Visual Art

Visual Art

The definition of visual art from the United States copyright definition is any art form such as painting, drawing, print, sculpture, and still photographic image. Visual art is art that is visual in nature. Forms of visual art include ceramics, drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, design, crafts, photography, video, film making, and architecture. Applied art such as industrial design, graphic design, fashion design, interior design, and decorative art are all considered forms of visual art. Performing arts, conceptual art, and textile arts all involve aspects of the visual arts.

Before the turn of the twentieth century, an artist was defined as a person working in fine arts, such as painting, sculpture, and printmaking. This did not include art in handicraft, craft, or applied art. The Arts and Crafts Movement in the twentieth century led to the inclusion of all arts, however, some art schools still distinguished between fine arts and art that a crafts person would make.

People who choose to hone their art skills can go to art schools or work as apprentices or training through the workshop system. The art academy was developed after the Renaissance period of art in Europe. Today, visual arts are an elective subject in many United States schools and colleges.

Drawing is a form of visual art that consists of making an image by using a variety of techniques and tools such as markers, graphite pencils, pastels, charcoals, inked brushes, pen and ink, color pencils, or crayons. Techniques included in drawing are blending, hatching, cross-hatching, random hatching, stippling, scribbling, and line drawing. A draftsman or draughtsman is a term used for someone highly skilled in drawing.

Painting originated 32,000 years ago in caves and rock faces. The art of painting is applying pigment to a medium, using a glue to bind the paper or canvas to a wall. In the literal visual arts, painting is combined with drawing and composition.

Printmaking is the art of creating images on a matrix that is later transferred to a flat surface with ink or other pigmentation.  Other printmaking techniques include silk screening, screen printing, lithography, woodcut, line engraving, and etching. The matrix used can be paper, cloth, vellum, or other materials. 

Photography is defined as “the process of making pictures by means of the action of light”. The patterns of light are reflected and recorded on a storage chip or exposure. Cameras are the device used in photography.

Film making involves making a motion picture through a series of procedures, including script writing, animation, recording, and special effects.  Adding sound and music is also part of the film making process, as well as editing. Film making includes all types of films, from documentaries to major motion pictures.

Computer art is a form of visual arts that uses techniques completely opposite to traditional art. Since the 1960s, computers have made art such as images, sounds, animations, videos, games, websites, digital art. Computer art is also starting to be exhibited in public art exhibits, along with traditional art. Graphic designers are those who use the computer to produce digital art.

Plastic art is art that uses a plastic medium that is molded or sculpted. This term is not used very much in the area of visual art. Plastic art can also include stone, wood, concrete, and steel, since those materials can all be carved or shaped.
A sculpture is a 3-dimensional form of art and is created by taking a hard or plastic material and shaping and combining it. Sculptures can be made by carving or assembling different pieces together using firing, welding, molding, or casting techniques. The finish product is often painted. The term “sculptor” means a person who creates sculptures.


Back from Visual Art to
Index or Site Map






Heritage & Future