Can an Artist have a Stage Name?

I’ve often wondered about my future as an artist, enjoying the thought that my name would be famous… The problem is that it’s already famous. There is an amazing artist named Daniel Smith who specializes in wildlife photo-realism and also an art supply company by the same name as me. It seems that my given name is already taken. When I’m a bit older and I’ve set myself up professionally, I will have to market my name as a brand, but I could end up causing a whole series of problems from copyright infringement to being plain confusing by utilizing ‘Daniel Smith’ as my professional name.

MeThere are quite a few artists who have pseudonyms, most of which are street artists like Banksy, Invader or King Robbo, who use their names to protect their real identities. Anonymity is essential for such artists as their means of creating their works are in the grey areas of the law and are quite often illegal.

I’m not afraid for people to know my name nor do I have any reason to hide my true name, but I will need a different name to work by if I am to make it in the art world without confusing fans of my work.

I know that actors and musicians have stage names, and they are definitely artists, but when it comes to the visual arts there aren’t that many artists with stage names. Maybe there is a reason why visual artists seldom adopt alter egos; maybe taking on a new name would be the best decision I ever made; who knows?

If I do take up a stage name, I would have to choose something cool, catchy, short and easy to remember. If people don’t like saying the name or can’t pronounce or spell it, how can I expect them to want to tell other people about the artist?

I wonder how much of an impact a name can have on someone…

Lets say that I did take up another name, how would that affect my life? Would I still be the same person or would my personality subtly differ when I’m being my professional self and when I’m being me… the real me?

“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.”  ― Oscar Wilde

At the moment I have no idea what I would call myself. It would have to be a name that isn’t already owned by another person or company. I like the thought of having a mononym – a single word name, but as I’ve just said, I’m currently undecided.

I wonder what your opinions are on this matter? Should I adopt a new name? What sort of name would even suit a visual artist? Is it too much of a risk to go out into the art world with a completely crazy name, or is it worth the risk?


Posted on May 28, 2013, in Article and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Why not chose a stage name? A mononym is worth considering. I’m with Maeve, don’t force it, it will come to you. – When blogging, I’m using an alias as well, it let’s me be another person, the one I want to be and not the one I have to be in real life.

  2. Reblogged this on S3C43T-23 and commented:

    What Stage Name do you think I should take? 🙂

  3. Exactly my thinking. 😉

  4. I see you conundrum indeed! Let the inspiration for a name come to you, don’t force the creativity! Or better yet, your public admirers may bestow a name on you. Maybe something to do with where you come form? What your art means to you? How you started? I’m sure you’ll figure out something in the end. You always do!

    • Thanks, Maeve! I’ll wait and see what happens… perhaps the name shall manifest itself in some way, through either external influence or my own thoughts or ideas. 🙂

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