Should you really be signing that?

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Thread: Should you really be signing that?

  1. #1
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    Should you really be signing that?

    Hey, This is an art discussion I think... anyways: I have been wondering what other artist feel on the subject of signing your work.
    Generally, I find that unless its a print (where you kind of have a moral obligation to at least edition it) a multisession painting or very occasionally a drawing that took for-f***ing-ever to do, and really stands out, signing a piece comes off as slightly pompus.

    This is clearly an opinion, and one I am willing to abandon. But I would genuinely like to see what people have to say on the matter.

    The reason it strikes me as a bit bold has something to do with peoples thought process that lead up to the actual signature. All art is, in a way, a record of old thought processes (this is a stolen quote... I think?)... why after experiencing said process would you sign your name on it?

    is it because those were your thoughts, are you taking possession of them? Like making sure your lazy roomate doesn't steal your grahm crackers by taping your name on the box?

    Are you really that proud of the work, that you want it to be associated with you? Your art is fine the way it is right? In four years... or even four months, when you look back on it, will you still be so proud?

    Are you marking the work as those of a fictional madman? Is your signature an alternate persona? (this one I do respect on some level, mainly because in concept it is slightly egotistical..yes, but its funny at least)

    There are some people who deserve to sign thier work. When others do it, all I see is a bunch of cats barking.

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  3. #2
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    "There are some people who deserve to sign thier work."

    So some people don't? A signature is there to tell others who did the work. Quality isn't really a factor.

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    Should you really be getting bent out of shape over what other people do with their art?


    Tristan Elwell
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  6. #4
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    why do you give a shit?

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    Quote Originally Posted by batcustard View Post
    All art is, in a way, a record of old thought processes (this is a stolen quote... I think?)... why after experiencing said process would you sign your name on it?
    Beacause it's my and not someone else record of old thought process.

    Last edited by Farvus; March 14th, 2009 at 08:19 PM.
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    Seriously?

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    Putting your name on something isn't as highly a mark to other people as it seems.

    People just put their name on it to identify it. Sometimes it's as simple as that. Artists probably don't consciously put their name on it to "show off" necessarily. Most people probably think of putting their names on their art, like they do putting their names on classwork, tests, bank checks, etc.

    Lol, It sucks that I'm asian. I can't help it if I look like a million other people.

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    I just do it habitually on everything, even if I only spent 10 minutes working on it. Plus I just enjoy writing my name on things, so it comes naturally. I guess I could see reserving your signature only for those works that you're really proud of, or perhaps not signing something that really displeased you, but that all seems rather weird to me. I mean, I suppose its all ego driven on some level, but I don't really think of my signature that way. Instead I look at it more like a punctuation mark at the end of the sentence, or occasionally in the middle of the sentence, or maybe like an ellipse, for those sentences that just won't stop running....



    It might be kind of funny though, if we all started signing our stuff with "I'm fucking awesome" or "This sketch blows" instead of our names.

    Another thing to consider: what if the one drawing that you didn't sign, ends up being the only one to survive into the next century? And instead of Batcustard's kick ass drawing of whatever, you just wind up in the text book as the "Unknown Californian Master" or some shit like that? All because you didn't take that extra half a second to put your name it.

    On second thought, I don't know, I'm a total megalomaniac when it comes to this stuff. For example, I think it would be way cool to make it on some list of the 'Ancient Californians', who's work was lost to history (totally destroyed in 'The Big One' of 2012) but who remains nonetheless on account of his scrawling signatus.

    You can never be too sure, right

    Last edited by Jasonwclark; March 15th, 2009 at 12:51 AM. Reason: Jason W. Clark!!! Can't fade my digamma ;)
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  13. #9
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    signatures are an old tradition well worth keeping in my opinion

    we were all shoddy at some point in our lives at just about everything, and that's worth remembering.

    ---- -
    sehertu mannu narāṭu ina pānāt šagapīru ningishzidda
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    I don't sign a lot of things simply because I haven't found a signature that I like.

    Really, to me a signature helps tie one artists body of work together. Lets say, for example, that you see a piece of art somewhere, and you'd like to see more of the artists work. If it's not labeled, and it's not signed, wouldn't it be that much harder to find out who the artist is? Especially considering that over an artists lifetime their style is going to continue to evolve.

    Plus...I simply find signatures fascinating. Not just the typical script ones, but the stamps and symbols that some artists employ. It gives another little glimpse into the artists personality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jasonwclark View Post
    I mean, I suppose its all ego driven on some level, but I don't really think of my signature that way. Instead I look at it more like a punctuation mark at the end of the sentence, or occasionally in the middle of the sentence, or maybe like an ellipse, for those sentences that just won't stop running....
    I like this idea. This is exactly the kind of thing I wouldn't have thought of on my own. And just like my stolen quote I may employ it. The signature to say "this is done." As good as it will be.

    Anyways, I'm not getting bent out of shape by other peoples signings. When I was still small, I was told to never sign my work until I had worked for it. I come from a family of painters and so its always been something I was raised thinking... I don't know, but I hoped asking what other people had to say on the subject, then seeing which people replied in which fashion would shed some light on it for me.

    Who was in line with my previous way of thinking. Who isn't? Why?

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    The art you do is yours. Bad or good.

    When you finish with it, sign the damn thing. Date it, too. That will form a record of how you grow through the many levels of stupid to just-moderately-incompetent to probably passable if you squint just right.

    The alternative is to not do anything at all, since you seem so hung up on someone misunderstanding why you're signing a piece of something that YOU did, with YOUR damn tools and skills, on YOUR paper/canvas/3x5 card. Let's get this straightened out so we all can get a handle on it...exactly WHAT is so fucking evil about signing/claiming something that you yourself did?

    No position or belief, whether religious, political or social, is valid if one has to lie to support it.--Alj Mary

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    I do not sign anything on the front of the work, ever. The signature always goes on the back.

    The reason for this is that when the work is complete it means what that says, complete, and any additional mark puts things out of balance, let alone my writing on the damn thing!

    I did go through a period when I added a tiny abstract box monogram because of my publishers wishes on this matter. But it just feels kinda silly, or illogical if I can sign it bigger and better on the back - I put this down to my up-tight Britishness......

    Final thought: The most important thing is the work itself, not who did it, so if I'm trying to not have the signature noticed why put it on the front at all? It makes logical sense to write it nice and legibly on the acres of space you have on the back.

    JasonClark, as Batcustard says, makes an interesting point - a sort of indication that the artist deemed it finished - I like that idea.

    Last edited by Chris Bennett; March 15th, 2009 at 05:28 AM.
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    I agree with Chris, although i sometimes sign the front of a simple portrait sketch, when I give it away. All my pastels are signed on the back. Dating's probably more important for you than signing.

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    On a professional level, signing work is self marketing. Your own work is the best advertising you can hope for.

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    At the moment, i dont really feel like my work is worth signing. I do it occasionally if i am sending it to someone and want to be sure that it is safely marked with my name. I do date my work when i remember though, as keeping a record of my progress is more important to me than branding it with my name at this stage. Exhibition and professional work are different though.

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    Well, I do 'sign' my work, but the problem is that I really don't have a signature I like, so the signature changes most of the time to fit the mood I have when I am making a particular image.

    Also, I treat it (most of the times) like just another part of the image, like a rock, a pot or something, and I try to place it somewhere that will make it help the composition, if I can't find a place where it fits, I just put it where it is visible but also doesn't steal attention from the image.

    I don't know if this 'though process' belongs to anyone else besides me, but it emerged from within as a need, so I go with it when I feel I must (or for marketing purposes as was said before).

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    I sign my work for the same reason I sign my coffee mug, so it won't get lost with all the rest. If it's a nice mug I might sign it on the bottom.

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    My art isn't a record of thought processes. More often than not when I paint I'm thinking of cars, women or food.

    I sign it when I'm done in the same way as I'd have my name on the cover of a novel I wrote. Because it's mine and I want people to know it's mine.

    I love a bit of analysis and I read psychology all the time but I reckon however much you dig on this one you'll not get beyond that big thick layer of obvious.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J Wilson View Post
    On a professional level, signing work is self marketing. Your own work is the best advertising you can hope for.
    That's just what I was thinking. Additionally, if an Art Director saves some image files of yours that they like, and then comes back to them a month later with no name or website, then they won't know where to go to contact you. More likely, they'll just move on to the next image they saved where the artist had the foresight to include ther contact info on the jpg.

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    I'm confused by the number of comments along the lines of "I haven't found a signature that I like yet." Whose signature are you looking for? I seem to remember that the first thing I learned in grade school after "don't shit on the teacher's desk" was how to sign my name. It's changed in form a bit over the years, but it says exactly the same thing (actually--same 3 things) that it did when I started out. I actually have 3 signatures--a complete legal one with all four names spelled out, one I normally use on just about everything including art, and a variation of that when I'm dealing with people who don't know me (I leave a "j" off my name to prevent idiotic questions).

    BUT...basically I didn't have to look for a signature, buy or lease one from some "signature store," or ask somebody to make one up for me. Seems like a lot of wasted effort and talk on/for nothing. Your name is "Tommy," you write out "Tommy." Period.

    ART NOTE: I started as a printmaker, so I sign all art on the front from force of habit. Doing it on a painting without destroying the perfect delicate visual balance of your 300' x 200' masterpiece doesn't seem like that big of a problem to me, especially if you use something smaller than a whitewash brush and neon orange paint...

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    The only decent argument I read here for not signing ones artwork had something to do with composition/balance , But what does that matter when you can just digitally remove it ? and if you want to, replace it with >online username here< . not only that but I also use a signature to tell me to move on the the next drawing or finish up on something. I do that when writing essays as well, I sign my name and date it, otherwise I'll end up rambling or something , lawl.
    ~Mr_S_14 , Today !

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    Over the years (and by that I mean since I was 12) I developed a signature that fit nicely into the right bottom corner of all of my drawings and paintings. My signature literally went from a really long cursive spelling out of my name to a B and a P, with squiggles and the P is big plus the year drawn into the end of the signature. It's the same signature I use on everything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilaekae View Post
    I'm confused by the number of comments along the lines of "I haven't found a signature that I like yet." Whose signature are you looking for? I seem to remember that the first thing I learned in grade school after "don't shit on the teacher's desk" was how to sign my name. It's changed in form a bit over the years, but it says exactly the same thing (actually--same 3 things) that it did when I started out. I actually have 3 signatures--a complete legal one with all four names spelled out, one I normally use on just about everything including art, and a variation of that when I'm dealing with people who don't know me (I leave a "j" off my name to prevent idiotic questions).

    BUT...basically I didn't have to look for a signature, buy or lease one from some "signature store," or ask somebody to make one up for me. Seems like a lot of wasted effort and talk on/for nothing. Your name is "Tommy," you write out "Tommy." Period.
    My legal signature looks like "something an EKG machine spat out". Why? I had a job where I signed things constantly as a manager, usually in a rush. Considering that in todays society we have automatic bill pay, direct deposit, and (at least in the US), less and less instances where we have to sign for credit card purchases...lets just say I don't have to sign my own name a whole lot now either.

    Now lets factor in that I don't even like my legal name. I have another name that I answered to just as much if not more several years. I didn't even use it to sign all of the work for my printmaking classes. So if you have a pen name, handle, nickname, alias, whatever you choose to call it...chances are without at least a little practice that sig is going to look a little wonky to you.

    Signatures are very personal...otherwise people wouldn't believe in graphology. Not to mention that more people than ever are influenced by other cultures, and using symbols to mark their own identity on their work. Personally I'd rather spend time making art than fussing with what my sig looks like.

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  33. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grief View Post
    i sign the back of my jpegs.
    With a pixelated crayon?

    -channels Dave Barry- Sounds like a cool name for a band.

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    and here i thought i was the angry one on this forum, as for me.. i like it more when people have personalized logos as signatures

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    I used to initial everything (not sign, mostly because it takes up too much space) but then I fell out of the habit for awhile. Not because I didn't think I should sign it, but just because I tended to forget. Lately I'm trying to make myself remember, because I think it is important to sign your work. Otherwise how will anyone know who made it?

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    I put my name on my stuff when it's done, period. For me, it's like putting my name on homework, or a report for work...It's not done until then. And, it's all my work, like it or not.

    By putting your name on it, you remove the possibility of someone else putting their name on it and claiming it for their own.

    And heck, after spending an hour or two on something....like it or not, it's my work. If you don't like it, throw it away. LOL

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