Minimalism in Art

Minimalism in Art


If an artist can tell a story in one line, it just seems so much more riveting.

Minimalist Piece by Philip Glass

My wife and I both really like the art style in Tintin. Anyone here remember Tintin? Not the uncanny valley, CG Tintin movie that’s about to come out. The original graphic novels. Something about the clean lines and bold solid colors just communicates so much with so little. And it’s a phenomenal, albeit often overlooked example of minimalist art.

from Tin Tin by Hergé

from Tin Tin by Hergé

It’s not just deliberate strokes, sometimes, the most arresting thing about an artists work are the simple sketches they do to prepare for a painting. There’s something to be said for knowing just when to stop.

If an artist can tell a story in one line, it just seems so much more riveting.

Given that I run a blog about minimalism, I guess it’s no surprise that I would find myself drawn toward an art style that reflects the person I try most to be, but what’s interesting to me is, I’ve felt the pull toward minimalist art long before I knew what minimalism was.

by Lawrence Yang

Painting by NS member, Lawrence Yang

I was drawn to Tintin when I was 12 years old, the idea of an anti-consumerist philosophy bent around making the most out of what you have was so far out of my range of thought. All I could be bothered to care about as a 12 year old was getting the next booster pack of Star Wars cards for my dark side deck, well that and trying to cram in one more page of Tintin’s epic adventures before I got carsick on the way home from the library.

When I was slightly older, in middle school, I started to learn what minimalism was. We were studying the Greeks, and they explained that Sparta coined the term Spartan. This was the first I’d heard of it, but it appealed to me even then.

by NS member, Martin Stranka

Photo by NS member, Martin Stranka

This is certainly just my opinion, but in my mind, one well placed picture can deliver far more emotional impact than a roomful of amazing pictures.

Minimalism in art takes many different forms. It can be the clean, perfectly drawn lines of comics, creating the image of a person as quickly and abstractly as possible, cutting to the core of human expression

It can be the raw emotion that’s present at the tail end of a brush running out of black ink.

Classic Chinese Painting

Classic Chinese Painting

It can be sketchy and unfinished, an uncharacteristic insight into the mind of an artist

It can be soft and flowing, like a water color, or deliberate and bright like an oil painting.

Minimalism in art isn’t simply monochromatic single subject portraits and paintings, it’s about clarity, focus. It’s a single minded pursuit toward an emotional impact, everything within the frame exists there to tell part of the story, no space used is wasted on triviality. It’s raw, it’s simple, and when effective it affords the viewer a more pure and invasive look into the heart of the artist than one could ever hope for otherwise.

It’s all signal, no noise.

And It’s Beautiful.

by NS member Nicole O'Connor

Photo by NS member, Nicole O’Connor

Nicholas Collins (“Paco”) writes at Finding Simple, Paco the Sage, and 5 Bad Bananas. Keep your eyes open for his upcoming novel as well.

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