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Int. J. Nonprofit Volunt. Sect. Mark.

10: 263274 (2005)

Published online in Wiley InterScience
( DOI: 10.1002/nvsm.30

The marketing/creativity interface:

a case study of a visual artist
Daragh OReilly*
Leeds University Business School, UK

* This paper aims to contribute to an understanding of the marketing/creativity interface in

the visual arts at the level of the individual artist. Proceeding, broadly speaking, from a
constructivist perspective and using a qualitative case study approach, it examines a
visual artists personal construction of her creative and business work. The analysis
highlights the significance of emotional, cognitive, spiritual and physical processes for the
artists positioning, process, and products, as well as her difficulties with promotion and
pricing issues. It was seen, following Fillis (2004), that, at the level of an individual artist,
her work may be not only product-oriented but self-oriented. It therefore behoves artists
and their agents to be able to offer appropriately distinguishing promotional accounts of
the artists artistic identity, process and work based on a deep self-reflexive awareness and
understanding by the artist of her own creative practice.
Copyright # 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Introduction philosophy of creativity (Bohm, 1998). There

is also work which attempts to situate the
The individual visual artist can be conceptua-
individual creative artist within a social process
lised in a variety of ways: as a painter who
of production, at least partly in an attempt to
paints pictures; as a creative or cultural
de-emphasise the notion of genius (Becker,
worker whose job is to produce creative 1982; Wolff, 1993; Alexander, 2003; Brunet,
works and sell them to customers; as a cultural
2004). Others analyse the creative process in
producer within the circuit of culture (Hall major innovations, such as the Wright Broth-
et al., 1997), engaged in the production of
ers first manned flight (Jakab, 1990). Within
cultural artefacts or texts; or as an artrepre- business and management, scholars and practi-
neur, an artist-marketer (Fillis, 2004), or an art
tioners are concerned with understanding how
brand (OReilly and Lindley, 2000).
the benefits of creativity can be opened up
The general literature on creativity is highly
both for the organisation and for the individual
diverse, ranging from Koestlers attempt
manager or worker. This gives rise to a number
(Koestler, 1964)or indeed those of Miller of issues such as what a creative manager is
(1996) or Ghiselin (1985)to deal with the
(Evans and Russell, 1989); how to set up a
question of genius, to discourses on the creative work-culture (Tanner, 2003; Smith,
2004); how the culture of a creative organisa-

tion works (Hackley, 2000); methods for

*Correspondence to: Daragh OReilly, Lecturer in Market- stimulating creativity (De Bono, 1983); the
ing, Leeds University Business School, Maurice Keyworth
Building, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK. nature of management creativity itself (Proc-
E-mail: tor, 1995; El-Murad and West, 2004); creative

Copyright # 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Int. J. Nonprofit Volunt. Sect. Mark., November 2005
264 Daragh OReilly

cognition (Finke et al., 1996), creative process ing, and the nature of the research question, it
flow (Csikszentmihalyi, 2003), and so on. seemed sensible initially to engage in a
Additionally, much mainstream management grounded, idiographic approach to this parti-
writing on creative innovation deals with the cular enquiry. As far as research methods in
key issues of techniques for stimulating crea- previous creativity research is concerned,
tivity and for multi-functional team-working. Mayer (1999) surveys the principal methods
The marketing literature currently seems to which have been used, including psycho-
have little to say on the question of creativity metric, experimental and case study
and marketing at the level of the individual approaches. This inquiry also uses a case study
artist. Certainly, for marketing managers, it is approach. In this enquiry, therefore, it was not
accepted as important to be able understand a question of seeking to make law-like general-
the concerns of, and to work with and along- isations about this field. It was rather an
side, creative talent outside of the marketing attempt to identify potentially fruitful themes,
department (Hill et al., 2003). Within market- watch for emerging patterns and facilitate a
ing, Fillis (2000; 2002a,b,c; 2004, 2004a) has more precise problematisation of this area of
been a strong advocate of the importance of marketing enquiry. A benefit of in-depth
creativity in marketing management, particu- exposure to an individual case is the grounding
larly amongst small businesses, opposing it to of an enquiry in a level of detail which may
the step-wise processual formulae of conven- facilitate richer conceptualisation of the area.
tional textbooks, which are not suited to the Artists talk is a clue to their construing of
arts context. Within visual arts marketing, in a their artistic and business processes, and it
recent book chapter (2004a), Fillis focuses seemed that allowing artists voices to speak in
specifically on the theory and practice of visual their own terms about their take on art and
arts marketing, and advocates that: marketing could well be instructive. Because of
a desire to obtain an emic perspective in the
research should focus on the product- informants own language, this research was
centred nature of entrepreneurial undertaken from a broadly constructivist per-
creativity where the personality, attitudes, spective. Specifically, Kellys personal con-
beliefs and behaviour of the artist as struct psychology (PCP) (1963) was used
owner/manager are central to doing to guide the interview process. Within PCP, a
visual arts marketing. construct is defined as a bipolar cognitive
differential (e.g. good/bad, strong/weak); and a
He also recommends that the artists biography personal construct is so called because it
be researched, as a means of constructing relates to, and emerges from, the individual
more actionable theory. This paper seeks to informants personal experience. PCP has been
respond to this recommendation. The starting used previously in the marketing literature to
research question for this project was: how examine issues relating to branding, personal
does creative process relate to marketing/ selling and consumer behaviour, but with a
business process in the life of a working artist? tendency to emphasise Kellys repertory grid as
a key tool within the enquiry process (Andrews
Research design et al., 1990; Plank and Greene, 1996; Debling,
1999; Giese and Cote, 2000; Marsden and
This section discusses the methodological
Littler, 2000; Palan, 2001). In this study, I felt
approach to the study, the case artist, and the
data collection. there was more to be gleaned by focusing
instead on a form of interview which explored
the artists bipolar construing of her work,
Personal construct psychology
without tightening the constructs through the
Firstly, given the lack of actionable theory use of a grid. Besides, it represents a more
(Fillis, 2004a) in the area of visual arts market- thorough approach in a relatively new area of

Copyright # 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Int. J. Nonprofit Volunt. Sect. Mark., November 2005
The marketing/creativity interface 265

marketing enquiry if, before tightening the family responsibilities which make calls on
informants constructs, one elicits the ele- her time.
ments (phenomena) which she is construing Of course, her discursive repertoire pertain-
and explores them in some depth (Savage, ing to her artwork, including its business
2000). side, has been shaped by her experiences as
art student, exhibitor, model, educator and
artist as well as by her wider life experiences.
The case artist
Her personal construct system will reflect
This section introduces the informant, who, for these influences and is something which
the purposes of this paper, is called Ruth (not changes and evolves over time. It should also
her real name). She has been painting seriously be pointed out that Ruth found talking about
for more than 30 years, and is in her mid-fifties. her process difficult and surprising, and
Her work includes mainly oil paintings, water seemed to need to mark what she said as
colours and drawings. She is deeply interested provisional:
in esoteric, mythological and analytical-psy-
chological traditions, as well as in a wide I mean its really hard, isnt it? How do you
variety of art or painting genres and artists. She talk about this process? . . .
contributes to the family income by part-time
art teaching. This contribution is supplemen- I thought I was going to say completely
ted from time to time by the sale of her art- different things . . .
work, which tends to be occasional and
unpredictable. She has a degree in art from a Im never sure about what I say, because
local university. She has considerable experi- things change so much.
ence as an art educator and as a painting model,
including sitting for a leading British painter.
Data collection
From time to time, she succeeds in placing a
piece of artwork in a local or regional gallery Two depth interviews and numerous informal
and sells her work that way. Ruth has no formal conversations were held with the artist about
training or education in marketing. On other her work. Exhibitions where her work was
occasions, she co-organises art exhibitions shown were attended. I also observed her work
with other members of her network, including in studio. As far as the depth interviews were
photographers and sculptors as well as other concerned, two video-taped interviews were
painters. These exhibitions result in sales undertaken. Videography is a method of
direct to viewers. She is an avid reader of research which uses video technology to
books and other materials relating to her art capture and analyse data, amongst other things.
practice, and travels quite frequently to Lon- It is located within the established traditions of
don and other centres to see important visual anthropology and visual sociology (Ham-
exhibitions. On non-teaching days, she works mersley and Atkinson, 1995; Banks, 1998;
in her studio as much as possible. She does not Prosser, 1998; Marshall and Rossman, 1999).
have an agent. She operates with a very tight Its advantages include its usefulness capturing
budget for materials, framing, and transporta- aural and visual data and holding them in
tion. She cannot afford to rent or own her own memory, exactly as they were recorded, and
separate studio space, and uses the attic of her in full colour (OReilly and Larsen, 2005). Its
home as a studio. Her annual earnings from disadvantages include the time and money
painting are low. Ruth does not take commis- involved in training in the use of cameras and
sions from customers or patrons to produce a editing technology, and editing together out-
piece of work to a particular specification. She puts (Hammersley and Atkinson, 1995; Ball,
has said that she would feel herself restricted by 1998; Fetterman, 1998; Harper, 1998). Appli-
such a business arrangement. Ruth also has cations of videography within marketing and

Copyright # 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Int. J. Nonprofit Volunt. Sect. Mark., November 2005
266 Daragh OReilly

consumer studies are increasing (Belk et al., and discussed above, recurred spontaneously,
1989; Belk and Kozinets, 2003). that is without interviewer prompting, for
It is important to note that there was a time example her construal of her early artwork as
difference of 7 years between the interviews, a child (see below). This suggests that certain
the first interview having taken place as part of constructs have enduring value, or are core
an earlier similar project. This enabled a constructs in Kellian terms, that is they are
comparison and contrast over time with core central to the individuals interpretation of
pre-occupations of the artist (though this herself.
longitudinal view is not the central focus of
this paper). The interviews were loosely Analysis
structured, as the purpose was to elicit both
her elements as well as her constructs. The This section includes a discussion of some key
questioning style was to use mainly open, issues in the informants work, both on the
reflective, summarising and occasionally prob- creative as well as on the business or marketing
ing questions. Each interview lasted about side. The quotations are extracts from the
90 minutes, and apart from being video- depth interviews. The issues have been cate-
recorded, was transcribed and submitted to a gorised to cover marketing issues, include
coding analysis. The coding analysis was co- Ruths positioning of herself as an artist, her
ordinated with visual reviews of the videotape to sense of process, and ideas about product,
check whether the verbal and visual data promotion and pricing.
appeared consistent. Both interviews were
located in the artists studio. The researcher- Positioning
informant relationship was explicitly positioned
as a co-owned and shared enquiry process In this section, two aspects of Ruths position-
(Mishler, 1991). The artist agreed to interviews ing of herself as a painter are presented, namely
on the basis that they would help her to clarify an account of her creative origins (creation
her own sense-making about what it was she was myth) and her sense of belonging to a tribe of
doing and what her own particular offering painters.
might be. The videotapes were transferred to
DVD and copies given to the artist so that she
could review her own statements. Creation Myth
In the first depth interview, there was an Its always been there, since I was tiny. I
emphasis on identifying key constructs for mean, when I was in a cot, I was scribbling
discussion of her creative process. In the on the wall. The magic of just drawing these
second interview, greater use was made of circles and enjoying the pencil, and then
Ruths work-in-progress and finished work as being interrupted and being told off, and
interview stimuli for the eliciting of elements feeling very rebellious, you know. And
and constructs concerning creativity and mar- them saying, dont let her have a pencil
keting issues. It also focused on a number of again. And you think secretly, oh yes I
points too detailed to report here, for example, will! And then actually having to deal with
her use of the idea of movement through not having a pencil again, feelings of . . . I
space as a guiding metaphor in her accounts of thought I could get what I wanted, and I
artwork and also of the movement between couldnt, because I did not have a pencil in
artwork and other activities; the emotional the cot.
states she experienced when doing artwork;
and her use of the notions of ego and pain- In both interviews, this narrative account
body to talk about her difficulty in managing emerged without prompting and in rather
herself during the creative process. Several of similar terms. In the second interview, it was
the themes mentioned in the first interview, formulated differently, as follows:

Copyright # 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Int. J. Nonprofit Volunt. Sect. Mark., November 2005
The marketing/creativity interface 267

And the other thought that just came Tribe of Painters

through, just married back to a very early
It is important to note that Ruths attempt to
memory of being a child in my cot, so
define herself as a painter touches also on her
maybe under two. Being left a pencil or
social as well as on her individual identity,
something, and then drawing on the wall
invoking the metaphor of tribe:
I think they were circular shapesand
being so profoundly affected by it. And then
a memory of my father saying to my brother I seem to fit into a particular tribe of artist
and sister [about me] not being given a who is preoccupied with um certain
pencil again . . . But that initial impact of thoughts which are most[ly] mystical um
drawing on the wall has stayed with me, to do with mystery
through the bars of the cot. So I escaped the
bars of the cot into this imaginative world Tribe is a concept more commonly used,
obviously. The instrument, the pencil did it within marketing at least, to talk about
somehow, so magical. consumers than about producers (Kozinets,
1999; Cova and Cova, 2001). The use of this
In this second version of the story, she term suggests that Ruth is aware of herself in
interprets the drawing as an escape or self- relation to certain other producers, a group to
liberation from a space to which she had been which she feels she belongs, an imagined
confined, a prison, into her imagination, community (Anderson, 1983). Here she is in-
through the medium of her artwork. voking a social identity, not only an individual
There is also a wicked stepmother figure: one. From observation, Ruth is located within a
network of people who are also engaged in
Because my stepmother took my dolls away creative work, who can supply information,
from me when I started school, because she contacts, creative insights, advice, help with
thought I was too old to play with them, I mounting exhibitions, emotional support and
started to use drawing as a means of so on. However, this is not necessarily what she
playing out, of playing and working out is thinking about when using the word tribe.
my thinking, playing out dolls games. So, I From observation and informal conversation, it
think there is that part of drawing which is appears that she means by this any creative
to do with my everyday life, that somebody person or tradition with whom or which she
else may have used toys as a means of feels an affinity. This affinity may be enduring, or
working out, or as I used to, pencil and it may simply for the life of a particular creative
toilet paper, would you believe?! project, and it appears to have to do with a
perceived sharing of values, themes or symbols.
This takes up another theme pre-figured in This notion of tribe functions as an inter-
the parental instruction not to let her have a pretative resource by means of which she can
pencil. Here, her playthings were taken away construe, elaborate and discursively mark her
by a negative authority figure. In response, her own similarities to and differences from other
drawing becomes a direct substitute for play painters or creative workers. To index Elliott
and a technology for self-development. and Wattanasuwan (1998), this could be read as
In these different narrations of her early not so much a case of a consumer using a brand
memory, which function as a kind of account of as a symbolic resource to construct part of her
creative origins in adversity, Ruth mobilises identity, as of a producer using the notion of
metaphors of childhood, magic, profound tribe as a symbolic resource with which to
affect or enjoyment, deprivation, imprison- construct part of her own individual brand
ment and rebellion against authority through identity as a professional painter. However,
art to position herself, to construct her own from conversation, Ruth also does not like to be
brand identity in talk. categorised as any particular kind of painter!

Copyright # 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Int. J. Nonprofit Volunt. Sect. Mark., November 2005
268 Daragh OReilly

Process there on the canvas. This was an important

attitude to ensure continuity of flow. It
At process level, Ruths construal of her own
appeared however also to be about making an
creative process in the first interview had four
kind of kinaesthetic evaluation of the work in
main personal constructs (or, one might say,
progress. Being destructive was associated
semantic differentials): (1) work/play; (2)
with negative emotional states and evaluating
movement/restriction; (3) receiving/being cri-
the work from a bad place. Again, the import-
tical; (4) holding on/letting go.
ance of the body and emotions comes through
in her account.
Firstly, play was an important starting point
Holding on/letting go
which could lead to the realisation of some-
thing interesting, provided she remained Finally, holding on was associated with tensing,
grounded. Good management of play led to grasping, being anxious, feelings of panic, a
liberation and the realisation of something need to prove she was all right, or could paint,
interesting. Bad play was like magic, trick- a need to make sure, to control the work. The
playing, involved feelings of being high, and effect of holding on was often that it stopped
led to being stuck. Work was characterised as the flow. The opposite was letting go, being in
holding onto, pushing, grappling, knocking a relaxed state and working from there, not
oneself out, needing to see results, frustration, experiencing insecurities.
the root cause of all of which, she reflected, What comes through clearly in relation to
could often be a fear state. In fact, the her creative process is the frequent occurrence
discussion of this construct highlighted the of states of difficult emotion and the impor-
emotional work which is invoked in her tance for Ruth of her own sense of connection
account. with her body.
Drawing and painting are two distinct
Movement/restriction elements in Ruths perceptions of her process,
each fulfilling a different purpose:
The second construct, movement/restriction,
related to how much freedom or constraint So, I think, perhaps, drawing and painting
Ruth felt in different work-related areas, for have a different . . . a slightly different
example, in the studio space itself, or on the history. I mean, I use drawing more as a
canvas or paper, or in relation to the process means of working out my everyday
itself. In this regard, it was important for Ruth thoughts, and colour as uh as feeling,
to be aware of where her body wanted to move yeah. Perhaps colour was on a deeper
to, as well as the movement of her eyes. level for me. I mean thats why Ive made
Restricting physical movement was bad for the the decision now to work with
creativity. In particular, mental restriction of colour . . . When Im drawing, Im often
what the body wanted to do was seen as wanting to portray numerous aspects of
negative. For Ruth, this construct was related my life . . . and . . . I might work through
to intuition and creative risk-taking. Physical those on a drawing, letting them appear
embodiment, therefore is a key dimension of and disappear and then eventually you
her process. arrive at something . . . But . . . Im doing
that in a figurative way . . . Whereas, when
Im painting um Im not dealing with with
Receiving/being critical
um figurative elements, Im more dealing
Thirdly, the receiving/being critical construct with a symbol, I suppose, or shape that
was differentiated as follows. Receiving meant holds things that I dont necessarily know
having a positive attitude, seeing what was about, but I respond to and resonate [with]

Copyright # 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Int. J. Nonprofit Volunt. Sect. Mark., November 2005
The marketing/creativity interface 269

in a way . . . So I think its like . . . its like a and has a sharp boundary/diffuse. These
different way of working. construct poles reveal that Ruth values paint-
ings which do not look too finished, and which
In other words, drawing appears to be for in her opinion have something to give the
working out and dealing with the external viewer. From informal conversation, it seems
aspects of her life and painting is a response to to be the case that this is a reaction against
an inner, imaginal, emotionally coloured pro- some art practices and discourses which were
cess. The emotional dimension of her process is prevalent at art college. The preferred poles
significant, as it was when she was a child. accentuate differentiation in the tones, diffuse-
In fact, her creativity has another dimension, ness, and the communication of an embodied
which Ruth claims goes beyond the psycholo- and emotional sense (reiterating the themes of
gical: body and feeling).
Q: So creativity is about facing oneself?
A: Yes, I think so . . . Creativity is linked
Contrast this with her response to questions
with my own development, spiritual
about the business side of her work, including
development and I mean spiritual in a
business development or promotion.
very broad sense and I mean on the basis of
spiritual being . . . and it is about how I am Im trying to be more practical and say well
in life, and it is about how I go about life Ive got to allot a certain amount of time per
and how open and closed I am . . . As I week, just even to do a bit of reading about
change my thinking, my work changes, how to apply for some money or how to
that is what I am trying to say. approach a gallery. I find that whole thing
really difficult, because I dont really want
In Ruths account, her work is positioned as
involving her emotions, her body and her to spend an enormous amount of time
doing that because any spare time, when I
spiritual life. There is little discussion of artistic
technique as such. This helps to construct an have energy, I like to use it on work. . . . Im
going to take some photos and send, just
account of herself as a painter wholly engaged
with her artwork, and one who is keenly aware see, send it to one or two people that I know
before I think about galleries, ones I dont
of the inner life of the spirit and feeling.
really know, but Ive got a letter from. So
Product Ive got to find away of working with this
projecting out that is related to my life
At product level, Ruths assessment of her rather than it beingI dont want it to be
own finished work made use of a cluster of too businessy. I might change my attitude
terms. Terms used by her to negatively evaluate some time [when] Im feeling more positive
a finished piece were more numerous. These really about the whole thing.
included poles such as cold, dry, sterile,
mechanical, neat, clean, exquisitely put Q: What does businessy mean for you?
across, and packaged. Note that the last five
of these terms would be positive in the mouth A: I dont mind photographing the work. I
of a marketer, but in Ruths case they index an suppose businessy is sending these things
underlying unease with work which appears through the post. Looking at what galleries
too finished. Positive terms included broken might be interested in my work. I suppose
up, done by a body, gives off a feeling. The engaging [with] rejection which, I dont
following paired construct poles emerged suppose, I dont mind that much now.
clearly (preferred pole second): pure/using Businessy. Trying to obtain money,
different tones; even/having different dense- because I spend a lot of money on
ness; doesnt let you in/you can sink into it; materials, but part of me just doesnt feel

Copyright # 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Int. J. Nonprofit Volunt. Sect. Mark., November 2005
270 Daragh OReilly

comfortable about that . . . Essentially I Business work, on other words, risks upset-
think, my life is about the work rather ting her emotional equilibrium, and thereby
than . . . I would like to be successful, but the her creative process work as a painter, and so is
work is more important than success, I actually a threat to her work on herself and on
suppose ultimately. I know that a bit of her art. One can see by her own account how
success would be great, because I could get deep-rooted is her aversion to business.
a larger workspace and obviously have Finally, when examples are put to her of
more time to work in. Because I am having other painters in her locality who are promot-
to teach a certain amount, which [ . . . ] I ing themselves heavily, her response is to say
have enjoyed. But I dont want it to get any that that is not her thing, their work is not like
bigger than it is. I would like a larger hers.
working space, because it is quite hard with
the framework that Im in. Pricing

There are a number of issues here. Firstly, the The issue of pricing raises the vexed question
question of success. From the above interview of the value of an artwork. As far as this last
and from other conversations, it appears that issue is concerned, her paintings appear to
for Ruth this would mean sufficient sales of her represent a part of her identity. Therefore,
paintings to mean she did not have to teach art putting a value or price on her paintings is like
and also getting a bigger workspace and more placing a price on herself. From observation,
time to do artwork. Yet, as noted above, she is this appears to raise complex and deep-rooted
currently selling few paintings. In order to sell personal issues for her. Underlying these are
more, she would have to engage with the the construed split between her creativity
business side of her practice more. This means which is related to her life, and business,
being businessy, which she associates with which is not. In fact, talking with Ruth about
practical things such as photographing the pricing specific pieces of her work tends to
work, looking for gallery targets, trying to catalyse in her a process of introspection
obtain money, and also with the likelihood of which is inconclusive. I speculate that this
having to deal with rejection when trying to sell introspective process is in fact akin to her
her work in to a gallery, all aspects of market- creative process, and therefore, perhaps, an
ing. Her overall concern, however, is with the inappropriate application of her particular
work, which is more core in her construct approach to creativity to the business context.
hierarchy than success. There is a barrier between her inner kinaes-
She also experiences feelings of discomfort thetic sense of her connection with her
around this question. When she talks about paintings and any attempt to make a judgement
projecting out (i.e. promoting her work), she about the commercial values of her work. It is
construes this as capable of being either as if instead of setting a price, she prefers to
related to my life or businessy. The rather imagine one, and then cannot do so.
stark implication of this, from an art marketing
point of view, is that businessy is not related
to her life; whereas from her answer to the
question about creativity earlier, creativity is In this section, the analysis is summarised and
clearly linked to her life, in fact it is an essential the implications for (a) marketing action (for
part of it. Finally, business work can be seen as a the case artist as well as for artists in general),
disturbance. When talking about promoting and for (b) further research are considered. The
her work, she said: analysis has indexed a number of themes which
are discussed in this section. The case artist
I notice how easily I get disturbed about positions herself as an inwardly-oriented pain-
things so I try to keep things very quiet. ter who is engaged emotionally, physically and

Copyright # 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Int. J. Nonprofit Volunt. Sect. Mark., November 2005
The marketing/creativity interface 271

spiritually with her artwork. She invokes a attractive account of what the artist is doing
narrative of childhood memory to position and why. Also, it is not a matter here, as it is in
herself as someone who has a sense of magic, arts organisations, of the marketing depart-
feeling and artistic determination in the face of ment interfacing or liaising with the crea-
negative, unsympathetic and constraining tive talent department. In the case of an
authority figures. Socially, she has a sense that individual artist, the creative and marketing
she belongs to a tribe of painters, but this does selves are two aspects of the same human
not appear to be a clearly defined group of being, and any interfacing must happen intra-
people whose membership is fixed. She posi- subjectively. How this interfacing develops
tions her identity as somehow diffuse, and will depend on the individual artists personal
mystical or mysterious. Her account of her own construct system, and particularly on how
process highlights the importance of emo- core constructs impact on the artists artwork
tional work and the importance for her of her and business/marketing thinking.
own sense of connection with her body. This From the point of view of marketing action in
goes to support her artistic identity, or the case of this particular artist, it is easy to say
positioning. A sense of subtle variety, of that Ruths (default) marketing strategy is not
emotion and embodiment are also important working, at least in terms of financial rewards.
in her evaluation of her own artwork. In fact, Marketing academics, other painters of a more
she evaluates her work in relation to herself and market-oriented disposition, or even people
not to the art market. This appears to make it who know nothing about marketing or paint-
difficult for her to put a price on her work. Her ing, might have suggestions to make about
time-scarcity, lack of marketing training, family obvious actions she could takee.g. what is
responsibilities, the crowded market, and the needed is a marketing plan. However, as
potentially emotionally disruptive impact of mentioned previously, Ruth has had no formal
business activities combine to make her training in marketing. Also, she is working out
reluctant to devote a lot of time to promotion. of her own personal construct system, which
Her promotional efforts are seen as a distrac- puts the work itself before success. One can
tion from her precious artwork time, and are argue whether this view is right or not in
seen by her in any case as taking place in a abstract terms, but at present, and for the
crowded market which involves the possibility purposes of this article, this is her position
of rejection. now, at the time of writing.
How might one interpret this from a Looking beyond this particular case to artists
marketing point of view, bearing in mind that in general, one needs to bear in mind the kind
it is not possible to statistically generalise of communications which artists typically use
from a single case study? Well, firstly, I think to promote their work, for example, exhibition
this goes to support what Fillis (2004a) has catalogues, web-sites, or press articles. These
said about the need for research to focus on are opportunities for artists to position them-
the product-centred nature of entrepreneurial selves in specific ways. In this regard, much of
creativity where the personality, attitudes, Ruths account can be used to develop her own
beliefs and behaviour of the artist [ . . . ] are positioning statement about her work. Differ-
central to doing visual arts marketing. One entiation of ones brand identity for the
might add, however, that, in this case, the purposes of promotion necessarily has reco-
creative process is self-oriented as much as urse to the identification of salient and relevant
product-oriented, and oriented towards a particularities of the individuals life experi-
holistic view of the self, including its emo- ence, and requires the construction by the
tional, embodied or physical and also spiritual artist and/or her agent of a coherent and
aspects. This warrants the in-depth explora- persuasive or attractive account of her indivi-
tion of individual cases, as does the practical dual brand identity. If one looks for an
promotional need to develop a coherent and emerging framework to shape such accounts,

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272 Daragh OReilly

one could see Ruths brand identity in this case artist. Proceeding, broadly speaking, from a
comprising two parts: brand character and constructivist perspective and using a qualita-
brand story. Brand character includes two tive case study approach, it examined the
elements, namely, her emotional and spiritual personal construction of creativity and busi-
experience of her work (psyche), as well as her ness work in the life of a working visual artist.
body and its involvement in the process The analysis highlights the significance of
(physique). Ruths brand story consists of three emotional, cognitive, spiritual and physical
elements, namely, the account of her earliest processes for the artists positioning, process,
engagement with drawing through bars (one and products, as well as her difficulties with
could call this her artistic provenance, or promotion and pricing issues. It was seen that,
individual heritage); her emotional, embodied at the level of an individual artist, her work may
creative process itself (process); her paintings be not just-product-oriented but self-oriented.
and drawings (products), with the particular Therefore, it behoves artists and their agents to
aesthetic qualities she is striving for, namely a be able to offer appropriately distinguishing
sense of diffuseness, embodiment, and letting accounts of the artists artistic identity, process
the viewer in; and her work mission, which and work, based on a deep self-reflexive
appears to require a holistic self-development awareness and understanding by the artist of
(purpose). her creative practice.
The ongoing academic research is taking a
number of directions. Firstly, the artist has
specifically requested to continue the enquiry,
on an exchange basisfurther interviews in The author wishes to thank Helen Jones and
exchange for marketing consultation, opening the members of the PCP Northern Research
the way to a kind of action research. Secondly, Group, York, UK, as well as the two anon-
using snowball sampling and additional perso- ymous reviewers for their constructive com-
nal contacts, interviews will be conducted with ments.
other creatives, mainly painters and writers.
Thirdly, subsequent interviews will make use
of an adapted form of PCP interview technique
known as core process interviewing (Jones, Alexander V. 2003. Sociology of the Arts: Exploring
1991). This involves having the informant Fine and Popular Art Forms. Blackwell: Oxford.
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