Naming Art is Tricky, Bambi

Ever wonder how artists come up with names for their art?

I do too, sometimes. Many of my images remain untitled for a while; the colors and shapes in the photograph entice me, but the overall impact isn't always something I can articulate. Names elude me. 

These days, nearly all of my art has one-word titles, which was a convention that stuck a few years back. Many are states to which you might aspire: Calm, Enlightenment, and Peace.

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Or qualities that you might seek or desire, such as Trust, Latitude, Clarity, Brave. The grammar nerds among you may notice they aren't all quite the same part of speech; to which I say, art doesn't care.

Other names are more literal places or seasons; Coast and Seaside and Summer, for example.

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I love jumping around an playing with multiple meanings and connotations words hold. Bloom, for example, is both super descriptive of the image, and a nudge to go forth and flourish and thrive.

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Reflect is a fun one: it was a very literal description of this photo, but also a suggestion

Most of the time I create names by gathering the feelings or sense or place or season that an image evokes. For example, these two spectacular sunsets aren't going to shy away from a challenge, and their names encompass this:

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Naming art, for me, is usually a very unsexy process of looking up synonyms and related words to find the right cadence and feeling for the photograph. Usually they call to me once I find them, as the photograph nearly jumps up and down in excitement telling me that's her name. It takes time. Sometimes images will languish around for a while, waiting for a name before I release them into the world.

But you can't rush it.

 

Every so often, I misname an image and she gets renamed later. Most infamously (to me), I once called this poor baby Flow, which feels a bit like naming your child Bambi or Delilah. Just don't. (Side note: I've now googled variations of "baby names for strippers" and the internet ad machines now think I'm pregnant. Swell.)

 

I mean, sure, Flow is a good state to achieve in life or yoga, but it's a little too reminiscent of a woman's least favorite days and even my male friends were making jokes. She screamed at me nonstop for weeks. Finally, I renamed her Breathe, mirroring what we were all able to do once that awful name was scratched off her birth certificate. 

Phew.

 

 

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Kelly O'NealComment