COM0014:Blog Post #5 – Personal Brand

A brand called Maya. This sounds so weird! At first I found this self-branding/analysis exercise rather uncomfortable, but after talking to some friends I realized that I needed to look at it differently. They suggested that I think about who I want to be in 5 years time. And what I am doing now that suggest that I’m heading in the right direction.

Currently I am an independent visual artist.  It is my full time profession and it is hard. I don’t have a secure 9-5 full time job with benefits. My hours are unpredictable, I live from contract to contract, I am constantly making applications and proposals for galleries, private collections, art institutions, and for funding.  I am met with rejection more than acceptance and it is an atmosphere that is full of critics.  As a full time independent artist I must wear many hats. I am a visual artist, but also an instructor, exhibiting artist, illustrator, painter, designer, business administrator, promoter, and marketer.  With all of this in mind, what my colleagues know is that I do it all because I love my job. I love being imaginative, to make visual art pieces on my own, and to share creative projects with others. It’s what makes me happy and feel fulfilled.

My clients (illustration/design clients, gallery curators, and students) know that if they work with me I conduct my business professionally. I am organized, I meet deadlines, and I am always open to the communication of ideas. I’ve had students mention how nice it is to have an instructor that makes no assumptions on skill level, who is patient, and incorporates collaborate art experiments to their lesson plans. What also sets me apart from others in my field is that I value the personal expression of my clients (both students and design/illustration customers). I will give guidance and suggestions, but will not box ideas into a specific approach or style. I have a firm belief that everyone has their own personal visual expression.  They may need help with developing it, but it is beautiful and should be cherished.  I wouldn’t want to be pigeon-holed into a narrow category of art, so why would I do that to my clientele? At the same time I am trained and skilled in what I do and people should expect consistent results from me.  I am not afraid to do live demos of myself creating art (drawing, painting, and/or designing) to assist in communicating ideas and for teaching students. You need to see it in action to learn, not just be told.

Photo of a collaborative art experiment/exercise I designed from a previous semester. Students learn how to let loose and create large drawings within minutes!

Photo of a collaborative art experiment/exercise I designed for a  drawing course. Students learn how to let loose and create large drawings within minutes!

What I am most proud of:
Lately I’ve noticed that some of my courses have started to get wait-listed. I think people are seeking me out! But, what I am most proud of is the rapid progress I see in my students, both in skill level and confidence.  I’m also proud of my artistic growth in my own work, achieving a list of solo exhibitions while still in my 20s (barely!).  I believe it speaks to how serious I am about my art and my passion to continue practicing and sharing.

So, 5 years from now. I hope my brand represents:


  • Skilled artistic professional
  • Passionate, self motivated, hard worker
  • Sought after visual artist by galleries, private owners, and illustration and design clients
  • Sought after arts instructor by students and art education institutions
  • Consistent results
  • Organized
  • Open-minded/accepting/gives you attention
  • Friendly and personable!

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