Archive for June, 2013

An Artist’s Brand Identity

Critics, scholars and connoisseurs no longer determine Art’s value; rather it has become a luxury product where its value is determined by its branding.  Its worth or value is determined by the same commercial branding methods one would use to sell designer clothes, or shoes.

Pablo Picasso essentially developed the idea of an artist as his or her own brand.   Picasso’s name alone brings brand recognition.  His given-name Pablo Diego Jose Francisco de Paula Juan Nempomuceno Maria de los Remedios Cipriano, de la Santisima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso would be a mouthful for anyone trying to bring brand recognition to oneself.

Picasso – Girl Before Mirror

Frieda Kahlo is also an artist who branded herself in the 1920’s and 1930’s.  She became one of the most recognized Mexican artists who had branded themselves.  Frieda has many self-portraits, and is almost always depicted with a uni-brow and braided hair.  She is usually seated and her all too apparent mustache, which jumps out of the painting at you.

Frida Kahlo portrait, with moustache, by Jerrold Carton

Andy Warhol’s iconic Campbell Soup cans and his Marylyn Monroe’s portraits are paramount to his Artist Brand Identity.  

This is ironic that Warhol made soup cans as he was branding an existing brand.

Andy Warhol Soup Cans

Here once again, the artist is his brand.  Andy Warhol was a master at branding himself. His work was easily recognizable, and could be widely produced.  He was also at ease with both popular culture and high art.  He was a very controversial figure, both by the way he dressed with an apparent faux blond wig, and the way he responded to people when asked about his art.  He often answered critics in a cryptic manner that either enraged critics, or intrigued them.  His persona and art were one.  He was a living, breathing brand.

Marketing was an integral part of Warhol’s work.  His art reflects the type of advertising as it developed in the 50’s and 60’s, but he was way ahead of his time.

Part of Warhol’s strength in branding was his collaborative effort.  His popularity instigated a huge following.  His Factory (where he and his assistants worked) created all forms of artwork, from music, silkscreens, to experimental films.  By building and establishing a following, he created a powerful marketing strategy.

Not only did Warhol transform the art industry and was a formidable brand of his own art but, he was open to new ideas.  He worked with Abstract Expressionist.  It is evident that an artist can be a successful entrepreneur, with a brand name and persona to be reckoned with.

Warhol created an image of the artist as a genius by creating his emotions on a canvas. Warhol proved that he could depict everyday banal objects into objects that can be classified as high art.

Can you brand yourself as part of your product?  Are you your product?  Was Andy Warhol a genius, or was he lucky?

Andy Warhol


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