Do you know what the word aesthetics means?

Have you had an aesthetic experience? Aesthetics is a theory of art that discusses being completely immersed in your experience. You use all of your senses to experience an artwork or event. You focus on how your feel, smell, the sounds you hear, etc. Focusing on each of your five senses helps you to really, fully absorb your experience. Some art theorists like John Dewey who described the aesthetic experience as:

“Every art communicates because it expresses. It enables us to share vividly and deeply in meanings… For communication is not announcing things… Communication is the process of creating participation, of making common what had been isolated and singular… the conveyance of meaning gives body and definiteness to the experience of the one who utters as well as to that of those who listen.”
― John Dewey, Art as Experience

Aesthetics focuses on the experience of an object, not just the physical representation of it. When you have an aesthetic experience it becomes a moment of heightened senses, you become fully engaged with the art object by being fully present in the moment. In today’s world when we are always so busy and our focus shifts so easily having the aesthetic experience is becoming more important than ever. We need to be fully present in our experience to fully participate in life. To see the importance of our own experiences and how they shape our lives.

Art is more than just merely looking at a painting or sculpture. Art is how that painting makes you feel. What emotions you experience as a result of being in its presence. Have you been forever changed?

I will never forget some of the aesthetic experiences that I have had in my life. One of my favorites is my trip to the Louvre. I had already graduated from Cal State Long Beach with my degree in art. I had a lot of art history credits and had an amazing time looking at the art that I had studied in person. It moved me to tears when I saw the Mona Lisa, you could still get fairly close to it then. I remember seeing the Venus de Milo and the huge paintings of the Renaissance. It was almost too much to take in. The picture of me in front of the “Winged Victory” statue says it all. The look on my face of pure joy.


  • Aesthetic – the branch of philosophy dealing with such notions as the beautiful, the ugly, the sublime, etc. The experience of viewing and experiencing art
  • Elements of Art – Line, shape, space, form, value, color, texture
  • Principles of Design – pattern, balance, variety, emphasis, contrast, movement, harmony/unity, proportion
  • composition – the arrangement of the elements of art and principles of design within a work of art.
  • Philosophy – the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline.
  • senses – taste, smell, touch, hearing, sight.

Your Assignment

I would like you to make a flipgrid video of an aesthetic experience you have had, or choose a piece of artwork in your house. It could be a painting or some artwork you have as home decor. If you don’t have anything at your house you can choose an artwork off of the internet. Please make sure you reference the artwork title, the artist, and the medium(what the art is made of). Then you will need to sit with it for at least 30 minutes. Write down what you think about the artwork, how it makes you feel, the smells and sounds you experienced.