Illustration vs. Fine Art

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Illustration vs. Fine Art

From Brian K. Yoder

Published before 2005


Gretta: 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).

How do you distinguish between selling an "idea" or "propaganda" versus expressing an idea of a "fine art" kind? It doesn't seem to me that there's a qualitative difference between an art work that says in effect "A cold winter morning is beautiful" and "An evening on Broadway is an exciting adventure". Does it matter whether one is paid for by the Big Bear ski resort or the Manhattan tourist bureau? Or whether the artist took it upon himself to create each for his own reasons apart from money? How could you even know the difference if someone didn't tell you?

--Brian