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Avatar; Portrait Shot Or An Image. Why ?

Posted by: Janine Riley on 03/26/2013 - 2:26 PM

Your Avatar - why did you choose it ?

Do you prefer an image of yourself, your work, & have often do you change it ?
& have you considered how it affects your views/sales ?

I changed mine recently , because I needed to see a smile during the dreary Winter.
I was hoping on some subconscious level that I would believe it.


Oldest Reply

Posted by: Harold Shull on 03/26/2013 - 2:31 PM

Hiya Janine,

I have always used a portrait - painting or photograph of myself. As my face changes with age, I change my avatar.


Posted by: Michael Simoneit on 03/26/2013 - 2:32 PM

I'm not too keen on pictures of myself...which is why my face is behind the camera. I'd like to use one of my images but it doesn't seem as personable.


Posted by: Conor Murphy on 03/26/2013 - 2:34 PM

Portrait always, if you want people to take you and you work serious don't post a picture of a pig or a sailing boat................


Posted by: Wendy J St Christopher on 03/26/2013 - 2:34 PM

Janine, next winter we should swap homes. I could go for some dreary, wintry days. :-)

I like your new avatar, which has a cheery, positive vibe.

I prefer to use something representing the work, instead of representing me. I'm too prone to radical change! ;-)

I never change my avatar as it also serves as my logo. Well, that's not entirely true . . . about six years ago, I changed it from blue to red. It's all over the real world, too -- people often tell me they spotted it online or in the real world.

Which is exactly the point. Eventually, they'll remember my name, too! :-)


Posted by: Antonin Gauthier on 03/26/2013 - 2:34 PM

Promotion of my artwork more than my face.


Posted by: Janine Riley on 03/26/2013 - 2:36 PM

Harold, I might need to use your avatar soon as my face is changing with age.

Michael, the question is why..........


Posted by: Kylani Arrington on 03/26/2013 - 2:38 PM

I've never changed mine simply because I don't see the need to. People become accustomed to seeing your avatar more than your name it seems. So I wouldn't change it too often. Unless you're Mike Savaad and you just add to it for every holiday :)

Also, I think it's best to show your face instead of your work. I think it's a little more appealing to someone who may want to buy your work to see who it is they're working with.


Posted by: Sydne Archambault on 03/26/2013 - 2:43 PM

I changed mine yesterday to an abstract self portrait. It's pretty wild which might be intriguing enough for a possible buyer to wonder, what the heck? Then click to see what I have cooked up!


Posted by: Andrew Pacheco on 03/26/2013 - 2:44 PM

I started out with a more candid shot that showed me in my natural habitat. Based on what I've seen others do...and suggestions from successful artists, I decided to shoot a more professional looking self portrait for my avatar.

I liked the candid, but the more professional looking portrait definitely adds some appeal to my portfolio.


Posted by: Denise Deiloh on 03/26/2013 - 2:44 PM

I started with a portrait. As I was searching to find artists in my local area in hopes of finding a nearby mentor, someone to team up with at events, or simply a kindred spirit, I quickly realized the process went a lot faster when their avatar showed a bit of what they do. So many of the portrait pictures lead to inactive or low activity users, I started automatically skipping them. Because I would love it if other artists sought me out for the reasons I listed, I decided to show a bit of what I do as my avatar.

I don't think there is a right or wrong way to do it. Putting up a portrait is far more personal and may be more desirable to the public. I wouldn't mind knowing the psychology of online buyers on the issue.


Posted by: Michael Simoneit on 03/26/2013 - 2:46 PM

I was never great at paying attention...

I chose the portrait because I think people respond better when they know someone "alive" made this piece or that. I think actually seeing the person makes it's easier to connect to said person and in turn connect to their art.


Posted by: Ed Meredith on 03/26/2013 - 2:48 PM

i use my artwork because when i used a picture of myself i got to many proposals... some are printable many are not... =>))


Posted by: Mike Savad on 03/26/2013 - 2:52 PM

well i chose mine because i wanted that old time look

Photography Prints

was the original before the avatar and thought it would be funny to use it.

later on i decided that while i attract attention because of it, i would change it every so often reflecting the month we are in. and so far i think it has brought in sales - but it might be a coincidence.

i try to keep each of the images about the same though because it's confusing when it changes too much. i usually don't remember names, and my avatar is my brand, i put it on all pages. and now that i'm changing it, i'm doing the same thing. since becoming a bunny i seemed to have gathered like 12 friends in facebook. weird. though 2 were duds (they steal pictures).

the avatar should be several things:

1. eye catching
2. professional looking (like it shouldn't be blurry)
3. a symbol of what you do or are about (like if you paint, a painting is ok, but i still think a face is better).
4. something people can follow you around on. they see you here, they might see you in twitter, they know your the same person because of your image.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Wendy J St Christopher on 03/26/2013 - 2:54 PM

I think of it like Magritte's "Ceci n'est pas une pipe" (This is not a pipe.)

A picture of a person is not a person. So much of what you see online is smoke and mirrors anyway, I'm no more inclined to view you in a positive (or more serious) light, based on a photograph.

Your work -- and your words -- will have a much greater impact on what I think of you as an artist . . . and person.

Ceci n'est pas une artiste. ;-)


Posted by: Janine Riley on 03/26/2013 - 2:55 PM

I can see that once you have an image like Wendy's- stick with it. She's a shining Star.

& I do like the 'Togs with the camera shot - clearly shows what they do, & not just one image that may or may not be some one's interest .

I personally like to see some one's face. Not too stiff & professional, but something warm that shows character. I then feel more comfortable knowing who I am speaking/ dealing with.

Isn't it funny how when a picture changes - the perception does too ?
We won't name names - but some one's Sunday portrait ( Lol ) seemed to change the voice and whole demeanor to me.

Antonin's is kooky - & his work is playful & whimsical.


Posted by: Roger Swezey on 03/26/2013 - 2:56 PM

Always me, .....and since so many have camers in their hands, I decided to have a brush in mine...My other thread R Allen Swezey I have my neighbor's child in my lap to show how much of a Santa Claus I am..

And by the way, Sydne, when I saw your new avatar, my first reaction was, "What! Another Sydne!!!"


And Mike,

I remember very well your original avatar, and My! Oh! My! how you have evolved.


Posted by: Wendy J St Christopher on 03/26/2013 - 3:00 PM

Aw shucks, Janine. Thanks. :-)


Posted by: Mike Savad on 03/26/2013 - 3:10 PM

what happened was i, last month i was the lucky charms guy, and well, i found a pot of gold, there was a wish attached, and for whatever reason - i'm a bunny. well a victorian bunny, they had those curly mustaches, often wore tigerskin toga's and lifted heavy weights that were spherical.

i think i have another 4 lined up for the up coming things. then eventually i'll blend those into works.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Susan Wiedmann on 03/26/2013 - 3:11 PM

I originally had an avatar with my Nikon camera in front of my face. Mike Savad and others very kindly - and correctly - pointed out it wasn't distinctive at all.

My current avatar represents "Up Close With Mother Nature," which is the name of my AW Photo Art collection and also my internet domain name - . (It forwards to my AW site.) I'm still amazed the pelican in the photo let me get that close to it, so I think I''ll keep this avatar for a while. :))

Edit: My domain name link apparently isn't working in this thread...Beth, why is that?, but it definitely works in browsers!


Posted by: Brian Wallace on 03/26/2013 - 3:16 PM

Professional but personal... A portrait has more of a personal connection to the viewer. A portrait is one of the few times the client has an idea of who they're dealing with rather than what. That part is conveyed in the work they put out.

An avatar, generally being a very small representation has limited dimensions for details. Therefore a portrait allows a closer view and more details than other image formats (generally). Usually something simple and direct will be easier to remember than something complicated. My first priority with an "icon" or avatar is for the person viewing it to remember it. If you can connect that to the style or type of work you do, all the better but what about the artist who doesn't cater to any one style? A portrait is the best choice.

All that being said, I personally believe some artist put too much stock into the importance of the avatar. There's only so much you can convey in such a small representation of the artist. To me, it's just a small identifier so we can tell one artist from another just as I can tell the difference of coins in my pocket. At that level I'm not trying to ascertain the kind of artist one is, but only after I see the work I can connect it to this identification of who did the work. Yes, I believe it should be memorable, (just common sense), but there's more than one way to accomplish that.

As many advertisement experts will tell you, sometimes the more absurd or ridiculous something is, the easier you will remember it. It's also a technique people use to recall something... (Your name is Art... I want to remember your name... I think of you with paint on your clothes holding a frame around your face... the "icon" of a framed face is already deeply etched into my brain as representing ARTwork, thus the connection/link is made.

Once you get beyond avatars and into larger representations of who you are, such as an ad, book, poster, magazine cover, etc., there will be more room in the image to represent not just you, but the type of work you specialize in.


Posted by: Janine Riley on 03/26/2013 - 3:17 PM

Mike, for an Ole timer you're showing your youth.

I''m not too thrilled with mine. It's too personal to me, & I feel exposed. I preferred the one where I was not looking at the camera. Blurry, yes. Good.
It's a few years old by now - so yes, it lies. But I figure I am doing everyone a favor that way - Do you really want to see Old Sea Hag ? Lol.

I don't have any pictures of me in the last few years without Grandchildren sitting on my lap - & PB & J or Jelly beans smeared all over me. Ahhh... these are the good ole days : )

I did notice that my views jumped with the smile, most of my colours are bright & cheery - so it works.

& yes , Michael. I too like the idea that you are to be recognized as a person. Artists are people - they create original art ,& not factory assembly work.
Sydne, that is quite a change for you. It is eye catching - I'll have to look.


Posted by: Susan Wiedmann on 03/26/2013 - 3:25 PM

Mike, when I first joined FAA and saw your sepia avatar, I thought you were using a photo of someone's great-great grandfather. :))


Posted by: Shana Rowe on 03/26/2013 - 3:28 PM

I always have an image up of myself whether it be a photo or a painting did, it is always me. I try not to change it too often but I tend to get bored easily. I just changed it yesterday to my newest self portrait which describes me in more than one way. It's the best of both worlds, it's my work and a picture of me. I do like my customers to have a face to put to the name, and to know who they are buying from.


Posted by: Bob Galka on 03/26/2013 - 3:29 PM

Yea, but how do know that the portrait is the person? Janine for all I know you are an 86 year old black man... ;O)

Mine is me, but as I was 55 years ago. (who can guess who I as supposed to be?) As others have mentioned it "might" be more important to "be different" from all the others.


Posted by: Darice Machel McGuire on 03/26/2013 - 3:32 PM

I change mine from time to time. Mostly I use a photo of me working on my art. This one is a grouping of me working on stretching my miniature canvases.

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Posted by: Janine Riley on 04/04/2013 - 8:43 PM

Shana, couldn't be more perfect.

Very sad to lose a childhood friend,way too young.


Posted by: Michael Hoard on 04/05/2013 - 8:59 PM

Everyone have a great weekend, Cheers, Michael


Posted by: Ken Krug on 04/05/2013 - 11:52 PM

Hi Janine, I chose a painting of a tree for my avatar because it was simple, and effective I think. I didn't have to think too much about it.
Growing up I wasn't the most cooperative at picture taking time, which didn't make my mother happy and caused a few arguments.

Michael, I worked in a restaurant too, right after high school. Although I was a cook I wouldn't say I was a chef. I worked there I would say between two and
three years, having started as a busboy. I didn't mind the work. You can get used to the restaurant business, but I found you can put in many hours easily.

Shorty after that I worked for the Yellow Pages, doing ad layouts by hand, well before computers. It was tedious work. I also worked for a local advertising/PR firm.
In school, high school more so, I mostly drew in my notebook when I should have been taking notes.


Posted by: Michael Hoard on 04/06/2013 - 12:39 AM

@Janice, I am sorry to hear about your child-hood friend dying in the war. Thanks for sharring that with all of us....


Posted by: Janice Drew on 04/06/2013 - 11:00 AM

Thank you, Michael. :)


Posted by: Michael Hoard on 04/07/2013 - 10:50 PM

Happy Spring Everyone! I return back to work after a couple of weeks off. Its been very relaxing and thought if winter still has you in his grip. this will cheer you up.

Photography Prints


Posted by: Edward Fielding on 04/07/2013 - 10:55 PM

Statistically this makes no sense but I've sold a couple lately after changing my avatar to a non-portrait.


Posted by: Ginny Schmidt on 04/21/2013 - 8:27 AM

I HAVE TO SAY that changing my avatar has had absolutely no effect on my sales - still zero for the year - but
my visitor stats ( average views per public image ) are gradually nudging upward, which I don't mind. ALSO for
those who were kind enough to commen nicelyt on my new avatar - which, since it is fairly recent (Dec '12),
should be good for quite a while - i wanted to share my newest Facebook avatar just to show that it ain't
always all about the glammer for me - sometimes i kin just chill.

Sell Art Online


Posted by: Mike Savad on 04/21/2013 - 9:22 AM

right now i'm Cinco de Miko, later on i'll be something else. it's hard to say if an avatar makes any kind of difference. it think just being recognized - or having someone curious enough to want to click and see, then it makes a difference. like when i change costume,i tend to get more facebook friends.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Rich Franco on 04/21/2013 - 10:26 AM


As you can tell, I'm still using George Clooney's image, until he finds out,,,,,,



Posted by: Janine Riley on 04/21/2013 - 2:51 PM

A Ha ha ha .......... you guys are too funny - I needed the laugh today.

" My, what BIG eyes you have.......Ginny."

Cincio de Mikko - let's celebrate everyone. Margerita's on the house.

& Rich... you spoil us ladies so.

Congrats. on your new sales Edward !


Posted by: Deborah Verhoeven on 04/21/2013 - 3:27 PM

I chose mine because I've learned somewhere that people like to see real faces to get that warm fuzzy feeling. I am as un-photogenic as they get, and mostly I look like a troll in pictures. (Really, I don't look like a troll in real life--I promise.) I hate having my picture taken. My daughter is a gifted photographer, and she took this one. It doesn't look like a troll, so I use it everywhere.


Posted by: Casey Tovey And Sherry Lasken on 05/11/2013 - 6:50 PM

We use a photo of the two of us. That way visitors can see who it is that created, captured, or imagined what it is they are looking at in our galleries. But I must say, my Facebook avatar (profile pic) is a digital self portrait of myself. :)


Posted by: Roger Swezey on 05/11/2013 - 7:00 PM

Is it only because I'm a grumpy old coot, that I get "Willies" (ain't as bad as the "Heebie Jeebies") with all the cameras aimed at me on many of the current avatars?


Posted by: Janine Riley on 05/11/2013 - 8:50 PM

Welcome aboard Casey & Sherry. I admit, I really do prefer getting to look in a person's eye.

Speaking of Roger & his Baby blues......... or is it his " coots " that they are after......


Posted by: Rich Franco on 05/11/2013 - 10:33 PM


I think a nice smiling "avatar" like yours, might inspire a buyer to, well, buy your stuff. When they see mine, they would like to help me make it across the street!

Seriously, a pleasent looking avatar probably plays less than 5% in a buyers decison and in many cases, off of FAA. the buyer might not ever see your avatar, before purchase. But I wouldn't keep me from having some fun with it either, right Mikie!



Posted by: Mike Savad on 05/11/2013 - 10:45 PM

the avatar isn't a deciding factor - it's to get noticed in a sea of faces. like you might be more likely to click on a face you like, or your curious because of the avatar and so forth.

i was in facebook for about a year, i used my boring normal face and attracted practically no one. since changing to mustachio mike, and later dressing up, in a span of about 2 months i gained like a 100 friends. i have no idea where they came from, but the coincidence is pretty interesting if it wasn't that.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Janine Riley on 05/11/2013 - 10:47 PM

Lol. Rich - I couldn't help myself ! Art Prints


Posted by: Mike Savad on 05/11/2013 - 10:51 PM

i'm glad the title was there.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Rich Franco on 05/12/2013 - 11:16 AM


That's my old and dearly departed cat, "George Clooney"! It's amazing how much that cat looks like him......



Posted by: Ana Belle on 05/12/2013 - 11:39 AM

i keep changing mine but no effect.

i wonder how old mike is?


Posted by: Mike Savad on 05/12/2013 - 11:44 AM

changing it won't get you sales. it only helps you get noticed. advertising brings people in. but people curious who you are, head shots work the best (at least that's what i notice). plus it's on all my sites, so there is some consistency. i'm a 145 years old.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Ana Belle on 05/12/2013 - 11:52 AM

you look very young mike


Posted by: John Ayo on 05/12/2013 - 12:03 PM

I'm thinking I should update mine or else post a follow-up image; that hat's weathered a bit since. (I need to figure out how to protect the brim when I wash my hats.)


Posted by: Mike Savad on 05/12/2013 - 12:12 PM

technically i'll be 40 at the end of june.

to wash a hat, they have i think a hat mold that keeps the brim from losing shape. though it's usually cardboard inside, so you might want to hand wash it. or clean it with photosho.

mostly you want an image that people can spot you out of a crowd really fast and still make you look professional. i've seen so many bad pictures as avatars - blurry, facebook like, doofus syndrome (where they think they look funny, but just look stupid), and vacation or family snap shots where they are cut. the soft ones belong to painters more than typically, it's bad when your a photographer, and your picture of yourself looks bad. it's a reflection of your work. but the work is what is selling, your face just leads the way. if your small in the avatar, or the image just looks dark you will blend in. i always tell people - think about a book jacket, it should look nice, but you don't have to look fancy or formal.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: K Kingston on 05/12/2013 - 8:46 PM

I was recently posed the question whether I am a man or woman, OMG! Granted, I use my initial K as my first name. (My choice.) My present avatar is the third one posted of my image.
I am like so many others that HATE having my picture taken, and it is what it is.

So, does anyone think that I am a man or a woman? Geez...


Posted by: Janine Riley on 05/12/2013 - 10:35 PM

Mike - just a few short weeks - before yo'ure a grown up.

John, I'd like to see a new avatar for you.

& K - your avatar is a beautiful shot of you.

Rich - handsome just runs in your family.


This discussion is closed.