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How To Understand Artistic Communication The Message In Art

What Is Artistic Communication?

Traditionally artistic communication is the use of a medium in order to communicate an idea or feelings through the use of visual art.

What Is The Message In Art?

The message in art is the targeted idea or feelings which the artist wishes to depict through a medium within visual art.

What Is The Difference Between Artistic Communication And The Message In Art?

The difference between artistic communication and the message in art is simple to explain.  The first is the act of communication such as speaking.

The latter is the actual message or speech which would be given.  In other words artistic communication becomes the vehicle for the message in art.

With this begins a very long philosophical debate which has spanned multiple millennia pertaining to the purpose of art.  More importantly here I wish to define how art can be that vehicle for the message.

Philosophical Theory Of Artistic Communication

Philosophical art theory would say that artistic communication allows the use of art to convey a message in art.  While this is true, is this the purpose of the art or the artist?

single art gallery

Here is where the water becomes murky for many.  Ranjan Ghosh states that the medium, or the art, cannot be separated from the message.  How would this work?

Language itself uses symbols in order to form words which convey meaning.  Thus the idea behind what is expressed can be separated from the individual letters.  Here the idea separates from the “medium”.

Within art however many within academia have come to treat art in this same way.  Tolstoy states that the purpose of art is to transmit feelings.

Where the academics begin to lose their minds is in defining whether the message is the actual art, or if it can be separated from it.  Furthermore, now comes this idea of purpose.

Artists Intent Will Define Artistic Communication And Its Message

If we look to the works of Monet, you will discover many Naturalist works of art.  Within his time many artists of the Naturalist movement sought to capture what was seen as it was seen without personal interference.

In this case we discover that there would be no message in the art.  Rather the artist used a canvas much like how today we would use a camera.  The purpose was to capture the moment in time.

Artistic communication is not required to exist within all works of art.  It is truly the intent of the artist which will choose whether or not to create this vehicle of communication.

Therefore, it is logical to state that the purpose of art is not to serve a delivery of a message through communication.  Rather art has the capacity to be used in such a way that it can deliver artistic communication at the choice of the artist.

Can The Message In Art Be Separated From The Artwork?

Those such as Ghosh attempt to claim that the purpose behind the message and the art cannot be clearly separated.  In other words the two are a package deal and art cannot be used like letters within a language.

paint brushes

The problem with this line of thinking focuses with this word purpose.  A message in art can definitely be separated from the art itself.

Early communication from cave paintings to hieroglyphs are a testament to this fact.  Runes from more recent times not only would be used for communication but also convey spiritual meaning to their uses.

A better position to take on the philosophical views behind artistic communication should be focused on artist intent.  Art itself is a vehicle which can be used in three key formats.

Art That Has No Message Or Artistic Communication

While this was brought forward earlier it is easy to understand that history does possess art movements which held little to no communication.  Naturalism is a prime candidate to this point.

Still life art is another candidate which allows an artist to capture a moment in time without personal injection or views.  Figurative art can also serve as an example in the same manner.

If the intent of the artist is to replicate what is seen the only message that can exist would be that which comes from a natural setting.  Or rather, it is the audience who infers upon the art a meaning that was not intended by the artist.

To understand this is as simple as seeing images of sunsets or a mountain top view.  Our mind will infer a meaning to things that is otherwise very natural.  It is our perception which creates meaning in this instance.

Art That Conveys A Message Of Historical Reference Through Artistic Communication

As early as the Greek Hellenistic period we begin to find art which was intended to capture the natural state of a people.  The goal was to record images of a society from that moment in time.

greek sculpture art

Through archeology we have built constructs or ideas of who a people were through nothing but that few items they left behind, and their artwork.  Nevertheless, what was left for us to find is a mere moment in time from one period.

How accurate the archeological assumptions are to the people of that period we really do not know.  The message we receive from what they left is like a recording, albeit a very short recording of history.

Artistic communication at this level records a society in how people live, and their natural social state of being.  Capturing this message in art is closer to a pure purpose in art as conveyed by many academics.

Artistic Communication By Choice Of The Artist To Convey A Message

Lastly we see that each artist will possess a choice of whether or not to use artistic communication in order to convey a message in art.  Its purpose is not tied to art itself but rather the intent of the message.

Political art will tend to be sharp and to the point.  Romantic messages in art will be softer by tone and carry movement in art.

The subject matter of the art comes into the focal point of the art in order to bring that message to life.  Concepts such as convergence in art can create drama or conflict within the emotions and setting of art.

Communication In Art Is By Choice Not By Default

The use of these principles to create an intended message is a choice to use artistic communication.  Therefore, art becomes a vehicle by that choice rather than art being a default tool of communication.

To argue the philosophy of art to this point is as ridiculous as arguing the purpose of a chisel to wood.  In other words wood does not exist for the use of the chisel, rather the chisel is a tool that can shape wood.

Communication is a tool to convey ideas and feelings.  The purpose of its existence resides within itself and can be applied to any medium of choice to shape that idea into physical form.

Art does not exist because of our need to communicate.  Rather art exists due to our ability to create.  What we create, and whether we decide to communicate is a decision for the artist.

Why Art Is More Often Used To Communicate Than Not Convey A Message

There are many more periods of history which possess art that will utilize artistic expression than those which do not.  Romanticism is rife with its grand messages.

Idealism existed to project what those artists believed to be perfect beauty.  Across time we find the many tyrants of history also used artistic communication in order to project power and dominance.

It is true that often art will be used for communication of a message to the audience.  It is a natural vehicle to this end.  Yet its existence for that purpose is not true.

Human nature wishes to communicate.  Thus, the words of Tolstoy can be true in most situations.  Likewise, there are instances where Ghosh is also accurate in that the message and the art are the same.

Abstract art can carry a message in art through color and shape. Feelings come in many forms.

Purpose though is a philosophical matter by choice at the point of inception and is used within creation of the art.