Self Expression Art – Thrive and Share Yourself with Others

Since Humans have existed, we have used self expression art to tell stories, share feelings, and express ourselves. We have invented new ways of artistic self-expression like photography, dance, painting that are unique to humans. 

Self-expression through art has existed for millenia. There are infinite ways to express your emotions through art such as using line or color to represent emotions, using body movements like dance, or using words like in poetry and story-telling. The methods are as unique as the person expressing through them.

What is self-expression through art? How can art help us express our feelings? Let’s explore more and how one can experience it.

What Is Art?

Art is any creative activity that uses creative and technical skill. Art can be traditional painting, sculpting, writing, creating music, and much more. Artistic expression is also like a language, which differs by time in history, culture, values, personal interests, and one’s ongoing and ever-developing ability to express themselves through various mediums.

Abstract painting - Self Expression Art - Gone Minimal
Abstract painting

What Is the Role of Art in Self-Expression?

Art can be a great way to express your thoughts, feelings, and identity in a way that can be universally understood. Art is a language available to those who can’t speak or write, and it can help us learn about ourselves as much as it helps us learn about others. 

Why Is Art a Good Medium for Expression?

There are very few rules to art, though some academics may disagree, if it is considered art to the creator of a piece, then it is art. Because there are so few rules and guidelines to making art, art can be used to express any personal feelings and thoughts in any way that makes sense to the artist. If a plain blue square means sadness to the artist and that’s how they chose to express their sadness, then by all means it is art.

What Is Self-Expression?

Self-expression is the expression of one’s own emotions, feelings, and personality, or the act of asserting one’s individuality. This can be experienced in many different ways, and even with many different nuances, even from the same person. It’s a highly dynamic language for communication.

What Does Self-Expression Mean?

It is the ability to convey one’s personality, opinions, or emotions through a creative means such as painting, drawing, music, and more. This is a form, too, of social expression and connection. some might use words, while other create objects and experiences that allow others to experience and feel their personal expression.

What Is an Example of Self-Expression?

There are many ways a person can express themselves like talking to a friend about their feelings, or journaling, but creating art is another great way to express yourself. Not everyone can express themselves through talking or writing so other forms of self-expression through art like dancing, drawing, singing are great alternatives. Any way a person is sharing their feelings is an example of self-expression.

Why Do We Need Self-Expression?

Self-expression is one of the most valuable ways we connect with other people. It allows us to both understand ourselves and our own emotions while also being able to understand the emotions of others. Self-expression lets us better embrace ourselves and developed to our fullest potential.

Self-expression is authentic and empowering and opens the door to find deeper meaning in ourselves. Through art, we encourage and inspire self-expression, which can lead to a more fulfilling life.

What Are the Benefits of Self-Expression?

Some of the obvious benefits of self-expression include being able to understand yourself better and allowing others to understand you better as well. Self expression can build empathy but it can also help us process and regulate our own emotions. Self-expression in the arts can positively affect mood, cognitive function, and overall mental health

What Is the Opposite of Self-Expression

The opposite of self-expression would probably be keeping your emotions bottled up. Being unable or unwilling to share your emotions, even if only with yourself can have negative effects on your overall mental health and well being. 

Is Art a Way of Expression?

Yes! All forms of art such as painting, drawing, music, ceramics, all of these mediums can be used for self-expression art. Art has always been a way of communicating through images and color and therefore is a form of expression.

Performance artists in a theatre production - Self Expression Art - Gone Minimal
Performance artists in a theatre production

How Can I Use Art to Express Myself?

There are many different art forms, and within them many variations of which can be used to express oneself. By the act of creating the art, performing, and or providing a new experience for another human, we’re able to actively engage in expression.

This communication helps form social bonds, develop cultural values, and allows us to fundamentally connect as humans. Let’s explore a few way how art can be used to express oneself.

Which Form of Art Is Best for Self-Expression?

Whichever art form resonated most with you, personally. Maybe you’ve tried painting but never really got the hang of it, now you write poems to express your emotions. Both are great forms of artistic self expression but both don’t have to be right for you.

Another thing worth noting is that you don’t have to be Michelangelo or Shakespeare to use art as a form of expression, you can even be really bad at art and still have it be your form of self expression. As long as you feel like you are communicating the feelings you need to communicate, whatever you’re doing is best for self-expression. 

How Can I Use Art to Express Sadness?

Giving your emotions a visual body that you can see and interact with can be a great way to process tough emotions like sadness, anger, fear. Oftentimes when we are sad, we have a hard time getting others to fully understand how our sadness makes us feel. Emotions can have physical reactions in our bodies as much as they have mental effects.

For some, being sad feels like being stuck in an enclosed space that is getting smaller and smaller, for others it feels like drowning, and for others it feels like being alone in the dark. Emotions feel different for everyone so being able to describe your sadness in a story or a song, being able to visualize your pain in a drawing or a sculpture can both help you process the feeling, and help others understand how you feel.

Is Art a Safe Way to Express Anger?

Art is a great way to safely express anger. Being able to visualize what is angering you can be a powerful way to process it fully. Additionally, making a work of art based on your anger is a lot healthier and safer than taking your anger out on whatever is angering you–especially if what is angering you is another person. Making art usually doesn’t hurt anyone and therefore is a healthy and safe way to express your anger.

What Is the Best Form of Art to Express Joy?

No medium of art is better at expressing emotion than others but some are more common. With joy especially, the way we express it feels automatic. Dancing, singing, music, are all an instinctual art used to express joy but are by no means the only form of art for joy. 

Dancing, singing, music, are all an instinctual art used to express joy.

The Basic Elements of Artistic Expression

1.  Line

There are many different kinds of lines: bold, thin, broken, curved, straight, and each can be used to express feeling. A thick, harsh line can look like anger or frustration, a delicate curved line can be love or appreciation. Even something as simple as lines can express specific feelings

2.  Shape

Shape is anything 2D like a circle, or a square, or a heart, even organic shapes like a flower or a leaf are all examples of shape. Shapes can be used to more explicitly express a feeling: heart for love, wilting flower for sadness, a lightning bolt for anger. They can also be metaphorical in their meaning. 

3.  Form

Form describes shapes that are 3D like a cone, a sphere, geometric shapes, or organic shapes like a person, or a table. Like shapes, form can be used to literally or metaphorically describe a feeling. A table with a single coffee cup on it can look like loneliness, it can also be solitude or calmness. The difference between a sad form and a happy form can be the way the light interacts with a 3D object, or how bright the colors are. 

4.  Space

Space is the area between and around your shapes and forms. The amount of space in your art can change the meaning of the piece. Let’s take that table with the coffee cup on it as an example. If there is a lot of empty space around that object, it will look smaller, lonelier, more isolated. If there is very little space around the table then the story might be more about the coffee cup- is it full, is it empty, is the coffee hot or cold and what do all these elements mean to the artist? Line, shape, form, and space are all elements of art to keep in consideration when expressing your feelings.

Self Expression Art Statistics – Research in a Chart

PercentageStudies Have Shown
Art as a HobbyAbout 75% of people enjoy art as a hobby.Studies have shown, people would rather participate in a creative hobby than watch Netflix
Art School Students0.6% of the US populationThere are about 2 million people with a degree in the arts in the United States
Professional Artists0.36% of the National populationThere are about 1.2 million people who are professional working artists

Helpful Insights:

Types of Artistic Expression

Let’s look at some of the different artistic mediums that are availbale through which one can express themselves. There are almost as many as there are unique people, as each can put their own spin on things, while also contributing to the development of new ways to artistically express.

Visual Arts

Visual arts are a form of art that relays a message through imagery. Most art we know and study is visual art, the great painters, Michelangelo, Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keeffe, were all visual artists who told stories in pictures. Their art tends to be symbolic in meaning, they use color, line, shape to depict their emotions and thoughts rather than outright saying what they are feeling. Visual arts relies on an emotional reaction from the viewer to understand the piece.

Tactile Arts

Tactile arts are anything with a texture you can feel. This can be paintings with heavy build-up of paint to create texture, it can be pottery, and it can be textiles that are soft or scratchy. There are many ways to add texture to a work such as adding rocks, sand, or beads to a work to make it rough, you can add broken glass or nails to give it texture that a spectator wouldn’t want to touch, or you can add cotton and velvet to make irresistible to touch.

Performance Arts

Performance art such as dancing, singing, acting, all uses the body to express emotion. The physical body and how we choose to move can be a great way to express oneself. Performance art magnifies body language to convey feeling.

Language Arts

Language arts are another common form of self expression. This includes any form of writing or speaking to express emotion. Story-telling, poetry, fiction and nonfiction are examples of language arts. This relies on verbally expressing emotion with words whether they are literal descriptions of emotions or more metaphorical.

Popular Art Genres

Pop Art

Pop art uses popular media as inspiration for the images and style such as commercials, cartoons, comics, and more.


Surrealism taps into unconscious and subconscious feelings such as dreams and fantasies.

Modern Art

Modern art is the era of art making that took place from the 1860s-1970s that includes artists such as Van Gogh, Picasso, Matisse, and many more. This genre aimed to challenge the previous conceptions of what constituted “art.”


A genre of art within Modern Art that used geometric shapes and flattens 3D images to 2D from a single perspective rather than a 3D perspective. 


A genre within Modern art that was made up of quick lines and blurred colors to depict the impression of a moment rather than an exact replica of a moment.


A genre of art that depicts magical or supernatural themes, images, and creatures.


Contemporary art is the era directly following Modern art that took place from the 1970s to the present day. It is globally influenced, more diverse in subject matter, and tends to incorporate more technology than its predecessors. 


Graffiti is public art done on the sides of buildings, trains, and sidewalks, using primarily spray paint as a medium. Visually it tends to be very large and very colorful.


Abstract art is art that does not depict reality or any real subject matter but instead uses pure line and color to express emotion in its purest form. 

Is art universal?

Art can absolutely be universal. There is no language to images and color and therefore can be understood by anyone who views it. Art is thus an incredibly powerful form of communication that can span centuries, cultures, languages, and interests.

Do only humans create art?

A lot of species do things that humans would consider artistic but only humans create art for the purpose of creating art. Some species of birds and insects dance to attract a mate, they don’t see it as making art, they see it as trying to keep the species alive. Some people have trained monkeys and elephants to paint but they wouldn’t necessarily have figured it out on their own so they do create art because we taught them how. 

Other Resources:

There are infinite ways to express your feelings and thoughts through art, generally it boils down to what feels more effective for the artist. Some people feel they can express themselves most powerfully with words, others feel dance is the most effective. Generally, there is no wrong way to express yourself through art.

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