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To Sign or Not to Sign

I am undecided about whether or not to sign my art and waffle back and forth. When I sold prints, I included a paper containing a description of the print with a short bio and a signature. There was one occasion when someone asked me to sign the front of the work, so I did.

I have heard that professionals sign their work. There is a story of an electrician who signs the fuseboxes he makes. The act holds a certain amount of pride. It acknowledges a confidence, an ownership.

On the other hand, in the philosophy of Wabi-Sabi, artists leave their work unsigned. Leonard Koren does not print his name on the spines of his books. The beautiful, intricate sand mandalas of the Buddhists are temporary works of art that get washed away by the tide. The people who make the mandalas are unknown, but the act of the work is well known.

I feel my works sits insecurely between this-is-mine and all-things-are-temporary. Sometimes I feel like a signature changes the work. Other times I am just lazy or don’t think about it. I am more inclined to sign a physical piece than something that goes on the internet. That may change.

What about you? Do you sign your art? Why do you do it?

Hi I’m Jamuna Burry.
365 DAYS is my personal practice of shipping words and images.

Jamuna Burry

Exploring ideas on creativity through digital art.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. jamuna

    I really like the chop for signing. But am not settled in the content within the square. I need to play more with it. I would love to know how your chop would look, Edward.

  2. Edward Norton

    I’m a big fan of chops. I walked past a gallery last week that had large pencil drawings and a small red chop with the artists name. It was the first time I’d seen it used outside Asia and by a ‘Westerner’. It looked classy and fitted with the work. I see you’re using a chop too. I think it’s far better than the generic fake cursive water marks that so many photographers use. Have you thought about getting a chop made so you can physically stamp work? I’ve only sold a few pictures and I’ve only ever signed the mounts. I would probably use a small chop in future if I ever decide to go down that road.

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