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Illustrators are not artists.

Home Forums General Discussion Illustrators are not artists.

This topic contains 13 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Boofredlay 2 years, 10 months ago.

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
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  • April 25, 2011 at 8:47 pm #35069

    Boofredlay
    Member

    The hell you say and so do I.

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    I was going through some old drawings of mine and one in particular drew my attention. An illustration of an old co-worker’s truck. He had a 1950′s Ford that he made into a drag racing hot rod. I think I posted up the drawing hear last year.

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    Anyway, right after I drew that thing 11 years or so ago I showed it to a friend who owned an art store/frame shop and does college football sports paintings and other fine art. He said to me; “That is nice but you are not an artist, you are an illustrator.”

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    “Kiss my ass” I said, or something similar, laughing and in fun. We went to lunch and we went about our business none the worse for wear, or so I thought.

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    I think back now on that comment and it must have stuck in my head because I don’t recall doing much drawing or any artwork to speak of for almost 10 years. I drifted through different jobs without focus and finally landed myself in the architecture field. I make a living doing computer drafting, graphics and 3D modeling.

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    Late 2009 I find myself searching the net for graphic art and illustration just marveling at what great work there is out there all the while telling myself that I can’t do that kind of stuff. Well I found a couple people drawing in Moleskines and thought I could start drawing again. I have an obsession with tactile things and the Moleskine just fits so nice, feels good and … well you know.

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    So why the Freudian outpouring today? Not entirely sure other than to say that people can have an influence on you whether or not you know it. Am I mad at my friend? No way, he is still my friend and I have called him worse in joking. I just find it interesting that I recall that experience from a simple drawing I did 11 years ago. And I don’t think that one comment directed my work life at all, just my view of my own talents. That in itself is an odd thing I think as we (I) tend to gravitate towards the negative more than the positive. I cannot tell you how many times my parents, brother, friends and wife have told me how artistic I am but one little comment like “you are not an artist, you are an illustrator” can sound and feel negative. Dang, I wish I were an illustrator today! Maybe if I practice more :)

    .

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    I would love to hear other experiences in self awareness and / or loathing, ha ha.

    April 29, 2011 at 12:29 am #36640

    It is true. I remember being told several things like that over the course of my life and those are the ones I always look back on, not the compliments or the pats on the back.

    I am studying to get my masters in education and if I can get a job in the field (if), then I will endeavor to encourage all students in positive ways and squash negativity.

    Art is a form of self-expression, why squash that?

    May 11, 2011 at 12:52 am #36646

    Hello! I’m new here but I saw this thread and I just had to comment.

    My art guild recently held a juried exhibition and I was on the exhibition committee. I got to be there while the judge went around and picked out pieces for the show.

    He tossed out everything he felt was “too commercial” or “too illustrative”, which I thought was ridiculous. His reasoning was the show was supposed to be a “fine art” show, and that illustrations shouldn’t be allowed. I contested that since we did not advertise it as a “fine art” show; the prospectus actually stated all genres were welcome. He wound up rejecting several wonderful illustrations that were amazing in their technical skill and most of the award winners he picked were oil paintings that were rather… not so good (i.e., flat out sucked in my opinion, which actually makes me wonder if he knew those artists). =/ There was a painting of WWII planes that he tossed because it looked “too commercial”, but the skill and rendering was amazing. The same with a pen & ink portrait of Christ’s face that had some typography alongside it that was brilliantly done.

    I think illustrators not being artists is silly. Art always evolves and a lot of contemporary art is not what would have been considered “fine art” in the past. Graffiti art, for example, can totally blur that line between public eyesore and fine art. David Cho is a notorious street artist, but his portrait of Obama was accepted to hang in the White House. If there is skill/talent/vision, why shouldn’t illustrators be considered artists as well?

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to getting to know the contributors to the site! :)

    Suzi

    May 30, 2011 at 12:45 pm #36665

    Uncle Bob
    Member

    Quite right! Artists vs Illustrators? Both are required and should be equally valued. Perhaps we should ask “What is Art”? and dispel the hackneyed notion that its some sort of form which looks good. In my opinion, Art is a form of communication and whether it serves to look nice or to portray an idea, opinion or even to record an event is irrelevant. Art can be a painting, a drawing, a piece of music, a lecture, a carving etc etc. They are all methods of the communication of ideas and moods. This must include those who communicate by illustration. Its just another form of communication – or, dare I say – Art.

    In my teaching days I had many “discussions” with my friends in the art faculties, who saw those who illustrated their ideas (I taught engineering and design which necessitated the use of “Technical Drawings” and “Sketches”) as some sort of threat to their side of the profession being inferior to their abilities. When my side, which included design work, began to include, God forbid, our use of colour in diagrams and using shading to suggest form, well that was definitely not on. Where I differ from the opinionated artist is on the question of Aesthetics vs Function. In my opinion far too many artefacts are designed without function in mind and some are just plain useless. As an engineer I would always make sure it worked then try to make it look good.

    No, my friend. Illustrators are those who get their idea across differently. Long may the drawers of plans and blueprints strive to educate.

    Your thread got me going and I apologise for taking so long to contribute- to communicate. I have tried to make some sense about what I’m saying by sending in a post which shows some of the work, in Edinburgh, by Robert Adam. This is definitely an attempt at illustration. I would hope some might consider it as an attempt at art.

    June 1, 2011 at 2:17 pm #36666

    Ziza
    Member

    Illustration is an art. PERIOD!

    June 2, 2011 at 2:59 pm #36669

    renefijten
    Member

    I certainly disagree with Ziza.

    Illustration CAN be art, mostly it serves another purpose, to illustrate something, a text, a thought, whatever.

    It mostly depends on how you define ART, in the narrow sense or broad sense.

    When you visit an ART Museum you expect things like Rembrandt, Picasso, Kiefer, the high quality stuff. Difficult pieces with multiple hidden layers of meaning that keep your mind running and wondering, and images that keep sticking in your mind.

    At other times the definition is much broader, a lot of illustration can certainly be considered as art along the same lines of definition. But it’s too easy to say everything is Art, that would be ignoring the visible difference between low and high quality (which has nothing to do with effort).

    To stay in artist terms: there is a lot of grey between black and white, how do you define where black ends and white starts?

    And even worse: greys change under different light or adjacent colours. Or the eye of the beholder.

    Personally I consider what were are doing as much fun, even well crafted and of undoubted quality, but I reserve the term Art for those pieces and people I profoundly admire.

    June 3, 2011 at 12:52 pm #36670

    Ziza
    Member

    “L’art pour l’art” Rene! I could agree we could find some line between “applied arts” and “fine arts”, both being ARTS nevertheless! Whether it is of high importance or the value is up to the artist and beholder. There are lousy “art” items in both and there are masterpieces in both too. Take, for example, Persian miniatures, say Sultan Muhammad. His works (all book illustrations eg. “Shahnama”) are as important and as excellent as any western l’art pour l’art pieces of any period. And they were innovative as well.

    In general illustration is an art. If a particular illustrator is not an artist than probably his/her illustrations would not end up being art. However, If he/she is an artist – whatever they make will probably be “the art”!

    Illustration is a form of visual/graphic art. An Illustrator is supposed to be an artist in the same sense as a printer is supposed to be. If anyone of them is not – then the result will probably not be an ART.

    June 3, 2011 at 4:40 pm #36671

    You also have to remember that Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Bernini and most all other “masters” did a lot of religious artwork which were illustrative of stories from the Bible. Those works are, in fact, “illustrations”, yet nobody would argue that That Last Supper is not a work of “art”.

    June 3, 2011 at 5:30 pm #36672

    Uncle Bob
    Member

    “If it sells, its art!” att Frank Lloyd.

    June 3, 2011 at 8:42 pm #36673

    renefijten
    Member

    Ha ha, that quote is by far the most stupid one I heard in years. Must be an American who said that.

    Seriously, Revolheart proves my point, illustration CAN be art. Take those pieces from Rembrandt, Da Vinci, Dali, and you will find much more than just an illustration of the bible. They tell about their time, how these people stood in the world, about their beliefs, about their fears, about their place in history, about composition, about colour, about light, about painting technique, about the objects they used, about fashion etc.

    I will admit that not all of this was put in deliberately, it’s us who notice it, which also tells something about our times. But that’s exactly what Art is: it means something more than just the plain illustration, it tells us stories.

    So I would like to requote: “if it tells, its art!”

    June 6, 2011 at 4:00 pm #36675

    Boofredlay
    Member

    Really renefijten? If it is a stupid quote it must be an American who said that?

    Regardless of the topic, you are showing your true colors here.

    June 6, 2011 at 6:15 pm #36676

    renefijten
    Member

    Oops, I am sorry if I offended you; I see now how you read it, but it was not meant that way.

    I was referring to the quote, which states that quality of art is measured by its price… And of course I know that to call that an American viewpoint is wildly exaggerated, it was only meant to tease.

    Us foreigners tend to overestimate our knowledge of the English language.

    June 6, 2011 at 9:45 pm #36677

    Leo
    Member

    In Rene’s defense…

    The way I’ve read the comment, Rene was referring to American Consumerism (“if it sells…”), not Stupidity. And I have to agree with that.

    June 6, 2011 at 11:10 pm #36679

    Boofredlay
    Member

    Cheers guys.

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