Hello! I'm considering selling fanart at conventions but I'm stuck between using my real name or my url/alias. Followers know me as my url since I don't advertise my real name. I'd prefer to avoid real life peeps keeping up with my online stuff (because of the occasional nsfw piece) - but recently I'm beginning to think I shouldn't care too much. Or should I save my real name for original art in future? Did you have a similar dilemma? Any opinions on the pros/cons of either option? Thank you! ^^
That’s a really good question! I’ve also been thinking about this a lot as I get more involved in doing artist alleys. Right now, there are three aspects I think about when thinking about my artist name:
- An alias may be more marketable. My real name is quite boring and short, which (I suspect) makes it easy for me to be confused with other people. For that reason, it benefits me to choose an alias that is unique and memorable (but of course, the catch is that I have to choose a good one!)
- An alias is hard to change. You’re stuck with your real name anyway (well, for the most part); with an alias, you may be tempted to change it later for whatever reason (new types of art, new interests, etc.). It’s hard to convert your followers over to following a new username/brand, but you won’t have this problem with your real name. You’ll always be you!
- An alias helps separate your art life and personal life. Your alias can become kind of a code – by letting only people you want to let know in on what your alias is, you can sort of control who knows about your art life and who doesn’t. This only works to a degree though, as the more people know about your art life increases, so will the likelihood of them telling other about it (word of mouth exposure is a good thing, just hard to control!). Your alias becomes something you can build emails/website domains/other contact info around, letting you separate correspondence and money appropriately as well.
- An alias makes it harder to find/stalk you. This only works if you’re very vigilant about never exposing anything about your personal life. In my experience, though, this is difficult because I find that my personal life shows through in my art anyway (in my comics, for example!). I’ve never had something like this happen (and hopefully it never will) – I just refrain from posting any info I wouldn’t want to post online anyway.
- Copyright may be harder to enforce with an alias. This sort of relates to the fact that your real name won’t change, while your alias might – art you produced under a different alias than the one you use now or in the future may make it difficult to track down as belonging to you.
My approach? I put my real name on my business cards and in informational blurbs on social media profiles, but brand everything under my alias (jojostory). In other words, “jojostory” is the name of my business, and “joy kim” is me, the person running the business. I find this strikes a pretty good balance between marketing (I have a unique brand name that is traceable to me) and privacy (some people know me as jojostory, others know me as joy who is a gal who does art). If I choose to register jojostory as an LLC or anything like that, it might have legal power as well, but I’d have to do more research on that!
Unfortunately, I don’t do NSFW stuff so I can’t give any specific advice on that, sorry! Maybe other AA friends out there have thoughts or experiences they can share?