Art and Design: A Perception

The visual arts are art forms such as ceramics, drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, design, crafts, photography, video, filmmaking, and architecture. Current usage of the term “visual arts” includes fine art as well as the applied, decorative arts and crafts, but this was not always the case. Earlier the term ‘artist’ was often restricted to a person working in the fine arts (such as painting, sculpture, or printmaking) and not the handicraft, craft, or applied art media. The distinction was emphasized by artists of the Arts and Crafts Movement, who valued vernacular art forms as much as high forms.

Art is created and enjoyed by many people for many reasons. However, one of the things that art does is extend and expand our shared common visual language. When new visual ideas are first introduced by the artist, they are often seen as shocking, and perhaps even as incomprehensible. However, with time the best and most effective of these ideas are accepted. There is nothing harder than trying to grasp what was shocking or illuminating about certain images, or ways of making images, once the shock is gone, and we have all absorbed this bit of visual data into our own vocabularies. Artists show us new ways to see familiar things, and how to interpret new situations and events through various kinds of visual shorthand. This creation of visual language may be the artist’s intention, or it may be a side effect of other purposes.

Art may be simply a means of recording of visual data— telling the “truth” about what we see. Art is also a powerful means of storytelling.

Evolution with Technical Advancement

The evolution of art is a long and fascinating process that is influenced by everything from religion and philosophy to disease and war. Below is an introductory discussion regarding the evolution of the visual arts through key eras including Classical Antiquity, Medieval, Renaissance, Modern, and Postmodern.

Visual artists are no longer limited to traditional art media. Computers have been used as an ever more common tool in the visual arts since the 1960s. Uses include the capturing or creating of images and forms, the editing of those images and forms (including exploring multiple compositions) and the final rendering and/or printing (including 3D printing). Computer art is any in which computers played a role in production or display. Such art can be an image, sound, animation, video, CD-ROM, DVD, video game, website, algorithm, performance or gallery installation. Many traditional disciplines are now integrating digital technologies and, as a result, the lines between traditional works of art and new media works created using computers have been blurred.

Computer usage has blurred the distinctions between illustrators, photographers, photo editors, 3-D modelers, and handicraft artists. Sophisticated rendering and editing software has led to multi-skilled image developers. Photographers may become digital artists. Illustrators may become animators. Handicraft may be computer-aided or use computer-generated imagery as a template. Computer clip art usage has also made the clear distinction between visual arts and page layout less obvious due to the easy access and editing of clip art in the process of paginating a document, especially to the unskilled observer.