Jun 23, 2012

The Importance of a Good Title

I wanted to share with you tonight the artwork of Jim Clements. His artwork is not only amazing just for its sheer beauty but for the stories it tells. While browsing his art one image in particular struck me. This piece is called 'Last Roundup' (posted here with the artist's permission):

Does this piece invoke an emotional response? Absolutely! But how much of that emotion is the result of the image itself and how much is from the title of the piece? Imagine if the piece had been titled something generic like "horse and rider". Would you have had the same response? I would have still liked the piece simply because it's beautiful and well executed. But would it have stirred me emotionally? Maybe not as much.

I believe it was a Pixar animator who once said, "My job is not to move the character so much as to move the audience". I think that applies to still art like paintings as well. We, as artists, often paint because we feel an emotional response to the subject. When we paint our subject, aren't we trying to share that emotion? Of course, we want much of that emotion to come across in the artwork itself, but why not help it with a good title?

Too many of us, including myself, struggle with finding a good tile for our work so we often neglect it. My art speaks for itself after all, right? So why do I need to worry about a title? Well, as you saw in Jim Clements' art, a good title can speak so much more and make a huge difference.

I see so many wonderful artworks with generic and uninteresting titles like "moose" or, even worse, "untitled". Don't do this to your art! Viewers can't read your mind. They don't know what you were thinking and feeling when you created that piece. They can see the art and may feel an emotional connection to it. But if you don't help them out they may not feel your emotional connection to it. Wouldn't you like them to know what that is? Tell them with a good title!

And while you're thinking about all that, please take some time to go browse some of Jim's other wonderful artworks! Jim Clements Art


Canidae Art said...

I love thought-provoking and emotional titles. Without these a painting can still be special, but what can we learn from it? I hate artists that call a piece 'untitled', its detached and cold.

Great blog :)

Maria Elena Ferrari said...

I have the same opinion,I can quote you in my drawing classes?

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