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What is in a name

By Jordan Miller on September 12, 2016

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about ‘what is in a name’ in terms of business names and naming artwork (below).

In my last blog post I wrote about cre8ery and mentioned that I would explain the name in my next post.  People always ask me about this name, why we named it with the number 8, why we didn’t choose a simpler name like a ‘regular’ word.

These were some of the guidelines we used to come up with ‘the name’.

  • If it is more complex people will remember the name.
  • Business names are always alphabetical, therefore we should name the business something that fit under A-C so we would be listed near the top.
  • art and creating – gallery, studio, and classes…somehow all of this needed to be in the name (with the cre8ive and cre8ing being the most important part that makes the rest happen)
  • we are a business not just for people to create in but a business where art is for show and sale.
  • If the name came up on Google Search as an existing name in August of 2006, it could not be our business name. 

The complete breakdown of cre8ery

  • cre as a prefix: stands for the creative, creating, creator (the artist who makes the work/is making the ideas behind the work/producer of the work)
  • 8: the facility is 8, 800 square feet of creative space and exhibition space.  The original partner of cre8ery before I incorporated it on my own was or is Metis.  The 8 as an infinity symbol was important to him as well.
  • ery: is the business of selling art after its produced in the studio/classes/homes of artists – we exhibit all artists.  ery according to the Dictionary means: 1. a suffix of nouns denoting occupation, business, calling or condition, place or establishment, goods or products, things collectively, qualities, actions, etc.:
    archery; bakery; cutlery; fishery; trickery; witchery.

The downside of this name, we learned shortly after, is

  • often people can’t spell it, it was a graphic design consideration to write it ‘cre8ery’, the two ‘e’s make an 8 sandwich, there is no t in cre8ery as the eight already makes that sound.
  • older people who don’t know the term ‘sk8’ don’t understand that an 8 is part of the pronunciation.  They often think this is a B.  After they learn how to say it, they no longer call it creBery.
  • without mentioning the words ‘gallery and studio’ the name doesn’t say what it is when it is spoken alone.

How did this dreamed up name come to be?

We first googled Artery as we both liked the name.  Art runs through the veins of the community, it runs through the blood of the artists, and it makes our hearts beat to be creative individuals.  Unfortunately, it was taken by a gallery/studio space in Alberta, they must’ve known what a great name it was for the artist community.

We then started putting other words together, we voted on them in agreement and each time we fell in love with another name it was already taken. Nothing seemed to work.  The name was important as it has a purpose in making it speak something for us.

Each night I’d fall asleep with creative word associations.  One night, the last night of the big brainstorm debate was, the night we decided.  How did we come up with it?  I said create. create. cre8. a million times.  As I heard it, i drew it in my mind and had thought of how it would be ‘unique’ and we agreed that it would fit all of our guidelines above.

We took the cre8 word and added it to the ERY we liked about artery. Like Bakery! Google resulted in 0 cre8ery results.  The ery had to be defined for me to really make sure it was right so we consulted the Dictionary…


what is in the name for art?

In 2005, my partner at the time convinced me that titles sold artwork. The title said the what it was, even if it was vague. When i graduated from fine arts the trend was to have your work ‘untitled’.  I had Untitled #1 with (brackets) following it to indicate the series I was presenting.  It was seen as ‘giving too much information’ when you titled a work of art.  As my sales of my artworks began to pick up I found i it harder and harder to keep an inventory of sold pieces and recall who had which piece in their ‘collection of the artist’.    I am far more an ‘artist’ and visual than I am word savvy.

In 2010 I hosted a show with 364 of my own paintings, the 365th was the entire piece as one, only to be viewed once as an installation in 2010 (October).  I no longer have any of these works. About 40 were destroyed and donated to charity, the others were sold over a 4 year period.  It was at this time that I struggled to name all 364 pieces and called upon friends and family to help.  Now I have learned to title each piece as I create them.

Now I paint intuitively to begin any piece of art.  As I begin a work of art, i lay down the colours that illustrate my emotion of how I feel in that moment.  Once its clear I’ve set a tone, I begin pulling out a theme.  Once the theme is there I build on it and a title comes to me.  By the time I’ve finished that work, it has a working title that often needs a fine tune up.  A little spice, a dry joke of some sort.  A story of some kind that someone can relate to.

The most thoughtful titles were most evident in my exhibitions, “Finding Home: Searching Self”, “Sweet and Innocent” and “It all Starts with a line”.

I’ve mistakenly called two paintings “Inhale” without realizing it.  I guess that is why people need to keep an inventory of paintings.  Both had the Inhale mood and ironically, they were both painted with the same colours, and a directional upwards force and at the same time completely different paintings.

So what is in a name?

A LOT.

Keep dreaming, thinking, and telling your stories through your art.  If a name doesn’t fit, keep thinking!

Please take a moment to respond to my blog below. Its great to read your comments.  I am not a writer by any means but I want to tell my story.  Thanks for reading! – Jordan

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