The art of abstract

Towards the end of the 1800s, a dramatic shift occurred in the art world. At the cutting edge, slavishly copying subject matter was replaced by increasing abstraction, which during the 1900s led to movements of purely abstract work, entirely free from recognisable elements. The bug of abstraction has now taken hold in the world of illustration, often as self-initiated fine art-oriented projects, but increasingly as paid commissions. Technology has its part to play, with the tools required for truly generative, organic art now in the hands of the typical designer. However, people - both creators and audiences - are the driving force.

Despite a certain amount of technology aiding the bulk of abstract work (such as Illustrator, Photoshop and programming environments for creating truly generative illustrations), and the decorative and mostly subject-free nature of the end result, abstract art has the potential to release creators from the burden of narrative, enabling them to concentrate on engaging the viewer on a purely emotional level.

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