Titles are not just a way to catalog art, but an important signpost which connects artists to their audience. Thoughtful naming allows/suggests a path for viewers to more fully experience the art’s meaning and it’s overall effect. For me, naming a new piece of art can sometimes take longer than creating it in the first place. That’s how important names are.
Certainly, there is the other side of the coin. Over the years I’ve had discussions with artists who refuse to name their work beyond “Untitled”. They say “I don’t want to influence what the viewer sees in them.” I understand their logic, especially with regard to abstract pieces.
However, I’m not willing to divorce myself from my work to that degree. Not anymore, anyway. Naming the art gives that art it’s soul. Now it’s ready; now it’s complete. And there’s no getting around it — the title gives my patrons and viewers an important connection to me, the artist. It is additional insight into my mood, my process, my emotions and my moment.
I have often thought that a piece’s title should pop into my head when I’m doing the work, or at least during the last hours of completion. But no. Whichever part of my brain is responsible for naming things is completely shut off when I’m creating art.
That turns out to be a good thing. Once finished with the visual, I can then look at the work with a slightly different set of eyes — less creative art lust and more contemplative afterglow. Ha! Perhaps at times I seek to balance an over-zealous image by giving it a civilized, respectable name. Or maybe not. I am just as likely to hint at a wild streak which is not readily apparent.