If I followed the advice of my high school art teacher all of my work would be untitled. He believed that titles give the viewer too much information. He also banned the adjective "interesting" when describing art, became infuriated when students sat in assigned seats during class, and had the students take turns teaching the art history class. I don't know, so maybe he was just quirky. In any case, he popped into my head when I started thinking about the power of titles.
I've always preferred neutral titles for the same reason as my teacher – to allow the viewer more freedom to interpret the image. So what happens when the title has more meaning and becomes an integral part of the art? Most of my pieces have layered narratives so choosing a title that is unexpected or even slightly irreverent might encourage the viewer to look deeper and ultimately makes a piece more... dare I say it... interesting.
Originally the artwork shown above was called, No Turns, for obvious reasons. The title had some room for interpretation but, I admit, it was pretty generic. When I changed it to Divergent I saw a broader narrative, without being too literal. Now brainstorming titles has become a much more important part of my work, an enriching experience that I hope touches the viewers too.
What's in a name? Please share your thoughts