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Meaning of Art

Updated on January 31, 2015
Ink, eraser, palette, color pencil, pen, crayon, lead pencil.
Ink, eraser, palette, color pencil, pen, crayon, lead pencil. | Source
You can if you want to become a professional artist.
You can if you want to become a professional artist.

Introduction to Art

What is the meaning of art and how can I gain insight to the subject called art? Before I attempt to answer this question or start this hubpages tutorial I want you to quickly scribble down the questions contained in the “Teaser Game” section of this topic at the bottom of this hub in a sheet of paper. You may allocate scores on each of the question if you like. After, you can then come back to read this lesson and when you are through and can understand its contents well then go back to the questions you have written down and attempt to answer them. Open the lesson page again to check for the answers and give yourself scores. That way you will be doing yourself a great favor.

Behavioral Objectives

After this lesson, you should be able to:

  1. define and explain the term called ‘art.’
  2. outline the three departments and sub-departments of art with the aid of a diagram.
  3. explain each art department and the sub-departments.
  4. Explain fine art and applied art.
  5. List various materials and equipments involved in art production.

What is the meaning of art?

Art is the power, skill, ability and talent an individual possesses to express him or herself. Art is simply your acquired skill to make another person know and understand what you think and how you feel. Art does not entail only drawing, sketching, painting, singing, sculpting or getting engaged in any creative activity. To me I will say "Art is just another word for Expression" that is, being able to make someone see your mind.

For the purpose of better understanding here, I want to briefly explain what the term "Expression" means.

“Expression” in mine own 'personal dictionary,' is that idea or information that one wants to pass or reflect to the other person, group, race or community. The truth is that you don't have to be a professional to be identified as an artist. That is why we find many even as novice in the field of art who are engaged in art and antiques collection.

Now ideas conceived in the human minds do find their ways in many forms. For example, if I enter the classroom one day and begin to dance around I am sure my students will not need a prophet to tell them that I am happy. I may even find some among them who will dance along and ... hip-hop the whole class will glow with happiness. This means that I have been able to convey and transfer the glory and message of happiness to the whole class.

If on the other hand, I just enter and squeeze my face like someone who just came back from a war front, I am sure everyone will shrink and become cautious and behave themselves calmly.

So what I am saying in essence is that art encompasses all abilities to express one’s mind in a creative way.

Now there are three departments in art. The three departments are as follow:

  1. Visual Art
  2. Performing Art
  3. Literary Art

Over time there has been many arguments and both addition and extension of these departments. But if you study the subject critically you will discover that it all boils down to the resignation that only three art departments exist.

Art Departments Diagram

Art Departments
Art Departments

Visual Art

Visual is the type of art forms which appeal to the visual senses. As the name implies, it has to do with feeling of beauty and harmony one can be derived by observation and appreciation of the object of creativity. Such art forms include paintings, photography, ceramics, sculptures, drawings, body decorations (tattoo), textiles, graphics, modeling, fashion designing, industrial designing, etc. One major characteristic of these visual art forms is that they all possess the quality of appealing to the senses by their shapes, texture, colors, arrangements and forms.

Now there are two types of visual arts.

1. Fine Art – other names by which it may be called are decorative art, creative art and sometimes craft.

2. Applied Art – other names by which this may be called are functional art, commercial art, and industrial art.

Fine Art

Fine art is the visual art forms which are created mainly for decorative purposes only. They do not perform any other functions other than decoration and beautification of a person, environment or an object. Examples of these are: paintings, drawings, body decoration, etc. You will find most of these types in museums and art galleries. They do not have to be placed in commercial markets for sale save in the archives of very rich and elites of the society. Art collectors are always on the look out for these types of art forms to bargain for and add to their collections for future profitable sales.

Applied Art

Applied art in its own unique nature is the visual art forms which are created for industrial and commercial purposes. They perform both functions of beautification and usability in one way or the other. That is they spark an aura of beauty and yet perform a specific function. Examples of such are: textile design, graphic design, photography, ceramics, fashion designing, etc. You will always find these types of art in commercial and industrial environments.

Materials and Equipments for Visual Art

  1. Pencils
  2. Erasers
  3. Palette
  4. Palette knife
  5. Sketch pad
  6. Cartridge papers
  7. Drawing set
  8. Charcoal pencils
  9. Drawing board
  10. Drawing table
  11. Light table
  12. Art brushes (hog and sable)
  13. Oil paints
  14. Acrylic paints
  15. Turpentine
  16. Linseed oil
  17. Painting easel
  18. Canvass sheets or roll
  19. Donkey chair
  20. Calligraphic pen
  21. Black ink
  22. Color ink
  23. Rapidiograph pen
  24. Squeegee
  25. Silk screen fabric
  26. Silk screen frame
  27. Textile ink (water base)
  28. Vinyl textile ink
  29. Carving tools
  30. Mallet
  31. Photographic camera (analogue or digital)
  32. Clay pigments
  33. Banding wheel
  34. Spatula
  35. Clay cutter
  36. Kick wheel
  37. Turning wheel
  38. Kiln
  39. Glaze chemicals
  40. Polymer sacs
  41. Crotchets
  42. Yarn
  43. Dye pigment
  44. Hydrosulphite salt
  45. Caustic soda
  46. Sewing machine
  47. Needles
  48. Scissors
  49. Tape rule
  50. Tattoo inks
  51. Tattoo set
  52. Cosmetics
  53. Plaster of Paris (P.O.P)
  54. Concrete cement
  55. Concrete sand
  56. Shovel
  57. Hand trowel
  58. Lubricating oil
  59. Foam sponge
  60. Plastic containers

Performing Art

Performing art is the type of art that has to do with television, radio and stage shows or the theatre activities. Unlike the other forms of art which uses materials such as pencils, clay, pen, paints, papers, etc., a performing artiste makes use of his head, arms, legs, body and other body parts as media for communicating his ideas and messages.

Performing art include: dancing, drama, music, opera, magic, jesting, singing, etc. Examples of individuals who engage in performing arts are actors, comedians, magicians, musicians, dancers, singers, instrumentalists, etc. These individuals usually have special attires worn in the course of demonstrating their art. This clothing is often called “Costume.”

Materials and Equipments for Performing Art

  1. Stage furniture
  2. Clothing
  3. Costumes
  4. Video cameras
  5. Vehicles
  6. Musical instruments
  7. Lighting equipments
  8. Power plant (Electric generator)
  9. Oven and stoves
  10. Kitchen accessories
  11. Photo cameras
  12. Computers
  13. Make up kits
  14. Miscellaneous

Literary Art

Literary art is the type of art that deals with creative writings such as drama scripting, poetry, narrative writings, essay writings, music scripting and any other form of writing belonging to the scope of literature. For short, this art is nicknamed “the art of paper and pen.” The set of professionals involved in this literary art are script writers in drama production, journalists, musicians, poets, etc.

Materials and Equipments for Literary Art

  1. Computers
  2. Papers
  3. Pens
  4. Pencils
  5. Music sheets
  6. Inks
  7. Miscellaneous

Teaser Game

  1. Explain fully the meaning of art.
  2. Show the three departments and sub-departments in art with the help of your drawn diagram.
  3. In essay form, explain each of the three departments in art.
  4. What is the similarity and differences between fine art and applied art?
  5. List the various art materials and equipments which you have been introduced to in this lesson.

This is the end of the lesson. I shall soon come back and publish another hub on the viable, unique and interesting subject called art. But i want you to dictate to me this time by telling me in your comment what topic you'll like me to treat next. Your request must however be restricted to the subject "Art." Thank you and God bless you.

You may continue your study of art by reading this glossary of some art terms.


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    • profile image

      stevbonhage 3 years ago

      Interesting hub! I rencently wrote a hub about the same subject ( with a little different perspective.

    • micadeolu profile image

      Michael Adewale Olubode 5 years ago from Celestial Church of Christ, +2347067550237.

      A design is simply an arrangement of all 'elements of design' which include lines, shape, color, texture, etc to form a specific pattern; while art is just the talent and skill you possess to express your inner feelings 'aesthetics' about things seen. Interior design or Interior decoration is all about how you make an internal part of a building pleasantly creative, comfortable and suitable for the purpose for which it is created. Architecture is similar to interior decoration except that architecture covers a broader perspective. It is both an art and science course. It is science because of its involvement in data collection and assessment. Hence science is the study of nature by use of data measuring and assessment. Architecture can also be called an art course because of its boundless and creative nature. In its structure many rules can be adjusted to some extent as in other art courses like literature.

    • profile image

      bint-e-ahmed 5 years ago

      i offer alot of thanks 1st 2 allah swt that he make u a source of information 4r me n then i pay my gratitude n thanks 2 u,it is useful interesting,can u plz same about design n its forms/relation b/w art n design/relation b/w an interior designer n an architecture or similarities n differences b/w them,i am curious about all dis

    • micadeolu profile image

      Michael Adewale Olubode 6 years ago from Celestial Church of Christ, +2347067550237.

      What is ang nothong vicks? Please make your input clearer...

    • profile image

      vicks 6 years ago

      ang nothong

    • profile image

      Brooke 6 years ago

      This is a lot that u wrote. Couldn't read it all but i skimmed

    • profile image

      allaine patricia unido 6 years ago


    • micadeolu profile image

      Michael Adewale Olubode 7 years ago from Celestial Church of Christ, +2347067550237.

      This is an introductory lesson to those who wish to become renown artists. It contains the meaning of art and some fundamental basics of art. Feel free to contact me on my profile page if you have any question or any area you feel I might be of help.


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