Defining the Visual Arts Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 31 May 2016

Defining the Visual Arts

Visual art defined

Visual arts can be defined in many ways. The textbook answer was unobtainable for this class. Visual literacy seems to be the focus of the textbook. Online research has yielded slightly better insight: “The visual arts are art forms that create works that are primarily visual in nature, such as ceramics, drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, design, crafts, photography, video,filmmaking and architecture. These definitions should not be taken too strictly as many artistic disciplines (performing arts, conceptual art, textile arts) involve aspects of the visual arts as well as arts of other types. Also included within the visual arts are the applied arts such as industrial design, graphic design, fashion design, interior design and decorative art.” [1] Basically, visual art would be any type of art that can be appreciated visually.

Differentiation from other creative expression

The visual arts set themselves apart from other art forms due to their very name and meaning. Literally, it refers to art work which can be appreciated visually, not audibly, or theoretically, but tangibly visible. Visual arts are very expansive and do not only include unique or fine art, but also practical things such as standard building design and practical objects like Aboriginal tools or other artifacts. In some people’s eyes, something as plain as a school bus could be considered visual art.

Visual arts media types

The Visual arts have many different media types with which visual artists can “paint.” Some of the types are: Dry Media & Liquid Media – Encaustic painting is one example of a type of liquid media, Drawing media, Mixed media, Printed Media, and many more. Virtually any way one can create visual art is derived from a type of Visual arts media.

Meaning of visual arts values

Just as society and individual people have their values, so does the artist. The values behind visual arts can be compared to understanding the meaning behind the lyrics of a song. If one does not understand the artists views and/or values, they will not understand the true value of a particular work of art. This is not true in every piece of art, however. In some cases, an artist intends for his viewers to ascertain the values of the artwork on their own.

Factors of interpretation

In factoring interpretation, there are different ways to interpret anything, whether it’s music, dance, or static visual art displays. If an artist wants their artwork to be interpreted in a certain way, they would have to take into account the overall public opinion on a topic. The values of a piece of artwork play a major role in how a piece is interpreted. As mentioned in the text, Westerners look at the picture of the Arabic woman with a gun, and can only think of one thing, when in reality, the photographer had other intentions for the interpretation of that photo-art.


1. Brown, George Center for Arts and Design in Toronto, Canada”. 2011-02-15. Retrieved 2011-10-30. 2. Sayre, Henry M., A World of Art, Sixth Edition, Copyright 2010 by Pearson Education

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