Friday, March 19, 2010

Do You find it Necessary to always Title your Works?

'Winter Solstice' by RLHall, ArtfulExpress All Rights Reserved

I recently made a local sale of this matted print, which the buyer said that she loves because it reminds her of the 'Twilight' sagas. It caused me to reflect once again, upon the titles we bestowe upon our works and how they affect the viewer.

In this case, the photo was indeed taken on the evening of the winter solstice, and the mood of the photo somehow reflected that spooky association, I thought. I had not yet read the 'Twilight' books by Stephenie Meyer. After reading and enjoying all of the books, and seeing the first two movies, I still hadn't connected my photo with the popular stories. When it was remarked to me that it was this aspect that ingraciated the person to my work, I could instantly see that the atmosphere of the image did reflect the aura presented in Meyers works. Even the title seemed to fit, since similar celestial events are mentioned in the series.

Had I actually initially named the image Twilight, which would seem to be an appropriate title for the photo as well. I'm sure it would have gotten many more hits in online searches and perhaps many more sales.

An artist's work is an important form of intimate expression of their own reactions and opinions, a form of self-therapy at times. Though I have always thought, of course, that art should bring out the personal feelings of those who view it as well. Those feelings may not always bring the same associations that the artist themselves had intended when they actually created their work. It seems apt that the viewer can relate to your vision, without quite understanding it's deeper meaning in your eyes and soul.

In this respect, a given title may stifle the inner reactions of those contemplating the piece. Though I enjoy authoring titles for my artwork, I sometimes struggle with the exact phrase to express my thoughts. And I sometimes find it interesting to display a work as 'Untitled', so that one can form their own reaction with no preconcieved train of thought from me. Often the most intuitive visions are expressed, that can shed a whole new light or glimmers of meaning beneath the surface...teaching me something new about myself and my craft.


  1. Hi!
    Thanks for the comment on my blog. I've very much enjoyed this post as I frequently think about titles and am acutely aware of how a title can communicate with viewers. You left a comment on my Grave Rubbing Art Quilt post, but I have another series called Decision Portraits ( This on-going group intentionally uses the title in order to elicit an "audience" response. The title and stitched words are meant to work together to reflect the decision made by the person depicted. The first piece in the series (which now numbers over 45) has stitched words that read: One Day At A Time. The title is: 25 Years Sober. Yet, the thing that really struck me in your blog post was the notion of a title leading to more actual sales. I've never thought about that and find it very, very interesting. I've also never actually displayed work as "Untitled" and think there must be some interesting way to incorporate the viewer's ideas for titling otherwise untitled work into some sort of installation piece. Very interesting. Thanks so much!

  2. Hi Susan, Thanks so much for your great comment. I have a Redbubble account, and at times people there will upload an image and ask for suggestions for titles. You get some interesting responses that really open your eyes to what the piece conveys to different viewers. I know exactly what you mean about the possible instillation piece you made mention of, I have often thought that an interactive installation of this type would be facinating. Thanks very much for your interest!
    I will visit the url you provided :)

  3. Comment from @AlluringImpress on Twitter
    Rhonda, thx 4 the follow back. Your photography is phenomenal! I enjoyed browsing : ) TFS!
    8:38 PM Mar 17th, 2009

  4. Thanks for the nice comment, your rubber stamp selection is great, also enjoyed the art samples on your site. All the best :-)

  5. Comment from @alwaysart on Twitter
    Your very welcome! I am looking forward to your tweets. Enjoyed seeing your work, especially 'Winter Solstice'

  6. Thanks so much, @alwaysart, Great to hear that you liked my work. Your comment is very much appreciated. Happy to be sharing tweets with you :-))