From Abstract to Urban: A Guide to Understanding Artistic Styles

Art is difficult to define, but it can be divided into different types for better understanding. Many artworks are available in the market, but people often get confused by the variety. Artworks can be identified by their vision, subject, and the feelings they convey. To help you navigate this, we've created a list of 11 art styles. This guide will help you choose the type of artwork that suits your taste.

1- Abstract Art

Abstract art is all about abstract and non-object things. It is the style of art where the artist uses his emotions and feelings to represent shapes, lines, forms and other gestural marks. Abstract art doesn’t use any material things to awaken emotion.

Abstract Art
Image: Pawel Czerwinski / Unsplash

The strokes of colors on the canvas are enough to convey the emotions behind the idea of the artwork.

2- Figurative Art

As we can tell from the name, figurative art uses figures to convey emotions behind the artwork. This is the art style that has been being used for centuries. The artist paints real objects that look like human forms and present it in a way that shows a bigger meaning.

Figurative Art
Image: DIW-Aigen

In modern times, figurative art is also being used with other contemporary art types like abstract, minimalist and cubic art.

3- Geometric Art

In this artistic approach, a myriad of geometric shapes such as triangles, squares, and circles converge to construct intricate angles, points, and forms.

Geometric Art
Image by StakeCash from Pixabay

From straightforward designs to elaborate compositions, the geometric style of art spans a spectrum of complexity.

4- Minimalist Art

Minimalist art is a type of abstract art but the artist doesn’t use any of his emotions or feelings to make this art style. It is often described as, “what you see is what you see”, which means that there is no hidden meaning behind minimalist art.

Minimalist Art example
Image: Bench Accounting / UnSplash

Minimalist Art example
Image: Hardae/pixabay

Minimalist art is simple, often made with geometric and least expressive figures.

5- Nature Art

This art is all about nature, from landscapes to animals and humans.

Nature Art example
Image: eddydsgn/pixabay

You can see nature in different forms of art like painting, drawing, photography and digital technology. It is widely liked by photography enthusiasts across all masses.

6- Pop Art

Pop art started getting well known in post-war America and Britain in the early 1950s. It was first made as a resistant force for other art styles but it gained popularity in the 1960s. Pop art is a simple yet funky form of art which is inspired by people or current situations.

Pop Art example
Image: freepik

You can often see pop art graphics in music, comic books, advertising and product packaging.

7- Portraiture

Portraiture art example of a cute dog
Image: DIW-Aigen

Portraiture is an art style which covers a person, their style, essence and status perfectly. Do you know the famous painting Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci? It is a perfect example of the portraiture. Portraiture has always been well-known among emperors and kings, especially during the Roman and British empire.

8- Still Life

You can see still life art in painting, drawing, as well as photography. This type of art is for still or inanimate objects. Even a dead person can be a model for still life.

Still Life - art example - The watermelon symbolizes Palestinian resistance in protests and art, embodying the struggle against Israeli occupation.
Image: DIW-Aigen / The watermelon symbolizes Palestinian resistance in protests and art, embodying the struggle against Israeli occupation.

Still life artwork can also be about flowers, furniture, game, food and anything that isn’t breathing or moving.

9- Surrealist

Surrealist art style is all about unreal and irrational thinking style projected into art. It serves as a medium for exploring the depths of the psyche, revealing juxtapositions of thoughts and emotions that defy rational explanation.

Surrealist art example - 1

Surrealist art example - 2
Image: DIW-Aigen

You cannot define or explain a surrealist art as there is no logic or meaning behind it. It is complex and doesn’t match any real objects. Surrealist art often challenges conventional norms and perceptions, prompting viewers to question reality and delve into the realms of dreams and subconscious thoughts.

10- Typography

Typography art style arranges texts to give a powerful message, that are more popular on digital channels these days. It uses typeface, a method of designing alphabets in specific styles, to convey a feeling, identity or any message.

Typography art example
Image: Nick Fewings/unsplash

You can see typography on books, posters, internet, social media posts and street signs.

11- Urban Art

Urban Art example
Image: Nick Fewings / Unsplash

Urban Art example
Image: Felix Dubois-Robert / Unsplash

Urban art is often made by artists living in urban areas. These artworks show city life and experiences one faces living in an urban environment. It also shows the negative effects of urbanization like poverty.


Understanding various art styles enhances our connection to the world and enriches our appreciation of human creativity. Each style offers a unique perspective on the human experience, empowering us to select pieces that resonate with us. Exploring these styles provides insights into history and culture, fostering curiosity and empathy. Embracing different art forms sparks meaningful connections and enriches our lives.

Familiarity with various art forms not only enriches personal taste but also enhances interaction with AI-based image generation tools like DALL-E and Bing Image. For instance, prompting these tools to create a modern illustration versus a realistic minimalist art piece can yield vastly different visual outputs. Understanding these distinctions empowers users to craft more precise prompts, resulting in more tailored and satisfying outcomes from AI-generated images.

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