Stopping by for the first time for the A-Z Challenge? Read a short intro to the A-Zs of Worldbuilding here!
Living is fine, but beauty is what captivates us. There’s a reason why dystopian fiction has very little beauty in the setting of the worlds – because they’re conveying hopelessness, and discouragement.
Extreme beauty can also be used to convey heartbreak, or utter despair, though.
Visual arts (any type of art your characters observe with their eyes) within a story’s setting are vital – they will convey the tone and feel of your world as much by their absence as by their presence.
Visual arts are used both to entertain, and to commemorate.
Common symbols and icons used will likely have some origin in religion, myth, or superstition.
What do your people fear?
Art is often used to confront fears. Think of gargoyles lining the eaves of cathedrals in times past. Horror fiction – ghost stories.
Anything macabre can cause a reaction, and sometimes that reaction can be more terrifying than the art itself – especially if the reaction isn’t one of fear.
What do they love?
When something is loved, it is clung to. Art gives people a way to immortalize what they love – think of portraits, sculptures, written poetry.
Love can just as easily turn into obsession.
What kind of art do they simply like, for no particular reason?
I have plenty of things around my home that I’ve brought around because I just like them, not because they hold some deep meaning to me.
In my dining room, there hangs a picture of two girls playing on a piano. That picture came with our house when we moved in, but when we first looked at the house, I even remarked “I like that picture. I hope it stays here.”
It doesn’t necessarily have any sentimental meaning for me, but I like the feel it gives the room.
Above all, art is beauty.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, though. What your characters perceive as beautiful art may not be what you think is beautiful art.
Don’t limit their world based on your own likes and dislikes.
Original photo used in header is by WikiImages, public domain.
My intention is to turn the A-Zs of Worldbuilding into a workbook after the Challenge is finished. If you’d like to stay notified about that, you can subscribe to my newsletter here. Please make sure and select the A-Zs of Worldbuilding option!