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Some questions from a writer-turned-artist:

1. Can I use a pseudonym on business cards, or at public exhibits (like a library art exhibit)? I know it's legal and acceptable for writers, but I'm not sure about artists. I hate my real name and really don't want anyone calling me that; I can't do initials because I hate both first and last, and having only a username on a card just looks weird imo.

2. There are many critique groups for writers, both online and local groups. So far I haven't seen anything like this for artists. Art sites are primarily for posting art rather than critique, so asking there is not very fruitful. Are there any groups or communities anywhere whose primary focus is critique?

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( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 7th, 2013 04:33 am (UTC)
I put my pseudonym on my business cards, along with my birth name, but I do it in such a way that my preferred name (the pseudonym) is what's eye catching. But having your real name on their as well, even if you hate it is a nice layer of professional polish.

As for critique, if you use deviantart, they have an option to get your work critiqued by the userbase. It may still be subscription only though and if so - I know they're are a few red-line groups in the community there. And here on LiveJournal smartsnark exists to do the same.
Feb. 7th, 2013 04:48 am (UTC)
conceptart.org is a great place to post if you're looking for critique. :]
Feb. 7th, 2013 08:22 am (UTC)
I agree with conceptart.org. I've never found more thorough and helpful critiquers!
Feb. 7th, 2013 05:13 am (UTC)
I use my Pseudonym(s) for professional and personal work. Some artists are very particular about their real names being used, and I think it's perfectly legal and reasonable to use a pseudonym for your cards. For purposes of contracts and taxes, your real name will oftentimes be necessary.

I may be hired under my real name, but I always ask to be listed under projects as "Neolucky" and no one has ever given me guff about it, whether professional companies or smaller indie projects.
Feb. 7th, 2013 05:59 am (UTC)
I use my real name with my handle alongside it, always have. It's on my banner, biz cards, etc. I've never had issue with it.
Feb. 7th, 2013 05:19 pm (UTC)
I don't know anything about legalities, but right offhand, I can tell you I don't know Banksy's real name and he's a fairly popular graffiti artist. He even did an opening for The Simpsons, if I remember correctly.
Feb. 8th, 2013 02:31 am (UTC)
Something I have found with pseudonyms is it is a very handy way to keep real life things and business separate. Just an added thought to what has been placed already.
Feb. 9th, 2013 12:59 am (UTC)
I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on the internets. That said, if a writer can write and publish under a pseudonym - Lee Corey as the pseudonym of G. Harry Stine and Paul French as the pseudonym of Isaac Asimov, to name two - I can see no fundamental difference between an artist and an author that would prevent one but not the other from using a pseudonym. Both are creative people, the difference is their media of choice.

To the best of my knowledge, there's no legal impediment to using a pseudonym for any reason at all, except illegal activities. I imagine it would also be awkward to have a cheque made out to your pseudonym and try to cash it under your real name, unless you'd arranged with the bank so they knew you were doing business as that name.

Edited at 2013-02-09 01:02 am (UTC)
Feb. 9th, 2013 01:17 am (UTC)
I'm pretty sure a writer's editor, agent and publisher would know their real name. There's no direct interaction with the public at large therefore there's no real need-to-know aside from the aforementioned individuals.

When it comes to doing business with someone - something authors generally don't do with the public, unlike amateur costume creators and freelance artists - I'd personally feel uncomfortable dealing with someone who only has a pseudonym. "*insert screenname here*" could be literally ANYONE and without a legal name it would be far harder to hold them accountable.

I'm not sure of the actual legal perspective of it, but personally as a customer I'd find it offputting.
Feb. 10th, 2013 04:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the advice, everyone :)
Feb. 12th, 2013 07:35 pm (UTC)
You can use a Pseudonym, but you can't "own" or protect it unless you go through the process of making it legal. Also keep in mind that if you take any payment under any name that is not your legal name, that name has to be registered as a business name, which will cost something depending on where you are located. I'm in Ontario, and for me it was $8 to do a name search to confirm that it was free to use, and another $60 to register it as my own for five years. I'll have to pay the $60 again when it expires, or someone else can snag it.
There are also(I think, but don't quote me on this one) some laws against advertising as a business with a business name that you haven't registered. So signage, ad columns, magazines, that sort of thing. I don't know how strict this is, but maybe check with your local laws about it.

Also keep in mind that if you want to accept money under a registered business name, you will still need a business bank account, as most(if not all) banks won't open a personal account in a business name. That's an added expense to consider, albeit a minor one for most.

What you can do if you are very serious about not using your personal name, is contact your local legal services and see if they know of anyone you can talk to who could clear up whether or not you can legally register a pseudonym. I know you can work for anyone under an "Assumed Fictitious Name" if you draft up a little document and everyone signs it. Do enough of those, and most people will just start to recognize that as your working name. But again, you can't accept payment as a BUSINESS(freelance/self-employed) under that name, or open any financial accounts under it. You can just work as an employee under that name, and there will still be documentation that ties your legal name to it, and undoubtedly you would still need to be paid in your legal name. Your pseudonym would show up where you are given credit.

I've been trying to figure all this out myself, and that's as much as I've been able to dig up. I still plan to contact someone in the local legal system to see if I can get some more information. That's such a hairy thing, and I've been putting it off because of the headache it will undoubtedly be, but that's still the best way to find out for sure.
Feb. 14th, 2013 05:38 am (UTC)
I don't need a business name, but that's interesting.

I plan to keep doing business under my legal name, I just want people to call me by my preferred name when we're talking. When you meet someone for the first time, they tend to go with the name on the card.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


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