Naming Artworks - What's in a Name?
Why do we worry so much about naming our work? I'm not really sure, yet I always have a little panic over it. After all, "Sunflowers" is famous enough isn't it?
I'm not the kind of person to invent deeply intriguing, mysterious or enigmatic names for my work. But I am aware of how many artists get really wound up about what to name their pieces. Names can help sell your work, set a mood, pose a question. So we are bound to fret a little!
Frank Bowling, as I will blog about in more detail, is a total art hero for me. He has written on the subject of naming and tells how he often uses a name or phrase around who popped into his studio during a pieces creation. He's a realy people person and welcomes friends to drop by and chat while he works. In fact, they often leave a glove, or some detrius behind and these get smushed (technical term!) into the layers of the paint!
I liked this. I sat with this in my mind a while. Now Frank works with a small array of assistants. He is 85 and mostly works on VERY large pieces. My work is sometimes created in small life drawing groups, silently scratching away, staring intently at the model and rarely exchanging more than a little friendly banter. Most of my work is just me, alone, in my little studio. Instead of friends popping by, I have music to keep me company. Occasionally I name my work after the model or the pose, but now, increasingly, I use song names, musicians, dj's and composers as it is the music that visits my creative process.
Brubeck I, for instance, was named because jazz was very popular with my life drawing tutor, Stuart Whitehead, at the time. It also transports me back to my heady student days, skipping lectures to make out with my boyfriend (now hubby) with Take Five playing in the background! It may not help sell the piece, but it makes me happy!
The names of my work may not always seem appropriate or descriptive of the piece, but they do remind me of the moment they were created, the music running through my head!