Back when Luke Haynes got his contract for a commissioned piece with Fossil and was asking for feedback on the design, I began thinking about artists that successfully market their work by branding themselves. Luke has put his own image on many of his own pieces — and in some ways, his Hipster style is what is iconic about his work.

And then Edward Winkleman wrote a blog post last week about this very issue. Most of the press coverage for a recent auction at Christie’s covered discussion of the artists and not the art itself. The artists have become a brand that drives the price of their work — and the focus is no longer on the art itself.

Night before last, I had a chance to speak at the Alpha Arts Guild and when I brought up this subject, there were murmurs of unhappiness. Not that I disagree with them — but the artists that I have seen do this are successful financially.

So maybe the question is — should be strive for financial success — or artistic success? And in our modern times, does one follow the other? Is artistic success assumed if the artist has great financial success?

Last year I changed my focus so that I would sell more pieces — and I was successful in that — and I don’t think that I compromised the art to do that. But how far will I lean?