What Language Does Art Speak?

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Good morning,

My question for you today, is, “What language does art speak?” Or, maybe the question should be, “Does art speak at all?”

There is no right or wrong answer to this question or question(s).

I believe art speaks, if it speaks, speaks the language of the heart, possibly the language of the brain. If a person is drawn to the art there is something within that art that appeals to him or her and it may say one thing to one person and something entirely different to another person.


I took a class on “Communications in Design” recently. I thought it was going to be more of a communications theory, interpreting what we read in different designs. However, it was an all out graphic design class, in and of itself, turning me into the student artist. Most of you have seen my artwork (see an example, here). So, this was an exciting, and growing, experience.

We were given assignments to create a design, using only basic shapes (i.e. no stars, rainbows, smiley faces, etc.) and textures to create an artistic representation of the feeling or contrast represented by the assigned word or words. In some cases we were allowed to use color and in some cases we were only allowed grayscale.

Here are the results, my designs:

[singlepic id=3 w=320 h=240 float=center] [singlepic id=5 w=320 h=240 float=center]
Hard / Calm Vibrant / Thoughtful
[singlepic id=2 w=320 h=240 float=center] [singlepic id=4 w=320 h=240 float=center]
Happy Soft / Dynamic
[singlepic id=6 w=320 h=240 float=center]  

Now, these are simple designs, that may or may not speak to anyone but me. Well, they must have said something to my instructor since I received a good grade. LOL. But, they don’t need to speak. They can be passed by, or they can be admired. Some people like the art of Thomas Kinkade representing something beautiful remembered, experienced, or the experience of the art itself. Some people prefer the abstract cubism art of Picasso.

How about this concept –> Remember that YOU are a work of art. The language is your language and the appreciation or the lack of appreciation is the language that art speaks (or doesn’t speak). My assignment to you for today is to give yourself a hug, and enjoy the work of art that is called YOU.

  • Jenay August 22, 2011, 3:51 am

    Yup, that’ll do it. You have my apperciatoin.

  • Manuel Marino February 24, 2012, 8:32 am

    Deborah, I totally agree. unfortunately, sometimes (well often, if you are a professional artist) you have to explain your art to a customer which ordered the work. In my case, music.

    Sometimes you work with customers which are really experts and can appreciate anything of your art, sometimes customers are totally illiterate 😀 so you have to explain and educate.

    Luckily, after this, 100% of them love my work, and considering music is also very subjective, I’m very satisfied of the result.

    • Deborah E February 24, 2012, 6:42 pm

      Excellent point, Manuel! I really like the 100% part… you are very successful to be able to reach your audience, wherever their point of reference is.

  • Matt Arney June 30, 2015, 1:49 am

    Deborah I’m 90% agree with you. Just a quick note to tell you that I have a passion for the topic “Communications in Design” at hand. The last design is really awesome to me at all. Thanks Deborah


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