Branding, images and self-promotion / by Jeannine Cook

Just recently, it seems that every programme I listen to on National Public Radio or any magazine I read alludes to the necessity of branding in these times of high unemployment and economic woes. Very understandable, but as an artist, this is a topic that comes up, right from the moment one starts being an artist.

Listening carefully to the advice proffered and stratagems advised, I am often left thinking that the one thing I don't hear much talked about is passion. And yet, in the art world, without the passion to dream, plan, create and - frequently - promote, it is very hard and difficult sledding. So often, too, the passion that an artist feels is the best platform for other people to connect with the art created, making the artist the best sales person for him or herself. "You exist only in what you do" is a true observation when it comes to branding yourself in the economic and creative marketplaces. Federico Fellini, the wonderful Italian film maker, was very accurate in this observation.

Being true to a vision and belief in oneself means that there has to be a dialogue with that small inner voice that each of us has. The magic of any creative venture is that since each of us is different, responding to different experiences and environments, the art produced will most likely be individual and distinctive. That art can become a branding vehicle to make that artist's work recognisable, a vehicle to promotion if need be. In some strange way, too, an artist who is passionate and committed about making art creates work that rings true to the viewer, no matter what the type of art. Passion is one of the most fabulous attributes of a human being, it seems to me - in every realm of life.... the essence of being alive. As Fellini also remarked, "There is no end. There is no beginning. There is only the passion of life."