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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Brand vs Style, here the interesting questions by Mark Stone

Mark from HenriMag asked these interesting questions, please feel free to read and answer in case you get interested. The interview with me based on these questions you find here:

I wanted to examine the hard public part of an artists work and career and how those parts of our lives might be perceived - how one might play into the other. I think that 21st Century media environments may have changed our understandings and expectations concerning a career in art. There has been a real shift in how we perceive artists and their work especially since Warhol.


It seems to me that there are two things guiding market perceptions of artists' work - styles and brands. I believe Warhol was the first to create a true brand in the same sense as corporations create brands – and by that I mean an accessible product that can be reproduced, marketed and sold - something tied to a recognizable "name" or celebrity. This is inherently different from an artist's traditional development of a style. Style used to come through in the making of art or better through the living of art. Style is intimately connected to the artist and is looked at as a unique embodiment of the artistic impulse. "Style" develops through practice, whereas "brand" is a more conceptual approach to art making, brands sort of arrive familiarly full-blown.


What do you see as the difference between an artist's style or an artist's brand? Is there such a difference any longer? Does an artist have to develop a style or brand or can one appropriate a style or brand? Do you find that "media" feeds these distinctions in how an artist's work is perceived?


Behind the idea of known style or a known brand are concepts of fame or recognition. For instance the current crop of Postmodern artists that are in the news seem to "put on" or "wear" a type of art fame that is easily defined and already known making it easier to connect with their brands or styles -

Jeff Koons as a businessman (well-appointed designer suits and ad-man sound bites), Damien Hirst as a Rockstar (looking and sounding more like Bono every day), and Murakami as a tech geek (like George Lucas and his Skywalker lab.) All three have assumed media images of artists designed to be familiar and stable, based on a prototypical business formula. This concept of fame which is directed at selling art or the artist or creating a brand focus is different even than Warhol's artist persona - he remained a sort of show, outside of the mainstream, a caricature or an avatar of a downtown art-type. The main difference is that he remained an artist that played at being a businessman, while today's artists are more like businessmen who make art.


What do you see as being the functions of fame in the art world today and how does this relate to brand making or style making? How has this changed the practices in the studio and in the public eye? What part does creativity play in the development of both fame and business and what part should it play in developing art? What sort of fame do you see artists trying to obtain? How does the attainment of recognition affect the understanding and acceptance of certain artists? How much does this public recognition factor play into the creation and presentation of the work itself?


Finally does the idea of style or brand or the creation of a style or brand inform your work - do you see yourself creating a brand or forming a style or both? Is fame and recognition a consideration of that development and if so how?

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