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Deciding on Titles


Have you ever taken the time to visit an art museum or art gallery, whether local or on vacation? Have you walked into that gallery or museum and your eyes locked on this one specific piece of work? A piece that draws your interest entirely, it's beautiful, it's inspiring, it's intriguing? Whatever attracted you to this painting or sculpture or photograph brings you a sudden interest to this artist. You walk closer to the piece and glance at the little placard on the wall next to it to find out the title in hopes that it will give you insight into this artist's mind, energy, or general reasoning behind the piece. You read the title - "Untitled".

I have found myself in this situation many times throughout the years of visiting galleries. "Untitled" is so disappointing to me because this artist had an opportunity to help each viewer better understand the piece of art they've created. They could have opened up a world of wonder and interest by choosing a word or phrase to allow the viewer to connect the piece to and reflect on in their own way.

Behind the Title

Titles have always been important to me. The only time I've given a painting the name "untitled" is when the finished piece didn't connect with me; and if it doesn't connect with me it usually won't connect with an audience. Sometimes a title comes to me as I'm creating the painting, other times I may reflect on the finished product and think about my emotions through the creation.

For example, this piece is from my Iconic Rhode Island series. It is of a local food truck business located in the heart of Providence, Rhode Island. I thought about simply naming this painting "Haven Brothers", which would have accurately described the painting, but when anyone is drawn into this painting and sees the title I want them to feel the scene as more than just a painting. I wanted to create a story for the piece in a short phrase describing the memories and nostalgia of walking through Providence breathing in the night life, visiting the crowded bars and clubs, smelling the aroma of burgers and fries coming from the large silver food truck parked in the heart of the city.

The Movement Series

Then there is the challenge of choosing a title for a series of work. My new Abstract series has been a work in progress that is emerging as a break through of vivid, energetic works of art with heavy textures and luxurious gold accents. Through the process I've considered many titles to describe the series, but in order to think of the perfect name I think about and even write down my thoughts to lay out the journey of each piece that makes up the series.

The paintings in the Movement series were created with no real plan. There was no sketching, no formal ideas, just pure experimentation. With my cityscapes, I often paint sitting down as I'm zoning in on the small details but with this series sitting down and painting just didn't work. I was forced to stand up and create with my entire being in order to reflect the true energy and movement put into each piece. This is when the realization of what this series would symbolize was brought to the light. Movement. A perfect balance of swirling lines, thick textures and gold accents that allow the eye to dance across the canvas, each painting's title reflecting on movement.

Let me know in the comments what you think of the Movement series. How does the series move you?

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