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Tag Archives: language

The Sum of the Arts

One of the things that sets man apart from creature, is our ability to use language.

There are three languages we use.
Speech and writing are essentially verbal languages.
Art is a visual language.
Mathematics is a symbolic language.

Our education is strongly biased towards learning the verbal language, at the expense of the other two.

We start with “C-A-T Cat B-A-T Bat”. Then we go on to learn longer words and sentences.
In school we learn our pronouns and prepositions, punctuations and paragraphs.

But Perspective?
Color theory?
Rule of one-thirds in composition?
How about negative space?

The problem is, we spend all our time learning to analyze, understand and produce the verbal language during our growing years. Visual language and communication take a back seat. The art teacher is a fish out of water, a lonely man struggling against the current, never taken seriously. As a subject, art is an optional, an elective. Or the art class is a relief- a break from the “serious” subjects.

The consequences are disastrous- we become visually stunted. Most of us are unable to communicate visually.
We lose out on the seriously huge potential of using art to communicate and express.
And then we are made to believe that art is the domain of a privileged few- the God-gifted.
Had we taken as much care to understand chiaroscuro, as we did to learn comprehension, we might have been an entire community of artists.

The greatest despair, however, is not that we are not all Rembrandts or Gauguins.
It is that we fail to use the most powerful medium of communication- the visual, to express and convey.