Let’s put on our corpse handling gloves and dig out the “sell out” decaying, stinking body of the “artist” which Peter and I have hastily hid in a shallow grave behind our studio.
Perfect. Here is the dead artist now. Now let’s talk branding!
Branding and marketing are dirty words in the art world. I think it’s especially true for young people who have yet to really give some thought to selling and producing a viable product that consumers will buy. I’m not here to convert anyone. Peter and I will be the first to admit that we are here to sell, sell, sell. We love art. We love the product that we produce and put out into the world. We are proud of it. We think there is a place for it. There are people who are looking to dialogue with pop culture, enjoy and consume it in the same monstrous way that we do, and we are looking to sell to these wonderful individuals. Our motto remains: Better to rule in Hell than serve in Heaven. So yeah, we think about selling ALL.THE.TIME. That grave in the backyard? That’s where the soul of the fine artist is buried. We buried it a long time ago. Granted, I dug it out to show you but it’s now stinking up our studio so I’m just going to chuck him back in his grave, if I can.
So What EXACTLY is the Cimpoe Gallery Brand?
The brand we have today is the one you see on the website. It's a light-hearted, tongue in cheek look at the things we love. We are fans of comics. We are fans of film and we are fans of our wonderful mother, television. It's a brand that reflects who are as siblings and business partners. We aren’t interested in producing and selling something that we aren’t passionate about. Peter spent a great deal of his younger, formative years, in the practice of a “fine artist” but there was a lot the fine art world that left him cold and disinterested. I wavered back and forth as a writer, dipping my toes in “serious” literary writing only to discover that I don’t really care to be a serious literary writer. I’ll just write about whatever I want to write about. I’ll do a bit of writing when it suits me, submit where iy suits me, and get behind Cimpoe Gallery more fully which (lets be honest) is way more fun at this junction in my life.
The working of a brand is something that takes time to establish. We aren’t Louis Vuitton (yet) but we are cultivating the niche market we are looking to engage with. Branding is about telling stories. This is the most useful way I have learned to think of marketing and branding. What is the story that Peter and I are trying to tell with Cimpoe Gallery? What is the story we are trying to sell? At the center of any good brand, there should be love. Hardcore love for the work you are producing and for the people that you hope will buy your product. People can tell when you fake it. We can smell disingenuous “art” from a mile away and it smells like that corpse we buried in the backyard. The brand should be something that is built on passion. Before we got to where we are today with Cimpoe Gallery, the studio, the site and licenses, we tinkered with other ideas. I don’t always realize it but it took a good 5 YEARS for us to get to this point; 5 YEARS of tinkering and playing with thr formula. Peter has been the Dr. Frankenstein of our little enterprise. He’s been the one who left University at the top of his game (quite literary at the top of his classes), pursued realist art at a realist atelier, spent some time at a tattoo apprenticeship, worked his way into becoming an expert at pinup art, moved to landscapes for a while before finally settling to what we have here. It’s been more than 5 years of Peter working out what exactly he wanted to do. It’s been endless discussions about what sort of company we wanted to create and what exactly was the product we wanted to sell. It continues to be an ongoing and endless conversations about the direction of the work. Is it on brand? Is it telling a story? Does it mean something to us and more importantly, to the audience? We are continuously tinkering with the ideas. We are working with more light heartened and fun mediums. Peter is playing with more fun subject matter, more original work, and a wider array of colours. We are learning that our audience cares about colour! The work needs to be fun! It needs to remind them more fully about why they love pop culture. It should make them smile. And that’s important. In fact, it is the MOST IMPORTANT thing about our brand. It makes our audience smile. At the end of the day, this is what you need to remember when you think about branding. What does your audience leave with? Maybe you don’t your audience to smile when they leave. That’s fine. Procation/discomfort/anger can be your brand but it is important that you ensure your audience leave with a very specific, especially catered taste in their mouth (regardless if they like it) because that is all they leave with; the taste. And God forbid, they leave with the stinking taste of pretentious, dead artist corpse in their mouth!