Naming Artwork can dramatically increase the interest and salability of your artwork. Give your art a story, and that increases further. The best art descriptions are short stories that captivate the imagination of the reader and help them connect with the creator and her work.
But don’t let the word “story” scare you. A story can be a sentence that leads the imagination into a story idea, so it doesn’t have to be elaborate. In fact a story idea can arise from one word that accompanies art as a name or title, and which paired with the art, brings abstract concepts to life through the eyes of the beholder.
For many visual artists, the idea of even coming up with a title for their work can be daunting. If that’s you, but you also would like to give your art more options for connecting with your audience with words, then that’s easy. Simply share your work on your social channels and ask your friends and audience what name they’d give it.
Their answers are usually broad and varied, but will give you ample options to discover one that resonates. If you struggle to decide, then you can simple identify your top two favorites and flip a coin, or ask your fans and followers to vote and go with the majority conclusion.
Zag When Others Zig
There are exceptions to this… there always are. As there should be for there is no one right way.
As you will see further in this article, .. to throw a zag into the zig of this article, landscape artist, Jon Foreman says that for him, art doesn’t always have to have a story… the art is the story.
So when it comes to art descriptions, keep in mind that it can engage and help your audience connect with you and your art, for people connect with stories. But sometimes, the art says it all. Sometimes your patrons prefer complete mystery. Other times they want a one word clue.
So go with your inclinations and preferences, first and foremost while remaining open to learning and evolving. You will also want to listen to your audience for they may have helpful input. We’re firm advocates of the no one way philosophy, and offer this article with both views for you to consider and try out.
RELATED: You must do you. It’s ever a balancing between being open to change and growth, while objectively holding true to what’s right for you.
Art Descriptions as Art Bios
You need an artist bio, and your art needs a name and bio as well. The captions that accompany your art via labels and brochures do for your art the same that a frame does for a painting.
Art descriptions frame meaning, story and intrigue and complete your work the way a frame completes a painting.
Examples of Art Descriptions
Here are some examples of art descriptions that are both informative, as to some of the technical details, as well as the what and sometimes the why. These are by iCreateDaily community member, Liliya Harpe.
We’ve added the caption to her initials, also to watermark her work. However you can also imagine an art description or art title card about the size of a business card, placed in the lower left or right corner of the art, along with your price if it’s for sale.
FALL ART – After the Rain, ink and watercolor, by Liliya Harpe
Liliya created a Fall Art line as part of an online art class, Art marathon Autumn in the city with online art school Dream and Draw.
FALL ART: Autumn in Paris. Ink and watercolor sketch, by Liliya Harpe
SYMBOLIC SOLIDARITY ART – ink and watercolor, by Liliya Harpe
We know well the role of art in giving expression to the wide range of the human experience. Here, Liliya expresses both sadness and hope for the political and social struggles of her native Belarus.
“All my thoughts today are about Belarus. Here is my drawing in honor of solidarity with what is happening in Belarus. The stork and cornflower are the national symbols of peaceful Belarus.”
WISDOM ART: Saboteurs in Your Head by Kevin McGeeney, Gel pen on drawing pad
“Reject those saboteurs in your head. Seek your truth, be wise instead.”
SAILING ART: Abstract Art by Kevin McGeeney – ‘Sailin’ – gel pen
This vibrant abstract by Kevin is an example of a one word art description that helps it sail into the viewers mind and imagination. Beyond that, Kevin — like Liliya — also answers a common question artists get from fans up front: what medium or materials he used.
Farewell to Anger by World Renowned Artist – Leonid Afremov 1955-2019
Leonid Afremov left a legacy of vibrantly beautiful paintings, many with intriguing names and art descriptions. This is one of our favorites — both the name and the painting — the enchanting Farewell to Anger.
You can see where besides the beauty, the name of the painting brings to greater meaning to the beauty and with it a lightness and brightness of being.
Tell a Story With Your Art Descriptions
Your stories and art descriptions will grow your following. Creators have the opportunity to tell a story that captivates your audience far beyond the one work of art.
If you’re a visual artist, tell the story of each piece of art. From the name you give it to the circumstance that inspired it, or what it means to you, there are many angles of story to choose.
Can’t Write? No Worries!
We get it. Some visual artists are simply not comfortable with word art and would rather let their art be the story. That’s fine too. As indicated earlier, some patrons prefer that so they can absorb whatever the art is saying to them, without any guiding influence.
However, if you would like to give your art some words via a name, title, description and/or story, you may be able to collaborate with a writer. Chances are there’s a writer who needs a cover for their book or a logo or other piece of art in exchange for writing something for you.
Similarly, artists and writers often collaborate on illustrated books.
Ideas for Writers
If you’re a writer, consider if there may be something you can include in your story that leaves a memorable legacy. Many creators are multi-talented and work in more than one creative medium. If you’re a novelist who’s also a jewelry maker, include a special pendant in your story that you can then also make and sell.
You could do the same thing for any other craft you may enjoy. Now, you’ve created story and craft that gives your reader something more to enjoy that connects them with your story and with you.
The story of your art could be a video, a paragraph, a sentence, or just a word. If you’re a writer… an artist of words, you can even creatively employ art to help “describe” your writing. That is what book covers do, after all. Or, it could be like the famous six word story often — though dubiously — attributed to Ernest Hemingway, it nevertheless illustrates our point on art descriptions and how you can say a lot in just a few words.
“For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”
~Famous 6 word story dubiously attributed to Ernest Hemingway.https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/595402/ernest-hemingway-did-not-write-six-word-baby-shoes-story
Your Story is the Legacy of Your Art
iCreateDaily community member, Nancy Briaddy Gardner, shares reflections inspired by the theme of a book she read. Imagine telling a story in such a way that your reader subsequently reflects on aspects of her life and perhaps even starts a new family tradition.
As a writer, telling a story within your story that’s memorable, relatable and shareable, not only enriches your story but it may enrich the lives of your readers, who in turn will share it. That’s exactly what Nancy does in her sharing of the book, The Charm Bracelet.
The Charm Bracelet Review and Reflections
By Nancy Briaddy Gardner
I recently finished the book “The Charm Bracelet.” It examines the relationship between 3 women (grandmother, mother, granddaughter) who have very different goals and “ideal” lifestyles, with an underlying theme of changing needs in different stages of life.
It’s a pretty good read – give it a shot! Anyway, much of the story is told through tales of the significance of specific charms on the grandmother’s charm bracelet. All three women have them, but most stories come from the grandmother’s bracelet.
Anyway, it got me thinking….if I had to tell my life in charms, what charms would I choose..? I’m still pondering, but I know there would have to be some abstract artsy charm for this stage of my life! Probably a pen for my time as a budding “journalist” in high school, a house to represent my pride at being able to independently purchase a home for my boys, my mother, and myself….something to represent strength to overcome struggles, maybe a bumblebee because he can fly even though aerodynamically, he shouldn’t be able to (no one ever told him that). Probably something to represent my new stage of grandparenthood …. and I’m not sure what else. Oh, yea….and something to represent my passion for teaching the kids who need me most.
Nancy shared this story in the iCreateDaily Facebook group and likely from her profile for family and friends as well. This generated conversation where others shared about charm bracelets they had and the meaning and purpose of some of the charms.
What charms would you choose to tell some of your life stories?
You can be sure they will all remember the book, The Charm Bracelet. And what if the author, Viola Shipman, was a jewelry maker and had created a special charm bracelet? That kind of crossover creative branding builds stronger brands.
The story of your art adds depth. To share that story expands meaning for you, for the art and for the beholder.
~LeAura Alderson, iCreateDaily.com®
An Artist Tells a Story About a Painting
The child prodigy artist, now an adult, Akiane Kramarik, tells moving and intriguing stories about her life and her paintings. Akiane tells a story of one of her creations on video, with captivating visuals and personal extended details around the naming of the painting.
All successfully capture the attention and interest of the audience and make it about so much more than a painting.
Your art is about more than a painting or a book, a poem or a song… an herbal remedy or quilt… soap or a candle. Whatever you’re creating, there is story there to share that connects you with your audience, your experiences with theirs and your heart with theirs.
To begin to tell the story of your art, always start with the truth. To tell your truth is always a good story. Even if it is to say that you didn’t have anything in mind when you started painting and the painting just took over and became what it became. That too is a story and then you can name it to frame it.
To tell the story of your art adds meaning. To name it is to frame it in personality.
~LeAura Alderson, iCreateDaily.com®
Akiane Kramarik’s Story of the Naming of a Painting
Observe Akiane’s skill at telling the story of her painting and the naming of it. If you’re just getting started in this, don’t let it intimidate you.
“Soul is like monarch without a crown in an endless palace of relationships. Where each mature relationship is patience, and each immature relationship is a performance.”SOURCE: Akiane’s book, Akiane-My Dream Is Bigger Than I : Memories of Tomorrow
Akiane Kramarik, child prodigy artist, philanthropist
Sometimes, the Art is the Story
And then there’s art like that of the awesome Land Artist, Jon Foreman, where indeed… the art is the story. But be sure to take the 3.5 minutes to see inspiration in motion.
Here, Jon communes with nature… becomes one with it for an extended creative meditation in motion.
Another MUST see Sand Art Creation by Jon Foreman
This spiral mandala labyrinth is exquisite.
I create so often, if I have to have a meaning for every single one, it would become forced. Forcing a meaning on an artwork doesn’t do it any favors sometimes.
~Jon Foreman, British land and sand artist
So you see, sometimes you have to let the art speak its own story. Other times you can give the viewer greater access to its depths with a title or name, and an art description or story.
You can see more of Jon’s nature land art using other natural elements such as stones, leaves and shells here on his Facebook page.
There’s no one right way. Try on different approaches and go with what works best for you.
Hello! I’m LeAura, a philosopher, generalist, autodidactic, personal development advocate, entrepreneur, writer, editor, author, ideator, media publisher, and podcaster, passionate about helping others achieve their best possible life! We’re a media publishing company run by our small family of entrepreneurs, writers, and creators around topics we enjoy, such as gardening, health and fitness, creativity and pets, with more to come.
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