Contemporary Art Trends

Hi, my name is Leanne and I am undertaking my Diploma in Graphic Design and as part of my study I have been asked to discuss contemporary art trends with industry professionals. If anyone could help by responding the below questions for me that would be great. Thank you.

What do you think about current trends in contemporary art?
What do you think the factors are that influence contemporary artists?
What do you think contemporary art will look like in the future?

What do you mean by “art trends?”

Are you referring to fine art, as in painting, sculpture, and that sort of thing?

Or are you asking about graphic design trends (graphic design isn’t synonymous with art)?

To my mind, this is a pretty odd thing to have you study as part of a design course. The best of design avoids trends where possible and focusses on communicating ideas. Usually, the more timeless (with the odd exception), and long-lived, the better.

In answer to your questions.

  1. I have no opinion, beyond taking each work on its own merits.

  2. That is a fairly redundant question. Typically, I’d imagine not far off what has influenced artists fir the last hundred years or so. Self expression. It is far too open-ended a question. Some artists react to their surroundings, some make political statement. Some try to unravel the human condition, Some explore why their mothers screwed them up. This list could go on. There is no catchall answer.

  3. Impossible to answer. See Answer 2.


I have no idea what the current trends are in contemporary art. Other than the trend of trying to start a trend. Be a leader, not a follower of trends.

The single most driving factor influencing contemporary artists is the need to create their art. For whatever reason motivates them to do so.

Contemporary art of the future? That is a a nonsense question.

Can you tell that professionals in the field don’t have a lot of patience for open-ended, unanswerable questions? Toss your professor on here, I’d like to hear their responses. :slight_smile:

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This is what my exam is asking for:

c) Discuss current trends in contemporary practice with at least three other industry professionals. Make a list of the questions you ask them and summarise their responses.

I came up with the 3 questions myself based on questions other people had asked in other forums as I was entirely sure what questions to ask.

Perhaps I should change my questions? This was what my exam said. I find the assessment requirements confusing.

c) Discuss current trends in contemporary practice with at least three other industry professionals. Make a list of the questions you ask them and summarise their responses.

You didn’t really answer my question. There is a considerable difference between fine art and graphic design, and my answers would differ accordingly.

I’ll answer assuming your professor is referring to graphic design.

The purpose of graphic design is visual communication with a target audience to achieve client objectives. Aesthetics plays a role, but it’s entirely subordinate to the function of achieving the end goal (in which aesthetics usually plays a part).

Trends in graphic design are typically technical (new technology creates new possibilities) or aesthetic (different fads come into vogue). Judging by the question, I’m guessing your professor was referring to aesthetic trends.

Aesthetic trends should largely be observed, then tucked away in case they’re useful for the project at hand. However, most of these trends are more about designers vying to make the prettiest, coolest, and best-looking stuff and winning awards rather than achieving client objectives. And as I implied, pretty, cool, and good-looking should be subordinate to functionality. There’s an overlap, of course, but it’s relatively infrequent that those overlaps involve trendiness.

Most real-world projects do not lend themselves to the latest aesthetic trends. Instead, the approach to any real-world design project requires an approach specifically targeted to the objectives of that project. The end product shouldn’t look dated, but it’s not often that trendiness significantly contributes to the end product’s effectiveness.

Besides, designers should be trendsetters, not trend followers.

These considerations don’t change: budgets, clients, technology advancements, return on investment, social changes, etc, If your instructor is focusing, instead, on aesthetics, as I suspect, that’s too bad because in the business world visual communication and achieving client objectives are the objective (yeah, I’m repeating myself).

Nobody knows. Anyway, it doesn’t matter because whatever comes along will simply provide more things to consider in the overall puzzle of visual communication. Anticipating technical changes, job market shifts, and career paths are relevant trends to consider. How graphic design will look in 10 or 20 years is not.

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Thank you

That entirely changes the question. It makes far more sense for your tutor to charge you with exploring this, than contemporary art. That you’ve mixed the two up as interchangeable terms means, I’d suggest that you may need to explore al title more the differences between the two.

As to answering this question, I refer to my original response – and as more fully answered by Just-B.

I hope your tutor has set this in order that you discover how unimportant – if Svengali-like – trends in design are, outside of the rare exceptions where trends do play a role.