Erika Allison's Artastic Blog

Breaking the rules… or not

Fun With Titles

Posted Friday, May 4th, 2012

I like a good title.  It makes me try to connect the title with the artwork.  I wonder what it means.  I look at the work, see what I see…and sometimes wonder what it was that the artist saw.  Does the title spell out exactly what it means?  Or, does the title pique your interest and make you wonder what the painting is about?  Is it a serious painting?  Is it tongue in cheek?  What does it mean?  I really hate untitled works.  I sometimes just move on to the next piece because there was nothing to make me think and wonder.  I guess one could argue that the work itself should make me think.  I suppose that would be valid.  But, it’s so much more fun to be poked and titillated.  To me, the title is a part of the work, an important part of the work.  Granted, you don’t want to spell out the entire meaning of the work and explain each mark and color.  Mystery is part of the appeal.  And, each viewer may see something different in the work.  I like that.  Each viewer’s interpretation is valid.  But, a title can be a starting point to get the thinking going.  It can suggest something that the viewer can then follow – or not follow – to some conclusion.  Maybe there isn’t actually a conclusion.  Maybe, getting one to think is all it’s about!  Whatever.  Makes no difference.  Maybe it’s just a personal thing with me.  I like titles.


My painting, “Sign On the Dotted Line”, has a title intended to make one think.  What can that be about?  Where’s the Line?  I don’t see a line!  I see a bunch of dots…large ones, small ones, scattered about…  Whenever I’m asked (or told) to sign on the dotted line, I feel like I’m signing my life away.  Now, it’s written in stone.  Now, I’m bound to this or that.  No flexibility here.  No excuses.  No getting out of it.  It’s signed, sealed and delivered.  Now, I’m beholden.  Signing on the dotted line is a serious and everlasting thing!  There’s always fine print.  Usually, an interpreter is required.  There are way more words than necessary, in fine print, that you’d better understand.  Hah!  Lots of luck with that!   So…I think I’m adding a little levity to the serious act of signing.  Where is the line, anyway?  Not only is everything in fine print that I don’t understand, I can’t even find the line!  Wouldn’t you know it?  “They” have all the control.  And, you can take it from there.  Whatever you see in the painting is okay with me.  But, I gave you a starting point, something to ponder…


Sign On the Dotted Line




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