It’s Time to Make the Art Work

It’s Time to Make the Art Work

One of the greatest accomplishments of mankind is the art of illustration.  It makes the narrative crystal clear. For example, think about the evolution and history of the earth. You will realise that whatever we have understood about this subject has been presented to us is in the form of illustration. Taking this into consideration, it’s difficult to distinguish between painting and illustration. In history too, no difference existed between them. Have a look at the cave paintings, the Giotto frescos in Padua, Chinese scroll paintings, and all other similar creation of art. They all had a similar goal- to help us know the world around us or to represent a viewpoint regarding their world.

Beauty an essential ingredient in any Art form

There is another element in art which the people, for centuries, have been trying to grapple with. It is very difficult to depersonalize and describe it. In simple words, what I meant is the idea of presenting beauty. Recently, a report in an art magazine said that this concept is making a comeback. It is a very hot subject to deal with. When we use the word “beauty” in any form of art what we mean is a rare integration of some momentous form, spiritual values, energy and sense of distinction. Any of these words cannot be easily defined. But we know these words when we see a symbol or a sign that represents them. Don’t we? E. H. Gombrich, art historian, argued that we understand certain forms when we have an existing model of it in our minds. Otherwise, when we come across something inexperienced it would be incomprehensible for us. 

Art – A medium to communicate

Throughout the ages there has been a constant fact that remained with all forms of art. It is the idea of communication. The artist presents his perspective of the world to the audience by means of art. There is no doubt that the audience can gain insight from the artist’s experience. You can relate art even with the way our species have survived. It has helped us to understand how our older generations lived and what they have experienced in life. Recently the perspective of art has changed from serving the community to making a product that expresses the artist’s vision.

When you listen to a composition such as Mozart’s symphony you are at the same time learning and experiencing it. Music will lead us through a unique journey of various experiences that develops a sense of familiarity and satisfaction. But how can this experience possibly help us? In the book, The Gift, gives us a clue written by Lewis Hyde, he explains about a primitive culture where gifts are not meant to be kept by oneself rather need to be passed on so that the gifts move through the entire tribe and enhances a bond – a friendship is established and reduces any chances of conflicts.

Difference between illustrations and any form of artwork

It has occurred that in several arts schools and several other places there seems to be a difference between any form of art and illustration. If a separation has to be made, then it should be between painting and illustration. The distinction should be based on the purpose for which different forms of art are used. One may serve the purpose of narration whereas the other may be having expressive content. Theoretically, painting is the one that serves a higher cause. It explores various forms to shed light on reality, whereas, the role of illustration constrains the task of telling or complimenting an understandable story.

Artist – How he conceives a Subject or Situation

Drawing something in and out of favour depends on how the artist conceives a subject or a situation. If you are good at interpreting, then you can pursue a career in the arts or, in general, prepare well for life. Visual activity generally occurs when the results completely match the models and images captivated in the brain. When these exercises are carried out with discipline and consideration, it changes our brain. In this regard, when you practice fine arts, it can imply performing a moral or religious duty.

Illustrations and Painting – Both either side of a same Coin

In reality collectors, peers, museums, dealers, critics, foundations, all create powerful expectations that can influence any fine artist. We all must find a way to live. In any sort of event, it is necessary to maintain an ethical centre for both illusion and painting. Be careful not to succumb to the thought that the painter will be elevated to the position of moral superiority for what he or she does. If you practice both, then it should not do any harm. It might be helpful to consider that painting and illustrations are both either side of a coin concept that helps people to deal with the reality of life.

Illustrations and Painting – However context may differ

The context of illustration and painting may differ. Illustration accompanies a text. It puts more light on the subject. Painting has a spiritual touch. It is more objective and evokes our conscience to embrace and understand the world. When we look into history, records show that illustrations as well as paints requires the same effort which includes understanding of the colour and form, visual knowledge, artistic skills, visual assessment, keen observation and including various significant materials.

The word ‘Work’, how it got included in ‘Art’?

For many years I have been saying that we have elevated the word ‘art’ and replaced it with ‘work’. One of the most prominent definitions which are concerning the art is, that ‘it serves its public by reflecting and explaining the world at a particular moment in history, it is hard to believe that design does not serve in a similar way.’ But this definition has little relevance today. Now, art has become a commodity. The only concern is how to make more money out of it. When you think of art there seems to be a confusion following it. This is why I said we should replace the word ‘art’ with ‘work’. Then the following descriptions can be developed:

  1. Work that goes beyond its functional intention and moves us in deep and mysterious ways can be called great work.
  2. Work that is conceived and executed with elegance and rigor can be called good work.
  3. Work that meets its intended honestly without presence can be called simple work.
    Everything else, the sad and shoddy stuff of daily life, can come under the heading of bad work.

This simple change in the definition of art can remove the anxiety of thousands of people who think whether they are artists or not. More significantly what these definitions do is that it restores art to a useful activity in life.

Opportunities for Illustrators

In the current scenario, there is a lack of opportunities for the illustrators. To tackle this problem, we must consider alternative ways to educate and equip the illustrators with essential skills. Whatever changes you make to the subjects you should not change the basic techniques of drawing.  So far, nothing taught in art institutions seems relevant in developing one’s brain or enhance the judgement about forms. Here, I would also like to suggest that it would be good if we bring a shift in the concept of using illustration and art as a source of personal expression to communication of ideas.

While educating an illustrator you should also teach him any skill that can help in communication. This might include language studies, working in teams, art history, aspects of graphic design, and emerging technologies. Teaching these abilities alone does not make an illustrator able. The subject of illustration has not matched up with the professional needs of an illustrator so far. It is high time to think about how and what to teach the illustrator to build up a meaningful career.

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