Sometimes I find them in fragments of a book or a poem, an utterance overheard, or from a homily. I listen carefully to what children say. Titles are hidden in sayings, single nouns, holiday names or traditions, and places. Sometimes they are ready-made phrases, sometimes in need of leavening. Verbalised worlds cling to me and do not leave until I've painted them.
In my native language, I read about long forgotten customs and traditions. The Polish landscape may be illustrated using unique words, sayings, and proverbs. My favourite motif has become Stańczyk -- a patriotic symbol, which I constantly confront with our modern times. He has taken the form of Stańczyk Scarecrow, Stańczyk returning from shopping (Black Friday), Poor Fisherman, and other have-nots.
I look for lightness in them while avoiding literalness, sweetness or exaggerated melancholy. They are best with a bit of irony. I am open to chance, encounters, and the words of others. Sometimes the titles come to me disguised as indigenous people living in the landscapes. They come to me in the field and unknowingly name the painting, give it meaning, or complete a story that had only just begun.
The title should add to the painting, become part of an inseparable whole, resonate, and be memorable. Titles are a starting point or a final chance. Sometimes they come lightly, other times I dream them up for years, or find them difficult to identify among hundreds of trivial, exalted or ill-born words. I try not to make them a necessity. But I think that all too often, "Untitled" is lazy -- an excuse to deprive the recipient of a chance for additional discourse. I have never given up the privilege that they are, and I have never left a painting without a name.
In the photographs above, the paintings are as follow: