What is Art Essay

Category: Art

Oxford Dictionary (2013) Art refers to an application of human creative skills and imagination in visual forms such as painting, sculpture or photography. Oxford Dictionary (2013) further assert that various forms of artworks such as painting and sculptures produce works that are often meant to be appreciated for their attractiveness in terms of beauty and emotional power.  Charlottetown school (2010) argues that not every artist understands why he/she creates given pieces of artworks, but often the artists try to reflect in part their cultures and surroundings.

Similarly, Gaijer (2008) defines art as a human creativity whose primary aim is to communicate thoughts and ideas through visual means.


Painting refers to a creative expression of various events or objects through the use of paints, pigments, or colors (Gaig, 2008). Through paintings, artists express their feelings on their surroundings. For instance, the painting below referred to as the Third of May, 1808, was created in 1814 by a French artist. According to Charlottetown school (2010) the painting shows the execution of rioters who rebelled against the French. Any person who observes this painting would connect it with the suffering that those who rebelled against French colonialists went through.


Sculptures are two or three dimensional objects carved from wood, special types of stones, or metal. According to the University of Chicago (2010) sculpture is the most traditional and the most innovative form of visual art. As opposed to paintings, sculptures appeal to both senses of touch and vision. The University of Chicago (2010) further cites that “sculpture gives satisfaction in touching and handling of objects” (para, 2); which is the only way through which people have direct sensation of three-dimensional space of an object.  Through the sculptures, people pay great attention to religious, sacred, and traditional events and cultures. For example, the sculpture below curved by Antonio Rossellino shows baby Jesus together with his mother and angels. Rossellino used his exceptional skills to draw other people’s attention towards his religious beliefs.


Architecture is an imaginative blending of art and science to design the environment for people. California Architects Board (2011) cite that architecture is the process through which artists transform people’s need for attractive offices and homes into concepts then develop the concepts into building images. Often, architectures use decorative artistic features and themes to attract potential buyers. As such, for various architects to create special architecture, they must understand their clients’ need and use creative designs to respond to such needs.


Photography is an act of producing pictures using cameras. Often, many people argue that photographers are not artists. Beckman (2004) noted that many of those who despised photographers argued that photographers were simply technicians who operated medium for producing the artwork. According to Beckman (2004) for a piece of work to be called an art, it must comprise of three fundamental components which are the artist, the medium, and the artwork. Nonetheless, just as architectures and painters use visual signs to conveyor reflect on the events around them, photography is a powerful medium of expression and communication. For instance, the photograph below conveys an important message on the dangers of smoking on peoples’ health. 

Conceptual Art

Conceptual art refers to the use of given concepts or ideas to portray particular information. In conceptual art, concepts are often more important than the finished work (Beckman, 2004). Thus conceptual art’s main purpose is to communicate specific ideas to a particular audience.

Installation Art

Installation art is an arrangement of pictures in an exhibition. The Museum of Contemporary Art (2010) explains that the essence of installation art is to provide viewers with experience of being surrounded by art. Therefore, installation art provides observers with a pictorial representation of various objects. For instance, the diagram below is a room installation art.

Performance Art

This is a live presentation to an audience of onlookers. As an art, performance may involve recitation of poems, dancing, rapping, drama, acting or singing. Performance art is one of the oldest forms of not only showcasing cultural beliefs and practices, but also addressing controversial issues that people experience in their daily lives. For example, most poems and music are often intended to criticize social vices such as corruption, prostitution, exploitation of the poor, and racism amongst others.

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