Different Ways People Used Art to Express Themselves

Creating artworks such as paintings, sculptures, etc. not only adds value to human existence by providing joy and beauty but allows us to understand each other better. When words cannot be utter, art speaks. Art has been in existence as long as humanity has existed and its main goal is to communicate and convey feelings and emotions. As we can see from the earliest form of art which is cave paintings, the main objective behind its creation is to communicate other than to keep track of the events happening at that time. For hundreds, if not thousands, of years, different types of art have been used to represent human feelings as a form of human representation and self-expression to manifest the inner state of the human psyche. Today, we will dive deep into the world of human expression, representation, and communication by showing you the different ways people used art to express themselves.

A photo of a person wearing a ring holding a photo book and drawing with white pencil with his left hand a flowered object on a black paper

There are many theories on why art exists. Many scholars and critics say that art exists for many reasons. Throughout the history of mankind, we used art to keep track of important events, to communicate, to reflect the state of the external world, and to manifest the inner state of the artist. So, what are the different ways people used art to express themselves? That’s what we’ll try to uncover in this article so keep on reading to find out more. 

Experts and researchers have conducted numerous studies on how humans acquire knowledge, and they have discovered that various areas of the brain process what the eye sees in a variety of ways. It’s understandable that individuals seek unconventional ways of communicating with others, particularly when language cannot deliver our thoughts and feelings in the way we want to. Hence, art is there to help us translate different ideas into symbols.

A photo of a woman drawing while sitting on the floor

Inspire Me: How Prominent Figures Used Their Art Forms to Express Themselves and Inspire Other People to do the Same

To help you stay inspired when creating artworks to express your ideas, feelings, and emotions, we will be giving you some notable examples of the different ways people used art to express themselves. We will be showing you examples not only from the field of visual art but also in music and literature. So, without further ado, let’s get started!


    1.  Vincent van Gogh: The Emotional Painter

Throughout his life, Van Gogh struggled as a painter because of his unstable mental health condition. Even though he was regarded as a  “failure” during his lifetime as he only sold one painting a few months before his death, one can see that he used his talent in painting to express his personality as it is brought to life into his canvases. Each of his paintings shows a deep perception of the imagery that he wanted to convey and the deep and bright color palette laid on thick brushstrokes showed the volatility of his emotions in his paintings. 

A painting illustrating a van Gogh picture being looked on by art observers

    2.  Keith Haring: The artistic activist

His murals made it to popular culture as they are referenced in TV shows, movies, and loved by many celebrities and musicians. Haring used lines and colors in his platform to campaign for anti-drugs, AIDS awareness, and other relevant socio-political issues. Moreover, as an artist, he began to create colorful murals in New York subway stations inspired by graffiti artists to express his support to the LGBTQ community, to end the battle on Apartheid, and to make art accessible to everyone.

A colorful exhibition museum art gallery painting


    3.  Kurt Cobain: The legendary Rockstar of the 90s

If you’re a 90s kid (or born before that), you’re probably familiar with the band Nirvana thanks to their iconic song Smells Like Teen Spirit. The band’s front-man, Kurt Cobain, may have been troubled during his short life but he was one of the most artistic rock stars to ever live. He used his music to express his emotions as a troubled young boy, his youth, his marriage, and his personal life. Moreover, other than music, he also dedicated his time to making surreal paintings and sculptures. 

A photo of a complete drum set

    4.  David Bowie: The Man Who Fell to Earth

His style, his music, and his fashion will forever remain distinct from the rest of the artists and musicians out there in the world. His creativity is so great that just by hearing his name, David Bowie, a lot of things may come across people’s minds already. A legendary Rockstar. A fashion icon. A good actor. A great artist. What more can we say? He revolutionized the way we see male icons in the world of rock n’ roll. He used his platform to eradicate the stigma on genders. He wore dresses on stage during his acts and performance to diminish stereotyping. 

A photo showing a brown acoustic guitar beside a clear glass wall photo


    5.  Lewis Carroll: Into the World of Alice in Wonderland

Though he is well known for being a writer, he was also an artist himself, indulging in different forms of art such as photography. He is most notable for his fictional work for children entitled, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel, Through the Looking-Glass. These books inspired so many artworks, films, TV series, musicals, and the list goes on. He used his poetry and other literary works not only to express himself as an academic and artist but also to entertain his readers by showing the wonderful world of fiction.

A sketch painting of Alice in wonderland tea party

    6.  Harper Lee: The Best-selling Writer Who Spoke Against Injustice

Love it or hate it, Harper Lee is a part of your childhood or youth as her book, To Kill a Mockingbird, is a school classic. She used her book to speak against injustice and racism while imparting so much knowledge on life. With millions of copies sold worldwide, her book To Kill a Mockingbird remains one of the world’s best-selling books. In fact, it even won a Pulitzer Prize in Literature.

A photo showing an open page book in front a blue sky background

Key Insights

We hope that this inspiring discussion about the different ways people used art to express themselves gives you an idea of how powerful art can be, especially when you want to express your ideas, voice out your sentiments, and impart wisdom and knowledge in this world. So, remember that you can use your creativity and imagination to good use to make the world a better place not only for yourself but also for others.

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