Sea lions at San Francisco's fisherman's wharf. Outside my current brand!
On Sunday, I came home from work just bubbling over with ideas for paintings; all of them very interesting wonderful ideas. I am sure that they would have made great unique paintings, but I was politely informed that they did not conform to my brand. Very true.
I am an artist through and through. As such I am constantly thinking art. I see color all around me, and am instantly and sub-consciously working out how that would best be represented in a painting, and how I would mix those colors from the pallet of colors I use. I see a summer forest of almost uniform green, and think how that green differs from the color a camera captures, and how the subtle variation can be exaggerated to make the scene more interesting. Consciously though think about ideas for the next painting. As part of that I mentally troll through the thousands of reference pictures I have on my hard drive, and think about things that have been influencing me, whether they be something I have read, or the work of another artist I have seen. This part of me is what must be brought under control without being made less fertile by adding the thought, ‘how can this be represented in my current brand?’.
In the past I have gone with my ideas and produced work that was all over the shop. The exception was when I was at art school and had to produce a cohesive body of work for my thesis. That body of work ended up getting me on Australian national TV, with a spot on all of the networks nightly news broadcasts, and a 10 minute spot on the national broadcaster. It is beginning to register with me that in galleries and exhibitions, every successful artist has a unique and recognizable brand that they stick to. This I too must discipline myself to do. This year I found a brand that I can develop and use to market myself and must stick to it. This is not to say that I must start slavishly churning out cookie-cutter paintings, but development must be a gradual process through which the brand its self evolves.
In the meantime, I have dozens of paintings from my ‘all over the shop’ period that I have to do something with. I can either change them to fit the brand, or keep them for some future retrospective, after I have established myself and my brand. At that stage, something outside the box can be quite valuable, but not now. My website at www.skillart.org is full of such paintings. I guess I could also sell them on the side, but would that hinder the development of my brand? What do you think?