Due to COVID-19, all People’s Colloquium meetings will be held remotely using ZOOM, a free and easy to use teleconference software. Please go to ZOOM.us to download the software.

Aesthetics, Philosophy, and Draftsmanship

Day/time: Lectures Mondays from 7:00pm-9:00pm; discussions Thursdays from 5:30pm-7:00pm, scheduled as decided by the teacher; Art critiques and showings Thursdays from 7:00pm-9:00pm, scheduled as decided by the teacher
Length: Ongoing lecture series with art workshops and group discussions

Teacher: Elliott Wall
Teacher Email: elliott.wall.iii@icloud.com

Guidelines for Participation: https://peoplescolloquium.org/guidelines/


This course will explore the history and philosophy of the visual arts, introducing drawing as a notational device. Rudolf Arnheim’s Art and Visual Perception will be the foundational text by which we can contextualize insights from a range of thinkers such as Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and others.

Each class will include a slideshow presentation, discussion, and a practicum whereby students will practice the aes- thetic concepts presented during the lecture by using freely provided draftsmanship supplies (though students are welcome to bring their own supplies, if they wish).


At the end of each class, each participant should have:

— an awareness of the artistic thinking and techniques that have guided various artists throughout history
— a grasp of the appropriate terminology, and newfound expressive latitude, facilitating discussions with their peers — an understanding of the different draftsmanship and painting techniques and why varying artists have made use of such techniques

Materials and Preparation for Lectures

— Draftsmanship supplies, graphite, erasers, and paper which will be provided to students
— Supplemental readings, including primary texts, internet-based summaries, essays, and encyclopedia entries. — Videos/podcasts, usually hosted by youtube.com.
— Each lecture’s powerpoint presentation.

Course materials can be downloaded or accessed through PeoplesColloquium.org.

Assignments and evaluation

All assignments are optional. Participants may:

— Show artwork and/or receive critiques of artwork at The People’s Stage Include link

— Write an essay and workshop it at The People’s Ink Include link

— Submit discussion questions or topics for discussions

— Share a review of an art opening or event they have attended

— Propose group projects or collaborations


Participants are welcome and encouraged to attend the entire series, though participants are also welcome to only attend those lectures or discussions most of interest to them.

About The Teacher

Elliott Wall is a painter and philosopher of art, who studied studio art at The University of Memphis, and linguistics and Russian language studies at Portland State University. He has taught English and computer skills to refugee and immigrants, as well as for an electronics and robotics after-school program, and is also finalizing the curriculum for a philosophy and ethics curriculum for ages 8-12, the course for which will begin in January 2018. His work can be viewed at https://elliottwall.com.

Statement from the Teacher to the Students

Aesthetics, Philosophy, and Draftsmanship is a humble attempt at using the visual and kinesthetic idiom as a means of self-discovery. This is a lecture series about the terms and assumptions one might use in thinking about art or life, where anyone at any age or skill level is welcome. Visual note-taking, and discussion will be encouraged, as well as the executing of an end-of-term final project for exhibition on The People’s Stage.


1) Making One’s Mark
The most fundamental, atomic unit of any work of art must be The Mark— a record of the artist’s intentions against a backdrop. But why does an artist decide to make a mark one way instead of some other way? What do the possible variables at play signify in terms of expression? Let’s discuss possibilities for edifying projects.

2) Theories of Art
The study of art is a study of the human mind. In order to learn to study art, we will inquire into different systems of contrast and emphasis in the conception, execution, and appreciation of a work— as well as learn a little Aristotle.

3) Sense of Identity
The fully true story of perspectivism, and why The Artist could not have made the work any other way…!

4) The Blue Face: Establishing a Relationship Between Artist and Viewer
Art, like anything else, must exist in some system of context. Let’s explore together the cooperative principle, mutual intelligibility, and the audience’s burden, and share some thoughts on cultural appropriation as a sidebar.

5) The World of the Different Good Intentions
Does something have to be deliberate to be Good, and what are the criteria we might use to answer this? What can we do to advance the cause of constructive criticism? Who gets to decide what is Art?