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Language Arts November 16, 2008

Posted by cbuchanan in Uncategorized.
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Let us now praise the most unsung element of a piece of art: the title. For me, as a former advertising copywriter and a current magazine editor, I see the title as a key part of a work. At a gallery in Buenos Aires, I was having trouble choosing between two wonderful block prints, but once I heard the name of one of them (“Gotitas de Luna,” or “Little Drops of Moon”), I knew which one I’d be buying. This is not the first time that sort of thing has happened!

In my experience, naming a work is often as tough as physically making it. I like for my titles to capture the vibe of each piece, especially for my more complex pieces, and I think the right title helps smooth the way for viewers to enjoy the art. Sometimes the titles pop into my head early in the process of making a piece; at other times, I’m scrambling for a name just before I write it down. I think my best titles so far have been “Urban Spark,” “Light and Magic,” and “Iron Spires” (which you can see on my site) because they just seem to click with the prints.

Someone else who likes the power of names is Karin Olah, a South Carolina artist who has a great show right now at Dobbs Gallery on 2nd Avenue North downtown. She does amazing, evocative abstracts with fabric and paint, but some of her titles, like “Unwinding Wind,” “Conversation with a Cloud,” and “Rambling Blue,” only add to the effect of her pieces. On her blog, she writes that these pieces were inspired by flying and air currents and wondering “what the wind might look like if it was full of color and not invisible.” Well, dang. I want one! Karin’s show is up until Nov. 29, so be sure to stop by and enjoy her work–and her words.

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