Sunday, July 12, 2015

Titles & Your Art | How Important is a Title?

I recently wrote an article for the Springfield Art Guild newsletter and thought I'd share it.  I had fun researching it.  I also sent this to an artist friend who goes about naming her paintings in a unique way.  Once her paintings are ready for a show, she invites a bunch of friends over for wine.  They sit around and name the paintings!  As you'll see below, I found some great insights on Alyson Stanfield and Annette Labedzki's websites.  Click on their names to take you to their websites. 

Titles & Your Art | How Important is a Title?

Theo Tilton, our June guest judge provided her insights on judging at SAG’s June meeting.  As she looked over the art she said she wished the titles were included.  When asked why she said, “The title helps the judge and viewer better understand the artist’s intent.”   
Have you ever thought that a title might actually help get a potential customer to notice your work?  Even buy your work?  I’ve seen people grab a friend to look at a painting saying, “I love that title.” 

Our March Guest speaker Patti Cowan, owner of the Frame Factory , asks every buyer why they decided to purchase their selection.  She has found that the title can have a strong pull for purchasing the piece.  She noted, “Be thoughtful of your title selection.”

A title can be descriptive, convey your feelings about it, or even be humorous.  I painted a man at the National Portrait gallery looking at a painting of John F. Kennedy and my husband suggested the title, “He Doesn’t Know Jack.”  The person who bought it loved the title.  Did the title help sell the painting?  Maybe.  
Atlanta artist Karin Jurick has a gift for naming her paintings.  Her paintings are terrific and her titles are always clever and memorable. 
While some paintings almost name themselves, with others we draw a blank.  If you are struggling with a title, ask friends or family for ideas.  Everyone knows a few people who are really clever and imaginative.  They are terrific sources to tap when you have a brain freeze.  

In Robert Burridge and Donna Zagotta’s workshops, Lynn Martin says they discussed titles.  They both suggest the artist think about the "intent" of their painting.   From thoughts on these questions and your intentions, you can devise a "title."
·       What made you want to paint it?
·       Why are your painting it?
·       What are the goals of the painting?
Simply put, they suggest that when your painting matches your goals and title it’s "done."  So consider that maybe having a title at the start can help you decide where you will go and when you are done, as well as help you communicate your intent to the viewer.

Many of us has chosen a photo and even before you start painting a title comes to mind.  Who knows, that might be what influences the painting in ways even the painter doesn’t realize and answers the questions posed above.  

On the other hand, some photographers and artists prefer to leave the naming vague so that it can be more open to viewer interpretation.  

The bottom line is there is no right or wrong in naming a painting. but should be given some thought.  The choice is personal and for you to decide.  

The Importance of Titles in Art - An Overview By Annette Labedzki  |

The importance of Titles in Art is immense, as it gives a meaning and a purpose to the artwork. In fact, the Title of an artwork is one of its most artistic and important things. The meaning of the Title usually is interwoven throughout a piece of art and is often times hard to understand.  If the Title of an artwork is not mentioned, it becomes the observer's challenge to interpret it. All this goes on to emphasize the importance of Titles in art.
Framing an Art Title depends on the type of artistic image you are working on.  Make sure that your Art Title is in harmony with the theme of your artwork. The connoisseurs will be able to appreciate an artwork better if they have clarity about what they are looking at. The following are some key importance of Titles in art:
·       Art Titles are very convenient handles for analyzing, reviewing, and addressing art.
·       Most Art Titles are axiomatic, yet perceptive, inducing one to look a bit deeper.
·       Most Art Titles have an intentional play of words that make them interesting.
·       Sometimes the Art Titles are needed to convey what a viewer thinks of an image.
·       The Art Titles are important as they help people remember the particular piece of art they are attached to.
Article Source:

5 Reasons to Title Your Art” by Alyson Stanfield
Have you become lazy when it comes to naming your art?  Are you stuck on Untitled or a lame numbering system for a series (Green Mountain #1, Green Mountain #2, etc.)?   It’s time for better titles for your art! Here are five reasons why.
1. Titles help you distinguish among numerous works.
Titled works are easier to find and to file in organizing systems. They’re also easier for you to talk about and refer people to. The more unique each title is, the better. If you have a series of numbers, you might forget how Green Mountain #1 is different from Green Mountain #5.

2. Titles make it easier for reviewers and critics to write about your art.
It’s difficult to write about untitled art because readers have to be clear about which artwork is being discussed. When faced with untitled art, the writer must spend hunks of text describing which untitled work she’s referring to.

3. Intriguing titles are cause for contemplation.
Untitled or loosely titled works allow the viewer more freedom to interpret, but most people need and want guidance. An interesting title might be enough for a viewer to stop, think, and look back at the art.

4. Titles look great in books.
Imagine all of the titled artwork in the index of a book about your art.

5. Search engines find titles.
If you Google “dumb campers,” the second item that comes up (after video results) is my about page. Do I have anything on about people who aren’t so savvy in the wilderness? Nope. But I do own a painting with that title, which appears in my online bio. Google found it.
[Caveat: You have to make sure the title appears with the art in order for this to work with search engines. This advice may seem obvious, but I find non-credited art on artists’ websites and blogs all of the time.]
FINAL WORD: There are no guidelines for titling your art. You can select any title you choose. Just remember that your work will have to live with the title for the rest of its life.  Are your titles working for you? Do they help people relate to your art? Do they at least cause viewers to stop and think, “Hmmm . . . I wonder what that means”?
Titles don’t have to say everything, but they should say something.
Have fun with them!

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