What is Art, and What are Some Common Artforms?

How creative and imaginative are you? Do you consider yourself an artist? You probably love the different ways humans can communicate, especially through art, whether visual, auditory, or performance.

You cannot miss the expression of the imagination and skills of various individuals in their artwork and pieces. There is beauty that comes with appreciating artifacts and artworks. Notably, art has a way of connecting or appealing to human emotion.

However, what exactly is art? Is there a definition accepted universally? What are the forms of the same? To find out more about these, please keep reading.

Art – What is It?

There are numerous definitions of art. Throughout history, scholars have come up with their own different ways of defining it.  Also, different dictionaries define art in different ways.

Therefore, there is no universal definition of art or what it constitutes. It is controversial, and the debates concerning what it is and what is not are not ending soon. It’s like how if you say you want to play poker on SlotoCash Casino, different people could have different rules for poker.

Art is a range of human activities that involve the use of skill, creativity, imagination, and expression to come up with a visual or a sensory object or a performance. Therefore, any creative work made by a human being qualifies to be art. It could also de defined as anything that can stimulate your beliefs, ideas, thoughts, and emotions through the senses.

So, art is wide and diverse. It covers sculptures, photography, drawing, painting, printmaking, and so on. It is anything created by an artist to express certain ideas or feelings or the beauty of the item.

Besides, it goes beyond the image or portrait you see; it tells a story. One key thing is that you can understand art in many different ways.

Similarly, how you define it can vary from one person to the next, based on how you have experienced it in your life. This, therefore, means that art is connected to your experiences. No wonder it is not surprising to see it as part of our lives.

Forms of Art

There has been a shift in ideas regarding art. The same is true with the forms of art. Throughout human history, a lot has changed. However, whatever piece of art you come across can still affect your emotions and feelings and enrich your life. Besides, different people have varying experiences with them. Understanding these different forms can help you understand them and the artists better. These forms are;


What comes to your mind when you think of art? If you are like the majority, you probably think of a painting. Maybe this is because it is the form taught in childhood education. The primary medium used paints, which are available in different colors.   The paint is then used to create designs on canvas.

Thanks to painting, an artist, the painter, can freely express his artistic vision. Moreover, you can use oil paints, pastels, watercolor, or acrylic to produce a work of art. Dyes, inks, and pigments could also work just fine. The artist can apply the paint by brushing, dabbing, smearing, or splashing.

Additionally, paintings can be still life, landscape, portrait, seascape, or abstract. The different styles you can use include; classical, modernist, cubist, Chinese, and surreal.


This form of visual art dates back to prehistoric times. Also, it has been a public art in many societies over the years. Cities like Jerusalem, Athens, and Rome possess some impressive sculptures.

The images of sculptures are 3 dimensional, and an example is The Statue of Liberty. Traditionally, stones, ceramics, metals, wood, and clay are the materials that were used to develop sculptures. In classical sculptures, marble and bronze are also used. The techniques applied range from casting to carving.

In the most recent art, sculptors use a variety of objects, from plastics, metals, glass, or any other object, to make the sculptures. The techniques in modern sculptures include welding, assembling, carving, and modeling. Besides, there is an aspect of combining the sculpture with oil paints and acrylics.

Notably, technology makes it possible for sculptors first to develop the sculptures using 3D software before they make the physical object.


This is one of the forms of art that you might be engaging in even without your knowledge. It deals with structures and can be traced back to the history of man when he created shelter.

When you hear of architecture, though, the chance is your mind rushes to beautiful designs of buildings and structures. Architecture as a form of art is awe-inspiring, and this is evident in both ancient designs such as the Great Pyramids and modern architectural designs, e.g., Burj Khalifa.

With architecture, you can’t fail to notice the consistent attempts made by man to come up with beautiful buildings and designs throughout his history. The styles in architecture are:

Greek and Roman Classical

Some famous names in the world of architecture are; Frank Lloyd Wright, Zaha Hadid, and Frank Gehry.


If you love stories, no doubt you are a literature enthusiast. This form of language is the oldest form of literature and can be written, read, or spoken. Besides, it has an emotional effect on humans. The writers of literature organize words in a pleasurable manner such that the readers enjoy reading.

Moreover, literature consists of poems, magazines, essays, plays, fiction, biographies, etc. It is also related to music, spoken word, and theatre. Importantly, the words or writings of literature can be used to critique society. It is, therefore, a great opportunity for the writers to air their views and opinions on matters affecting society through the use of language.

Some of the most famous authors in history are Charles Dickens and Emily Dickinson.


This is one of the most current forms of art as its introduction in society does not date back in the years. However, currently, it is greatly gaining popularity. For example, movies bring the 3D world into a 2D screen where art makes it possible for the engagement of both audible and visual senses.

Movies in cinemas can be used to tell a story. It could even depict what is happening in society. Therefore, just like literature, cinema can also critique the society we live in.

The movie industry is embraced by many and is continually gaining popularity. Moreover, in the same industry, there are different positions you can work in. for example, you can be a make-up artist, an actor, a director, a writer, or even be in charge of the costumes.

A lot of creativity and skill is needed in cinema as each production ought to be top-notch. The accessibility of cinema cannot go unnoticed in this modern era.


What is a better way of self-expression than through fashion? The styling of clothes to create a statement look is an amazing work of art. Fashion involves a lot, from clothing, accessories, makeup to hairstyles. Also, to be fashionable, you have to stay up to date in the fashion industry, know the trends, and even have a signature look.

Don’t you feel amazed when you come across intricate designs? The stylish, creative, and beautiful designs in the runways are sure a sight to behold. Fashion designers in the industry are working to bring some wonderful designs. However, some fashion pieces are only for the runway.

Moreover, you can try out different styles in fashion, e.g., the street style. The combination of clothing to develop certain fashionable looks is a pure work of art.

Some of the famous names in the fashion industry are designers like Gucci, Prada, Coco Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Giorgio Armani.


This form of art involves acting, directing, and writing a play. It also involves movement and, at times, includes singing. Its history can be dated back to the 5th Century in Ancient Greece.

For centuries, theatres have been a sweetheart to many. However, consumption has changed. For instance, there is the streaming of famous plays so that people can enjoy the art even amidst a pandemic like COVID 19, which restricts movements and gatherings.

Some of the famous names among playwrights are William Shakespeare and Tennessee Williams.


This form of contemporary art is evident in video games, books, and digital designs. Traditional illustration interprets a text in a visual format. On the other hand, the digital illustration shows a piece of art in the form of graphics. Speaking of graphics, is there a difference between this form and graphic design?

Illustration deals with creativity in interpreting texts, while graphic design deals with telling stories digitally.

Unlike in the past when illustration was evident in children’s books, it is gaining popularity, thanks to technology. It is used in video games and is part and parcel of the entertainment industry.


Think of the melodic, harmonious instrumental, or vocal sounds you enjoy listening to. This is the power of music. It is strongly connected with theatre and literature.

Tracing music back to the olden days can be tricky. However, the available evidence suggests that ancient people used their vocals and the instruments they made to create music even back then.

If names like Madonna ring a bell, you must know some famous musicians back in the day. Most recently, if you are a fan of rap, no doubt the name Tupac is familiar.

Studies suggest that listening to music and singing can help elevate your mood. Therefore, why not take advantage of this form of art? What’s more, you have numerous genres to enjoy, e.g., rap, country, pop, indie, and much more.

Graphic Design

This is a combination of art and technology and is greatly getting embraced by artists, especially in this digital period. Just like cinema, this is another of the newest forms of art.  Its popularity began in the 1990s with the invention of Photoshop.

Graphic design uses visual content in creating designs. The graphic designers combine images and typography to develop their designs through which they pass a message.

The application of this form of art is evident in advertisements. Therefore, when you come across websites, banners, signs, posters, and digital advertisements, know you interact with graphic design.

The Meaning of Art

Have you ever come across a painting or any artwork and wondered what it could mean? Maybe it is a splash of colors to come up with something interesting, and you are left wondering; what the artist had in mind? What message or idea did he want to convey? At such a time, you might be keen on the meaning of art.

So, what does art mean? There are a lot of things that shape what art can mean. They range from the artist’s perspective and the viewer as well. How are both parties involved in the meaning of art?

Before an artist comes up with a certain piece, there could be something that drove or triggered him; an experience or an imagination. Therefore, the artist’s intentions will help shape what the art means.

On the other hand, what art means can be shaped by what the viewer perceives. What ideas come to the viewer’s mind upon interacting with the piece of art? What emotions does it bring out? Notably, members of a certain society or culture can share the meaning of art.

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Author: Paula Allen