View Full Version : To Name or Not to Name??

10-24-2003, 08:48 PM
Just wondering how everyone comes up with names for thier work and why those names? Do they have to feel right to you or do you just use generic names, or even mix and match some original some generic names? Just wondering what other ppl thoughts are.....


10-25-2003, 12:04 AM
the reasons i name my pieces are multi.... but here are a few...

1. they make the work more interesting to a potential buyer... imagine going to a car lot to buy a car and it's called car series, III or "no title". but "dream of rotation in flight" brings up all kinds of stuff that the viewer can relate to and perhaps make a connection with in the work.

2. i like to think of making art as making children (since I don't have any or plan on having any) and can't imagine anyone giving birth to something without naming it, even simply or humorously.

3. usually the piece means something to me and i have to put that meaning into the title in some way.... "rebirth", "vision", etc.

4. it can be as simple as the location i've painted or the object in the work. "otter creek" or "roses in a vase".

if i don't name it, it usually gets thrown in the trash or i don't like it at all and it gets buried in storage somewhere, forgotten. sad but true, but we all have those things that just didnt work out and we'd like to forget them or at least use them as a path to doing better work and not making the same mistakes again. and again. and again.

10-25-2003, 01:08 AM
It just popped into my mind reading your reply that I could name my next child abstract 3472 ....... LOL

Eugene Veszely
10-25-2003, 11:08 AM
Usually a generic name....sometimes one from where it is....depends :)

10-25-2003, 10:25 PM
I like titles that seem to connect to the painting in some way, but I can't always come up with just the right connection. When that happens, I have several books of old english poetry and one of American poets under my desk! I strum thru the pages glancing at phrases until something jumps out! and that becomes a title for a painting.

I had an artist friend tell me recently that she used to use "race horse" names for her titles. Once she named a painting something like Shamrock Bay...and was ask where Shamrock Bay was located. She replied...I think in Kentucky! LOL

Sometimes a painting is more emotional and I'll call it "Solitude" or whatever meaning it takes on for me personally. Often, these are the ones I don't sell.

10-26-2003, 02:41 PM
the title is very important to me...probably not to the buyers

it usually comes t me while I am painting

occasionally the name comes first

sometimes they are humerous

10-27-2003, 09:08 AM
Most of the time, they name themselves...ocassionally, the name ( inspiration) comes to me before I start...

10-29-2003, 02:54 PM
If a name for a piece comes to me while I'm working on it, or afterwards, then it has a name. But I don't always feel the need for naming my works of art. In fact, I think that often a name can detract a viewer from the contemplation of the work of art.


10-30-2003, 08:05 AM
wow, Don, must be some odd viewers you have.

I can't tell you how many people come into the gallery and the very next thing they do after looking at the art is beeline right to the tag to see what the name is. Or, they ask me "what is this called?".... price is usually No. 3.

I'm not sure how a name could detract a viewer from any contemplation unless they are an easily suggestable person or the name is just downright pornographic or inflammatory....

If I've made a bunch of works, it's almost a chore, but it has to be done, especially when you consider inventory lists and price lists. How else can I identify them later for records and such? When talking to people about the work it's easier to say "Abstract 5" then to try and guess which one, i.e., "the big one with the black lines, you know, and the blue areas?"

Uh....which one is that???? You can begin to see where problems would arise, especially if they are buying it over the phone. I guess you could simply number them, but I've always laughed when seeing a painting titled "No. 2".

Call me juvenile. :)

10-30-2003, 09:00 AM
hi all,

usually a name enters my mind
at some point during the painting
process. it can change as the
painting progresses. sometimes
if the name i get in my head is
especially mundane, i head to
an on-line thesaurus to find
a more interesting word that might
mean essentially the same thing


10-31-2003, 04:22 AM
I have a really hard time naming my work also. I end up racking my brain!:confused:

Epic Dewfall
11-07-2003, 12:12 AM
I like it when my paintings have long deadpan titles that definitely mean something but I don't know what.

11-07-2003, 02:55 AM
Studying names of people, via numerology for example, will quickly give you insight into the nature of names. I suggest anyone who doesn't believe they mean much investigate this in particular.

As an abstract artist, I don't intend to create anything. When it's finished--and there IS a finish, or else I'm screwing it up by adding the unneccessary--there comes the time to interpret what has been channeled through me.

Channeling is the Universe, God, etc. whatever working through you. If you're spiritual at all you can consider this at least with an open mind.

More practical now... some paintings are so simple a name would be simple too. But those are actually sometimes the most complex... and you just can't find a name because it's out of reach.

How could you navigate to a location without a map.... and how could you use a map without names?

I think without a name, a painting is missing its identity.


Having realized something Zen, we do put labels on things like a tree or a mountain, and this creates a disassociation... a break in the connection of the essence of reality.

That's why, as evolved or developed as I was when I started as an artist, I painted abstractly. That's more to the essence and less to the label.

They still required names, because abstract isn't non-objective. Actually, I think non-objective is still abstract. They simply refuse to name their work.

And when abstract artists name it "Untitled #5"... is this still abstract? A decent question.