Art and Violence in today’s society analysis

Art and Violence

In modern art, artists have come up with artworks that focus on the theme of violence. They tend to use violence as a way of showing some of the evils associated with the vice in society. Often, the artworks have images of violence against children, women, and animals, as well as other vulnerable groups. An example of a contemporary artist who uses violence in his artwork is a Canadian known as Will Gill (Canadian Art Magazine Online 1). Earlier this year, Gill came up with a photographic artwork known as the Bicycle/leaf. It had an image of a gas canister, a bicycle, and a baby onesie. He wanted the people viewing the image to be informed about the violence affecting the onsie in a bid to ensure that people take initiatives to protect them. This proves that violent themes used in artworks can advocate for action to be taken to rescue those suffering from violence (Xiao 1).

In a recent show known as Bloodredlife by Gill, held at the prestigious Prince George, Two Rivers Gallery, some of his famous paintings depicting violence were displayed to the audience. Gill came up with large paintings and claimed that he drew the inspiration from the mass media, his family, as well as his personal life. He is especially attracted to images that seek to portray sensationalism. The violent images came about as Gill ensured that his sinister subject mixed with the carnival-esque colors. Gill has a young son and he is often concerned about him since he lives in a world filled with images of violence found in the television and the internet. It is no wonder that his Bloodredlife collections had paintings with images of body parts, such as fingers, lungs and ribcages. Some of the body parts were actually referenced in the painting’s titles as he hinted at others. For example, one of his paintings shows bloody fingers and this inspiration derived from an incident whereby he almost lost a finger while sawing. Furthermore, when using the theme of violence, he tends to think about what makes human beings feel alive. It is evident that when artists want to use the theme of violence in their artworks they first have to be inspired. Secondly, they seek to ensure that people know about violence as it occurs in different forms. Lastly, such artists are using observations or experiences as part of their artistic style (Wishart 1).

In the month of September, in the year 2013, an artwork exhibition by Kim Wan was held at the Electro Studios Project Space. His works mostly related to the theme of violence as well as the relationship between the contemporary world, art history, and religion. The reason why Wan used violence in his work is because he thought of the experiences he had during his childhood. He grew up in a strict catholic household where he experienced a lot of violence. He did not understand why people who claim to be religious acted in a violent manner. For example, in his painting known as ‘Violents,’ it is easy to see how he has interpreted his personal history and religion on a canvas. Therefore, personal memories and experiences have been a key influence in the paintings done by Kim Wan (Hastings & St. Leonard’s Observer 1).

Pablo Picasso is described as being a gentle and tender painter who at times tries to come up with vocabulary that focus on visual love. However, other times, he focuses on the theme of violence as witnessed in the painting of Guernica. In this painting, he showed the various facets of horror as he was extremely disgusted by war. It is no wonder that artists all over the world claim that violence was Picasso’s greatest theme. In a book titled ‘Shield of Achilles’ by Philip Bobbit, an account has been provided concerning how Picasso expressed violence in his paintings. Twentieth century brutal conflicts such as the Korea massacre during the cold war as well as the Spanish civil war showed violent images. Picasso loathed violence, but he still had the courage to put it on a canvas. The reason as to why he perfectly and skillfully came up with truthful and precise denunciations of war is because he accepted violent art as being creative. Picasso even came up with his infamous Torso that highlighted a drawing of a torso that did not have any limbs or even a head. This shows that violence was the frame behind the drawing. It is thus evident that his art was inspired by the violent experiences in his life (Jones 1).


It is quite evident that violence is a key theme in art as demonstrated by various artists. Personal experiences and observations are some of the reasons why artists have shown violence in society. In turn, in the contemporary society, many people such as school going children have been influenced to end violence through art (Zumbach 1). A lot needs to be done so that artists focus come up with more violent themes that will highlight key issues affecting people.








Works Cited

Hastings & St. Leonard’s. Artwork on the theme of violence, Observer, 11 Nov. 2013. Web.

Canadian Art Magazine Online. Will Gill, Multidisciplinary Artist.  2 Feb. 2012. Web. 11 Nov. 2013. <>

Jones, Jonathan. When the master of peace did violence. The Guardian, 25 Oct. 2003. Web. 11 Nov. 2013. <>

Wishart, Allan. Bloodredlife comes to life at Two Rivers Gallery. George Free Press, 15 Oct. 2013. Web. 11 Nov. 2013. < Prince>

Xiao, Eric. Public Installation to explore urban violence. Yale Daily News, 29 Oct. 2013. Web. 11 Nov. 2013. <>

Zumbach, Lauren. Daley Academy students’ art shows effects of gun violence. Chicago Tribune, 24 Oct. 2013.Web. 11 Nov. 2013. <>




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