Forms, techniques and style are an integral part of any work of art. It is through a balanced interaction among the three that a masterpiece emerges. The form of the artist’s choice decides the techniques that can be translated on to it. The style maybe an artist’s own or borrowed from a period or a maestro. A harmonious congregation of these three basic elements shape up the look, theme and thought behind the creation.
Art has been an integral part of our lives since times immemorial. The forms however may have changed. In the prehistoric era, art was predominantly two dimensional and had limitations in terms of availability of materials and mediums. The techniques too were limited to be translated onto only those materials that were readily available. The styles were simplistic with the intent of storytelling and narration more than aesthetic. As the tools and materials were explored, new media came into usage and the forms, techniques and styles began to evolve and take on new avatars.
Today in this digital age the scope is limitless where the medium and materials have been explored to have a huge range and the innovative standards have gone up. New arenas in all aspects are being explored with new forms and innovative techniques in play that culminate into a unique style.
A two dimensional art form where pigment layers are applied on a surface to achieve desired visual imagery. The surface used varies, starting from stone in Paleolithic ages to paper, wood, cloth, canvas, glass and more. The medium or pigments used to paint depend on the surface and availability in the period when these were/are made.
In the Paleolithic ages it began with colored earths, then plant extracts were used and now largely synthetic colors are used. Oil, acrylic, pastel, spray paintings and watercolors are some of the popular mediums today but the range is not limited to just these.
Print is an art form where an impression is made with a method that involves a transfer from one surface to the other. One of the earliest techniques in printmaking was ‘woodcut’ where a relief print is made. In this relief print there are recessed areas and raised areas. The raised areas transfer color/pigments on to the surface while transferring an impression on the desired surface.
Apart from relief print there are furthermore techniques being used today quite popularly like intaglio, lithography, screenprint, monotype and monoprint. A common practice among contemporary print artists is to launch a limited edition print and once that is done, the original tools are destroyed to prevent further reprinting.
A visual art that was casually referred to as ‘fancy lettering’ has been a fixture in most cultures. It involves giving form to signs to induce an expressive, symphonic and skilled appeal and character to it.
There is a character of discipline to this improvised style while giving it a fluid spontaneity. Modern calligraphy has expanded its range from purposeful hand lettering to glamourous art-pieces with a hint of abstract expressionism. Classical calligraphy however differs from typography and non-classical hand-lettering.
Drawing is another form of two dimensional art where lines and shades are employed to depict an image on a flat surface. The mediums most commonly used are pencil, ink, crayons, pastels, charcoal and chalk.
It has been one of the most popular method for artists to create preparatory studies. These preparatory works by an artist later become research or analytic material when the thought process or style of the artist is studied.
Photography is the process of creating an image by controlled exposure of light-sensitive material. The photograph can be a positive or negative image that is made using one of the numerous processes that a photography artist employs.
Some of the common types of prints include C-Type, Cibachrome, Digital, Estate, Photoetching, Photogram, Photolithograph, Silver gelatin print and Vintage print.
The art of craft making refers to a trade or employment involving skilled artistry. The prosperity of the art of craft making is owing to the ‘Art and Crafts Movement’ that came into prominence in the fag-end of the 19th century and peaked in the early 20th century.
These crafts were mostly indigenous and unique to cultures and communities and got their identities from the same. The terms ‘Applied Arts’ or ‘Decorative Arts’ were also employed to describe craft making. However, there is a marked difference between them all.
Applied arts are concerned with the application of design and aesthetics on objects of everyday use and decorative arts though similar do not employ design but concerned only with the aesthetics.
Traditionally a component of applied arts, design has many disciplines and mostly has an aspect of function attached to it. Design is a diverse field with an emphasis on the purpose or function of the final product. Some of design that are popular include graphic, fashion, interior, product and industrial. There. Of course are furthermore branching of these popular streams and new disciplines are introduced with regard to innovations and ever-expanding horizons of the arena.
This is where an artwork takes on the form of actions that are performed by the artist or a group commissioned by the artist himself. Collecting a performance art is a point of controversy and contention. While some people argue that it is a transitory form where the artwork exists only in the moment when it was performed, others claim collecting it through photographic, video-graphic or graphic depiction of the performance.
There have been examples and instances of ‘collecting’ by museums and galleries of performance art, which have found their unusual interpretations and performances as per the agreements reached upon mutually by the artist and the gallery/museum.
Simply put, mixed media art refers to an artwork that employs more than one medium for its creation. It refers to a work of art that is a harmonious coming together of more than one conventionally distinct visual art media. It could be a combination of paint, ink and a collage on canvas or an unusual combination of found objects with conventional art media for a more effective artistic expression.
Multimedia art, however is different with a broader scope combining visual and non-visual elements, sometimes with elements of other arts too.
A three dimensional art form – sculpture is achieved by shaping and molding varied materials to achieve desired effect. The processes conventionally employed were carving and modelling predominantly in stone, clay, metal, wood and such. Since the advent of modernism, however, the scope and range of resources is limitless giving the artist a complete freedom in his choice of materials and processes.
In some cultural communities, sculptures had a religious connotation and huge sculptural structures were erected for religious and sometimes political purposes. Stone sculptures are one of the most durable and sustaining works of this three dimensional art and some have survived long tides of time and wear. It is these sculptures that have carried a bit of history with them as and when discovered and showcased to the public at large.
Installation art, a three dimensional art form that is site specific and has in its nature a capability to transform the perception of that space where it stands. Installation art is generally referred to works displayed indoors and the ones that occupy a space out of doors may be referred as public art, land art or intervention art. The boundaries however between these terminologies are quite blurred and these are often grouped as one.
These can be temporary or permanent, but the common trait that sets these apart is the sheer interaction it offers to the viewer. One can move around it and see it from all directions while understanding the subtle relationship between the art piece and the site. There is an intangible connect and a sensory experience that this form of art offers to the viewer, further blurring out the lines between ‘life’ and ‘art’ and inviting a two way dialogue.
An idea takes precedence over the actual work of art here, hence the term ‘conceptual art’. The inception of this idea was in the 1960s and referred to a stringent and focused process and practice of idea based art. A defining aspect of this form of art was that it every so often defied the traditional visual criteria that associated with the visual arts.
The planning and decisions of the execution of the core ‘idea’ is done beforehand and the actual execution becomes just a mechanical process which anyone with a manual can accomplish. Conceptual art was ideally a movement against the formalization or commodification of art where there was an effort of dematerialization by eliminating the need for objects completely.
New Media Art encompasses artworks created with new media technologies that include digital art, computer graphics, computer animation, virtual art, internet art, interactive art, video games, computer robotics, 3D printing and more.
Dating back to the early 1970s Time-Based Media or New Media largely refers to works of art that are dependent on technology and have a time-specific aspect. New Media also has the scope of inclusion of the traditional or conventional media like painting or print making to be digitally integrated.
Style in the context of visual arts refers to a typical manner or way which enables grouping of artworks into related categories. It is the visual appearance of an artwork that connects it to others by the same artist or from the same time period, training, location or art movement.
Style in itself is quite dynamic and in most eras or periods is seen to change through a gradual process, the speed of which varied greatly. Style may take a sudden jump and then settles into a period of slower changes.
Art movement is a flexible term with no set or fixed rule to ascertain what constitutes it. Artists from a particular art movement may follow a very stringent set of guidelines, while those that belong to another may not.
Art Movements are group titles given to artistic styles that share artistic ideals, style, technical approach or time period. They may be described as a tendency or style with a common philosophy followed in a particular timeframe. This grouping of artists into movements is largely a western practice and is mostly done retrospectively by critics or historians.
The impact of the prevalent forms, techniques or style in any given time period is very subtle and is more of an exchange than a one way discourse. The social, political, aesthetic and natural conditions in a given time period has a deep impact on any kind of creative pursuit and vice versa. There have been instances of great socio-political or cultural motivation, where the epicenter was discovered to be a passionate creative work or pursuit.
The expression or the creative release that an artist finds in their artwork definitely translates in its own manner to affect the socio-cultural, socio-political and economic fronts of any community.
Art is a pursuit and activity for those who are fearless, a medium to channelize all that is pent up and to express things or feelings that are best put forth through a creative work of art. In doing so, many artists have time and again found themselves in the middle of some serious controversies.
To create something new, an artist breaks conventions, thinks beyond and looks at things with a fresh perspective. In doing so, there are times when the society is challenged and controversy ensues. Gradually, controversial artists and the associated works have come to be a part of the art community, with some even looking for it consciously. While some artists have been accused of deliberately causing controversies for quick fame, there are some that shy away from any such issues.