We like a work of art more if the artist has an unusual name

It’s about two months since I last posted anything on this blog other than reblogs from The Humour of the Great War blog. However, I came across an article by Ben Ambridge in the Torygraph called Ten tricks the brain plays on us.ย (The whole article is worth a read especially the ‘card-trick’ bit of no. 3 on homeopathy.)

The section that particularly interested me was about names of artists – not famous artists but unusual names:

“Now far be it from me to question your impeccable taste, but a recent study showed that when judging the merit of a work of art we were partly influenced by a wholly irrelevant factor: the name of the artist. I don’t mean whether or not the artist is famous, I mean the name of the artist: participants (split into two groups) rated the same poem as more creative if it was attributed to a poet with an unusual name (eg Aira Cady) than a more common name (eg Jane Clarke).

For music, the unusual-name stereotype is joined by another: that men are more creative than women. Consequently, the same piece was rated 6/7 for creativity when attributed to a composer with a rare male name (eg Jonah Dissanyake), but only 4/7 when attributed to a composer with a common female name (eg Emma Moore).

For paintings, name and gender interact in a puzzling way. Following the usual pattern, female painters with rarer names (eg Leah Edevane) are deemed more creative than those with more common names (eg Anna Scott). But for men, the pattern is reversed: male painters with common names (eg David Jones) are deemed more creative than those with rarer names (eg Elliot Le Feuvre). The researchers who conducted the study describe this finding as completely unexpected and offer no explanation. But is it just possible that the current vogue for proudly working-class male artists (eg the sculptor Damien Hirst, the film director Danny Boyle and the designer Paul Smith) is in the process of turning our stereotypes on their head?”

Zivko Zic

An artwork by Zivko Zic

The above work was found on a list of unusual names on AskARTcom


About notes to the milkman

I'm a printmaker based in the North West of England, living in Bolton and printing at Hot Bed Press in Salford. Please visit my website johnpindararts.weebly.com
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20 Responses to We like a work of art more if the artist has an unusual name

  1. Nancy Farmer says:

    I am henceforth going by the name of Nancy Vestibule. Do you think that will do it? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Ms Sandra Bouguerch, a one off!

  3. anne farmer says:

    My artist daughter uses her middle name instead of her very pretty first name which she deemd too poncy….

  4. coastalcrone says:

    Very interesting!!!!

  5. hmmm Rosie Scribblah is very silly. I wonder if that counts ๐Ÿ˜€

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