I’ve learned a whole lot about branding in these past several months. Generally, branding is the process of defining your identity as a business, and that includes your core values.

What happens after listing your core values? Everything your business does should, ideally, stem from those values. They serve as a way to know whether or not you should do something, what to do and how to do it. (The logo is not the brand. It’s a visual representation of the brand.)

These are the four values I’ve defined for my artist brand: community, authenticity, inspiration and legacy. Every Thursday this month (except Thanksgiving), I’ll be posting thoughts/reflections on how each of these plays out as part of my brand.

Today’s core value is community.

My vision for the brand is to be an open platform to bring people together and cultivate friendships. I value inclusiveness, celebrate cultures and diversity, and aim to collaborate with all the process by the visit us other creatives. Here’s what all of this looks like practically:

– My subject matter. I have a multi-cultural background and express that in my work shamelessly. I also find that explaining the story and process in my work opens doors for meaningful conversations with people.

– Open art nights. These are public events where art supplies are freely available to anyone (so money doesn’t have to be a barrier to participating). I often have friends meet my other friends, and definitely welcome people I don’t know. I try to nip negative self-talk and criticism directed at others’ work. I’m intentional about creating a relaxed, non-judgmental atmosphere.

– Collaboration. I’ve live-painted at concerts and dance events. I’ve painted responses to friends’ poems. I’ve hired my photographer friends to take branding/business photos for me. I’ve also done murals as part of community engagement projects. I collaborate with other creatives because we learn from and inspire each other. We also create new work together.

I’m also always open to unique collaborations that don’t necessarily involve creatives, but may strive to serve the community. If you have a crazy idea, send it my way!

Going forward (something like years down the road), I’d eventually like to have a gallery that has space for community events and collaboration.