A clear definition

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  1. #1
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    Arrow A clear definition

    People often express their desires not to draw certain things on this forum because of their dislike, or they are at odds with what they do "artistically" as a job for someone else because it's not a expressive outlet.

    These people are confusing two forms of art in their thinking.

    This should clear things up.

    "In the world of art there are two worthy points of view about making pictures. One is to render service to people by finding their needs and satisfying them. This is the general course of commercial art. The other is to stimulate and to enrich people by showing them a new set of experiences and values. This is the pioneer work of the so-called "fine artist" who may give a little or no heed to the financial returns. Both of these are necessary forms of art, and society needs both of them. The commercial artist is one who is paid to solve a specific problem. he/she is expected to use all his/her knowledge, imagination, artistry, and technical skill and yet stay within the boundaries set by the client who is paying him/her. He must also solve the picture problem within a limited time.
    Think of a good commercial artist in terms of a good doctor with a general practice who mustbe prepared to solve all kinds of medical and health problems when the need arises. When the doctor's phone rings, he/she doesn't know if he is being called to deliver a baby, set a broken leg or treat a case of measles Whatever and whenever the call, the doctor must find a solution to the problem and find it in time. The deadlie for giving a routine physical examination may not be so urgent, but a baby must be delivvered at the right time and cannot be put off to suit the doctor's convenience.
    So it is with the commercial artist. When the phone rings he doesn't know which client is calling, what kind of picture problem he will be asked to solve of how much time he ill be given to solve it. Maybe a department store phoning for suggestions for next year's catalog, or an agency is in need of a rush drawing to appear in tomorrow morning's newspaper. In the latter case the drawing will have to be completed within the next few hours. The deadline for a Christmas catalog, which won't appear for six or eight months, is not so pressing.
    To be a successful commercial artist, you must be versatile, and able to produce good work on short notice. You can't wait until you are in the right mood. In commercial art there is no more excuse for tempermental acts than there is in everyday living. You must meet all your commitments fully and on schedule.
    The fine arts painter selects his own subject matter, creates his own effects, and then offers the painting to the public, hoping someone will agree with his personal interpretation and buy it. The legitimate function of his pictures is the aesthetic satisfaction the observer gets from looking at them, regardless of their practical effect. This function is not always widely recognized or financially well rewarded, but it is a very worthwhile kind of art, especially for the artist. It gives him a psychological release, an emotional outlet for his feelings and opinions. To be done with intergrity, this type of picture must be created for the personal satisfaction of the artist without regard for cash rewards.
    Before you decide to devote your life to art, you should consider the two points of view and not confuse them. Each can produce great art. That which you create for your own personal satisfaction, however, cannot be converted into cash unless you are fortunate enough to be able to sense in advance the desires of the people who are the potential buyers of your pictures." -QUOTED FROM THE BOOK RECEIVED WITH MY ASSIGNMENTS FROM THE FAMOUS ARTISTS SCHOOL-

    Some of the fine points are in bold that is most applicable.

    I desire to be a commercial illustrator and this fits my definition.

    Last edited by OmenSpirits; July 3rd, 2010 at 03:17 PM.
    "Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."
    -John Huston, Director
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  4. #2
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    I'm bumping this for the main reason that A LOT of people here need to read this and take it to heart. Wish I could sticky this.

    "Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."
    -John Huston, Director
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  5. #3
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    Anyone know a mod to sticky this?

    "Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."
    -John Huston, Director
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  6. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by OmenSpirits View Post
    Anyone know a mod to sticky this?
    Seconded.

    OmenSpirits, thank you. I needed that

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    I disagree with the segregation of genres, but this does explain the duties of the two different jobs. I don't think they have to be isolated career paths though. Sure some illustration jobs are devoid of philosophy and some fine art can be ruined by literal communication. But there certainly is common ground. I believe that common area is where the gold is.

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  9. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raoul Duke View Post
    I disagree with the segregation of genres, but this does explain the duties of the two different jobs. I don't think they have to be isolated career paths though. Sure some illustration jobs are devoid of philosophy and some fine art can be ruined by literal communication. But there certainly is common ground. I believe that common area is where the gold is.
    But see, these definitions are good for the inexperienced. When more knowledge is gained, then they can make the decision as you state, & I agree, but to give them that kind of freedom without understanding, then they get confused like a lot of beginners you see here.

    A basic structure is needed for learning to take.

    "Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."
    -John Huston, Director
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  10. #7
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    *cough*

    "Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."
    -John Huston, Director
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  11. #8
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    I appreciate the effort but as a working gallery artist I disagree with the narrow descriptions of what commercial and fine art are. I don't even like or use those terms for the most part. There are only two kinds of art; good art and bad art. Everything else is trying to market one type of art to the rubes for profit. The idea that fine art (whatever that is) is to stimulate and to enrich people by showing them a new set of experiences and values. This is the pioneer work of the so-called "fine artist" who may give a little or no heed to the financial returns.

    Is just ivory tower/university propaganda of the worst order and patently false; it is a part of Clement Greenberg's Manifesto and discounts 2000 years of art produced for churches and kings and merchants.

    Last edited by dpaint; July 16th, 2012 at 02:00 PM.
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  13. #9
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    Art for Art's sake was in the air in the 19th century as a reaction against the idea that Art had some necessary function as a method of communicating morals. And this idea of "moral" had a very broad definition.

    The Impressionists were the first to famously break with the tradition of presenting Morals through the medium of art, and they were called every name in the book. But at bottom the criticism of their work was that they were merely after sensual/sensory effects... the play of light, luminosity, brilliance, and nothing more. And that this was hedonistic, merely seeking after shallow pleasures, and had nothing to say about the great and small questions of life.

    The art critic du jour of our time, Jerry Saltz, put it that Art's essential role is in providing new sensual experiences, and such sensual experience was a kind of knowledge. (This would explain the modernist creed that visual experimentation is necessary... because it is required for the making/discovering of new sensual experiences, which results in the highly coveted new sensual knowledge.)

    The opposite pole of Saltz' view (which, again, dates back 150 years) is the even older view that art's role is to tell truth through the medium of a fiction. And these truths, rather than being unique, are universal. Yet, the personality of the creator of the work, and his unique solutions to the pictorial problems would also provide a new sensual experience. (For instance, Leyendecker's work is a different sensual experience than N.C. Wyeth's)

    Incidentally, Jerry Saltz said this at the popularity of the 400-picture Norman Rockwell show at the Guggenheim a few years back: For the art world to fall for this simple vision now - espeically now - as Flash Art American editor Massimilian Giorni put it, "is like confessing in public that deep down inside we are, after all, right-wing."

    Got that?

    At least Icarus tried!


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    I knew I was right wing. That's the hand I use to paint with.

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  16. #11
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    I fail to see why these two things are mutually exclusive. It seems like it'd be more of a sliding scale, to me. Surely commercial artists also make art for its own sake when they're not getting paid, or they'd have never become skilled enough to be a commercial artist in the first place. And surely 'fine artists' may end up having someone offer them money for something they chose to create for shits and giggles. And then you have people like James Jean for example, who make mad bank doing commercial art and then run away with Prada's money to live in a warehouse and make the weird shit they feel like making without regard to monetary gain*.

    Art is, after all, just a skill.

    I agree with dpaint that there's good art and bad art, and that's all she wrote. But hell, what do I know, I just fart around.

    *I am sure this is not a worry of his.


    We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.
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