Writing is the most Basic form of Visual Art

When you strip down visual art to its constituent parts – paintings, photographs, material installations, movies, concrete skyscrapers, embroidered textiles.. – they all seem to speak the same fundamental language. Just like mathematics is the foundation of all sciences, writing is the bedrock of visible artistic form. A word is more than just a movement with the hand, or a stroke of characters on a keyboard. It is a visual expression of human interaction honed by memory and experience. It is the most basic visualization of emotion and thought nurtured by generations of culture and civilization. When a word is breathed on paper – just like a painter’s brush on canvas – a calligraphic shape soon becomes surreal. The only difference is that with writing, we all have access to this imaginary world. For every true writer is an artist and every true artist is a writer. What do you think?


4 thoughts on “Writing is the most Basic form of Visual Art

  1. At first reading, and before thinking, I say that said writing and arranging and sharing of words with other things that create a texture and a making, send forth, particularly if done carefully and with crafting, a creation that is made and made again with each person’s voice of interpretation.

  2. I really like what you said: “When a word is breathed on paper – just like a painter’s brush on canvas – a calligraphic shape soon becomes surreal. The only difference is that with writing, we all have access to this imaginary world. For every true writer is an artist and every true artist is a writer.” Beautiful!

    …but for me it’s a little different. As a visual artist, I find that there are some images (paintings, drawings, usually abstract) that cannot be translated into words. Our response remains on a visceral level and attaching words would create unnecessary boundaries. Having said that–I believe art and writing together can communicate a feeling, an understanding, etc. that neither medium alone can do as successfully.

    1. Thank you Rebecca for sharing this great perspective. For writers too, I think, at many times thoughts cannot be directly expressed in words and there lies the challenge of writing. I think what this post is trying to say, is that writing can be as much a visual art as its sister schools. Just like an abstract masterpiece on canvas, a good piece of writing aims to achieve that same visceral state. :)

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