Illustration vs. Fine Art

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Illustration vs. Fine Art

From Gretta

Published before 2005


As a fine artist, a graphic designer, and someone who has worked in commercial photography, I can tell you that there is a difference. I acknowledged that applied art is sometimes quite beautiful and skillful in my previous message. The best applied art is and must be beautiful if it is to be effective at selling the product (or idea in the case of propaganda). Creating something visual for a practical end (an illustration of a beautiful woman for an ad for the purpose of selling shampoo) is what makes it applied. Creating work for pay doesn't necessarily make it applied, it's just compensation to the artist for his work. It's when a work is created for another end, rather than just to be a work in itself, it becomes applied. Once again this is not an aesthetic judgement. I agree that there has been a lot of beautiful commercial art created over the last century. Many good artists have gone the route of commercial art perhaps because they didn't find the "fine art" world worth dealing with. I can sympathize with this approach, but I do find it to be unfortunate.