Be True to Yourself and Your Art – Let Marketing come Second

By Karen Middleton in Misc > Art Opinion

I create fairie art.

What impression of me does that give you?

I also create feline and feminine art. Does that reinforce the first impression, or throw you off track a little? I didn’t set out to create any particular type of art, but all three types were a natural progression.

I also have two websites. With black pages.

I’ve read—and often agree with—much of the advice regarding the colour of a website. I’ve even been told to my face to “get rid of the black” or “make it white.”

I’ve also been told that my work is “too pale” “too light” or “too soft” as if those are bad things—but that’s the type of art I do.

I choose my palette, my paper, my colouring preferences, and, coincidentally, I believe this is how an artist creates their own “style.”

Could I create a style that isn’t me, just to fit in with what some people think is right? Perhaps. But I’ve tried many different ways, and many styles, and I always come back to what I connect with the most.

We’re always going to be told to do things, or change things, to market our art, but what works for one person may not be right for everyone else.

For example, recently I had my profile removed, without warning, from a well known social network. According to the uncomfortable and heavily-worded notice I received, I had used an image of my artwork for my profile pic, which I had not realised was against the rules.

I had seen other creative types use their art for their profile pic, and I was attempting to follow the advice I’d heard on how to create a “brand” for myself. I was there to promote my art, so it made sense to use my art to generate interest in my profile page instead of my face.

After appealing to the site, and sharing those reasons, I received a reply which at first indicated that they were re-assessing their photo policies. However shortly after, they confirmed there would be no change to the policy and I was welcome to rejoin if I stuck to the rules.

I chose to bow out. I’m actually very reclusive, which often prevents me from joining social sites, but I’d joined anyway because it’s what we’re told we must do if we want to market our work on the internet.

Around the same time I had also re-branded my business, including the creation of new stationery, postage labels etc, all matching and looking as professional as possible.

I printed everything on the purest of white stock, with a teal and grey colour scheme, and decided on an image that was close to my heart to use as the main “symbol” of my art business (it was the same one I used for my profile picture).

Should I have used a more marketable image for my brand? Was I creating the right impression of my work or was I simply opting to express my personal taste and choices?

It’s hard to know. Perhaps naively I hoped to do both. I chose white since it was appropriate for the application (when has anyone appreciated a black letterhead?) but after changing my sites to a white theme also, I found myself going back to black. They just didn’t look right.

As an artist I am constantly torn between wanting to express me—through both my work and how I display it—and trying to adhere to the “rules” by portraying the “right” impression.

We are told our websites should look like this, have this, not have this, our art should be marketed like this, not like that. . . it’s mind boggling.

Will people see through my errors enough to like my art however it is marketed? Hopefully.

But if landscapes appeal to them more, if won’t matter whether my fairie art is against a black or white background. Neither one will persuade someone to part with their hard earned cash.

Do I plan on changing what I do and how I express myself and my art? Probably not.

After all is said and done, I’d rather be true to my art and myself than try like mad to conform to what other people say I ought to be.


We'll send you articles & tutorials right as we publish them, so you never miss a post! Unsubscribe here at any time.


This post may contain affiliate links.