Without the wonderful phenomenon of perception, we human beings would be highly confused creatures, unable to understand the world around us. On a more abstract and less biological level, perception plays a large role in how we form opinions. A lot of the world around us is based in absolutes, for example: apples are, and will forever will be, either red or green
however, there are less rigid "rules" so to speak for other categories of "things", art being one of them. Art is a forever evolving animal, changing, growing, warping, and expanding. It crosses over boundaries and breaks through barricades, it whispers and shouts at the same time. Art is very powerful, infectious and potent. All of these things explain why we feel almost violated when we see art we do not like (which is a discussion for a later blog
) What we will be discussing here today are our perceptions of art. One of the many wonderful things about the arts (all of them, not only the visual arts) are the styles and variations that are in them. Variety adds flavor and interest, but it also opens up doors to other participants and admirers. Unfortunately, negative connotations can be associated with these categories and a person may think that one style of art has to be one thing and one thing only. Below, we'll discuss some of the misguided perceptions that reign among us visual artists.
Digital & Traditional
One perception about digitally created artwork is that the finished product is sleek and clean as opposed to the gritty and tactile nature of finished traditionally created artwork. Without clicking on (or hovering over) these images, can you tell which are digital and which are traditional?
Investigate each of these fabulous works yourself. From these examples, you can see that traditional art does not always mean "grit and brushstrokes" and digital art does not always mean "clean and sleek." The finished product's overall impact is completely up to the artist creating the work, not the style itself. This will hopefully also do away with the idea that traditionally created artwork requires more effort or time than digitally created artwork.
Abstract & Nonrepresentational
Possibly two of the most overused and confused terms in art are abstract and nonrepresentational. Let me clarify them for you: abstract artwork is derivative of a natural or figurative base, nonrepresentational artwork has absolutely no signifier, there is no reference to the natural world or to the figure. Most "abstract" contemporary work you'll see will more accurately fit into nonrepresentational artwork. Abstraction exists in representational artwork too, because it is drawing from a resource (for example, green slashes painted for leaves instead of each leaf painted individually and realistically). One of the harshest perceptions of abstract and nonrepresentational artwork is that it has no meaning. While this could be true for some pieces, all artwork has meaning, regardless of what it is depicting. Another criticism is that it is too easy to create and requires less skill than representational work. While some methods of making art are less time consuming, a statement like that assumes that the artist is nieve or what he or she is silly. Wassily Kandinsky created some of the greatest examples of nonrepresentational drawings you'll find in art history.Here are some great examples of both abstract and nonrepresentational art right here on dA.
So you can see here from the visual examples that abstract and nonrepresentational art is not only one thing but many differing and colorful streams of consciousness.
Manga & Anime
Manga and Anime often get a bad rap mainly simply of their popularity here stateside. Manga is comics, which has subcategories of shonen (boys' comics) and shoujo (girls' comics), and Anime are cartoons. Aside from the popularity being a factor, others shy away from Manga and Anime because of the stylization of the characters. However, there are many "styles" if you will inside of the Russian doll that is Japanese comics and cartoons. The characters depicted in Manga and Anime are based on a canon of proportions modeled from the human body. The unit of measurement is the head, and a character is typically 7 to 9 heads tall. Limbs are lengthened or shortened to add emphasis to the exaggeration. The eyes which can be large and expressive were first used by Japanese cartoonist Osamu Tezuka and inspired by characters such as Betty Boop and Mickey Mouse. Each artist has an individual spin on the canon of proportions and eye shapes, thus adding more diversity to the category. Here are some of the categories of "styles" which exist in Manga and Anime with some names for examples: Shonen & Shoujo (features teenage characters, bright colors, fantastical adventures, Pokemon, Card Captor Sakura), Mecha (features, robots, sci-fi, and sharp angles, Gundam, Escaflowne), Chibi (short, childlike characters, not typically used as a consistent style due to superdeformity), Gegkika (stories of more dark and dramatic nature, usually violent and intense, Inuyasha, Naruto), Bishounen (features lean, handsome men, romantic stories, Code Geass, Paradise Kiss), Anthropomorphic (animals with human characteristics: Wolf's Rain, Fruits Basket), and lastly Hentai (basically any kind of erotic or pornographic Manga and Anime will fall into this category, there is no specific style marker). Here are some examples of really great Manga and Anime artwork around dA.
Now that we've looked at a broad range of styles and images, what can we conclude? Well, for starters, we can say that styles are not black and white. There are distinctive features of a style, but there are no binding rules to keep them confined uncomfortably. I hope with this gathering of images to help everyone see the wonderful diversified artwork within each style and technique that was mentioned here today. I also hope that seeing these works will also inspire you to look further into styles and methods of art making you previously thought were undesirable. Don't let perceptions of artistic styles and techniques keep you from branching out creatively or broadening your knowledge. Be brave and dive in! You're bound to find something amazing!