Artists independence is a tough idea. Not because it is an absolute impossibility but because conformism makes it impossible. It’s a negotiations game where you win by inventing the rules.
There seems to be a direct line that begins with identity, goes through the concept of a name and takes us towards the concept of the brand. Let’s say that identity is a set of properties that differentiate you from others, make you you. It’s inner qualities are then interfaced with the surroundings such as nature and society and something happens. Among other things, you get a name (at birth, or at initiation or after death). Let me stop here and offer you Caronia on the same topic:
After this — historically — we have the use of the name as a marker of marketable quality. A name becomes a brand. Catherine Soussloff is standing in front of her school on a windy day and thinking about this out loud, here:
An artist — just like any individual — has a choice to participate in the social ritual or not. For artists in the last hundred or so years it is clear that direct and full participation in the market economy is the killer of that first impulse to create. But also, the non-participation in the economy is a killer of the artists body (beginning with the stomach). So an artist is pressed to come up with a rationalisation. Here’s an example:
To put it simply: it is hard. But to put it bluntly: you have to fight. Name changing is definitively an idea.