Saturday, August 10, 2019

8 ways to Title an Artwork

8 ways to Title an Artwork-HuesnShades
The artwork behind the title now adorns the home of Smt Vinodini Sathyapal

How do you title an artwork? 

These days I am in the midst of preparing for a show that is coming up next month and so I am not only engrossed in creating the works but also pondering on the apt titles for the same. I, for one, am not an advocate of “Untitled” which often point towards no-direction, lack of appreciation even culminating to not providing considerable thought to your own work (or else one needs to the blue-chip/elite artist to do so, just saying). It may sound a bit extreme but that is what I personally feel unless and until the work is so self-explanatory that it defies a title or maybe belittled/ shrunk/ compartmentalized by one.

Sometimes the titles pose themselves naturally even before I start to paint and at times I need to give it thorough thought.

So here are some ways (with some famous examples) you can come across a wonderful title:

1. The work itself suggests a title! Yes, it often does. The concept or what you are trying to paint/create often points toward a title, the obvious one.

Three Girls - 1935 - Amrita Sher-Gil
Three Girls - 1935 - Amrita Sher-Gil

2. The names of the prominent colours used in the work.

Red Poppy No. V -1928- Georgia O' Keeffe
Red Poppy No. V -1928- Georgia O' Keeffe

3. Suggestive/reminiscent of something/place etc.

Tuscany-1963-Helen Frankenthaler
Tuscany-1963-Helen Frankenthaler

4. Titles of literary works, movies or albums or even influenced by its authors.

Pére Ubu-1936- Dora Maar
Pére Ubu-1936- Dora Maar

Kara Walker on Toni Morrison
Kara Walker on Toni Morrison
cover of The New Yorker-9 Aug 2019

5. Song lyrics or a line from your own poem even meander through aphorisms. I use my own Haiku as titles for many of my paintings. It makes it a bit long but then I like it!

It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue- 2018 -Bob Dylan
It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue- 2018 -Bob Dylan

6. On feelings and emotions.

The Destruction of Life - 1974 - Louise Bourgeois
The Destruction of Life - 1974 - Louise Bourgeois

Misery – 1895 – Kathe Kollwitz
Misery – 1895 – Kathe Kollwitz

7. On historical events, day-to-day struggles and happenings, natural occurrences.

Salazar vomiting the homeland -1960 - Paula Rego
Salazar vomiting the homeland -1960 - Paula Rego

8. Series can have a single title, followed by a number or variations of the name. I have a series of 6 paintings called "Repercussions" but then each painting owns a Haiku of mine.

Infinity Net series - Yayoi Kusama
Infinity Net series - Yayoi Kusama 

Wave Returning- 2009 -Maggi Hambling
Wave Returning- 2009 -Maggi Hambling

There are several personal ways in which you may go about selecting a title. This is just what I follow when I contemplate on it. Please do share your ideas in the comments.

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Image courtesy: Google except for the title which is my own.


Arnoldo L. Romero, MLA said...

I often use Scripture themes, song titles, and feelings to title my works. Happy PPF!

Tarang Sinha said...

That's interesting. Never thought to title my paintings {Titles are really important when I'm writing a story}. Thanks for sharing these beautiful artworks. :)

Ranjana's craft blog said...

Good luck for your show...
The art work with title "Destruction of life" is so interesting and very prompt.

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