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40+ Striking Works of Art That Creatively Make the Most of Negative Space

Negative Space Art

As an experimental yet age-old approach to art, using negative space is a creative way to depict subject matter and craft intriguing compositions. By unexpectedly employing the untouched space surrounding the central figure or object of a work of art, artists can create pieces that are both aesthetically balanced and eye-catching.

Since negative space is inherently present in every medium and genre of art, artists across all disciplines are able to take advantage of its great potential. Traditionally, the compositional tool has been most widely used by artists producing drawings or paintings, as paper and canvas are prime surfaces for working with negative space. Sculptors have also dabbled in the practice, since creatively playing with space is particularly important to three-dimensional pieces. Recently, however, many contemporary artists have started to produce negative space art using a range of surprising and unconventional materials, from tattoo ink to fingernails.

Here, we explore the many mediums and genres of art that feature negative space in unexpected, creative, and contemporary ways.

Negative Space Drawing

Negative Space Art Negative Space Illustration Graphic Design

Artist: Kei Meguro

Negative Space Drawing Dan Burgess

Artist: Dan Burgess


Negative Space Graphic Design and Photography

Negative Space Art Negative Space Illustration Negative Space Graphic Design

Artist: Threadless

Negative Space Drawing Balazs Solti

Artist: Balazs Solti


Negative Space Tattoo Art

Negative Space Art Negative Space Tattoos

Tattooist: Equilattera | Original Artist: Isa Wang

Negative Space Art Negative Space Tattoos

Artist: Matt Cooley

Negative Space Art Negative Space Tattoos

Artist: Gene Coffey

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Kelly Richman-Abdou

Kelly Richman-Abdou is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. An art historian living in Paris, Kelly was born and raised in San Francisco and holds a BA in Art History from the University of San Francisco and an MA in Art and Museum Studies from Georgetown University. When she’s not writing, you can find Kelly wandering around Paris, whether she’s leading a tour (as a guide, she has been interviewed by BBC World News America and France 24) or simply taking a stroll with her husband and two tiny daughters.
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