Busting Myths About Abstract Art

Like it or not, art is highly a subjective field. And, of all the artists out there, abstract artists probably know this better than anyone. I might even venture to say that abstract art is the most scrutinized genre there is. But I think that's just because most people don't understand it. After all, I thought much differently about it myself before I understood it. So to quell some of the hostility towards this genre, I'm dispelling 3 Myths About Abstract Art. Let's get right into it.

My Kid Can Paint That


I can't even begin to count the number of times I've heard this. But, contrary to popular belief, your kid can't paint that piece you saw in a museum. Abstract art requires lots of planning. And this planning draws on in-depth training and extensive experience, both of which most children don't have. Prodigies aside, children haven't started to refine their understanding of the Elements of Art, all of which build on each other and form the skills needed to make art.

While children are fearless when it comes to making art, their work isn't as focused or intentional as a professional artist. Still don't believe me? Take a gander at this article, where subjects had to decide which piece was a better: a drawing by a preschooler or a painting by Mark Rothko. Even when the labels were switched, the subjects preferred the Rothko piece.

Abstract art might seem random, but it all comes down to intention. A child doesn't have reasoning behind that circle they placed in the middle of the page, but an artist intentionally places every brush stroke within their painting.

It's Easy


This myth makes me laugh, but I must confess - I used to think this exact same thing. And then I started making abstract art. In fact, I personally find realism much easier than abstract art. When working from a reference, I don't have to invent an entire image. But when working abstractly, everything is undecided, unknown, and unpredictable. That's where hard work and training come into play, and, just like any other skill, it takes dedication and practice. Neither of which are easy.

Making a well--balanced, aesthetically pleasing piece of abstract art might look effortless, but that's simply not true. In fact, it involves something of a paradox: to make something look effortless, it takes a lot of effort. So the next time you look at an abstract painting, remember the years of dedicated training behind that piece. Dedication is hard, quitting is easy.

No Skill is Involved


I mentioned it a couple times already, but a lot of people out there truly believe there's no skill involved in abstract art (or art in general). But abstract art takes just as much skill as realistic pieces. And it all comes down to having a strong understanding of the fundamentals of art.

Just because an artist works abstractly, doesn't mean the rules do out the window. Strong abstract art still relies on composition, line, form, color, and so on. And truly understanding how these elements combine and work together to create a cohesive piece takes a lot of skill. I mean, if computers can discern a real Jackson Pollock from a fake, clearly there's more going on than flinging paint around.


I hope this article gave you some insight and a different perspective when it comes to abstract art. After all, a little understanding goes a long way. Who knows - maybe you'll even come to like it!

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Thanks for reading and happy creating!