Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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02/17/2005: "What's in a Name?"

So, my business license expired in December and I've been putting off renewing it because I think I want to just buy a new license, which is the only way you can change your business's name. The current name of my business is just "Elise Tomlinson Multi-media Artist". I wanted to make the name reflective of the nature of my business, which is not just painting but web and graphic design, video, etc...keep it loose so I can write off more things on my taxes.

The thing is, I *hate* that name. I want something fun, like Alanna Spence's "", or a local web development company called "Lucid Reverie".

I'm just not sure how to go about this. Should my business name have all or part of my name in it? Should it be something totally abstract or descriptive? If you're an artist and you have a business, I'd love to hear how you came up with the name for your license. In fact, any and all suggestions would be welcome.

Replies: 7 Comments

on Thursday, February 17th, Dave from Nebraska said

I have three business names.
Images of Imagination was named in 84 for any photography work I could get as a student who wasn’t willing to shoot weddings or high school senior pics. I've grown a bit weary of the name, but it holds a special place in my mind. I still use the name for my photography work today. I shoot fine art, commissioned portraits and products.
As years passed and I learned a few more “things” and with the influence of mass communication via the internet. I named and started two more businesses. came about in 01. Thru this venue I work with motorcycle enthusiasts and clubs. I print “colors” for a number of motorcycle clubs. I print these banners digitally with a 60 inch wide, 600 dpi. printer. I also do some design and basic digital services.
Shortly thereafter I decided to create another company. One that would encompass the other two and could offer new possibilities.
I named it Box of Sand Productions. The name was inspired from a lecture John Derry gave at a local college. He is one of the developers of the graphic software, Painter. He gave a fantastic lecture and used the term box of sand to describe what a computer actually is.
Box of Sand Productions oversees the other two businesses. It also promotes art by showing other artist’s work in my studio and providing forums where artists can meet and exchange ideas. Basically, I have a party and invite people. I’ve had a artist’s opening who worked with car parts and religious symbols. So I invited the local car art people to come down and enjoy. Last Halloween I had a sculpture burning with spoken word, dance and performance art. Soon it will offer web site design services.
But in actuality. These are businesses in name only. I’ve recently decided that they are hobbies. I have to keep track of any income for IRS purposes but this year I won’t be taking any tax write offs for their operation.
Hey, it keeps me out of mischief. Well most of the time anyway.
Good luck with your name game. I’m sure you’ll come up with something fitting.

on Thursday, February 17th, Elise said

Wow Dave, 3 businesses? I don't know how you managed to do that! All the city and federal tax issues from just having one is enough to make me sob "pigment rich" tears (to quote my friend Jeff).

I really like the name "Box of Sand Productions". When I was doing a lot of video stuff with a group of friends, we went by various names but I had come up with the name "Hidden Alien Productions" as a working title. You'll notice it on the one I directed that I have streamed here on my website (this is a broadband only DRAFT version) Kite Club. I still need to get together with my sound guru friend Mike Maas to finish it up but it gives you an idea.

Maybe you could use your BOSP name as an umbrella for all of your various creative endevors and only have one business to deal with?

Anyway, thanks for sharing info about what you're up to, it all sounds so interesting.

any suggestions on a name that might work for what I do?

on Saturday, February 19th, Dave from Nebraska said

My bro Joel had a video production company he called WTM or White Trash Media.

on Saturday, February 19th, Elise said

It's maybe not the image *I'm* shooting for, but really funny!


on Sunday, February 20th,">Alicia said

OK, & this is why I shouldn't even go near the 'send' button before I've had coffee. I was tapping along, rambling about names....& only later realized I was still so worried about your whole 'snow on the boat' issue I actually posted it over there. LOL. I come from the land of people so worried about snow on their roofs that waaay more people get injured falling from the roof trying to shovel than roofs ever actually collapse.

on Sunday, February 20th,">Alicia said

Hmmm. Naming something's hard. Probably because names have power. I used to wrack my brain thinking of the perfect title for a story...only to have an editor rename it 70% of the time. :satisfied:

How about a semi-literary pun, like Elise & Elucidation (Sense & Sensibility kinda thing)....or an Alaskan theme like, Dark Day Dreamer...or a whimsical theme like Graphics & Gaugin, or The Snacking Artist (instead of starving...OK, no one would get that.) This is the part where you say, Um, Alicia, thanks but you're not helping. :laugh:

on Sunday, February 20th, Elise said

Hi Alicia,
no worries, I went over there and read your suggestions...and moved your comment here to keep my "name" post together so I can keep them in mind. I particularly liked the "snacking artist" name...hmmm, snacks...I'm actually feeling a bit peckish as we speak.