In the last 2 weeks I've sold 34 pieces with 3 more pending. I'm averaging $96.50 each (which is of course cheap for a 36x48 original on canvas) but I'm self employed and need the income. I buy all my canvases and paint preowned so my overhead is low, but I know I'm selling myself short. So, instead of tripling my prices I've started creating an alias complete with a website, back story, etc... but with higher prices. This essentially is way of starting over with a clean slate. I've been working on pieces that are different from my work and all carry a certain look thru them (I have 18 16x20 and 6 40x48 ready to post).... so what am I doing? It's not forgery but it's also not 100% honest. Musicians and authors do this and there is no moral issue. 

The fact that I have created a fake bio/back story is perhaps over the line? Should I keep it more mysterious? All the art is signed with the alias already.

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  • Update: I "deleted" this crazy idea, including fb page, website and painted over all the signatures and resigned them. My plan at this point to separate my art into two channels, 1) all my previous work, and 2) all my newer pieces that follow a particular look. 

  • Rick - to my mind you are overthinking this.  George Eliot, George Sand and the Brontes all used pen names because they expected that if they used their real names their work would be devalued by sexism.  J.K. Rowling sold her first couple of mysteries under a pen name because she was changing genres.  I believe Stephen King also wrote mysteries under a pen name as well.  I have heard of artists using aliases to sell lower priced work. to protect their brand with those who bought more expensive work from them.  I have never heard of an artist using an alias to sell higher priced work.  Also, the vast majority of the people who encounter you on-line will never have heard of you before.

    So while I don't think there are any ethical issues with what you are doing, I think it is completely unnecessary.  On your website raise your prices to what you think they ought to be, and start a lower priced line of smaller works.  You can also add pricing power by adding a framing option.  If you find you can't generate the same revenue at shows, whenever they restart, you can always discount there.  Telling people that the show price is lower than the on-line price is often an effective tactic.

    • You guys talked me off the ledge, so to speak. I decided to launch an Amazon store with the new style and normalized prices, and leave my older art where it is with a slightly higher price. Thanks for all the great feedback. This site is so much safer than asking the same questions on facebooks groups. )

      • Rick I am not sure Amazon is the best venue.  You will be one artist is a sea of artists.  How will people find you there?

        Would you be interested in some free consulting, to help you think through your options?

        • Of course. Doesn't have to be free either. I recognize that I'm like a swerving bus of multiple personality artists on the way to the cliffs... many styles, inconsistent pricing, and poor marketing. I was on a better track when I first started in May of 2018, now I over think everything (

          • I just sent you a friend request, so we can send private messages. 

  • I'm pretty safe on the alias name "Weitzelrichter" (no first name)... and I've embedded a few easter eggs on the website that point to the story being a playful fiction.. but I see what you're saying. I'll file a DBA under my current business name which will cover me in Texas. For some reason I just can't see this from the outside and I think I worry that I'll get too invested in it, if that makes sense. What if I create some really good art finally, signed by a fake name )

    • Rick, are you talking about selling online?

      We all have different approaches to selling, but I feel that it is important to build a reputation that one is reliable and trustworthy and transparent as a business, esp online.

      Is there a way that you can disclose that it is really "you?"

      On etsy if a person has two or more shops, they must disclose that at each of their shops.

      That has been since day one, so there may be a reason for that. 

      If you want to make some new work, it can still go under your current business, just as a different line. Good luck.

      • Yes online and local. Originally I did try and think of way of having this art under my name but a separate line, but couldn't decide if having having art for $100 and art for $800 and its the exact same size under my name was a good idea. I'm trying to break free from 2 years of very low pricing. Authors and musicians often have an alias so I was hoping this might be at least semi common. There are some clues on the new website I'm building for the alias that point to this being an alias, including photos where I'm always turned away from the camera or an object is blocking my face, a bio that spans 1944 to 2003 and reads like an crazy adventure novel, and a magnifying glass that when passed over the Weitzelrichter signature will show my real name. This is all being done playfully, not super serious.  

        My other option is to just release this new work under my name and adjust my pricing upward across the board, which I think will lead to a giant drop in sales. 

        • Maybe a drop in the number of sales but your income could still go up.

          You could keep your lower priced line and but still move forward with a line or two that has higher  price points.  You could offer a low, entry level line, a mid range kind and a luxury line. Auto manufacturers do this all the time and customers have adjusted.

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