Categories Of Artwork Explained

Published on November 13, 2020

In a nutshell, art is the expression of inner passions and feelings of human beings that they express through certain means. There is a misconception that the medium is the art but it is and will remain a means to an end and not the end itself.

The art is as old as the civilization itself but we are still light years away from understanding the true nature of art and how it encompasses other aspects of our lives.

There are many ways, usually called artforms, that different people employ to express their inner desires and feelings. In this article, we will give you a view of how different artforms contrast on multiple levels, both at conception and expression level, but they all serve one single purpose – reveal the inner self of the artist!

Fine Art

First up is the fine art. The primary reason behind pursuing this kind of art is the appreciation of aesthetics. The artist falls in love with what he finds around him and then present in two of the most popular ways:

1. Trying to depict it as closely as it is. This includes realistic artists like painters of many schools of the renaissance.

2. The other flip the lens and portray the world how it could be. This includes many artists of the modern French school of art and the prominent figures of cubism and modernism.

Related: Best Gifts For People Who Wants To Learn About The Different Categories Of Artwork

In this category, artists use many a variety of mediums to express their take on the world and the objects in it. The most popular mediums in this regard are:


From charcoal to chalk and crayons, to all the way to pencil, pen, and ink, artists use these primitive supplies to create compelling pieces and showcase them for the world to see them. Note that this is the most basic type of artwork that could be full of errors or do not comply with the norms of certain schools of thought.


This is the most popular and influential form of art in the broad category of fine arts. Creators use oils, watercolors, acrylics, tempera, and encaustic paints to depict the life they see and breathe.


This art form includes engraving, woodcuts, stencils, and lithography. This is a modern iteration, mass-produced to get things done in the least possible time.


This used to be very influential in the olden days but somehow lost its charm in the modern world. Many sculptors have used bronze, stone, marble, wood, and clay to produce masterpieces that are still standing after centuries and millennia.


This refers to beautiful handwriting with key-differences in style and other aspects. Many have left their marks in this field but it was never a mainstream artwork.

Visual Art

Keeping the perspective wide and inclusive, every form of artwork is somehow part of a bigger visual art fold. For the sake of simplicity, it is safe to say that visual arts carry all the iterations of fine art and many others.

Here is the list of what you can expect in the visual art category:

New Media

This is the richest and diverse category in terms of iterations. In the modern world, this has turned out to be the most influential and compelling art form that drives masses every day.

Following are the most prominent renditions:

1. Digital Art

2. Computer Graphics

3. Computer Animation

4. Virtual Art

5. Internet Art

6. Interactive Art

7. Video Games

8. Computer Robotics

9. 3D Printing

The list is non-exhaustive, but they all serve a common goal: to complement the creator in sending its message across the globe.

Photography Art

This uses modern gadgets and tools to capture the moments, places, and things by highlighting an angle that is not obvious to others.

Environmental Art

This has a far-reaching impact on the overall landscape of modern art and ecology. Artists use natural materials and things to portray things in the world.

Other Contemporary Forms

There is one unique aspect of modern artwork – it has no limit and accepts almost every angle thrown at it. That’s why artists have left the traditional route and created masterpieces using more of a craft side of things. The techniques they have employed include:

1. Assemblage

2. Collage

3. Conceptual Artwork

4. Installation

Plastic Art

The term “Plastic Art” could be confusing to some. As the name suggests, this could mean anything artistic that is made of varying forms of plastic. In reality, it includes all things that can be molded to give the desired effect. This category is rich in expression and consists of three-dimensional work.

The popular media used in this type of artwork include:

1. Clay

2. Plaster Of Paris

3. Stone

4. Metals

5. Wood

6. Paper

Performance Art

This art form refers to public displays and presentations which usually occur in the theatres. This also can encompass a wide range of topics, from political to social and many more.

Traditional Performance Art

Theatre, opera, musicals, and ballet, all are included in this form of performance art.

Contemporary Performance Art

Mimes constitute the better part of this art form but there could be other media.

Hyper-Modern Performance Art

This is one of the most controversial, yet dynamic art form. It includes racial, social, and societal expressions and thrived in the second half of the 20th Century. It includes Fluxus, Happenings, and many more.

Applied Art

This is a unique take of fine art and its application to common objects of use. In the modern world, this form of artwork is more intended to pursue as a career.

Following are the areas that appeal the most to both creators and audience:

1. Architecture

2. Computer Art

3. Photography

4. Industrial Design

5. Graphic Design

6. Fashion Design

7. Interior Design

Decorative Art

This is yet another unique artwork type is one of the most popular in the 21st Century. In essence, it is a functional art like the jewelry designs or on ceramics or mosaic or a number of other items that are processed by artists to keep the purpose of the object but for changing its appearance.

Following is the media of this art form in the contemporary world:

1. Glass

2. Clay

3. Wood

4. Metal

5. Textile

6. Fabric

7. Furniture

8. Furnishings

9. Stained Glass

10. Tapestry Art

This type of artwork finds most of its use in the interior designs for both commercial and residential buildings and other office décor work.

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