The Unbrandable Tom Kerr

People like to put people in slots. It’s a great way to create some order in your personal chaos, and quite frankly, it’s fun to put people in their place. In fact, most surnames come from just that kind of logic.

In old England, for example, you could have been the poor sod who made and repaired wooden wheels, so you’d be known in the village as “Ed the Cartwright”. You could have been the kid who was named after his father “Peter”, and be called Peterson.
You’re catching on, I can tell. You just know just about any title is OK, just so long as it isn’t “The Village Idiot”.

If you’re a branding guru, it’s a coup if your name becomes synonymous with what you do, but what happens if it’s just a part of what you do and who you are?

That’s my dilemma.

My years in college were spent being the angry young man, the crusader, the social critic, and my goal was to use my art is a social satirist or political cartoonist. That’s really all I wanted to.

Later on in my twenties, I started to really study and enjoy art in general, and I became aware of my forebears talents. The result was a conflicted artist with a dichotomy of interests. The cartooning scratched the political and silly itch. The portraiture and landscape art scratched the traditional art itch, and my goal is to get better at both every single day.

Both disciplines have now been acknowledged and are constantly being nourished, but here’s the rub: when I go into the village, I’m called, “Tom the Cartoonist”. It’s what working for a newspaper will do. They printed my cartoons and illustrations for many years. It’s also easier than “Tom, the multi-faceted, multi-disciplined artist”.

Here’s a better solution: call it what you will, as long as it isn’t “village idiot”.
Then we’ll call it good.

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