Humans are complex creatures with multiple personalities living within. Some of those personalities dance happily on center stage. Others hide, unseen by most.
For me John Hughes' 1985 classic, The Breakfast Club, depicts this inner dissonance beautifully as the characters comes to realize they are much more complex than the labels (athlete, basket-case, princess, brain, criminal) that they have accepted from the outside world.
While this complexity is completely "normal," I find myself struggling with how my disparate personalities fit into my public brand image. As facets of me come out in my work, I often feel like a cat coughing up a muti-colored hairball. And I ask myself, "who in their right mind would want a multi-colored hairball?"
It is a sensible question. After all, one of my personalities makes a living as a marketing director. This "me" knows that a brand needs to have a focus. One has to live within a niche in order to find the "ideal" customer.
Yet the "artist me" struggles against the marketing box. My fractured "brand" does not know how to categorize itself. Some days it basks in sweetness and sunshine. Other days it dances closer to the dark side. Which "me" represents my brand?
To answer this question, I sought the help of two former higher ed marketing colleagues of mine, Bevin and Tara, who recently launched their own creative agency, Firebrand Tribe. This weekend I spent more than 5 hours with them brainstorming that universal question, "Who am I?" in relation to my art and my brand.
Lots of great ideas emerged, and I'll share some of them in future posts as things flesh out, but basically we came to a wonderful conclusion. There is no reason try to purge one of my personalities for the sake of "branding."
The dissonance between my outer "Mary Jane" and my inner "twist" is what makes me, well, uniquely me. And that is where my best art lives.