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Element of Visual Arts and Principles of Design

After studying for a few weeks the elements of Visual Arts and the Principles of Design, I am going to apply those elements to the wonderful painting from Andreas Gursky, "99Cent".

The elements of visual arts are; line, shape, color, texture, and space. A line can be defined as the path left by a moving point (Gilber 83) .Talking about lines in "99 Cent", made me find an amazing surprise. I thought that in this big and overwhelming picture, I was going to find hundreds of different lines. However, for a start, actual lines are the lines drawn by the artist (handout Element of Visual Art NCC 1). These lines are the easiest lines one can find in the first view. There are horizontal lines in the shelves. One can also observe that on top of the shelves, there are two horizontal lines that are created to make a space. In places where prize would be posted, the lines are strong and straight. Another clear horizontal line is seen in the wall in the very ending on different posters where the advertisements are hanged. If one can observe the actual horizontal lines, the most remarkable one are the columns situated in the whole store. The advertisement posters on the wall also use the vertical line. However, the two lines are straight and strong lines.

The most interesting lines are the implied lines. Implied lines are defined as the lines that are not drawn by the author, but are implied by the arrangement of other elements such as shapes and areas of color or the movement of an object (handout Element of Visual Art NCC 1). When I first looked at "99Cent" I thought I would find actual lines than implied. However, it is not like that.Instead, I can observe more vertical implied lines. I can also observe a line between every single packet in the shelves. In the first 3 rows the candy or chocolate packet makes one see the line between de piles. Nevertheless, it is not an actual line as implied since it is soft and one can say that it is straight. Starting from the 4th row to the last row the sensation became easier to appreciate. The bottles create an effect in the eyes as the author really made a line, but one more time is just an implied line. It makes someone to think on the vertical lines created between the packets. After thinking over for a while, I ended up with a conclusion that the lines are actual lines. The author had to paint the line to make the packet itself.

Other clear implied lines in the hallway can be seen in the right, or left hand beginning from the base and heading to the wall. It makes us feel that the author painted the lines as an eye sensation. In the very end close to the wall, the last row together with the bottles creates an implied zigzag line originating from the different shapes of those lines. The lines created in "99 Cent" create a feeling of cozy. The first view looks overwhelms the sensation of the straight lines in every single hallway with the selves.

99Cent could be a king of the shapes. Geometric shape is made with mechanically geometric or organic (handout Element of Visual Art NCC 1). In the picture, there are many geometric shapes. All the packets in the shelves are geometric shapes and all the bottles in the lasts rows are also geometric. Between the shelves in the halls there are people. The people can be defined as Organic shapes, based on forms of nature (handout Element of Visual Art NCC 2). Shapes can also be classified as negatives and positives. Positives shapes are things that can picked up (handout Element of Visual Art NCC 2). It is possible to pick up almost everything from this store.Every product from the shelves, the selves themselves, the people, the advertisement posters… and Negative shapes are what was void around. The store 99 Cent is a representational art picture, since the shapes seen in the photograph depict the appearance of objects (handout Element of Visual Art NCC 2).

Varieties of colors are found in this picture. I could see that predominant primary colors; blue, red and yellow. Secondary colors such as green and orange or tertiary as yellow-green, or blue-green are also found in this picture. One can see that the colors are complementary since the colors found are opposite each other on the color wheel (handout Element of Visual Art NCC 8). The chattels of color are value, hue, and intensity. Hue is the pure color from the light spectrum. Value refer to the darkness or lightness of a hue while intensity is the level of saturation (handout Element of Visual Art NCC 4, 6). The colors seen in this picture have hue value with a lightest value since no dark colors are used. Talking about the intensity, the picture has a big variety between high and low. There is little to say about the texture since this is a picture and the texture is going to be smooth. Texture is the actual or implied tactile quality of a surface (handout Element of Visual Art NCC 1).

The last element is going to be shape. Shape is the area occupied by the work and the rendering of the occupied area. A third dimension through implied depth. There are different ways to understand this spatial organization (handout Element of Visual Art NCC 10). In 99 Cents one can see some examples. First of all, in the rows, one can identify the first and the last row by the size, with the first one being bigger. One can also see while observing that some objects overlap. The first row is overlapping the second one, the second one the third and keep on going like that. Colors make an important part. Talking about shapes, one can see most of the primary colors in the first row. This makes a close feeling. Talking about the shape, the atmospheric perspective is created in the ending of the store, where the posters are hanging on the walls. The color of the posters and objects in the last row lose their color and give a further away feeling.

After analyzing the elements of visual arts, I will apply them to the principles of design. The principles are; rhythm, repetition of similar elements, emphasis where the result of one area or element in a work dominating the other areas so that our attention is drawn to it. Another element is balance where the right amount of everything, in the right place and at the right time. Unity is another element referring to the sense of coherence, of properties build up together and creating up a coherent. Lastly, variety is another element referring to the differences in the use of elements that provides contrast and interest in the work (handout Principles of Design NCC).

The repetition of elements or, in other words the rhythm is something so appreciable in 99cent. The most appreciable rhythmic pattern found is the packets of candies, or in general the stuff on the shelves around the whole store. This creates the idea of rhythm since it is organized among the whole store. At the same time the rows by themselves created the same feeling. On the issue of emphasizes, I would talk of columns. The 5 columns in the store are so visible since they are breaking the rhythm pattern. First is because the rows are creating a horizontal feeling where everything is organized. I can appreciate the two strong vertical lines that make my focus go away. Another emphasize can be the people. The posters in the wall back look and emphasizes between all this stuff in the shelves.

In my first view of the picture, I found a great balance. As I said before, everything looks so organized in spite of the overwhelming crowed feeling. After looking for a few minutes to the picture, I realized the balance goes. This is because there is this implied diagonal line creating the hallway. If this picture would be making it a little more from the left covering to the hallway, the balance would be perfect, but with this hallway I can't find the balance. Moreover, if an individual attempts to view to the picture from the bottom to the top or from the first row to the last one, one can find balance from this way since all rows are same but with similar material. The materials that we find in the rows are not the same. This means the picture is asymmetrical balance.

All the rows create unity. However, they are not the same, since they do not have the same stuff on them. This makes them create a unity feeling. They are organized by rows and columns to make one feel that the packets are whole. Variety is found around the whole store. The shelves create the same variety. It is difficult to express van unity and variety works together (handout Principles of Design NCC 11). That is why this amazing phenomenon happens. The shelves themselves create a variety feeling, since they have all kind of different stuff. The balance principle was hard for me to analyze. Imagining on how one can see this picture without balance, one can imagine a store with all students all over the place with no rows or columns. Some stuff in the floor and some stuff on piles. Maybe the stuff all over can create unity or variety, but it can never create any balance.

After studying the element of arts and the principles of design, I can see this picture in a different way. Having the possibility to analyze the picture through breaking it down in all the elements, does not help me to understand the art better. However, it has helped me to focus much better in the analysis of the work. I felt disturbed with many elements of the art, and had difficult times to find some clear examples. However, after having the principles, it was easy to analyze. I am still having the same question about this picture. Am still imagining the authors proposition when taking the picture, but it is still hard to find how she had the idea.At the end, who can think one can make a picture when in a 99 cent store?

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