Dot art is an emerging art movement that is characterized by the use of small dots to create drawings. This art form had been gaining popularity in recent years, thanks to the growth of the internet and the rise of DIY craft culture. The dots are generally applied using a small needle and can be placed on existing paintings as well as directly on the canvas. Typically made by gluing tiny dots of paint on an abstract, geometric background, it can be viewed as the digital age’s version of pointillism.
The focus on tiny details is what distinguishes dot art and makes it more than just a pretty picture. However, dot art isn’t just for experts: the simplicity of the painting process makes it a great art form for amateurs and experts alike. The result is an image that appears to be made of tiny colored dots but isn’t.
Tracing the Dot Art from the Past
Dot art is an umbrella term that encompasses all art that uses dot patterns for artful purposes. The earliest known dot art dates back to the Neolithic period, where early humans used ink and paint to create geometric patterns on cave walls. The more contemporary incarnation of dot art began in the 1960s when a Japanese artist named Kazuo Shiraga began creating art with dots of ink on paper. Soon, other artists followed suit, creating stunning patterns and images with nothing but dots.
The dot art style has its roots in the classic style of pointillism, which was popular in the late 19th century with the Post Impressionist movement. Today, dot art is characterized by intricate patterns, shapes, and lines formed by thousands of small dots—the more colors used in a piece, the more vibrant the final product. Although dot art is typically used on paper, the technique can also be used on other media, including fabric and walls.
Originally called “pointillism,” the dot art movement was made popular by Georges Seurat, whose painting “A Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte” used tiny dots to create a scene of a Parisian park. Dot art has had a lasting influence on artists who work today, as they use the same technique to create art with a modern edge.
Here are other notable artists are known for this form of art:
- Chuck Close – Chuck Close began creating his iconic portraits of people in the 1970s. As opposed to earlier artists who painted with paintbrushes or used broad strokes, Close used a technique called pointillism, where small dots of color are placed next to each other to form a picture. He then photographed the paintings from a close distance and created a grid from the resulting images. The final product was a large digital print of thousands of colored dots, which he then transferred to canvas. This digital process was a big change from how most artists made a painting.
- Albert Dubois-Pillet – Albert Dubois-Pillet was born in 1853 and died in 1917. He was a French painter who is best known for his pointillist style. What is pointillism? It’s one of the two painting techniques (the other being Impressionism).
- Henri-Edmond Cross – was born in Paris in 1856. He was widely noted for his artwork, which is characterized by the use of dot patterns, and he was a prominent member of the French avant-garde. However, he is perhaps best known for his artwork in the last decade of his life, when he became a devout Catholic and began painting religious subjects. His art, which he called pointillism, is characterized by the use of dots and dashes of colors applied in patterns, arranged in specific ways to achieve the different effect.
Is Dot Art Essential?
We’ve talked about dot art before and explored how it is a technique that evolved from pointillism, a painting technique developed in the 1880s. Although the art world was highly critical of pointillism when it was introduced in Paris, it eventually gained wide recognition and acceptance. It is also commonly used to create portraits and still-life paintings, which are some of the most well-known examples of this artistic style. Like other types of art, dot art has become a widely popular form of expression that is accessible to people of all skill levels—you don’t need to be trained to create epic dot artworks!