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Give Clients Food For Thought: What They Want To Know About Your Art

woman looking at an artwork


I remember a friend showing me how to scan my images at art school. For convenience sake, he quickly titled the files while we worked. He came up with them on the spur of the moment - they were funny and quirky and revealed much of what I knew of his personality (he is a very funny guy).   These titles changed the feeling of looking at the images and offered a new way to connect with the work.  This valuable experience showed me that a well-crafted title for an artwork is a powerful tool that can help to reveal the artist behind the work and engage potential clients.


Let's put ourselves in our future client's shoes and hope that they have good taste in footwear!

Consider this, what is the first bit of information that a client wants to know immediately after they see your art? If you aren't sure what the answer is just think about your own experience of viewing artwork. Most people, myself included, want a little more insight into the work.


If the work engages the individual (and even if it doesn't) the first move people make after viewing art is to read the title card. Why do you think that is? They usually aren't dying to know the size or the medium of the work. Often the first thing that they look for is more insight from the title. That little bit of text can serve artists so well and we have many options as to the direction we would like to go. It can add a deeper connection to the work, reveal something about the artist's life or personality. It's loaded. Coming up with a decent title for the work can be overwhelming sometimes,  but it's worth it to play around with your options. How many pieces of artwork have you seen labelled "Untitled"? When I am looking at an exhibition and I read the title of a piece of work as "Untitled" I can't hep feeling just a bit ripped off.  It's a bit like hitting a brick wall isn't it? I love when the title of a work makes me feel that I am sharing in some private joke or that I am included in a personal anecdote. A title can make the viewer glance back to the work as they seek to connect the idea in that brief collection of words with the visual expression before them.


If and when possible, adding a paragraph of information wherever your work is shown- online or in a gallery can take this idea even further and give the viewer even more to "sink their teeth into".


"Art buyers want “to connect” with the artist either through direct contact or by means of the information made available, and they don’t want just information, the “connection” they want is an emotional one.


Purchases of art are not provoked by a title (unless it reveals meaning), the artist’s name, a date or specific medium. Neither is price a statistically significant purchase motivator according to art buyer surveys. Art consumers say that they are motivated either immediately by the image or through an understanding of the artist’s inspiration or intent, but often this information is not available to the purchaser—not in comprehensible lay language."


From Chris Tyrell's article, What your clients really want to know.

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About the author

Artist in residence Rebecca Chaperon

Rebecca Chaperon is our Artist-in-Residence

With a compulsion to create unique visual stories, her paintings often follow the thread of a heroine's misadventures through a surreal landscape.

She's had the pleasure of teaching at Langara College and given community workshops on painting techniques with an emphasis on watercolour, oil and acrylic. She is a board member at the Grunt gallery.

View her online portfolio

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