Illustrators doing gallery work
 
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  1. #1
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    Illustrators doing gallery work

    Hello everybody

    I was just thinking about what would happen if an illustrator (either with an illustrator career or a BFA majoring in illustration) decided to do gallery work, like original paintings, or prints, etc. I remember that during my last year in fine arts school I heard from a lot of classmates and teachers that illustrators were very despised by fine artists (maybe it was just my school) and but some friends of mine that were studying in fine arts in other schools recieved bad marks and were even "scolded" them for doing "illustrative" work because it was not "art". So, the question is, are illustrators really "allowed" to do gallery work or not? I know I might sound stupid and I wan't to make clear that I personally think THEY DO , but there are SO MUCH snob people (I'm not saying everybody) in charge of this "world" (critics, art journalists, gallery owners, ec.) at least where I live that think that illustration is like a lower-level kind of art, if it can be even called so... this is not going to prevent me from trying in the future, but I just want to talk a bit about it..

    So, what do you think? had any experiences related to this?


    PS: I'm now thinking that this thread would be better in another sub-forum, but I'm not enterely sure... any suggestion?

    Last edited by CaNiBaLe; September 26th, 2008 at 03:52 PM. Reason: me are bad english! me correct bad grammar errorz!
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  3. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by lady_kito View Post
    So, the question is, are illustrators really "allowed" to do gallery work or not? I know I might sound stupid and I wan't to make clear that I personally think THEY DO , but there are SO MUCH snob people
    *sigh* Do what you want to do, don't bother with the ignorance of some of those around you. Illustrators cross over into other fields all the time.

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  4. #3
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    There are a HUGE number of illustrators who cross freely back and forth, or who have transitioned over completely to gallery work. I don't have time now, but I may be able to put together a partial list if nobody else steps up.


    Tristan Elwell
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  5. #4
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    I do both. I have a number of friends who do both.

    marks in school don't really matter. The opinions of friends in school with no actual experience don't really matter. The opinions of instructors in school who may or may not have any idea what's been going on in the art world in the past 20 years don't really matter. My opinion doesn't really matter either.

    The only people who have opinions here that might matter are the people giving you shows and buying your work. Even then, their opinions matter very little when you come right down to it, because you need to keep yourself happy first and foremost.

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  7. #5
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    Yeah, thanks, I agree with you all, I think I just had a bad impression based on what I heard from some people. This seems to be out of question for you heh, but in my place it's actually a kind of debate going on right now. But I think I'll just stick to what I believe and want, people can be really stupid sometimes and I think I have to learn not to listen to them so easily.

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    I've heard being an illustrator described as "selling your soul" (though I'd be willing to say it's more like selling your work and attaching your soul to that work).

    I'd imagine galleries to be a great way to prove to those snobs that you do indeed have a soul. After all, if it's in a frame, who can say it's not fine art?

    As for things being "too illustrative", why not make the argument that abstract art is "too illustrative" of abstract things? Or that a classical figure painting is "too illustrative" of a nude? Where is the line between a representation of an object and that of a story?

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    Bullshit. There is a huge number of illustrators who are crossing over into fine art. And it's been an established trend for fine artists to cross over into illustration. It's usually fuddy duddy instructors who haven't stepped out of their fume filled "studios" who say things like that.
    Maybe they're just bitter that people might want to look at and buy illustration more nowadays than their insights into the world.

    I guess I'll start the list,

    Martin Wittfooth

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zirngibism View Post
    I've heard being an illustrator described as "selling your soul" (though I'd be willing to say it's more like selling your work and attaching your soul to that work).
    Wait a second, I thought Fine Arts people also sold their artwork/soul to anyone willing to pay?

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    james jean just turned a fine artist..hes an illustrator no more
    Kent williams
    jason shawn alexander
    just a few examples....

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    james jean just turned a fine artist..hes an illustrator no more
    Kent williams
    jason shawn alexander
    just a few examples....
    Michael Whelan
    Phil Hale
    Jeff Jones
    James Bama
    Bob McGinnis
    Burt Silverman
    Eyvind Earl...

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    All artists are illustrators, some just don't realise it.

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    james jean just turned a fine artist..hes an illustrator no more
    Kent williams
    jason shawn alexander
    just a few examples....
    Michael Whelan
    Phil Hale
    Jeff Jones
    James Bama
    Bob McGinnis
    Burt Silverman
    Eyvind Earl...
    Marshall Arisman
    Rafal Olbinski
    Lori Early
    Shawn Barber
    Daniel Adel
    Mark Ryden
    Steve Assael (went by Steve Assel as an illustrator)
    Malcolm Liepke
    Mark English
    Andy Warhol
    Lionel Feininger
    Joe Sorren
    Gary Taxali
    Morgan Weistling
    etc.

    That should keep you busy googling for a while.


    Tristan Elwell
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  19. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbclemons View Post
    All artists are illustrators, some just don't realise it.
    Most artists couldn't hack it as illustrators.


    Tristan Elwell
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  21. #14
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    Yeah Elwell, I've heard too that nowadays many fine artist don't pay enough attention to drawing or representational skills, maybe that could be an important "plus" for illustrators going to FA

    But I have one thing in my mind... I don't know about how much illustrators charge per work done there, but a comission work can be ten times cheaper that -the same- work hanging in a gallery with a frame and everything?

    I know it's a lot more complex than that, but imagine yourself in a gallery selling your artwork and an old client comes in and say "you're asking for "$$$" for this? you did 10 of these for me last year for half of the price"

    I don't know if you get what I mean......

    Last edited by CaNiBaLe; September 27th, 2008 at 09:17 PM. Reason: the same as always, bad spelling
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    I think it would be more accurate to say that all illustrators are artists...but not all artists can be illustrators. I don't know that I could be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lady_kito View Post
    But I have one thing in my mind... I don't know about how much illustrators charge per work done there, but a comission work can be ten times cheaper that -the same- work hanging in a gallery with a frame and everything?

    I know it's a lot more complex than that, but imagine yourself in a gallery selling your artwork and an old client comes in and say "you're asking for "$$$" for this? you did 10 of these for me last year for half of the price"
    Illustration and fine art are priced and sold COMPLETELY DIFFERENTLY. When buying artwork in a gallery, you are buying the physical object, but NOT any copyrights (unless this is explicitly stated in writing). When commissioning a piece of illustration, or using an existing piece of artwork, you are ONLY buying reproduction rights, and the amount payed will depend on usage and exclusivity.


    Tristan Elwell
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  25. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Penabled View Post
    I think it would be more accurate to say that all illustrators are artists...but not all artists can be illustrators. I don't know that I could be.
    Illustration is not just books and magazines. All art is illustration.

    My gallery art is no where near the rates I charge for commercial art. For all the other artists I know who work in both realms it's the same. Their gallery work is much cheaper.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dbclemons View Post
    Illustration is not just books and magazines. All art is illustration.

    My gallery art is no where near the rates I charge for commercial art. For all the other artists I know who work in both realms it's the same. Their gallery work is much cheaper.
    it is? I thought that it was just the other way around, that commercial art was sold cheaper and more massively...

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  27. #19
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    Well when talking about illustrators and fine artists here in the context to the original post ..it should be understood that...illustrator here means an artist who works for publications and magazines and stuff and who , most of the times doesnt sell the original piece but the reproduction rights....
    and fine artists are artists who sell original paintings(Mr. Elwell has mentioned the two already though)

    dont confuse us kids...

    Prices inFine arts are dependent on many factors, popularity, trends , contacts and such... there arent rates and stuff like in the illustration field.... but yeah the spectrum of prices is much bigger in fine arts..we do hear about paintings selling for millions ....
    and in general illustration art is cheaper.... but I cant say about the rates of artists who do both...how they price their stuff...
    Maybe Mr. Elwell or someone else can shed some light on that.

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  28. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhanu View Post
    ...it should be understood that...illustrator here means an artist who works for publications and magazines and stuff...
    The original issue described students of "fine" art being scolded for doing illustration on the side, and can illustrators be allowed to do gallery work. Certainly, there's a different market for the two disciplines, but it's absurd to restrict or segregate one from the other. Trying to do so just perpetuates the problem. There are many examples where a fine art painting has been used to sell a product, or magazine art displayed as fine art, where the original intent is meaningless. It's all about making a living.

    Both career products are priced to their market. A commercial artist can build up a rate based on their experience, or bid on what they feel they deserve and what fits with others of an equal level, gradually raising their rates as they go, depending on their clients. Gallery art works the same way. They could be set at any price, but just like making a bid, the art is priced to sell, depending on where it's hung and who will buy it.

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    I red once: "the only difference between an illustrator and a fine artist should be that the illustrator knows how much he or she is going to get payed BEFORE the piece is done, as opposed to after"

    It was a bit of a joke, but I think the writer makes the point that, at this day an age, illustrators should not limit their work to any particular look or style. Illustrators have the whole past of art history at their disposal (yes, including abstraction, expressionism and surface treatment) to solve the visual problems posed by themselves and their clients. If the concern of those teachers were purely formal, either they did not now much about illustration or got stuck in the banality of abstract painting of the second part of the XX century.

    By the way, the book were I red that is called "The education of an illustrator" by Steven Heller, Marshall Arisman. Excellent book for any illustrator

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    This thread makes me feel good because I`m an illustrator and I also love fine arts; I would love to turn into a full time fine artist in like... 10 years or something, when I`m done with illustration, and I hear lots of people saying that illustrators are very discriminated in the fine arts scene.

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  32. #23
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    and I hear lots of people saying that illustrators are very discriminated in the fine arts scene
    i've come across this a few times and it's high-brow nonsense. anybody who says one is more important than the other needs to be spanked with a cactus.

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  34. #24
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    A lot of said fine artists and students don't know what they are talking about, but it makes them feel superior to act like they are above others. If you can sell the mystique of art that only art snobs appreciate, then I guess there is probably a lot of money there. People will pay big bucks to feel superior and "in the know". A lot of people that ignore that bullshit do just fine without them.

    A lot of galleries will sell anything that can generate a demand. Clearly more illustrative work sells or publishers wouldn't bother with it. There will always be a market for art that people genuinely enjoy, no matter who or how it is made.

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  35. #25
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    I would love to turn into a full time fine artist in like... 10 years or something, when I`m done with illustration
    it's not like pro sports or anything, why plan to only do illustration 10 years? I mean, I'm all for planning and goals and all that, but that's a new one on me

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  37. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavePalumbo View Post
    it's not like pro sports or anything, why plan to only do illustration 10 years? I mean, I'm all for planning and goals and all that, but that's a new one on me
    I don`t know, I just feel like in 10 years I`m gonna be sick of doing commercial stuff and will just want to paint whatever I want all day without worrying on deadlines, dealing with art directors and stuff, but maybe I'm wrong!, who knows... it`s just how I see things right now, but that could always change, I will most probably end up doing both at the same time though...

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    From my very limited experience...

    I would say that Fine Art is just as commercial as Illustration; it's just a different game with different rules. The only Fine Artist's who aren't aware of that are either not making any money, or very very lucky.

    The "Fine Art only" crowd can sometimes be very snobbish, which really pisses me off (Plus the snobs usually can't draw to save their life and aren't making any money... that's surely gotta make them a bit jealous.).

    Much better are the fine artists who respect their field and its history, but also know that it's just a different facet of the wider realm of visual art (and a relatively recent one too).

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  39. #28
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    Approach the people who know in person. Ask them directly what is needed. Show them your portfolio and ask whether its suitable. Ignore what you learned in college about the art world and concentrate on what's ahead.

    Also I think it depends on what you mean by gallery. Local community galleries usually are really snobbish, whereas the commercial galleries which sell for a living are into anything that might sell. You might come across a few commercial galleries that specialize, but in most cases if the higher-ups like your work you should get in.

    It also depends on what you mean by illustration. If its dragons and wizards, then no it might not be accepted, but if its kittens and cottages then it might.

    As mentioned in the first place, just approach the curators and directors and find out what they are looking for and then decide yourself if its worth changing your style to suit their needs. Or if its compatible then you don't need to.

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