At the age of nineteen, majority of the students who have enrolled in art colleges are supposed to declare whether they are either fine artists or commercial artists. It is quite disappointing that this decision is taken based on an outdated formula made many decades ago by the arts school teachers.
The unwritten formula for choosing your major goes like this
- Fine Art is pure.
- Illustration is the beginning of selling out.
- Graphic Design is commercial art.
- Advertising is selling… period.
Is Illustration an ultimate insult for a Fine Artist?
If a painter takes the path of illustration he or she is the suspect. If the illustrator tries to find a gallery is labelled defiled. Illustrators are uninvited guests in the world of Fine Arts and their club. When the critics of art want to punish an artist they will call his or her painting as an illustration. Each and every painter is aware that the word ‘illustration’ is the ultimate insult or criticism they can get for their work of art.
David Smith – the prominent sculptor’s opinion on Fine Art & Illustrations
It sounds amusing. But these definitions given to artists can seriously affect their status and marketability. It can clearly suggest that who is in demand and who is not. David Smith, the sculptor, defined commercial art as “Art that meets the minds and needs of other people,” and fine art as “Art that meets the mind and needs of the artist.” By interpreting this definition, we can say that there are many fine artists whom you can call commercial and there are some illustrators whom you can call fine artists. Andy Warhol comments that “the finest art of all is the business of art.” This seems to go disregarded in the art school formula.
Try to see illustration as an outlet for “work done to meet the mind and needs of the artist” if your artistic approach remains the same for both illustration and fine arts. This way you can be a figurative artist.
Painting – an ideal resource for expressing new meanings
You can discover many things from a painting. It is the best place to explore and find new meanings of expression. You can bring life to these rare discoveries and translate them into images and words with the help of illustration.
While learning the basics of art from an institution, it is good for the students to work in a series. This allows the students to bring in the concept of time into their work. This can change the usual habit of students of making single symbolic images which is trend followed in illustration.
Demand of an Artist
The demand of an artist is determined by the way the public consumes the images created by him or her. The voice of an artist intensifies as the demand rises.
It is very much possible to spread out the boundaries where fine art and illustration assemble. It will be interesting to bring them together to redefine the old rules and image making process to make new ones. You can replace the age old formula of art with figurative on a printed page or a gallery wall.