Creative Insights: Jen Cushman

Building Upon Your Name

Last month, we talked about the importance of buying the .com of your name if you’re thinking about having a career as an artist. Even if most of your time is spend working a non-art-related job, but your free time is spent making art to sell at fairs, local shops or an online store, such as Etsy, it’s still a good idea in this technical age to purchase the domain of your name.

But what if you are one of those artists who prefer to be a little bit more in the background? Or maybe you have a really clever name for your studio or business. So clever, in fact, that it makes you happy every time you get to talk about your work?

This is definitely do-able. It just takes a little more thought and effort to ensure proper branding of both your business name and your given name.

I recently met a fabulous artist, Cindy Wunsch, at an art retreat where I was teaching. We struck up a conversation, and I was so impressed with how she took her background as an artist manager for Country Western singers and applied it to her dream of being a full-time visual artist.

Cindy made the decision to leave the music industry in Nashville to concentrate on her art. Despite the fact she considers herself “not very technical” the very first thing he did was buy her domain name: The next decision she made was to create a business name for her new company that could be used to brand whatever professional endeavors she decided to pursue in the future, such as licensing her artwork.

“It took a while to find my business name. I played around with a lot of different things, but I knew I wanted a name and a logo that was simple, to the point and stood out from the crowd, also that wasn’t already taken,” says Cindy.

In the end, her business name—Studio Be—came from her artist statement, where she believes artists must always strive to paint (or collage or sculpt) what’s inside their own souls. She also painted cheerful birds as her logo and spent the time, energy and money to trademark her name and logo.

“I’m a business person, and my whole career in the entertainment industry was based on business and how properly brand and protect the artists I managed. I applied everything I used to do for them to myself,” Cindy explains. “I spent a lot of my own money to have a proper foundation so I could build something that really mattered.”

In five years, Cindy has built a successful art business that 100% supports her life both financially and emotionally. She markets and brands both her business and her name as “Studio Be: the Art and Words of Cindy Wunsch”.

In my opinion, Cindy is an artist success story. From day one, she set herself up as a powerful businesswoman and artist. She worked smart. She spent money on protecting her name, trade marking her business and copyrighting her designs.

Do you have to have all these things to begin a business in art? Obviously, no. You have to have a lot of ducks in a row to be this organized from the get-go, but there are two things to immediately think about when you decide to become a working artist. One, protect your name so you can effectively use it in your PR and marketing. Two, if you plan to also have a business name, be as professional as you can in bringing it to fruition.

Jen Cushman is a natural storyteller who found mixed media art a decade ago and never looked back. She is drawn to the imperfect, the funky, the quirky, the artsy and the authentic: be it people or objects or art. She’s also the Director of Education and Marketing for Susan Lenart Kazmer ICE Resin®. To learn more, visit her website


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One Response to Creative Insights: Jen Cushman

  1. CarolineA says:

    I ended up buying a domain name, and also got a business registration to go with it, purely so no-one else could capitalize on what my website does. I run an ebay store with the same ID. Its been worth it because there are unscrupulous people who trawl the internet to see who has done what and register similar names in the hopes of a bite, and I have several times been offered very similar sounding domain names at exorbitant prices. Even if you never use the full capacity of those registrations, its a protection for the reputation you have painstakingly built up over the years, and as long as you keep those registrations paid up, no-one can steal your good name from behind your back.