The Best Performing Types Of Subject Matter In Art – Simplified

types of subject matter in art

One of the best things about being an artist is that there are no rules. You can create whatever you want, however, you want. However, this also means that it can be hard to know what to make sometimes. This is especially true if you’re new to art or trying to expand your subject matter. So, what are the best types of subject matter in art? And how do you choose which one to focus on? In this post, we’ll explore a few different options and help you decide which one is right for you.”

What does Subject Matter mean in art?

Subject matter is simply the main idea or message of a piece of art. It’s what the artist is trying to communicate to the viewer. Subject matter can be literal, like a still life of a fruit bowl, or it can be more abstract, like an expressionist painting of a feeling or emotion. There are endless possibilities for subject matter in art, which is one of the things that makes it so exciting!

Types of subject matter in art

There are many different types of subject matter in art, but here are a few of the most popular:

  • Still life: This includes any kind of inanimate objects, such as furniture, flowers, food, etc.
  • Landscape: This can be anything from a traditional landscape painting to a more abstract interpretation of the natural world.
  • Portrait: A portrait can be a literal likeness of a person, or it can be a more symbolic representation.
  • Figurative: This type of subject matter includes any kind of human figure, either real or imaginary.
  • Nudes: Nude paintings or sculptures are usually of the human form, without any clothing.
  • Animals: Animal subject matter can be anything from cute and cuddly pets to wild beasts.

Why you should focus on the best types of subject matter in your own artwork? While there are many different types of subject matter in art, some are more popular than others. If you’re looking to make your artwork more marketable, it’s a good idea to focus on the types of subject matter that are most popular with buyers or fans of art online and on Instagram. What makes some art more popular than others?

How Much Does It Cost To Commission a Portrait?
A child portrait I did of my Goddaughter

How to find the right type of subject matter for you?

If you’re not sure what type of subject matter is right for you, consider your interests and what subjects you’re most passionate about. There’s no wrong answer when it comes to choosing the right type of subject matter for your artwork; it simply needs to be something that speaks to you on a personal level.

Examples of each type of subject matter in art:

depression drawing ideas
An abstract expressionist self-portrait I did when I turned 30. One of my most popular paintings.

The best performing types of subject matter in art for popularity

From my own experience, and looking at the statistics of what is most popular online (using keyword research tools and Instagram analytics) the best performing types of subject matter in art, if you want to create popular art, are:

  1. Animal portraits of dogs do best, then come cats.
  2. Abstract art of still lifes, portraits of people, and famous people.
  3. Surrealist art covering things you dream about, anything related to a hot political topic or world leader doing something crazy or sexual always gets shared.
  4. Hyper-Realistic portraits or fruits can be any type of fruit and famous people. Generic portraits using photo-realistic painting or drawing styles also work. With this subject matter style, it is usually the execution of the work that wows people rather than the actual subject matter. Just don’t do another hyper-realistic eye or mouth, these have been done to death!

If you make art using one or a mixture of all these subject matters, you are likely to have popular pieces of art that sell well and get shared a lot online.

Of course, subject matter is not the only important factor in making successful or popular artwork – the quality of your work, your marketing and branding, and other elements all play a part.

Additionally, you can use a tool like Google Trends to see what people are searching for online.

Why you should focus on the best performing types of subject matter in your own artwork

Focusing on the best performing types of subject matter in art doesn’t mean you have to only make one type of art or that your artwork won’t be popular if it isn’t about any of these things. It can be helpful, though, to focus on making art with a good chance of popularity if you’re hoping to sell your artwork or gain a following online.

How to find the right type of subject matter for you

If you’re not sure what type of subject matter is right for you, spend some time looking at different types of art and seeing what speaks to you. Once you’ve narrowed it down, try out making a few pieces in that style and see how it feels. You may also want to consider what types of subject matter are popular in your area or online.

I do stress though, don’t make art just for the Likes. It is a soul-destroying activity that will pigeonhole you as a one-trick artist and you will end up feeling trapped. Go ahead and explore lots of artistic styles and subject matter that fits the styles.

Also, it is totally fine to be known for a couple of artistic styles. If in doubt, make art i many styles and see what works for you.

I am currently undertaking an activity where I will be drawing and painting one subject matter using many types of styles and mediums. It’s a personal experiment where I have flipped it around and made the style the thing that changes and not the subject matter.

Once you’ve chosen a type of subject matter for your artwork, here are a few tips to help you make the most of it.

  • If you’re exploring different types of subject matter, try to find a unifying theme between them. This could be a certain color palette, the material you use, or a similar feeling you want to evoke in the viewer.
  • Pay attention to the details! When your viewers are looking at your artwork, they will pick up on all the little details, so make sure they’re intentional.
  • Choose a type of subject matter that you’re passionate about! This will make the process of creating art much more enjoyable and rewarding.
  • Be patient with yourself – it takes time to master any new skill, so don’t expect to be a master of your chosen subject matter overnight. keep practicing and experimenting,

Types of subject matter in art – wrap up!

When it comes to art, the subject matter is the main feature of the piece that tells the story or represents the theme. The term can be used in different ways, but most often it refers to the central figure or figures in a work. It can also refer to the overall theme of the piece, like still life or portraiture. In this article, we took a look at some of the most popular types of subject matter in art and how you can use them in your own work.

No matter what type of subject matter you choose, remember to keep practicing and experimenting. The more you create, the better you’ll become at representing your chosen subjects. And who knows, maybe one day your artwork will be the subject of someone else’s discussion!


NYC – MoMA: Roy Lichtenstein’s Girl with Ball” by wallyg is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Milwaukee Wisconsin ~ Milwaukee Art Museum ~ Janitor ~ Duane Hanson” by Onasill ~ Bill is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

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