“There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward, you can remove all traces of reality.”

–  Pablo Picasso.

Art is subjective; one person may love a piece that another may loathe. However, when it comes to evaluating the quality in works of art, there are no hard and fast rules but a key set of elements that should be taken into consideration.

1. Proportion

From classical pieces to abstract works, proportion of subject matter, characters, structures, and scenes can determine the quality of the work, as well as the technical skill of the artist who created it.

2. Originality

No one in the art world likes plagiarism unless a print is being produced with the benefits going back to the artist or estate of who created it. Originality in style is often what makes a work of art unique. The use of colors, play in shapes, tones, textures, and brushstrokes all contribute to the originality and ultimately points back to quality of the artwork.

3. Perspective

Perspective of an artwork requires artists to place themselves in the shoes of the viewer. An important aspect is understanding the use of foreground and background, as well as negative and positive spaces to achieve a balance in aesthetics. Examples include the side of a building, structure or table, a bowl of fruit, or even an animal. Perspective allows the illusion of 3-dimensional objects to come to life within the work so the viewer can feel as though they are within a painting or an art piece.

4. Intention

Be it contemporary or traditional art, a carefully thought out artwork brings about reflection and meaning. The intended message behind the work evokes feelings and wisdom of truth to the audience. No matter how abstract the work, its point of view is always relevant.

5. History and significance

Who artists are, their past works, and the reputation they hold within the art community and society contribute to the value and quality of works.

One artist in contemporary times that has been exceptionally successful in their significance is Banksy. With his established works appealing to the art world and making a mark on popular culture, Banksy’s works appear on the walls of buildings and walls globally. His significance was highlighted during the infamous $1.4 million painting self-shredding incident – when the street artist hid a built-in shredder in the frame of artwork and activated it during a Sotheby’s auction house live auction. The stunt in no way detracted from the history or significance of the piece, in fact, one could argue it added to it!

“The piece was a classic Banksy motif known as “Girl with Balloon,” created using spray paint on canvas back in 2006. In a video posted after the incident, Banksy shows how he built a custom shredding device into the large gilt frame in case the work was ever sold at auction. He also posted an Instagram quoting Picasso, “The urge to destroy is also a creative urge.

No matter how old or new a piece is, regardless of style or medium, there are always considerations and elements that pertain to the quality of the work.

As popular culture infiltrates the art world, it is unknown what the future holds for the ‘new normal’ when it comes to a quality work of art.

The team at Art Works advise investors and lovers of art on portfolios geared for positive financial returns, not just a conversation starter on your walls. Contact the team today at artworks.com.sg to find out more.