Some of my paintings are being exhibited in public, at the moment, for the first time ever. I’ve never exhibited before (except for the time at my local village fair, but that wasn’t really an exhibition and online, which doesn’t really count either). My paintings are in front of the public and open to criticism, feedback and reaction.
It was reported to me, today, that a young couple had been seen looking at one of my paintings for a while. They’d stopped, noticed it and were spending some time looking at it. My informant reports that their comment was, “he’s got a big signature, hasn’t he?” While amusing, it doesn’t really say much about the quality of the painting, does it? Should I be crestfallen that this was the only feature of the painting they felt worthy of comment? I don’t think so.
Firstly, you have to realise that the size of the signature is quite deliberate. It’s a conscious statement from me to the viewer that I made this. It is as much an act of bravery as it is defiance. I made this, when I didn’t make anything remotely like it, for most of my life. I made this!
I remember very clearly seeing something similar on a print we had in our classroom, when I was a small child. It was a reproduction of one of Van Gogh’s sunflower paintings and he had quite boldly written “Vincent” right on the vase, in the middle of the picture! I thought it was audacious. I noticed it immediately and remembered the artist’s name for a lifetime. It was so bold and so different, there was no way I could forget the impression it made on me.
Some people might think that my big signature defaces my paintings, like some sort of unwelcome graffiti, but I know this one thing. The people that viewed my painting are highly likely to forget the majority of the other paintings they saw today and believe me, there are some very good paintings on show. However, they are unlikely to forget the painting with the big signature.
They might even remember my name.