Unlock Your Creativity with the Elements of Art

As we seek to better understand the artistic world around us, we are naturally drawn to the elements of art. They are present in every piece of artwork and are instrumental in conveying a message from the artist to us.

These building blocks of physical works of art include – line, shape, form, space, texture, color, and value. And ultimately we interpret the artist’s message through her ability to blend these elements.

But if art is in the eye of the beholder, what comes to mind when you begin to interact with the various elements of art? Can our personalities affect how we value art?

“One intuitive explanation is that personality and the way in which we visually examine artwork contributes to our preferences for particular art,” she said.

Dr. Nicole Thomas – JCU psychology

Purposeful Elements of Art

Being artistic does not mean that you took art classes or perhaps even know the right tools to use – it’s more about creative inspiration applied with purposeful intent.

As Hemingway famously stated, “No subject is terrible if the story is true, if the prose is clean and honest, and if it affirms courage and grace under pressure.”

All artwork is a cocktail comprised of a mix of well-balanced ingredients – applying skills, listening openly to critique from others, and knowing your audience. To create your own art or appreciate another’s try to understand:

  • One or more elements of art conceive a piece of artwork
  • A “visual language” creates an interactive story
  • A piece of art may have more than one message.
  • You can use these defined elements to describe the work of art to another

Oversimplified, the banana peel littered on the floor is a piece of art. Or a masterpiece painting that took a lifetime to complete is as well.

This is where context comes into play. Artists like Marcel Duchamp changed the elements of art with the introduction of relational aesthetics. When Duchamp took the famous urinal, turned it upside down, and put it on a gallery pedestal. The art world changed forever.

Duchamp was playing on relational aesthetics or how the context of space changes the perceptions of art.

More important than our initial perception is the artist’s intention and how they utilize these elements to tell a story.

Artistic Styles to Communicate with Cultures

And so an artist interprets the ‘characteristics’ of each of the elements of art to create their own artistic style of communication.

An artist may even prefer to present their artwork with a certain ‘signature template’ that differentiates their art from others. Because throughout history, artists have influenced cultures or events.

Art is often a reflection of an artist’s social or political environment. So artistic styles belong not only on a timeline but also are subject to a preferred manner of presentation.

Historic art styles include – Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Roman, Neapolitan, Imperialistic, Renaissance, and many more.

Individual art styles include conceptual, whimsical, abstract, photorealistic, composite, impressionism, futuristic, and the list goes on.

And as one movement is challenged, another is birthed from the rejection of the elements of the previous. Each trying to grow and expand our understanding of our world.

An Artistic Aesthetic to Encourage Participation

Philosophy of art that covers aesthetic experience and judgment
We know those aesthetics are an etymology of sense. Artistic aesthetics focus on speaking about the human experience and forging discussions around it.

This dialog helps define the art form in question. Everybody has an artistic aesthetic to lead their life. We all have a voice; it’s a matter of conveying that message to a broader audience and spark a connective moment.

Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter. The sitter is merely the accident, the occasion. It is not he who is revealed by the painter; it is rather the painter who, on the colored canvas, reveals himself.

Oscar Wilde

Can the Elements of Art Really Convey an Artist’s Meaning?

Idealized and imagined in the mind of the artist. The elements of art give context for us to enjoy a shared story.

And when the artist takes that creativity and represents it in a physical form, a visual language takes root in a culture.

Is it music, dance, painting, theater, or something else? Simply, art can be one of these or a combination of two or more things.

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