Does art need a title?

No it doesn’t. Does a title change how I like it? Does it change how I want people to view it? Maybe for some people it does but I see no value in it. The art industry seems to think it’s very important. Years ago I remember being asked what the title of a painting was. I was a little dumbfounded because I hadn’t really thought about it. That particular painting was a rock outcrop that I did to experiment with painting using a pallet knife. At the time I said ROCK but that sounded a little anemic and didn’t seem to impress the person asking.

Lately titles have been coming to me as I paint. ‘Man in Red Shoes’ is one. It’s a painting of a beach just to the west of Victoria. Lots of logs, very interesting. There are three very small people in the image. I took a series of photos when my wife and I were in Victoria and put them all together in Photoshop. One of the two men way down the beach appears to be wearing red shoes. I didn’t notice this until I was halfway through the painting. It could also be a red lunch cooler that he is resting his feet on, but it’s very difficult to tell. I was reading at the time about how important titles were so ‘Man in Red Shoes’. I’ve sent a digital image of this painting to a few people (the original is my daughter’s) and the questions started. Everyone thinks it’s quite funny that you can hardly see the ‘man with red shoes’.

‘Sea Stars’ is another. It’s a picture of Siwash Rock in Stanley Park. There are a couple of Sea Stars on the rocks. Some years ago my wife and I were walking the sea wall and just west of Siwash Rock the rocks were covered with Sea Stars so that you could hardly see the rocks. There were thousands of them. There has since been an enormous die-off of Sea Stars on the west coast of North America. I’m going to continue with this type of titling method. I find it a little provocative and sometimes funny.

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