International Space Art Network

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If an artist is to communicate ideas successfully through the artwork’s theme, then is this solely achieved by selectively choosing which principles of design would be present in its underlying structure – unity, variety, emphasis, scale, proportion, balance, and/or rhythm?

Are they the underlying structure of the artwork that makes the entire art form work successfully in the visual context? Perhaps, in addition, are the tangible tools, the elements of art – value, color, light, line, space, shape, texture, time and/or motion which can be seen and used in such a way as to enhance the underlying principles, the most subjective factors of the critic’s criteria?

Although most critics do indeed look for form and content, there are certainly incidences where the artist might not be interested in the analysis of the work in terms of formal aspects but remains aware of their inherent presence in the work.

Aside from design, color, technique and content, what else might a critic look for?

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Two things spring to my mind at once...

1. Technical Skill.
2. Originality

I often think that technical skill is more of an issue for other artists than the general viewer, who may be unable to appreciate the technical accomplishments. But it certainly stands out to my eye if CGI is using default settings for things like textures and lens flares, which will just look lazy to my eye, but may not offend someone else.

Equally I suppose it can go the other way - for example Joel Hagen's photos of Mars are awesome, but perhaps your average Star Wars fan, grown accustomed to huge screen filling cinema images may not spot the skill, and be disappointed. (I suspect that many of us have seen people disappointed by their views of the real thing through a telescope, perhaps expecting Jupiter to look like a Voyager photo. And it seems a firm rule that people expect comets to go flying past like a burning rocket!)

Perhaps originality can also suffer from differing impact based on the breadth of the viewers experience, but I think less so.

Certainly if an image gets a reaction of 'I've not seen one like that before' I think it's a good thing.

Another measure might be "How long can I look at it, and see something new?", much as with a good book, where a second reading may reveal subtleties you did not notice first time around, I think a really good piece of art can do the same thing.


I have a reasonably educated critical eye and find it can be applied to original paintings and equally to digital art images because the same rules apply.

Every work is enhanced by good composition, complementariness and wide tonal range.  

What is most often lacking in digitally created space art is the magic of loose edges.  

For some reason photo realism appears to be attractive to the software creator and yet the image made is to appeal to a human eye which does not see everything in the same sharp focus.

That's an excellent point, Marie.  I noticed that myself. 

Egad - people live here! :D  

Yikes!  They do!


Intent, and the Artist's approach to his or her problem solving method(s).

I think sci-fi artists try to expound on the infinity of space in their mind

And try to duplicate or replicate .what the imagination has offered.

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