Introduction

Visual rhetoric is a complex subject that can be viewed several ways. I understand it as the interpretation of a piece based on its visual qualities. The connections we have to images can vary from person to person regardless of how the creator intended it. The word I chose was striking. I feel as though this is a very packed word because it can have so many meanings and represent many images. It could go along with something as simple as words that hold a lot of power or a painting that tells a story. When hearing striking, several different ideas pop into my head, but the main thing is that it is so intriguing that the image will make you look and keep looking. Pieces of art that do not deliver interesting messages are usually looked over. The message will probably drown in its dullness. I define striking as bold, maybe colorful, but definitely something that catches someone’s eye and stops them in their tracks. It may provoke thought or some sort of action. This includes bold black lettering, neon colors, red, etc. The size of certain images or parts of an image can also play a huge part in how striking an image is. In making something striking, we have to think of the motive of the person and why they chose certain colors or measurements for all aspects of their work. Although the goal or the intention of the artist may not always be to make something striking, art can still come off that way. Working with positive and negative space can play an important role in the boldness of a piece.

We talked about Barthes’ Rhetoric of the Image earlier in the semester where he explains that “All images are polysemous; they imply, underlying  their signifiers, a “floating chain”  of signifieds, the reader able to choose some and ignore others.” This is pretty much explaining the different meanings of an image and how the interpretation is different depending on who is looking at it. A piece of art can be striking to one person for a completely different reason than someone else. The author can have an intention of the striking-ness of an image but may not be successful in delivery. We see striking work in protests, street art, advertisements, fine art, even music and I wanted to use many different images that are striking for different reasons and in different ways in order to get the idea of “striking” across.