What Are the Different Types of Visual Art?

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  • Written By: Dee Jones
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Images By: Denis Pepin, Picsfive, Keijo Knutas, Brad Pict, Amphotolt, Undrey, Bayes Ahmed, Pakhnyushchyy, Dred2010
  • Last Modified Date: 08 September 2019
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Visual art is art that is meant to be appreciated visually. There are many types of visual art, and artistic works can be created using a wide array of materials, media, and techniques. Some artists, like painters and cartoonists, work in two dimensions, applying a medium to a flat surface to create an image. Other artists, like sculptors and architects, work in three dimensions, molding, carving, and combining materials to create their artistic works. Photographers and video artists use cameras and video recorders to capture images in artistic ways.

Painting and drawing are two forms of visual art that involve creating images on a flat, two-dimensional surface, be it canvas, drawing paper, a piece of cardboard, the side of a building, or even a sidewalk on a busy city street. A painter typically uses a brush to apply the medium of his choice to that surface, although there are many other options available to the artist. The mediums a painter can choose from include oils, watercolors, pastels, and acrylics. Along with painters, other artists who specialize in creating images on flat surfaces include comic book artists, animators, editorial cartoonists, children’s book illustrators, and caricaturist. Throughout history, artists have used a vast array of instruments and supplies to create their artistic works, including pencils, crayons, pens, markers, and even soft metals like silver and tin.


Some forms of visual art, like sculpture and architecture, are three dimensional. A sculptor uses a material like stone, glass, wood, clay, or even ice to form shapes by either chiseling or carving away certain sections of the material, or molding the material into a particular shape. A sculptor can also create a sculpture by putting different materials and objects together. One form of sculpture, called topiary, involves trimming a bush, shrub, or tree into a desired shape. Other forms of three-dimensional visual art include baskets, pieces of jewelry, and origami.

Certain forms of visual art involve using equipment, like cameras and video recorders, to capture images in an artistic way. The three main types of photography include color photography, black and white photography, and monochrome photography, where the photographic image is produced using a single hue. Compared to photography, video art is a relatively new visual art form, which was first introduced in the 1960s. In video art, the artwork created can either stand on its own, or can be incorporated into a larger artistic work, like a sculpture, or a performance art presentation.


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Post 3

I went to a school for visual art a few years ago and I have to say it is really hard to narrow your focus down to a single kind of craft when there are so many.

We had the choice between skills as varied as metal smithing, to painting with wax, to carving, to life drawing, to graphic art and claymation.

Claymation turned out to be my favorite, but I enjoyed all of it. It is amazing that so many different skills can all be put under the same term, visual art.

It takes a real genius to be able to specialize in more than one of these skills which is why Leonardo Di Vinci was so amazing. He was pretty much good at them all (except claymation, but probably only because it didn't exist back then!)

Post 2

I think children's book illustrators are often not as appreciated as they should be in the art world. Contemporary art seems to mostly revolve around presenting an idea, rather than just something beautiful or something which brings joy to the viewer.

There's nothing wrong with that, of course, but I like to think it is possible to do both.

There are some wonderful illustrators who manage to do this, by combining a, perhaps simple but still meaningful, idea with gorgeous artwork.

Shawn Tan is one of my favorite examples, but there are many others and I think they deserve more credit.

Post 1

Video is one of the newest forms of visual art, but it is one of the most powerful mediums at our disposal.

I have noticed lately that there are a lot of openings for people to work in developing countries, teaching video and documentary making. I think this is wonderful, as the more quickly we start getting movies out of places with very little voice in the greater community, the better.

Not only would this allow people in other, luckier countries to become aware of issues suffered by their less fortunate neighbors, it would also expand their horizons.

And that is always a good thing.

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