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Submitted on
January 15, 2013
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PE: The power of context

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 6:04 AM

A picture is indeed "worth a thousand words", a complex idea can be conveyed with a single still image. This quote also characterizes one of the main goals of visualizations, namely making it possible to absorb large amounts of data quickly. In our perception of artworks we see every day, some get closer to our hearts than others. Imagine a painting, strong and powerful, technique showing an experienced, steady hand, needing nothing but a pair of eyes to enter one's sensitive soul. Are you satisfied with what you see? I wouldn't count on that, but I would be quite sure that after a while your head fills with numerous questions.

On the contrary, your favorite artist publishes their recent work and you, as always, immediately love it. If, however, you would allow your mind a little exercise, you could clearly see that if this work was shown to you at random, under different circumstances and you would not know the author, hardly would it catch your interest for a second.

What is important than, the picture or the context? I will let you decide for yourself, what I intend to mention in this article are a few tips for artists that can hardly understand why their wonderful artworks go around unnoticed. Meanwhile, I strongly hope these will help you on your way to become properly understood and recognized.

:bulletpurple: SIGN IT - In all your creations, you should always use one specific signature, the one that is readable by people. The importance of signing every artwork you make is clear, every time someone sees a piece of art they like, first question asked is "Who is the artist?" The answer needs to be there.

beware of  -  Signature so big and glaring that it puts the picture itself in the corner looks rather ridiculous.

 :bulletpurple:TITLE IT - This is very important, many artists does not bother with titles and their works end up either "untitled" or with numbers as if their creations were cups of coffee. Title says quite a lot about your perception of your own work - giving it a proper name establishes personal attachment, revealing part of its message, thought, idea.

beware of - Offensive and inappropriate titles, numbers, random letters.

:bulletpurple: DATE IT - Especially when the artwork you are presenting was made earlier and your style has developed ever since. By dating your works, you provide your audience a timeline in which they can follow your progress, development of your technique and subjects.

beware of - Providing a false information.

:bulletpurple: EXPLAIN IT - on DeviantArt we have an "artist description" window that gives you enough space for anything you would want to say about the artwork and I suggest you use it. Personally, nothing saddens me more than to see a wonderful artwork with blank and deaf description. Besides artwork commentary, you are welcome to mention your progress, was the work spontaneous or carefully planned, what thoughts command you to work this way, etc.

beware of - Overly long essays, inappropriate phrases but mainly indecent self-criticism - if you truly hate it so much, don't publish it.

:bulletpurple: PLACE IT IN A LARGER CONTEXT - What and who influenced you? What book were you reading, what music were you listening to? What was going on in your personal life? These questions seem to be too much, but often it is exactly a deep personal experience that leads you towards creating something unusual. If you dare to share it, you are on a good way to form a strong connection between your artworks and your audience.

beware of - Listing numerous insignificant events or publishing inside jokes nobody but you understands.

:bulletpurple: LIST THE INGREDIENTS - Techniques you've used shouldn't under no circumstances remain a mystery, make it transparent, list your tools consistently. Not only you will help starting artists and students by pointing them to the right direction towards a specific technique, but you will most likely avoid suspicions regarding origin of your artwork.

beware of - There is no need to list 20 graphite pencils you've used in your sketch one by one, your eraser or a tissue. As with everything, stick to the point.

:bulletpurple: BE - THERE - Publish your works continuously, give it time, be open for discussion and opinions. Write personal journals from time to time, if you like. People will start perceiving your work in a context of yourself, your thoughts and circumstances in which you create. Remember that a "familiar thing" is always seen differently than an unknown picture out of context.

beware of - Overdoing it.

What is your perception of thoughts mentioned in this article? How do you go around giving your artworks a title? Do you have a habit of publishing continuously or keep your art to yourself?

Write your thoughts in the comments below :heart:



Motivational article written for #projecteducate's Community Week.
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jane-beata Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you (:
Astrikos Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2013   General Artist
:huggle: My pleasure!
PizzaPotatoNBacon Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Student General Artist
Beautiful article! :)
Context really matters, as I've seen lovely work but it ticks me a little when the description is sdshbgwgey.
AJ333 Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Great tips! I really hate it when artists leave "." in the description and I want to know how much time it took and what tools they used or a story background...

I'm guilty of the numbers one on my photography account for titles because that's how I sort my pictures. I have (estimated) 25,000-50,000 pictures on my hard drive and other various places and I have to keep it strait somehow. ^^;

Anyways, lovely article thanks for sharing :D
Harrisons-Forge Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Professional General Artist
Well thought out article :)

If a title springs into my head then I use it. Sometimes it is a thought or feeling and at others more descriptive, occasionally a piece of work will be titled with a quote or line from a song. I find this is far easier when painting, drawing etc. but can be difficult with photography, especially if you photograph similar things a lot. bluebell 59 or sky 173 doesn't appeal to me much so I try to find something else or I would drive myself nuts lol

I have tried to publish fairly consistently, but life does not always allow it.
MoonFey Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013
Such a helpful and lovely article! :dance:

:bulletpurple: What is your perception of thoughts mentioned in this article?

You have made a lot of great points that I really agree with, and will keep in my mind for the future, the one about signing the art, though, I am a little bit confused about and it is something that I personally been having some problems with since I started uploading art to DA. I have a signature that I have been using since my early teens, but as that signature is my real name I don't feel that comfortable having it up on the Internet and on the other hand writing an Internet name on the actual piece of art feels a bit odd to. Maybe you have some thoughts or advice about signing art for use both in and outside of the wast world wide web? :aww:

:bulletpurple: How do you go around giving your artworks a title?

The title usually comes to me while I paint and it is often something that describes the painting or the feeling around it. :meow:

:bulletpurple: Do you have a habit of publishing continuously or keep your art to yourself?

I don't have a scanner so unfortunately most of my paintings are just laying in a box. The few I have uploaded are pictures taken with my phone or scanned by a friend. But it has led me to make some attempts at digital art. :painter:

Thank you for the great article! :happybounce:
catluvr2 Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I think that saying what kind of a mood you're in when you create something can really affect how the work's perceived. For example, take a happy emoticon. If the creator was happy when making it, you think "Oh, they're happy and they want the world to know it!" But if they're sad when they made it, it adds a feeling of "I wish I could be happy right now, so I'll put on this mask" to it.
bottled-mermaid Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013
Thank you for this beautiful article!!! :hug: :hug:

I agree with your suggestions: I often try to give my drawings a good title, and always put my signature and date :) To me, context is very important: I am an hobbyist, and in my drawings I always try to point out my feelings, fears, desires. I like to use simbolism from time to time, to express myself, my point of view. I'd like to study concept and simbolism more, to make them more effective.

And I feel the same when I watch other artists' artworks: a good artwork is good, technique and skills are important...but I noticed I'm more moved by artworks that speak to me...and titles and descriptions are very important, because they help me understand the artwork and find new deeper meanings in it. :)
oragamiknight Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Wow thank you for posting this, it was very helpful~ :D

Regarding the context Vs. picture, this was exactly what my thoughts were cycling the other day. I was browsing a well known artist's gallery and i couldn't help but notice the grand portrait of an animal received less views/ comments/ faves etc. than another work of theirs depicting characters from a fandom (both were outstanding nonetheless).

Have a nice day~
jane-beata Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Yes indeed, that happens often and it shows how people think when "faving" artworks - thank you for reading & your comment (:
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