8 Art Styles to Explore
Have you ever wondered why an artwork looks the way it looks? From arbitrary paint splatters to bold, precise linework, artists express themselves and their vision in a variety of ways with influences of their personal environment and inner world intact. What and how they convey themselves contribute to their unique art styles.
Learning the basics of art styles can help you understand artists’ creative processes better and in turn, you might gain more insight on which styles resonate with you the most. That said, here are 8 popular art styles that you can start exploring:
With the invention of photography, artists began to represent the world as something other than what it really was! This was the case for abstract art which can be described as non-objective and non-representational. Although abstract art takes elements from the real world, it can also exist independently from it. Overall, abstract art communicates the fact that reality is subjective and that we can define it in whatever way we want to.
What makes an artwork pop? Bright colors, commercial imagery, and mixed media are just some features of Pop art. Artists like Andy Warhol explored the relationship between art and popular culture by incorporating daily objects, things you can see in commercial ads and television. This style popped up during a time of optimism and post-war economic boom and is one of the most important movements in the 20th century.
Less is more for some artists. Through minimalism, artists emphasize the essence of the medium or materials that form the artwork. This form of art is a school of abstraction that limits or altogether removes personal expression in order to reveal the purity and beauty of the artwork alone. Its impact on the world surpasses the creation and perception of visual art and reaches into the way people live. *cue Marie Kondo*
Geometric art might be associated with modern art but has actually existed in ancient Greek civilizations. Geometric motifs can be found in the Greek pottery and have continued to persist as an art style in today’s time. Geometric art moves away from natural and organic forms and utilizes precise lines or shapes. Measuring tools or math formulas are sometimes used to create its complex images.
A picture is worth a thousand words, but what if the words are designed in such a way that they convey just as much as a picture does? As an essential part of typography, typeface is the way letters, numbers, or symbols are designed to highlight a style, a feeling, or just readability. Typography continues to remain relevant in today’s art and design for physical and digital materials such as books, publications, posters, and signs.
It’s important to see the world as it is rather than what we want it to be. Realism remains relevant because it rejects the idealization of subjects and instead depicts everyday people and places of the time, no matter how gritty or unsettling. Regarded as the beginning of the modern art movement, Realism proves that paintings and images are just as important as the real world because they affect our understanding of it and in turn, our actions toward it.
Everything is a work in progress. In Impressionist art, one can detect visible brushstrokes, giving the artworks the appearance of being rough and unfinished. This is because the artists sought to create their “impression” of a person, object, or landscape at a moment in time instead of a lasting, realistic image. One of the early art forms to move away from traditional art, Impressionism encourages both artist and art enthusiast to keep embracing new ideas of what art can be.
Bizarre, absurd and irrational are just a few terms used to describe surrealism. This style of art is not just an escape from the real world but also the liberation of the mind. For surrealists, art comes from the unconscious mind where unprocessed human expression and emotion can be accessed and explored creatively. In some ways, being able to reimagine ourselves can be a step towards changing our reality and world for the better.
Although you can categorize certain works of art, keep in mind that art styles continue to overlap and evolve over time. That's just one of the things that make art a little more complex but beautiful.