3. The Role of Applied Arts in Contemporary Art


Applied arts and contemporary art are two prominent and popular forms of art that coexist in our modern society. While they may seem distinct from one another, the role of applied arts is crucial in shaping and influencing contemporary art. The contributions of applied arts have played a significant role in creating a more dynamic and multifaceted contemporary art scene. In this article, we will delve into the role of applied arts in contemporary art and how it has evolved over time.

Applied arts refer to the practical and purposeful use of art in various fields such as design, architecture, and fashion. These fields require a blend of creativity and functionality, making applied arts an essential aspect of everyday life. On the other hand, contemporary art is a diverse and ever-evolving art form that challenges traditional notions and pushes boundaries. While contemporary art is often associated with fine arts such as painting and sculpture, its scope has expanded to include new media such as installation, performance, and digital art.

One of the primary roles of applied arts in contemporary art is the incorporation of aesthetic and functional elements. Applied arts have a long history of combining both form and function, and this has influenced contemporary artists to do the same. Many contemporary artists use various materials and techniques from the applied arts world to create their works. For instance, the use of textile and embroidery in contemporary art has its roots in the textile and fashion industry, where they are used for their functionality and visual appeal. However, contemporary artists have taken these traditional techniques and materials and transformed them into thought-provoking, conceptual works of art.

Moreover, applied arts have an essential role in providing a platform for contemporary artists to express their ideas and engage with the audience. Applied arts, especially in fields like graphic design and advertising, use creative and visually impactful methods to convey a message or promote a product. This has influenced contemporary artists to use similar techniques to communicate their ideas and create a dialogue with their viewers. For instance, Shepard Fairey’s iconic “Hope” poster for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign was inspired by his background in graphic design and street art. The striking design not only helped to promote Obama’s message but also made a powerful statement in the contemporary art scene.

In addition to the use of materials and techniques, the subject matter of applied arts has also played a crucial role in contemporary art. Applied arts often draw inspiration from everyday life, current events, and social issues, and this has translated into contemporary art as well. Many contemporary artists use themes and ideas seen in applied arts to create socially and politically charged pieces that address important issues. For example, the work of feminist artists such as Judy Chicago and Yoko Ono has its roots in applied arts, particularly in crafts and domestic techniques. These artists have used these traditionally feminine forms of art to challenge societal norms and advocate for women’s rights.

Furthermore, applied arts have also opened up possibilities for cross-disciplinary collaborations in contemporary art. With the rise of new media and technologies, there has been a blurring of boundaries between different art forms. Applied arts, especially in fields like architecture and industrial design, have been at the forefront of innovation and experimentation. This has inspired contemporary artists to collaborate with professionals from these fields to create immersive and interactive installations and sculptures. These collaborations have not only expanded the possibilities for contemporary art but have also brought diverse perspectives and expertise to the table.

In conclusion, the role of applied arts in contemporary art is undeniable and ever-growing. As evident from the examples mentioned, the impact of applied arts on contemporary art goes beyond the surface level of mere aesthetics. From the use of materials and techniques to the subject matter and collaborations, applied arts have been instrumental in shaping the contemporary art landscape. As we continue to see the boundaries between different art forms blur, the synergy between applied arts and contemporary art will only strengthen, creating more innovative and thought-provoking works.