What is art? A better question would be what isn’t art? Art is a way for us to express our selves. In my opinion everything is art. When you look around at your surroundings, everything was created, designed, or built by someone in a creative way. Your computer, a book, your shoes, the clothes on your back, and even the building you’re in is art. Over time visual art has been classified in diverse ways, from the medieval distinction between liberal arts and mechanical arts, to the modern distinction between fine arts and applied arts, or to the many modern definitions, which define art as human creativity. There are many different styles of art such as architecture, dance, sculpture, music, painting, poetry, film, photography and comics. Along with each style there are also many different elements that come together to make a work of art. A work of art takes time, thought, and individual creativity. To better define Art I will describe what it takes to create a work of art which are the elements of art, principles of design, physical materials, style, form, and content .
All works of art begin with the elements of art; line, shape, light, value, color, texture, space, time, and motion. Each element adds something different to a work of art. A line is the simplest element of art. “It serves as a basic building block around which an art form is constructed and, by itself, has the capacity to evoke thought and emotion (Understanding Art pg. 26).” Some artist use lines to create a whole work of art. In the book Sol LeWitt’s “Lines from Four Corners to Points on a Grid” is a work of art created using only lines which makes the viewer’s mind run wild with ideas to try to understand it. Shapes are defined as the areas within a composition that have boundaries that separate them from what surrounds them. Shapes can be formed by lines enclosing a space. Light and value come together to help bring lightness and darkness to a work of art and make them pop out. Color in my opinion is a very important part of a work of art. Many artists use color in there art to show emotion. Victor Vasarely’s uses color and shapes in his piece the “Orion” to make the work look like it is coming at you or moving away depending on what portion you’re viewing. Texture is the element of art that adds character to the surface of a work of art. Artist use textures to evoke emotional responses from the viewer. Rough textures give off an aggressive feeling to the work while soft textures are more comforting to the viewer. Artists use space to create backgrounds and to show distance from objects in a piece of work. The final elements are time and motion. Some artists use time and motion in their work such as Liz Magic Laser’s “The Thing” which is a photograph that shows time and motion standing still. So art is anything with shape, value, color, or texture. A combination of these many elements is what artist use to create these elaborate works of art.
Elements aren’t the only thing that goes into a work of art. You also must include the principles of design to “combine the visual elements of art into compositions that have a certain style, form and content” (Understanding Art pg. 67). The principles of design are unity and variety, balance, emphasis and focal point, rhythm, scale, and proportion. These principles are not present in every art work. Some artists incorporate a few of these principles and omit others from their work which creates individuality and a unique style to every artist. A great example of variety within unity is Andy Warhol’s “Ethel Scull Thirty-Six Times”. “An overall unity abides within the nine-by-four grid and repetitive color scheme, but the wide variety of expressions create a multidimensional view of Scull’s appearance and personality” (Understanding Art pg. 68). Artists use balance to even out the visual elements in a work of art and make it symmetrical. The