To sign or not sign a painting...
I was recently asked why I don’t sign the front of my paintings. I believe each artist should think very carefully about how they sign, where & why. Not only does this decision connect to future provenance, but it’s also a discussion of belief of the energy of the work.
Once I create a piece of art, I don’t really feel like it’s mine anymore. Rather, it has its own existence. I don’t feel as though I own it, and even the statement that “I created it” seems slightly off for me. Yes, I did factually stretch the canvas, swatch colors, add each layer, and garnish the piece with finishing touches. But I do believe in that process some of its own energy + uncontrolled elements such as environment & time add to the creation equation.
Not only do I find my signature to be an aesthetic distraction on the front of a large painting, but I find it energetically inaccurate. It almost seems too egotistical for me personally to put my name on the front of something that was a collaboration between me & other factors/influences/time/situation/limitations….
This is not to state I do not own the value of my work & my part in my creations. I just think of the relationship as a child: the mother gives life but then the life turns into an individual who begins to walk on its own & claim its own historiography. -
I do sign my large paintings, just on the back. However, I sign works on paper on the front… because they’re my sketches & studies. They feel like part of my research which I do feel more of a “claim” over.
Musing with my pieces is a way for me to concretely connect myself with my creations. Like how this picture enhances how I feel about the narrative behind this painting: “Catalunya”. Spain’s general elections are this Sunday. I’m sitting at the edge of my seat… hoping for democracy but that’s another story…
What do you think about signing artwork? I’m curious to hear your thoughts! 📸 @leahbeilhart