What’s in a Name?


I’ve never been good at naming my artwork, and while I’d probably just end up titling everything Untitled 2, 3, 4, and so on, I don’t think that is a very good solution either.  While the title “Untitled” can certainly leave space for the viewer to contemplate the work and find their own personal way of identifying with it, a well chosen name can also help the viewer to understand what the artist is trying to communicate.  The right name can be essential to bringing the viewer beyond the initial first impression of seeing a piece and liking or disliking it.  I know for me, if I see an artwork that I really don’t visually like, the title can give me a little more information about the artist and the ideas or concepts they’re trying to convey.  If I was viewing a painting of, let’s say, a guy sitting in a chair, and it’s painted messily with neon pink paint and the title is Untitled 237, I would move on to the next piece.  But if the title was something like The Old Geezer or Waiting for the Mail I would ponder the work a little longer.  I would most likely still find it not to my taste, but my point is that the title gets me out of my instinctual habit of naming pieces ugly or beautiful and to see the broader picture (ha ha, get it?) 

Also, and I believe this is something an art teacher once told my class, naming a piece Untitled can seem a little, well, lazy.  You spend all of this time and energy thinking of how to depict your concept, creating the piece, critiquing it at certain points in it’s execution, and properly displaying it, and then you name it Untitled, without even really thinking about it.  For some artists, this works well with their concept, or they use it for studies.  Sometimes, Untitled just fits.  I’ve used it before… and I think that was when the aforementioned teacher gave his speech.  I don’t think that name will work with my tapestries, and I would also like to improve and not feel so daunted by the process of finding a name.  Lately, the ones I come up with always seem to sound like a really bad poem I wrote in fifth grade.  

Fun Fact: For my thesis, I named most of my pieces by looking at the online Tolkien English/Sindarin dictionary.

Maybe I need to stop being so hard on myself.  There can be as much meaning in a name as I want there to be.  I’m really happy with how this weaving turned out, and while I still have a lot to learn about tapestry, I feel continually inspired to create more in this medium.  I’ve never felt so passionately dedicated to a particular niche of the fiber/textile world before, and I’m excited to see where it takes me.  As for naming my work, I have a feeling that will improve with time, too.  For now, enjoy this lovely photo of my untitled, but not Untitled, tapestry.  The colors are vivid and beautifully captured by a photographer friend of mine.  I will be entering the piece to be juried into a group show down in California.  Keep your fingers crossed!

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