Over the past few years, there has been an increasingly popular trend in higher education: integrating the study of art into courses that do not traditionally include it. This is referred to as offering “integrated arts studies” or IASs.
Many universities are offering IASs at both the college level and university level. Some offer only one style of art (e.g., painting, sculpture, etc.) while others combine more than one (e.g., graphic design with photoshootinng). Either way, these programs aim to expose students to all areas of artistic expression.
These classes typically contain topics such as drawing, color theory, studio practices, humanities applications of art, and so forth. A major component, however, is often missing: how artists from various disciplines apply what they know about art to other fields.
This article will discuss why this is important and what types of jobs depend on it.
Definition of fine arts
The term “fine art” comes from the Italian word fino, which means thin or refined. Art is considered to be fine when it expresses complex ideas, uses rich materials such as paint and clay, and requires intellectual focus and reflection.
Something like painting is not considered to be fine art because you can easily tell what someone was trying to say with their work. A lot of flashy colors and patterns do not necessarily require much thought.
Sculpting is also usually excluded from this category due to its three-dimensional nature. Technically speaking, a person could make very artistic sculptures by sticking feathers in different positions, but most people don’t consider that art.
Music is often included in this category because it takes place in time and involves repetition, both of which are integral parts of how humans learn and process information.
Relationships between liberal arts and fine arts
There is some debate about what exactly defines a “liberal art”, but most agree that they are related to each other and focus more on knowledge than skill sets. A degree in humanities or social sciences would be considered a liberal art degree.
A degree in visual or performing arts is considered a fine art degree. These degrees emphasize creativity and skills such as drawing, painting, sculpting, designing graphics, music theory, performance, etc.
Both bachelor’s degree programs in liberal arts and those in fine arts combine theoretical concepts with practical applications. Both have emphasis on educating students beyond just teaching them facts and giving them certificates, but helping them develop into thoughtful individuals who understand themselves and the world around them.
Liberal arts departments challenge student’s assumptions of how things work by studying topics like politics, history, philosophy, literature, and sociology. Students learn not only why something is done a certain way, but also how power works, how different groups organize and interact with one another, and how individual identity forms.
Examples of liberal arts
The term “liberal art” was coined in the 16th century, when Renaissance philosophers discussed which subjects were worth studying. Some examples of liberal arts are writing, literature, mathematics, natural science, and music.
Literature is part of the word “Liberal” because you can be very liberal with it. You do not have to agree with its messages or even like reading, but you must know how to read. Mathematics, natural sciences, and music also contribute to helping us understand our world more deeply.
These four areas work together to give you knowledge that you can apply in your life. They all relate to each other and build upon one another. For example, knowing some math helps you learn music, and learning music gives you insights about nature and psychology.
Music has powerful effects on people and has been used for centuries to help heal mental health issues and as a tool to teach social skills. Learning something new always brings a sense of calmness. So whether you choose music, maths, natural science, or literature as an area, they both bring peace and understanding.
Examples of fine arts
The term ‘fine art’ can be tricky, with some defining it as anything done in the medium or style of painting that uses vibrant colors and is very aesthetically pleasing.
Other people define it more broadly to include everything from sculpture to graphic design to music to writing!
Regardless, all types of artistic expression are considered part of the fine art genre because they all share common qualities, such as being intentional, creative, and/or expressive.
Some even argue that every piece of written word (fiction, non-fiction, poetry) is an example of fine art since they too use creativity, intention, and expression to tell a story.
Another important quality of fine art is its potential to have lasting impact. A painting may not convey much beyond “I like green!” but a well-written article can influence readers for years to come.
Writers are trained in using intelligent reasoning and storytelling so this makes them good candidates to add to our collection of fine art.
Something about their work has the potential to stick with you and make you think about how to handle situations similar to those used in the narrative.
Differences between the two
The term ‘fine arts’ can be confusing. Many people use it as a blanket term for all art forms that are considered to be high-brow, such as painting, sculpture, or interior design.
However, this isn’t entirely correct! Art is much more than just that.
Art comes in many different styles and formats, from graphic design like logos or movie posters, to creative writing (think stories and poems), music (like songs or instrumental pieces), and even performing arts (dance, theater). Some artists also incorporate mixed media, which is creating artwork out of other materials like clay, glass, wood, etc.
These non-representational art forms are sometimes referred to as abstract because they lack an identifiable image or form. Artists include everything from photography to conceptualism in the category of fine art.
So what makes something qualify as a piece of fine art? Style usually plays a major role. If an artist uses bold colors, complex shapes, and experimenting with textures, then their work qualifies as fine art.
It could also make some sort of statement about humanity or the nature of life. Or maybe it features very idiosyncratic designs that are unique to the creator.
All of these things contribute to making the audience think beyond simple impressions of beauty or creativity. They get inspired by how the artist expresses themselves, and not only what you would expect to see.
Do I have to be a professor of both?
Even if you’re only planning to work in one area, it is important to understand what the differences are. Both liberal arts and fine art degrees focus on teaching students how to think, but they teach us about different subjects.
Liberal arts degree programs typically emphasize topics such as literature, history, or philosophy. These areas challenge your understanding of the world by asking questions like “Why do people believe things?” or “How has society influenced culture?”
Fine art majors learn how to apply artistic skills to non-art materials. They may design logos, make sculptures, or paint pictures using very thin layers of colors. Many artists use their talents to create products that convey an idea or message (like a painting of a sunset).
Both types of education help you become intelligent, well-rounded individuals.
Get a degree in both
There is no difference between studying art or liberal arts at the college level. Most universities offer either fine art or graphic design, which are considered forms of visual communication.
Studies in the field of art include things like painting, sculpture, drawing, illustration, creative writing, and more. Many students take courses such as these to hone their skills while also exploring different mediums and styles.
Liberal arts degrees focus more on understanding how concepts relate to each other and how this applies to the real world. These may be categorized into three major areas: literature, language, and media studies.
Other popular subjects include mathematics, social sciences (such as economics, psychology, sociology), humanities (history, philosophy, religion, culture) and science.
Link between creativity and arts
Many people believe that studying art is just a waste of time, given that most of what we refer to as “art” today was made centuries ago!
Some even go so far as saying that artists are simply self-aware psychopaths who enjoy making things for their own enjoyment.
But there is more to it than that!
Artists are not only creative, but they also apply concepts such as logic, mathematics, and psychology in their work. Artists use math in designing compositions, logical reasoning when coming up with ideas for projects, and psychology in understanding why certain designs appeal to one person while failing to do the same for another.
Furthermore, artistic skills can be learned!
Many academics now offer courses focused exclusively on teaching students how to create art. These classes typically focus on disciplines like painting, sculpture, or drawing, and teach fundamental tools like using materials, mixing colors, and practicing repetition and process management in your craft.
These classes often have teachers with professional degrees in art, which ensures that the student gets an appropriate level of instruction.