Illustrators vs. Fine Artist?
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    Illustrators vs. Fine Artist?

    So I've heard some stories from people on both sides of the fence that there is sometimes a mutual contempt between people who are more "entertainment art" and people who consider themselves "fine artist." Specifically I've heard that there are many Illustrators and Fine Artist who disdain each others fields. For example that there are certain fine art galleries that would turn down any submission that seems to "illustrative" or ones that seem to imply to much storytelling. I have noticed at my own school that there seems to be a sharp (perhaps that's not the right word maybe distinct) division between the interests of our Fine Artist and those of us interested in doing work in the entertainment industry. It's not a serious point of contention, we make friends with people on the other side but it is something that I'm becoming more and more aware of.

    For me it's a rather stupid distinction because I believe it's simply a line in the sand that people turn into a huge thing. I would consider most of the old masters who were painting Biblical and mythological themes to be "illustrators" and "Fine Artist."

    Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

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    each has its own stereotypes which are all equally valid and ridiculous as all stereotypes typically are. I've had experience with both and each has its good points and bad points. Generally speaking, illustration is what floats my boat, but good painting isn't exclusive to either side and it's all business in both cases. But hey, people love to have a group to complain about

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    I agree. I have my own biases also. Fine artists are often to traditional and illustrators or graphic artists are to commercial. I put myself in the middle. I am more artistic than the graphic artists that I have worked with but fine art is to old fashioned for me.

    Back in the times of the masters there wasn't really a division between commercial and fine art. The did what they were contracted to do. Not all of them had a focused expertise either. These days people seem to have more focused talents.

    That's my two cents.

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    If you do a search, you'll discover that this particular subject has been covered a number of times--in fact, it was the basis for some real fun "discussions" (which is probably the most polite term I could find to use...), something most of us don't want to go through again.

    Try searching for Illustration vs Fine art, or just the words Illustration Fine Art in one request. I do agree with your statement, "For me it's a rather stupid distinction because I believe it's simply a line in the sand that people turn into a huge thing." I would add the words "moronic," "naive," and maybe "an absolute waste of time on all fronts" if you can possibly squeeze them in there without too much hassle.

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    There's a versus!?

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    Yep. It comes right after "I'm a complete idiot" in the dictionary. that's probably why most people can't find it...

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    Ironically, the concept of SIMPLICITY is most often misunderstood by simple-minded people. --Alj Mary
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    Stephen, you're at LAAFA, right? I would think there would be less of this crap there than at many places.


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    I see a west side story-esque fight scene in an alley....get yer tap shoes on!

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    I get to play Maria! I just bought this really nice flouncy off-the-shoulder thing...

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    Dear kindly Sergeant Ilaekae,
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    Don't worry StephenJ, art discussions are merely a social disease!

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    At my school it was graphic design vs. fine arts . . . which didn't really make sense because most of the best graphic designers were in a lot of the upper level Fine Arts classes with most of us F/A folks meaning that most of us who knew better got along great it was those who were still kind of "wet behind the ears" that didn't know any better.

    The big divide that was at my school dealt with the fact that only G/D students were the only ones allowed to take flash courses and the web design classes (any real computer intensive art program aside from intro stuff) . . . that was the part that sucked! and where the jealousy and things of that nature came from.

    Oh . . . TIGERS . . . MEOW! . . . I'm getting ready for the rumble!

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    Where would put Aubrey Beardsley? Clearly hes an illustrator but those lines are divine and are so much more. What about Toulouse-Lautrec? Hes an artist that did posters. Taking your argument about Bible illustrations where does that put Michelangelo? Long live art in all its forms and hugs to everyone.


    I didn't think it was possible to be called an artist when you have nothing to say. It's like being a writer who publishes individual words as books and expects to be praised for it.
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    a friend once told me "illustration IS fine arts, but with a career"

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    Illustrators are fine artists who get paid money.



    But really, I don't personally don't care one way or the other. Good art is good art, in my book. Though, I do seem to notice that there is a little bitterness at RISD between Illustration majors and Painting majors. Rivalry has some benefits, at least.

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    Illustrators can afford to buy nicer shinier pointy-stabby things. Fine artists just plain fight dirty. So it all evens out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Stephen, you're at LAAFA, right? I would think there would be less of this crap there than at many places.

    Indeed, of course not everyone thinks that way but there are a few people. Laafa tends to be a mixed bag, and it's not like we're so sectarian that the Fine Artist don't eat with the Entertainment art people and vice versa. The curriculim is sort of loosely based on 19th century academic ateliers, it's a great place to learn.

    And I agree with Black Spot, what about the Michelangelo and the other 15th century artist? Are they "Illustrators" not "Fine Artist" for painting scenes from the Bible and Mythology? It's a really absurd distinction in my opinion.

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    im very curious as to why this question is so troubling to so many CA-ers

    far and away the most common thread, theme. it puzzles me that artists and illustrators wrestle over these lables....

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    far and away the most common thread, theme
    oh oh oh! Don't forget "reference and cheating", "my significant other made me sad", and, of course, "I hate art, how do I make a living doing it?"

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    Honestly, I think it stems from the fact that fine artists (nowadays) can't really draw... and they sit there, all gollum-like, and ponder the preciousness of being able to draw and render.... like all those nasty, evil, Illustrators do....

    It is enough that we set out to mold the motley stuff of life into some form of our own choosing; when we do, the performance is itself the wage.
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    Which Wacam/pencil/computer system should I get to make my GF/BF love me more, but still allow me to switch between manga and "real" stuff without anybody knowing whether I'm self-taught or went to school, or getting caught up in that liberal/fundamentalist/incest/pets-or-no-pets thing?

    I'm only asking this because I'm really confused by whether I'm really confused or not.



    Damn! I forgot to mention that anyone who isn't an illustrator sucks...except maybe for those fine-arts guys...

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    Quote Originally Posted by DavePalumbo View Post
    oh oh oh! Don't forget "reference and cheating", "my significant other made me sad", and, of course, "I hate art, how do I make a living doing it?"
    And "how do I develope a 'style'?" and "I'm just starting art... so where do I begin?"


    My favorite is always the reference and cheating one though, because we all know every artist already knows what everything looks like.

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    "My artworks sucks . . . can anyone stroke my ego . . . and tell me why . . . without actually looking at my art or without anyone having any idea of what kind of artistic background I actually have?"

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    ...okay.

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    If this forum sticks around for a couple hundred years, maybe some poor art history archeologists of the future, will enjoy digging up all these fragmented threads and piecing them together again. You know I'm all for it

    About the illustration fine arts thing… A couple years ago, when I was up in Sacramento, I was considering hanging some of my drawings in a local gallery, so I attended one of their showings and brought in some artwork for the curator to check out. I was surprised to discover how excited the guy got that it was not "commercial." He kept saying things like 'yeah, I like it, and you can tell it's not commercial...." with this snide grin that I can totally still picture in my head. I didn't go to art school, and had only been through like a semester or so of college, so I wasn't aware at that time of any great academic divides that artists are supposed to live and breathe. Instead I just thought he was taking a dig at me straight to my face, which really caught me off gaurd. I think I replied with something like, 'well if it's not commercial why would you even bother hanging it on the wall?' He seemed all shocked, and tried to recover by quickly blathering something about his clients, and then taking a bunch of subtle jabs at illustrators, I guess in some misguided effort to win me back over to his side. It was all highly awkward though, since most of my favorite artists are illustrators. Since then I'm becoming increasingly aware of how ubiquitous this attitude is, the whole 'illustration vs. fine arts' or 'commercial vs. intellectual' thing. I still don't understand where all the vitriol comes from though.

    I can remember having a sense, even at pretty young age, that there were certain artworks, or artist, or types of art, that I didn’t really enjoy. I remember making fun of my dad, for hanging up a Nagel print that his girlfriend made him buy, when I was 12 for example. I also went through a big ‘abstract expressionism can go suck it’ phase when I was around 16 or so. I didn’t know anything, and didn’t care much for the intellectual scaffolding that propped up certain works. Either I thought it looked ‘cool’ or I didn’t, and that was about all you were going to get out of me. I can remember disliking Monet and Van Gogh pretty intensely when I was in high school, and had a very ‘meh’ attitude towards Picasso. Again though, that was mostly because I hadn't read any of the attendant history, and only really encountered what was in vogue during the late 80s early 90s by happenstance. The only reason I knew about Duchamp say, was because of a book that my grandpa had at his house, part of that The World of _ _ _ series that Time-Life put out at mid century. I always remembered liking the Durer and DaVinci books more, but I think the more I learned, the more I came to respect people and their innovations… even the artists I used to think were assholes.

    It makes me want to don the white suite Tom Wolfe style, and hit the younger me with a cane. “Maybe you should crack a book, before I crack your head!” I’d say to me… or something along those lines. Try not to let all these distinctions sink in to deep I guess, because its mostly a matter of taste and the current trends in New York. It's unfortunate though that so many people are encountering all this bitterness in their art classes. Instructors at the intro level should probably just teach you what they know how to do, instead of trying to impress their personal aesthetic on you. Maybe that's not possible though

    Last edited by Jasonwclark; June 30th, 2008 at 11:58 PM.
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    a theme popular to newbies posting in the Finally Finished

    "Hi, I just joined CA. These are my awesome works. Bow before me!"

    then the follow-up.

    "BAAAAAW. Youse just jealous of my 1337 skillz!"

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