Art is a universal language. It gives people a voice, allowing them to express themselves through color, pencil strokes, and the molding of clay. Art is a conversation from the past brought to life through paintings, photographs, and sculpture. It’s a discussion of the present and what may be in the future. For hundreds of years, artists have told stories through various mediums. Art is a means to sharing ideas, thoughts, and emotions. Art needs no words for the language in which is speaks is interpreted by those who view it.
How Art is a Universal Language
Art has a manner of speaking to people that does not need words. We have all had that experience of standing in front of a painting or photograph where we found ourselves captivated by the emotions it evoked in us. While art is often viewed in silence in museums, there is conversation going on within the minds of those who view it as they interpret what a piece means. Art speaks to the heart.
The language of art is not reserved just for museums or galleries. Art surrounds us everywhere in our daily lives whether it’s on a billboard as we wait for our daily train or a fleeting picture in a newspaper or magazine as we flip the pages. Every image we see in our daily lives was created with a purpose, and that purpose is to convey a message or get us thinking. Art is personal and it affects everyone in a different way. No matter how old or how young a work of art may be, it can speak to an audience of all ages and cultures.
In the world we live in today, communication is key. How communication is exchanged has evolved. The old days of communicating by letter or telephone have been replaced by email, blogs, text, and other electronic means, but art is a part of them all. It’s been proven that if you want to get and keep people’s attention, short and sweet is best. Images grab eyes. We know now that people will scan blocks of text to look for an image to get the idea, whether it’s a blog, ad, or social media post. Images are part of the universal language that art is. For those who may not speak the language of a post or blog, an image translates words for them. Art has no language barriers and that makes it a universal language. No matter what language people may speak, art speaks to them when the words can’t be understood.
Art is created for a reason. Artists are driven by their need to capture a memory in time forever or to share a feeling. Humans connect to each other through emotions and art evokes emotions universally felt no matter one’s language. Art is able to express the feelings as humans we all feel – anger, joy, sadness, fear, and peace. Art speaks to everyone reminding us how we are connected by our humanity. For those who encounter people who do not speak their language, those from another country, art gives them a voice. For the deaf or mute, art is a vehicle that need not be heard or spoken to communicate with others.
Art is a Visual Language
Art is a language all its own. It is a visual language comprised of pictures, symbols, colors, and patterns that has the power to speak to us all. As an example of the power words have to communicate with all people, consider that since it’s inception in 2010, people on Instagram have shared over twenty billion photographs. The social media platform is one of the most popular platforms in the game as it is solely a visual means of connecting people. While some may look at it as just another place to scroll mindlessly for hours, educators have come to believe that having a fluency in the visual language not only strengthens an understanding of art but influences empathy and critical thinking.
The visual language that art is causes people to appreciate their environments through what they see with their own eyes. Those who learn to comprehend the world through what they see are engaged in a more powerful way. People who understand images and symbols have built their visual language abilities as one builds their speaking abilities by growing their vocabulary.
The visual language that art is has been shaped by all mediums of art, but especially those created by abstract artists. The aspects of lines, shapes, colors, and proportion send a message without words. Colors often symbolize specific emotions and moods. For instance, blue is known for its ability to calm and lower the heart rate. Yellow is associated with the sun and its ability to create feelings of hope and happiness. The bright and cheery color evokes optimism and a feeling that all is well.
How Understanding Visual Arts Helps Us Communicate
While many people falsely believe that visual arts have a jargon meant only for artists and those in the art world to understand, anyone can learn to understand the visual arts when they choose to. Visual arts encompass mediums as diverse as people themselves. Just spending time viewing paintings, photographs, drawings, and sculptures can create an awareness of how others communicate. People who take no interest in visual arts or aren’t opened to exploring its possible meanings lose an opportunity to hear what others are trying to say.
Throughout history mankind has been relaying stories through art in an effort to communicate with other civilizations. In its crudest and earliest forms, these stories were interpreted by stone age cave paintings and Native American rock carvings. Studying visual arts helps us appreciate the values and perspectives of others. While we all hold different values and have different ideas, understanding visual arts creates awareness of how connected and how much the same we all are.
In today’s world people tend to focus more on differences between themselves and others they don’t understand. While the spoken and written word can create rifts and keep people apart, the boundary free medium of visual arts brings people together. Visual arts call our attention to the similarities in people to build a bridge that can cross rifts and unite people. Understanding visual art creates an appreciation with its power to include all cultures and people and bring them together.
The world is getting smaller thanks to advances in technology. Understanding visual arts is the key that opens the door to a universal language that allows us to communicate with those we may have never spoken to before.