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Art Titles

A subject of real interest to me is the naming of an artwork.

I find that the title of an artwork can be as important as the creation itself. Often it's the name that connects the visual and the emotional to the person viewing it.

I have come across many people who stop to admire a piece of work and are ready to move on until they see the name of the artwork and then stop to look at it again. That second pass of the eyes can be the clincher, the connector that gives them a new perspective on a piece. It can be so compelling that it's the reason they come back the next day hoping like crazy that the piece is still there because they MUST have it.

I find the titles with an uplifting, positive feel can capture the buyer better than a title with negative, dreary connotations. Obviously, this is not going to apply to all paintings but it's a good starting point. Painting titles should invoke a reaction, a thought or at least an impression. At least that's what I think.

For example, the above piece could have many different names:

  • Graffiti Cross

  • Dragged Colour

  • Texture Cross

  • Off Crossed

  • PS, Be Happy X

I find the first four titles, while they describe the painting well, don't create a connection like the last one does. The last title suggests the positive footnote of a letter and a kiss to finish off. More people relate to this than to a descriptive word for what they see.

The title of my creations don't always come to the fore at the beginning or even during the process of painting, often it can be elusive for some time. I will take the time to view it, reflect and then sleep on it. If the name still doesn't jump up and hit me in the face I resort to other ways of finding it.

  • Scroll through song titles.

  • Ask those close to you

  • Run a poll on Instagram to get votes on 3 different titles

  • Make the title a question rather than a statement

I hope these hints help other artists title their work without a mental block preventing them from naming their piece.


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