Outsider artist, Bill Traylor

Outsider artist, Bill Traylor

I get a lot of people asking me whether they should sign their art. Whether they should sign it on the front or the back and how big or small or maybe even not at all.

So there are no rules. This is a relatively minor thing but still naming the maker of the art is important. Especially for the artist.

Let me back up a little and talk about how I like to think about pictures, art, that people make. I feel it needs to be authentic. It wants to be as much like that artist as possible.

If most artists are anything like me, that end result, the final stages of the painting will always be scrutinized by the artist to see if anymore anything can be added to convey more strongly whatever is there. Can I make this more like I want it? What could I add or take away that could convey that feeling better?

Now, that same scrutiny needs to be applied to where and how a signature is added to the art.

Can it be added in such a way that it doesn’t take away from that original. idea being construed? So let the art determine how loud or quiet the signature will be. I tend to make mine more second reading. I don’t want to distract from what is going on in my painting.

But however you sign your art, just realize that your signature is a visual addition that can be barely noticeable or hugely distracting.

If the signature is super big, then the painting might suddenly become more about your signature. You might want this. And that too is ok. All I am saying is to be aware of the visual impact of your signature. It is part of the art, not separate, once placed on the front of your work.

Here is what I do:

I sign my last name, usually on the bottom front of all my original art.

Then on the back I write, with a black permanent felt pen (a fine point sharpee)
the following 7 things:

1. My full name
2. The title
3. The size
4. The materials
5. The date
6. A 4 digit unique image code
7. My website

I add these 7 items on the back so I don’t have to ever spend time answering the questions that come up if I don’t. I just say all the information is on the back of the painting. I also want to make it easy for people who see my art, to find me.

And in regards to the front of your art, you no longer need to wonder what size or where to sign your art now. Your signature is just one more mark in thousands that comprises your finished art.

Just use the same sensibility when making your signature that you do in making your art. That will always make it feel and look, perfectly right.

I would love to hear your thoughts on where and when you sign your art.

Please, lets talk about this in the comments below!

Nicholas W