In today’s Video Lesson we take a trip to Beijing’s 798 Art District and look at a few styles of art and ideas around it.
Welcome to Ethan’s English cafe dot com’s Video Lesson. My name is Ethan Strauss and today we’re going to be looking at a couple different types of art and the words that go with them. Hope you enjoy the videos and don’t stop practicing!
Welcome to 798 art district, an art district is an area of a city that is devoted to everything artistic. 798 in Beijing here, is often compared to New York’s Greenwich Village or Vancouver’s Granville Island. Although some of the buildings may look older and it may not look like an artistic area, often art districts originally start as poorer and under developed areas, where artists have lower rents as most artists tend to be a little bit poor. As the area becomes more popular, rents tend to go up, a lot of the stores and cafes move in and it becomes a very commercialized, developed area.
There are many different styles or mediums of art, when we’re talking about art; medium means what you use to create your art. Mediums include things like painting, sculpting or even old toys, planes, all sorts of things.
There are many different styles of paintings, including abstract like this one here. This is when you take an ordinary object and change the lines and the shape of it to make it look different, often you can’t even tell what the painting is of without a great deal of thought.
Here is a variety of other abstract paintings, as you can see their meaning isn’t always clear but they’re very interesting looking and they look quite beautiful a lot of the times. Some people like abstract some people don’t, it’s more of a personal preference as to what kind of art you prefer.
Cubism is when you take everyday objects and depict them using cubes or other angled shapes, without any kind of curves to the image, such as these ones here which show people, created by cubes.
In fact those are not very good examples of cubist art. The ones you see here are more properly what we’d consider cubist, I just didn’t see much that day at 798 that was properly cubist. But these are all fairly cubist in that they don’t have a lot of curves and they use a lot of squares and shapes to try and bring out an image.
There is another style we call Minimalist style, minimal meaning small amounts. This is using very basic colours and basic shapes to try and show as much information with as few objects. Something like this could be considered a minimalist, though even this might be a little too much for a minimalist style.
Here’s some more minimalist style art, as you can see it’s very minimalist. There’s not a lot on the canvas, on the picture, it’s just colour and basic shapes.
When looking at paintings, not only is style important but so is perspective. Perspective is talking about how to view something. When talking about paintings, we’re discussion how to show depth, how to show distance. There are three main styles of perspective. The first, as this pictures shows clearly, is linear. Linear is like there are two parallel lines going off into the distance meeting at an end point on the horizon line. The horizon line is the line where the sky meets the ground.
Some more linear perspective art, as you can see the lines are all moving towards a single vanishing point, on the horizon line.
Another style of perspective is what is called diminishing perspective, which shows the objects in the front as very large and the objects in the back as very small or diminishing in size the farther back they go.
Some more examples of some diminishing perspective, as you can see in the background there are mountains and trees which seem very small compared to the people and objects in the front. Because we’re using diminishing perspective, those in the front are always larger.
There is also what we call Atmospheric perspective, which creates the idea of depth through less clarity and less detail such as this one where the images in the back are very unclear and not very detailed.
Atmospheric perspective is often seen in actual photographs from cameras in that those in the front will be very clear and objects in the back will be either foggy or just not very clear at all.
There are two main types of paint with painting; there is both oil based and water based. The difference being what you can paint on, now with an oil based paint you can paint on a wide variety of objects, whereas with a water based paint you need something that can absorb the paint a little bit, like this here which would be a water based on a canvas. Water based paints are also easy to damage through moisture and water, and just damage through water, so it’s a little more dangerous with a water based paint, but it looks quite nice and gives a nice image, a nice picture.
So as you can see within art there are many different mediums and within each medium there are many different styles. But regardless of which medium you choose everyone needs to worry about colour. When looking at paintings, colour is basically broken down in to two main styles of colour. The first is primary colours. Primary colours are made up of blue, red and yellow, of course also within these you also have the white colour which is used to lighten the colours and give a variety of other shades within your primary colours.
The other kind of colour is what is called secondary colour. Secondary colour is made by mixing two primary colours together. Like if you were to mix a yellow and a blue you would get a green, green is a secondary colour.
There is one other type of colour that we should mention as well called tertiary colours. Tertiary colours are colours that are made from mixing a primary and as secondary or maybe three primaries or two primaries and a secondary, whatever types you want. There are many different tertiary colours, including probably the most common which are the browns, beiges and the darker kind of earth tone colours which we see a lot in our world.
When painting a painter needs a variety of tools, including a paint brush which you use to actually paint it, you need a canvas which is the object you are painting on and you also need an easel which is a stand for the painting to sit on so you can paint without bending over and last but not least you need a frame. The frame goes around the painting, it can be a very basic frame like this here, or you could use more complex beautiful frame.
What you can see behind me is a very common style of painting for younger people, it doesn’t require paint brushes, instead you use a spray can. It’s quite common among young people, they really tend to like it a lot in the big cities especially. Though it is illegal, so if you are going to do it, make sure you do it in an area you are allowed to or at least don’t let the police see you do it. Ok?
I’ve actually just noticed that I did not even tell you the name of this art style which was a little silly of me. This art style is called graffiti; it’s very popular and very common. My favourite graffiti artist, as all of these pictures are made by this gentleman, is by the name of Banksy who makes a lot of great art in England and around the world.
Those who do not like painting, maybe sculpting is more your style. Sculpting is taking a material such as clay or metal or cement or marble and changing it into an image, creating something. Depending on the material you are using you will need different tools. For example if you are going to work with metal or rock you need to have a hammer and chisel which is a flat small piece you break pieces of the rock off with. With a hammer and chisel you will end up with a very angled or chiseled look to the statue, at which point you need sandpaper or a sander, which is an electric tool used to smooth edges to make things rounder, to give it a rounder feel to it all. If you are going to work with metal or plastics, such as this here, you just need fire or some sort of a heating element to heat the material, which you can then shape using hammers or metal benders or whatever you are going to use to shape it.
One of the most popular kinds of statues made, are what are called a bust. A bust is something similar to this except usually it is only one person and only from the shoulders up. In ancient Rome you would see a lot of the old Roman emperors had busts of themselves and previous emperors. If you do create something like this or a bust, you are also going to need a pedestal which is the piece it sits on, the lower part where it sits on it. So you’d have a statue on top of a pedestal.
Some sculptures use clay to create images such as these behind me. When using clay to create it, you don’t need a hammers or chisels to shape it; you just use your hands to shape it in the shape you want. Which you then put into a kiln or furnace to dry and harden it, then you can paint it or colour it in any way you wish.
That’s it for all of us here at 798 art district, hope you had a good time, enjoyed the video and learned a little bit about art. If you have any comments or questions, please put them below in the comments section or in the forum. This video was created by Ethan’s English cafe dot com, the first step on your road to fluency. So be sure to also check out our fantastic phrases: Idioms of Art which was created to go along with this video as soon as you are finished here. Alright? Bye Bye!
Commercialized: To become focused on making money.
Examples: “Once it became popular, 798 Art District became very commercialized”
“It sometimes feels like the whole world has become commercialized.”
Medium: The method or way you do something.
Examples: “My favourite medium of transportation is airplane.”
“I feel the medium of painting is really amazing.”
Abstract: Something that is unclear or not obvious in it’s meaning.
Examples: “Some of Confucius’s teachings were very abstract.”
“I love painting but abstract art is too strange for me.”
Cube: a 3d four sided object. A 3d square.
Examples: “Sometimes cubist art is hard to clearly understand as well.”
“Please find the volume of this cube.”
Minimal: As little as possible.
Examples: “I want to finish this with minimal problems”
“Why do you always seem to just do the minimal amount of work possible?”
Perspective: The way you see something or view something
Examples: “I know you disagree with him but you need to look at this from his perspective too.”
“The answer to a problem may look quite different depending on your perspective.”
Depth: How deep something is. When talking about art we are meaning how to make the picture look more 3d.
Examples: “Your picture is very nice but there is no depth, the objects in the back look the same as those in the front.”
“The conversation was fun but there was no depth in the topics.”
Linear: Moving in a straight line.
Examples: “Your way of thinking is very linear, you can’t think creatively.”
“The movie’s story was very linear and didn’t have any side stories.”
Parallel: moving in the same direction and never crossing.
Examples: “The two highways ran parallel to each other.”
“The book has two parallel stories about two different characters.”
Vanishing Point: The point in a painting or picture using linear perspective where you can no longer see anything further away.
Examples: “Right at the vanishing point you can see the horse.”
“Beyond the vanishing point are many other cities.”
Diminish: To grow smaller or weaker
Examples: “Using dirty words diminishes your argument.”
“Every day the amount of food we get seems to diminish!”
Atmosphere: Has many different meanings, when it comes to art we are usually talking about the mood or feeling of a piece of art, but when it is talking about perspective it’s talking about the air or area surrounding the main focus.
Examples: “There is a very scary atmosphere in the movie.”
“The atmosphere of the painting wasn’t very clear.”
Foggy: Fog is a low level cloud, created when hot air and cold air meet, it will look like you are walking through a cloud and it’s hard to see very far.
Examples: “England is a very foggy city.”
“The fog came off the water and covered everything.”
Absorb: To suck up or to drink in.
Examples: “When you put your shirt in water, it will absorb lots of the water.”
“Reading the book was difficult, I think I only absorbed 10% of the information.”
Primary: First or most important.
Examples: “The primary thing here is to have fun!”
“Work is primarily for making money.”
Shade: When it comes to art, shade means how light or dark a colour is.
Examples: “Pink is just a much lighter shade of red.”
“If you add some black you will get a much darker shade of blue.”
Tertiary: Third or of the third rank.
Examples: “There are many different tertiary colours”
“There are three stages of recovery; primary, secondary and tertiary.”
Earth Tone: A darker colour which resembles the colour of dirt or sand.
Examples: “The dress used earth tones to appear humble”
“Brown is a very common earth tone colour.”
Canvas: Many meanings for this word, the two to look at here are first an object you use to paint on, it can be a piece of paper, a rock, a wall or anything else. The real meaning though is a type of cloth usually made from cotton or hemp and used common in tents, sails and also for painting on.
Examples: “The whole world is my canvas!”
“Your bag is made of canvas, it’s quite strong.”
Easel: A structure made from wood that is designed to hold a painting upright so you can stand and paint at the same time.
Examples: “the painting isn’t finished, you can see it on the easel.”
“I fell down and broke my easel yesterday.”
Graffiti: A type of art that is done on a public space, usually illegally.
Examples: “Banksy is a very popular graffiti artist.”
“Did you see the graffiti on the wall? It says bad things about you!”
Sculpt: To change the shape or look of something. It could be using a knife to sculpt wood or using your words to sculpt the opinion of someone.
Examples: “Watching all those documentaries as a child really helped to sculpt me into who I am today.”
“He used a saw to sculpt the ice into a beautiful angel.”
Angled: To have many sharp corners and no rounded edges.
Examples: “Using just a hammer and chisel left the sculpture with a very angled look.”
“The angles of the sculpture were too sharp.”
Bust: A sculpture which shows only the upper part of the persons chest and their head.
Examples: “This bust of Stalin is very lifelike!”
“I hope one day I can get a bust of myself made.”
Pedestal: A higher place designed for showing off art.
Examples: “Put that glass jar on the white pedestal”
“You shouldn’t put people on a pedestal in your mind, you’ll be disappointed when they aren’t as perfect as you hope they could be.”
Kiln: A very hot oven or furnace designed to bake and harden clay and other earth materials.
Examples: “Put the bowl in the kiln so it hardens, then you can paint it!”
“I think your kiln isn’t hot enough, maybe add more wood.”