better organization and promotion. Sometimes I falter. Sometimes I stumble, but I get up and carry on: dreaming that someday I can somehow put it all together into one golden whole.