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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 Jan 16, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you for reading the article :heart:
Kakurii Jan 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist

Wow! This is a great set of tips for me becoming an artist :)
Thanks for the details!
jane-beata Jan 16, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks for reading (:
How do you go around giving your artworks a title?
I try to od something wity, or poetic, and failing that descriptive. I did a pratice piece, it got called colored rose. But a rose I spent a massive amount of time I gave the title By any name, in refence to the line A rose by any name is just as sweet.

Do you have a habit of publishing continuously or keep your art to yourself?
I post when I have something, even if it's just doodles, it's fun, and I like to see my own history.
jane-beata Jan 16, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you for reading & commenting (:

Khallandra Jan 16, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Is one of the things I love most when people add, especially the people who paint so realistically it looks like a photo then I see it is a painting and just think 'wow'. Plus it does avoid the questions of 'what did you use' and often rejections from groups who don't believe the gallery you've placed it in (all coming from experience as I had someone once say on an old work 'no way this is markers' and every group submission after that got rejected from a traditional art gallery, so even now I keep at least one 'in progress' shot of each work just to prove it is should someone ask again. Though once I got rejected because I put in the description 'was inspired by a sketch I did at work on on a post-it' and they automatically assumed my fully coloured art was a sketch and rejected it.)

How do you go around giving your artworks a title?
I use sometimes a 'Category: Name' system if I can't come up with a descriptive title, e.g Cosplay: Character Name
Or if it is a gift/art trade the person it is for is in the title too.

Do you have a habit of publishing continuously or keep your art to yourself?
I publish, I figure it's my DevArt account I can put what I want, but I am super (hyper) conscious of regularity and what I am publishing, i.e. I'm a marker artist, so photography which I started with is rare because I tend to believe the people watching me only want marker related works.
jane-beata Jan 16, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you for your thoughtful comment and participation - indeed listing tools can sometimes decide about the artworks "destiny" around groups and nothing is better than making it clear.

H-A-Cooke Jan 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
"What is your perception of thoughts mentioned in this article?"

These are several key aspects that make art more noticeable. However, I will disagree about some of the cautionary advice you use in the "Title It" section.

Often, I come across works that have a title that doesn't fit at all. I think it may be helpful for you to add this bit of information:

There are proper times to use Numbers in Titles. The most common use of numbers in titles has to do with series of drawings, photographs, short fiction or poetry collections. If you must use Numbers, take care that you aren't skipping any, especially if your work being in a sequence is part of what tells the story.

If you do have a work that is "Untitled," make sure to explain your thought process in the Artist Description on deviantArt and to be open to other suggestions. However, don't feel forced to give the work a title you feel doesn't fit.

"How do you go about giving your artworks a title?"

I suppose the process is different for the art I post, or in the case of my Cosplay Photography Re-post. I will do my best to explain my thought process:

Poetry - Often, if a title doesn't come to be right away I call the poem "Untitled" and save the file on my computer with the Date of Creation in parentheses. Every word, including the Title, influences how a poem is read and perceived, so often I will post it as Untitled and ask for feedback.

Fiction - Typically, I only come up with a title after I have written a story or fiction piece. For some reason, I seem to become blocked if I create a title first. I feel the work must live up to the title, which is why I avoid naming fiction pieces immediately.

Photographs - I title the photographs I take by Location, Subject, Number. That way it becomes more obvious that the photograph came from a series rather than being randomly taken. But, I also find that using Location, Subject, Number also lets the photograph speak for itself rather than forcing the viewer to feel what I feel. I usually follow my photographs with questions about the photograph so I can get technique, style, and other advice to improve.

Cosplay Photography - Depending on which costume I am in, I try to name the series of photographs something interesting and then I use a series of numbers afterward.

FanArt - I call the FanArt depending on who I drew. Most of my fanart is requested or drawn as a birthday gift. I don't see a point in posting my older fan art as the quality isn't good.

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

I am trying to use deviantArt to showcase my best work and projects I am proud of. I've really gotten into using the online portfolio with my Premium Account.

In terms of writing I publish work in tandem with groups I'm in, rather than posting a lot of original work. Most of my poetry is work I hope to revise and publish on day! So, I'm keeping that to myself.

I post the fanfiction as a way to stay involved with the FanFiction community in general, but most of it on deviantArt is also connected to groups I am in.

Right now, I am focusing on quality, which is why I haven't published much in the last few months.

jane-beata Jan 16, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you for your generous input, Haley, as always it is most welcome (: I agree with what you've written here and this topic could of course be much wider than what I've covered in my article, you can see that my intention was not absolute precision but rather a small push towards certain direction.

As for titling works, I wouldn't dare to tell any artist how to name their work, when they can or cannot use numbers, letters, anything they wish to publish - this was meant rather as an impulse for those who tend to ignore further work around publishing their pictures. Inappropriate name still shows me the artist cares enough to name it. And again, it is the artist who decides if any of my advices is good enough to follow or not.
H-A-Cooke Jan 18, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Have you considered making Titles a Diary of Jane post?

I think you provided an amazing frame work, though. I know a lot of people who avoid titles because they aren't sure how to make them. So, you provided a good start that can help artists be creative and gives them an idea why titles are important.
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