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Atheist identity in the visual arts

I am a 3rd year student studying illustration and I am currently researching for my dissertation. The theme of this is to analyse whether atheism currently has its own recognisable identity in the visual arts.

It seems that this often manifests as purely a negative reaction to religion rather than asserting positive values of its own. I am concerned about the impact that this might have on the way that atheism is perceived publicly and whether, in this sense, it has been misrepresented as merely a backlash against religion. I want to establish a recognisable visual identity for atheism; one that reflects on its positive aspects.

When I have seen this question raised before people have argued that atheism inherently lacks values of its own, and therefore they don't see the point in making art about it. However this quote from American Atheist magazine suggests otherwise.

“Atheism involves the mental attitude which unreservedly accepts the supremacy of reason and aims at establishing a life-style and ethical outlook verifiable by experience and the scientific method, independent of all arbitrary assumptions of authority and creed” (

I'd like to find out what your general opinions are of this issue, especially whether or not you agree that there is indeed a lack of atheist art and if not then why? Would you like to see more atheist inspired art? Are there any specific examples which you feel represent what atheism means to you?

Secondly what positive values, if any, do you associate with atheism?

I'm grateful for any comments or suggestions you might have for this disscusion.


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