View Full Version : name change

02-12-2010, 11:24 PM
i post this here since this is my WC 'home'. this is an issue i plan to deal with once and for all, and am asking for thoughts/opinions.

i have a difficult name, my maiden name was just as bad! i've had a lifetime of spelling, explaining, etc. and i'm fed up. i have a website, but i'm not fooling myself at the fact there is prolly nobody who could find it simply cuz there is no way anyone can spell my name. i know when i hear a name like mine, i 'shut it out' and just forget it. it does set me apart somewhat, but not being easily spelled, pronounced, etc., is a bit too 'apart'.

my name is chris may cernetisch. (oooh, i said it 'outloud on the web!!!) soooo, i am thinking to simply drop the last name. its still me, in fact, moreso. my last name is my married name, and altho i love my DH, his family name is nothing to be proud of. being separated from that issue would just be another bonus. with all that last year brought, i am seeing this year as a new start, so now would be a super time to make this change. i am thinking of using it for art only, at least for now.

so, what say you ppl? chris may? like? no? help!

02-12-2010, 11:51 PM
Authors use pen names. Why can't painters do the same?

My writes and publishes under a pen name (her middle name and mine). She chose to use a hyphenated name when we were married and it is very cumbersome. A pen name greatly simplifies.

It does not matter to me; I hope your DH feels the same.


02-13-2010, 12:49 AM
Chris May sounds easy to spell and remember. It's very common for people to use stage names or pen names. Heck, if I was him I'd be tempted to change mine too.

02-13-2010, 01:01 AM
I think what you plan to do is very common, and since both Chris and May are your names it is not even like a made-up pen name. Name recognition (and pronounce-ability) is important, so I would go with it!


Paula Ford
02-13-2010, 02:22 AM
I think Chris May is perfect!!!

02-13-2010, 04:08 AM
Chris May is great, as Robert says, simple and easy to spell and pronounce. I work professionally as a registered nurse under my maiden name, I paint under it also, so I'll be Eade till I die! I do love my husband, but would YOU like to be called Spittles? Sounds like something nasty you might tread in on the street!

Go with Crhis May, chewie, it's perfect.

02-13-2010, 07:38 AM
Who's that female poet, used to be quoted everywhere a few years ago, with just a first name... A..... something beginning with A. Possibly a native American.

Anyway, the point being, Chris May looks great! Short, pronounceable. Not a mix of German and Eastern Europe. (Which my married last name is.... Nobody can spell it, but I like it, as I'm the *only* person in the world with my combination, practical when asking people to google me :-)

Leonardo, Rafaello (Raphael), Rembrandt, etc, were known by their first names. Whoever knows who Buonarotti is, although every one's seen his statue "David"? Can anyone give the name of "The Greek guy" -- El Greco?

Lots of artists do use 'pen names', especially if they paint in two styles, say realist and abstract. Realist might get their real name, and abstract the pen-name, for example, or vice versa.


02-13-2010, 08:17 AM
so, what say you ppl? chris may? like? no? help!
"Chris May" is a perfectly nice, simple and modest name. Can't fault it! Piece of cake to remember!

One tiny reminder: you are leaving all your hard-won fame in the dust. I did a Google search using this string --- "cm cernetisch" -- and got 568 hits! That is quite a bit of free online name recognition that you will be disconnecting yourself from.


02-13-2010, 09:51 AM
I don't think it matters too much. If someone wants to find you they will. I have a different problem. My last name is Kennedy. Try and google that and see if you end up at my site without some effort. Also, I googled Chris May which resulted in another artist who happens to be a photographer. So nothing is quite simple. I would consider the name change if you really like the name. It is a good name by the way. Best of luck.

02-13-2010, 03:18 PM
Chris you will do what feels right for you and the world will fall in line no matter what name you use. For instance, I sign my paintings with a styalized capital letter "B", but on the back of each painting is the name so many people know me as: Peggy Braeutigam... now there's another name challenge to spell and say! It is my married name. My maiden name is easy to spell and should be easy to say, but you'd be surprised how many college profs couldn't bring themselves to say "Harm", but instead said "Harem"! I'm not sure the alternate pronunciation was a favor or kindness... lol
I've found having a difficult last name is an open invitation for conversation when I translate the German meaning into English: Bridegroom, and explain how the American spelling came to be when my husband's grandparents arrived in NYC. Or when I explain how they can remember to pronounce it based up a story when I got engaged to my husbamd. After many years of being active in the pastel world, there are still those who can't say or spell my name, but if they ask there's usually someone else who can help them out.

As others have pointed out, where the internet is concerned people will always have a problem finding the "right you" no matter what name you use because there are just too many people in the world with the same name. There's even another Peggy Braeutigam - I think in Texas - don't know what she does though.

Chris May or Chris Cernetisch will work just fine - but Chris May will be shorter to write on your paintings.....

btw: my daughter chose to keep her maiden name after marriage even though her husband's last name was easier to spell and pronounce. She likes the relative uniqueness of the name, and as an attorney it never hurts to have a name that isn't like everyone elses.

Peggy Braeutigam

02-13-2010, 03:22 PM
I'm in the same situation as you by marrying a man with a not-so-easy last name.

I made the decision that any artistic talent I have is inherited from my dad so I always have included my maiden name when I sign my paintings.

However, I've been signing my paintings with my first/maiden/married name for so long that if I dropped my married name, people might wonder why.

02-13-2010, 03:26 PM
Peggy, that's making excellent use, marketing wise, of your name! Very good point. I sign with an intertwined CH, and fully on the back. Lately, I've also started to sign full name in a dark area with graphite, so it is small, hidden, and gleams in the light in a certain angle. Chris, this might be an option for you too.

Ed Kennedy... Edward 'Ted' Kennedy.... Oh, my.... yeah, google *that*... obviously, the rest of us do not have any problems whatsoever compared to that!


Deborah Secor
02-13-2010, 04:15 PM
I can relate to the name dilemma. I had an art career when I married, and kept my maiden name, Deborah Christensen. After 16 years of marriage I added Secor to the mix. Elsewhere the name is common but around here no one has ever heard it--it's unique and different. I can't tell you how many people mispronounce it, 'SECKer' being the most common one. Lots say 'sucker' too! :lol: (Note to westerners: it's pronounced SEE'-core.)

Changing it was a major pain in the tutu, however, even though I had always used D. Christensen Secor privately. Because I was adding to it, I included my maiden name, adding Secor (and still do on my web site), but it took me about five years to get folks to recognize me as Deborah Secor, without Christensen there. A lot of folks thought I had divorced, when in reality it was a 16th wedding anniversary gift to my husband! Oh well, as Peggy points out, it's been a great story to tell people when they ask if I'm Deborah Christensen.

I'd also consider the fact that may is a part of speech, so when you Google Chris May without the quotation marks (and even with them) a lot of "Chris may blah, blah, blah" and "Chris, May 21, 2001" type responses come up, too.

I like Chris May, but to me the name Chris Cernetisch is unique. However, do I recall that your husband is named Chris, too? That may be a good reason to use Chris May instead.

If you decide to change, I'd suggest adding May to the mix, then in a year or two dropping Cernetisch, so that people know what's going on and can find you! And don't expect local people to get it. You'll always be Cernetish to them, I bet.

Tough choice, but in the end I like both names! :rolleyes: Not much help, am I?


02-13-2010, 10:05 PM
Chris, if you do not mind a slight diversion, do you know the origination of Cernetisch? Cerne is a German name and Tisch = Table in German. Yet, if I search for Cernetisch on Yahoo Deutschland, the references are mostly back to you and a shortstop in New York.

I assume that Peggy Braeutigam knows that Braeutigam (Bräutigam) means bridegroom and is common enough in Germany.

Names interest me.

Regards, Gary

02-14-2010, 12:53 AM
ah, its nice to be 'home'! i've given this years of thought, literally. and loosing whatever online value i have is certainly something to consider.

also, sometimes this wacky last name does leave ppl talking to me, but its about my name, then their name, or someone they know, blah blah, and my art is then the last thought! and i do sign with a mechanical pencil so it doesn't dull and get 'fatter', my cmcernetisch, on the front of every piece.

its not the signing of the works that is my issue really, its the whole other parts--ppl won't remember how to spell my name, and forget them saying it! i want to make it easy for anyone to remember me and look me up, etc.

from what i've been told, my last name is austrian, 'blackbird'. i've not researched it, just what i've been told.

the adding of may for a spell, then dropping the long part was something i'd also thought about. that might still be something to do. would this help with not loosing my online presence?

and as for the locals, that's fine, they can think of me any of those ways! i'm in no way trying to put a distance between hubby and me!! i grew up with a horrible last name, then married another--after 42 years of it, i'm about fed up! i admit tho., a bit of 'distance' from some of the relatives wouldn't be a bad thing either! :evil:

and yup, my hubby is also chris. so several issues going on here.

really appreciate the imput to all of you!

02-14-2010, 08:56 AM
I really cant help as I agree with everyone !! I went through teh surname crisis a while after divorce.....but didnt fancy returning to my maiden name which sounded a bit square and clumpy with my forename....... Id almost decided to adopt my fathers mothers single name when I suddenly started becoming known by my married name at the BBC and On Air.......so stuck with that.......should have been simple ........ Janet Thomas .... but you'd be amazed how many people call me Thompson !!!

I have also toyed with using my middle name... but until I find a 'Lord' to marry and can become 'Lady Lavinia' I dont think Ill bother :lol:

Now, online and signing pics I stick with teh nickname Jaytee given by a good friend ! I also like being called that rather than janet... though would hate to offend those that still do !

but do like the idea of

small, hidden, and gleams in the light in a certain angle

There ...... proved your point about folk telling you their 'name stories'

02-14-2010, 01:10 PM
I'm in the midst of a name change. When I divorced my daughter was still a baby and I didn't want her to go through life having to explain why my name was different than hers, so I kept my married name. Twenty-seven years later, she's grown and married and I've decided to spend the money to finally get back to my maiden name. I've hated using my married name for 27 years, but didn't realize how much until I signed a little sketch the other day using my maiden name and it felt so good I started to cry.

For me, a complicated or unwanted name is just baggage and can be let go without worry. I know a guy who took his wife's last name when they married! Any way that works and makes you comfortable and happy--go for it!


02-14-2010, 09:00 PM
how fun to hear so much about a name!! such a simple thing really, but yet can be so difficult!

altho i love my DH, i do not love his name. sorry! leaving it behind isn't an issue with him tho., which is nice that i have a choice without offence.

but, i am going to go with chris may cernetisch, for now, then later drop the last part. i googled a while last night, and really wouldn't want to loose all those hits overnight! also, this way i wont' have to make a big 'announcement', it will just kinda fade into the new name. i will be signing my works chris may as of well, a few paintings ago! i just wanted to try that out, and susan said, it simply *felt sooo goood!* it felt right, and true to ME.

if there are any other suggestions on how best to go about this, lay it out there, ok?! first, i guess would be a domain name, etc. here goes!

uh, after spending the last several minutes trying to change 'chewie' to my name, i can't even get that done, oi! anyone?

Deborah Secor
02-14-2010, 10:57 PM
Go over to the WetCanvas Site Discussions forum or PM one of our Mods for a name change! You need 'magic powers' to change it!

I think you've made a sound, well thought out decision. :)


02-18-2010, 12:23 AM

Oh, names can be a pain! I know!

Chris May sounds very simple and easy to remember. But, your last name is unique and might grab attention. Hmmm!

"May" is my middle name, too! My family still calls me "Elsie May."

I've gone the route of Elsie Hickey-Wilson. Then I dropped Hickey and used
Elsie H. Wilson.....it saved the snickers from the Non-Irish, jokesters. :eek:

But, in recent years, in a bit of Irish pride, I'm back to the whole handle:
Elsie Hickey Wilson......:heart:

Whatever feels comfortable for you! :heart:

02-18-2010, 04:25 PM
i've begun using chris may and it just feels great! hubby doesn't mind one bit, and now my oldest is thinking she wants to drop that last name too--her name is terribly long. for her tho., i am voting to wait til she's older.

and altho i know my 'real' last name is definately unique, its a royal pain. for example, i am trying to remember another blog i used to visit, but the gals' name is just as 'unique' as mine, so i have no idea how to find her again--so i just can't. i dont' want this situation!

just a few days ago a woman called me asking to see my site--and altho she knows how to say my name, she couldn't find my site! i don't see this as being a bonus! so my simple version just seems like a much better plan. i am hoping that my art is unique enough!

Deborah Secor
02-18-2010, 06:26 PM
BTW, Chris, I have two domain names on my web site. You can either type www.deborahchristensen.com or www.deborahsecor.com and reach the same web site. You might consider doing that, too.