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As I take part in judging our Annual Competition, something that often snags my attention is the title of the artwork. This might be a good thing—such as a title that adds meaning to a piece—or a bad thing, such as a really awful pun.
When I was in art classes in high school and college, coming up with titles was my favorite thing to do. I usually opted for intentionally vague, overly pretentious kinds of names. But another thing I loved to do was take a phrase and run it through the Internet Anagram Server. This great tool finds all the possible combinations for the words you enter. You can limit the output (such as limiting the results to only two words, or to words of at least three letters) by using the advanced search, which I highly recommend.
For a letterpress class I took in college, we had an assignment to play with the letters of our names. I used the search to come up with some great anagrams of my name, including:
• Brocade Hugs
• Badgers, Ouch!
• Bodega Crush
• Obscured Hag
I went with Bodega Crush for the assignment. To me, it invokes this feeling of being young and infatuated at a corner store in the Upper East Side, sipping a lime agua fresca.
I think you could use the anagram search even to come up with prompts for painting or writing. For example, entering The Artist’s Magazine into the search comes up with Amaranth Zeitgeist and
Metastasizing Earth. What great words!
So, blog readers, I’m really curious—how do you title your works? Maybe you have certain rituals, or maybe you absolutely hate doing it! Post a comment and let me know.