When people ask me what is the singular most important factor in choosing or selecting an artist to represent, I always respond - Signature Style. An artist with a signature style, like any brand, sets them apart and makes them instantly memorable and recognizable. All of the artists I represent have talent, but what separates them from other talented artists is their iconic styles. For example, if an artist sends me every possible piece in their portfolio that represents all of their skills and talents, I’m turned off. It’s not that I am unimpressed, it’s that I want the artist to be in a place where they have already decided who they are, what is their best work, and what pieces represent them the best. The buyer or gallery owner shouldn’t have to choose. You, the artist, must make that decision.
A signature style communicates the characteristics, values, and style or attributes of your artwork. If implemented effectively and consistently, it becomes so iconic one can easily recognize one’s “signature style” within seconds. And more than that, as soon as they see this style, their brain automatically connects words, phrases, ideas, beliefs, and yes, even stories, to that brand.
Pretty powerful, right?
However, a signature style doesn’t say "buy me", "click here", "sign up now", "sale", or "join me at this event" (that’s marketing). Rather a signature style says: This is me. This is who I am. And because it’s who I am, you connect to it too on some basic level. You too are part of this style. You too are defined in some way by your connection to this style. You support me. You recommend me to friends. You’re loyal to me.
Artists With a Signature Style Create Stronger Staying Power with Clients
Your signature style is the first and lasting impression a customer or a potential buyer has. Your style communicates all you want the buyer to know. It’s strategic and well-thought-out. It also determines who is going to be a loyal customer or not. By defining your brand and story, you’re defining your target audience.
Take our artist Kate Taylor for example (pictured above). Kate has been focusing on her style for years and is committed to capturing color and energy in her mixed media acrylic paintings. She stains the wood panel to reveal the natural wood grain; this then becomes an integral part of the work. She often works with a high gloss Resin coating to increase the play of light and reflection. You can recognize her works instantly, and this is what clients love. They feel confident in purchasing a work from an artist with staying power.
As I have said many times already, all working artists are entrepreneurs. And that means you’re running a business. And all businesses must sell to survive. How you as an artist sells defines your signature style. In fact, every thought, every piece, every ad, every email, every Facebook post, every event should reflect your signature style.
Simply put, your signature style is a solemn promise. It’s a promise to your trusted buyer. You’re telling them what they can expect from you, now and in the future. You’re not going anywhere. Your customer can count on you to deliver the goods. It also differentiates you. It sets you apart from everyone else doing the same thing. It’s as unique and special as you are.
More Secrets on How To Sell Your Art
In my book Secrets of the Art World, I have a 4-step approach that will help you clearly define your own brand. In addition, I am hosting a Success Summit just for artists on June 9th-10th, and we’ll be discussing signature style in more depth. Additionally, we have pulled together an extraordinary team of experts who can assist you in identifying your signature style as an artist.