Thursday, April 19, 2007

A thought on titles

Okay, from my fellow artist readers, I'm curious to hear your thoughts regarding titles.

Do you prefer a simple title i.e. "blue bowl of cherries" or do you prefer a more organic and descriptive title i.e. "the day that Sarah left me with a bowl of crisp cherries".

Perhaps you prefer "untitled" or "manifesto for a existential existance" for your titles.... why?

I feel so tempted sometimes to get complicated then I fall back on "green chair in sunlight" or even better "ACEO 43".

I want to reveal everything, yet I don't want to say too much.

Something I'm thinking about. Now I want to see comments!

9 comments:

Doreen said...

Hello. I just love your work..you paint wonderfully. I myself enjoy the titles with character, something with a story behind it...I think it draws people in more. :)

best wishes
doreen

Michelle said...

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog, Doreen!

Good point about the titles drawing people in..... :)

Shabby Cottage Studio said...

Ok Michelle, for me I like a simple descriptive title, give me a hint and let my imagination fill in the rest. :-) Do you still have snow or are you warming up again?!

Deborah said...

I like a variety on titles. Sometimes I like them simple, sometimes I like more description. The way that I work it for me is that I go with what I am feeling at any particular point in time.

This probably doesn't help you at all!!! LOL

M.Anderson said...

I prefer titles that give a hint of the story behing the piece. Why was it done or what was the attraction to the setup.

Garden Painter Art said...

I think I tend to be drawn in by titles that are curious and/or quirky. Maybe titles that help to tell a story.

Kim
Garden Painter Art
gnarly-dolls

Caylynn said...

Not an artist, but I like titles that attract my curiosity, while simply describing the painting. Yet I don't want anything too long. ;) That's how I try to title my photos

Dragonheart said...

I've nominated you for a Thinking Blogger award. :) Details on my blog.

(Yes, it's Dragonheart doing the nominating, not me. - Caylynn)

Ivan Chan Studio said...

I prefer both and I think it depends on everything everybody's said here--the mood you're in, the mood of the piece, etc.

I love naming things, even if it's Untitled, which I still think is a name. The little deconstructionist in me, I guess!

Regardless, I think titles are part of the experience of the art, like it's part of experiencing a person--makes it less anonymous, I guess.

Theoretically, it could make it harder for people to "relate" to the piece because those cherries aren't their cherries, they're Sarah's cherries. However, in art, we show the universal through the individual and vice versa, so people can relate (and do) even to specific events that aren't related to them. "I saw Sarah's cherries and I thought of the summer my grandmother washed me a whole bowl of cherries just for me..."

Lastly, from an audience standpoint, I've had people tell me they just have a thing for long titles. I get a little silly (gotta have fun) and have named my pieces outrageously long and descriptive names (like Floating Vase of Oriental Poppies with Fluttering Koi on Golden Pond) and have received compliments on them. I also notice that one of my admired artists, Odilon Redon, had some long, mysterious titles, too, for his works.

So there you have it. I love the romance and symbolism in long names. I love the postmodern angst of existentially short and impossibly vague titles. You're already directing the viewer's attention by putting something on canvas--how else would you like to direct, or minimally direct, his or her attention?

Take care,

I.