Untitled

Did that title make you want to read this post? Probably not. What the hell is it going to be about? Why should I care? Why can’t she just think up a title?

I hate it when art is called “Untitled.” Such a cop out. Come on! I know there are ideas behind this thing you’ve created. Why hide them? Titles like “Water Series #13” are equally lame.

I don’t find titling easy, but I think it’s important. Michael Atavar, in his brilliant book How to be an Artist, concurs. He writes “Never call your project “Untitled” or “Work in Progress.” What does that really say about you–that you have no ideas yet? Give your piece a vivid, memorable title. Drop in a colour. Make the name twenty words long. Grab their attention right from the very first line.”

Even crazy, nonsensical titles are better than nothing at all. They make people think. They make people force connections between the title and the work. They add another level of meaning and complexity to your art.

In his poem “Why I Am Not a Painter” Frank O’Hara is thinking of the color orange. He writes about it, but then

My poem
is finished and I haven't mentioned
orange yet. It's twelve poems, I call
it ORANGES.

Note: the real title of this post is: “I never saw it, but it happened.” The title of the photograph is “That’s When I Knew.”

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