I recently read that Ellen Vrana is trying to brand herself (that just sounds…. painful).
If you do not know who Ellen is, thats quite alright, you likely will eventually. She’s a writer and I foresee, bound to be known far and wide one of these days.
In a a recent quora blog post she talked about, how in the effort to brand herself (wince) she hired a professional photographer. I thought the post amusing, and could also commiserate. I usually either look angry, sad, or bored out of my mind in pictures, even when I’m usually not.
Anywho, I got to thinking about branding.
It is supposedly something you need to do, or find, or create, if you want to attract an audience. (and I do)
Yet it seems totally counter-intuitive to myself as a person, selling myself as a product.
People as products need to have singular and profound meaning if they are going to sell.
I recall an art show I was in with several other artists a few years ago. Sometime I’ll tell you about sneaking into the gallery pre-show, but thats another story.
Each artist had this lovely expressive story or, explanation to provide with their art and sold their work ,it seemed, more on their persona; their story sold the work better than the piece itself.
“I created this piece contemplating the plight of the people I met while living as a Green Peace volunteer for two years in Africa…”
“My goal is a fusion between the real and imagined, a painting of the soul.”
And then there was me.
“Oh well, I like color, and I don’t know, I just thought it might look pretty.”
It did not go well.
Actually it went dismally bad.
Apparently I needed to weave some sort of impressive bullshit to sell it.
The problem is I cannot bullshit, and my life isn’t all that impressive, or spiritual, or compelling.
A brand is singular and specific so one must court a specific audience, and follow a specific audience.
Well I may want to write about homeschooling one day, art another, autism acceptance and neurodiversity the next, and then set theory and Sherlock another.
Its the way my mind travels. I cannot help it. I suppose I could sell myself as an autistic adult, but I don’t know, to focus on that solely, or educating solely, it just seems wrong. I would have liked to sell a piece because someone thought it was pretty, not because I’m an autistic adult. I would like advice taken, ideas tried, or thoughts provoked because its damn good advice, not because I’m an autistic adult.
I also want to be able to follow whom I like whether they are mixed media artists, gay illustrators, a Baltimorean wedding planner, religious homeschoolers, drug users, pagans, graphic designers, and raging (or peaceful) atheists if so inclined.
Yet those media and messages and even style really clash.
So as much as I loathe it, Ellen may in fact have something there.
I just do not know how to reconcile it all.
I haven’t any idea how to define much less market myself.
I am me.