The mainstream debut of the World Wide Web in the 20th century has increased the use of branding from its simple origins of being a visual marker into a multi-faceted entity. Branding has evolved to become a multi-faceted effort that creates rational and emotional attributes and can foster interactions and develop and deepen relationships with customers (Rubinstein, 2002).

The boom of the Internet brought forth new inventions and software that affected many industries, particularly the arts. A new emergent form of art known as digital painting emerged where a drawing tablet, stylus and digital image rendering software such as Adobe Photoshop, Corel Draw, and GIMP are used to create a digital painting. Overall the Internet has allowed painters to capitalize on opportunities to build their brand themselves without dependence on galleries and agents.

While many published articles and books about building brands as a company and personal branding exist, there is a lack of research exploring art marketing in terms of digital painters developing their own brand.

The goal of this exploratory study is to provide a theoretical framework of how digital painters can develop their personal brand. Using Bernard’s Grounded Theory Approach the study explored the conditions, context, strategies, actions, and results experienced by digital painters who have built their own brand. A semi-structured interview was individually conducted with seven professional digital painters.

Three hired coders analyzed and coded the interviews. A total of 63 concepts, 11 themes and 1 core theme were created. The themes were: Exploration and Take Chances to Your Calling, Personal Drive, Watering Holes, Meeting Influential People, Resisting and Fighting Upstream, Fostering Your Network, Tenacious Value, Genuine Relations, Self-Promotion, The Brand Can Always Expand, and Cautions and Drawbacks. The overall theme that encompassed the more specific themes and conceptual labels was: Identity, Prosperity and Longevity.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Computer art--Marketing; Sales promotion; Branding (Marketing)

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Print Media (MS)


Gregory D’Amico

Advisor/Committee Member

Bruce Myers

Advisor/Committee Member

Barbara Birkett


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes