I'm going to disagree with Taina and Marjorie a little bit.

I think it's vital and important not to conflate the discipline of "fine
art" with the umbrella term "art".

As Gail pointed out, illustration is a distinct discipline with its own
traditions and history, just as fine art is a distinct discipline with its
own traditions and history. Occasionally they overlap of course.
Both fall under the larger umbrella of art.

If I was to go all taxonomical about it (obviously leaving out many
categories, and understanding some bleed into others):

-->Visual Art
                  --scientific illustration
                  --medical illustration
                  --editorial illustration
                  --video game concept art
      *fine art
                  --pop art
                  --people who put wings on trilobites

So often I find people trying to define whether something is "ART" or not
are really saying "can this be held in high regard the way we often hold
the distinct discipline of fine art?"

Each discipline not only has its own traditions and history, but they also
have their own trajectories. Sometimes these trajectories work together
(fine art being used for an editorial illustration) and sometimes they are
at odds with each other.

When a fine artist holds up a cultural lens to our culture of
appropriation, sharing and remixing by say, repainting a book illustration
they are working from a different cultural trajectory than artists
employing DMCA notices to protect their business.

My 5 cents.

Glendon Mellow
Art in Awe of Science

Find me on
*Symbiartic, the art+science blog
on the Scientific American Blog Network

On 20 August 2015 at 08:18, Barry K. MacKay <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> But is it really not possible for the same endeavour to serve more than one
> function?
> I know I'm showing my age when I say I used to love looking at the Coca
> Cola
> and other advertising art, or illustration, in the pages of National
> Geographic magazine, and the bird artists who they used -- Fuertes and
> Brooks (before my time, but still in old copies my grandfather, a doctor,
> could provide) and Walter A. Weber, did not simply inform me.  When I saw
> my
> first original Brooks paintings -- a series of raptors painted to
> illustrate
> a book on same -- I was moved beyond my ability to describe...I was
> transfixed.
> And is not a Vermeer, say, or a Turner, not a form of problem-solving?
> Right now I'm working on an illustration of an extinct species to
> illustrate
> a book on the birds of a specific region.  The problem to be solved is that
> the single specimen known was from a boat, where it was seen sitting on a
> hand rail or ship's cable (the text is unclear).  That's not necessary to
> show...the purpose of the "illustration" is "to inform".
> But I do have to solve problems, not the least being how to show a very
> Carolinian species that showed up, once that we know of, in the arctic,
> while still making the piece attractive, since there is no reason not to.
> I
> will show it in flight.  I have constraints no "true" purist artist would
> have, such as layout, but that's part of what I see as the fun of the
> challenge...problems to be solved.
> It's true that as an "illustrator" I'm ordered to meet certain imposed
> obligations.  So was Michelangelo, when he "illustrated" for the church.
> The church's goals were not scientific, true, and I agree that a detailed
> rendering of the head of a bat's femur or a schematic of DNA is not likely
> to evoke much emotion from the viewer, although it can be both a challenge
> and a pleasure for the illustrator.  I've done anatomical drawings that,
> once published, get stored away and almost certainly will never see the
> interior of an art gallery, but the same can't be said for those done by
> Leonardo.
> What defines illustration and/or art is what is decided by the individual
> doing the defining.
> With all due respect, in my own opinion, art and illustration greatly
> overlap.  They can move more in one direction or another, but subjectively.
> Recently I saw a friend do delicate pencil sketches of the spines of a sea
> urchin, and another scientific illustrator showed me her sketchbook, which
> ranged from detailed studies of the interior of a plant bulb (she would
> dissect and draw some of the veggies she would then cook) to drawing of the
> lake behind her cottage.  I could at no place say where art left off and
> illustration began.  Both moved me, as well...that is, looking at these
> very
> fine pencil drawings of a sea urchin's spines, for example, engaged me
> emotionally.
> I'd call that art.  But I would not deny that it was also illustration.
> Barry
> Barry Kent MacKay
> Bird Artist, Illustrator
> Studio: (905)-472-9731
> [log in to unmask]
> -----Original Message-----
> From: SciArt-L Discussion List-for Natural Science Illustration-
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Marjorie Leggitt
> Sent: August-20-15 2:36 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [SCIART] Is it ART?
> Art - created to evoke and provoke; illustration - created to inform.
> Art - a personal investigation, self-determined; illustration - a form of
> problem solving often coming from an external source.
> These are the "definitions" I use in my Composition class.
> Marj
> Leggitt Design
> 303.394.0566
> [log in to unmask]
> On 8/19/15 4:42 PM, Will Smith wrote:
> > That seems like a broad definition that is hard to disagree with.
> >
> >
> > Will Smith
> > Queensland Herbarium
> > Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Mt Coot-tha
> > Mt Coot-tha Road, Toowong Qld 4066, Australia Email
> > [log in to unmask]
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: SciArt-L Discussion List-for Natural Science Illustration-
> > [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Taina Litwak
> > Sent: Thursday, 20 August 2015 1:32 AM
> > To: [log in to unmask]
> > Subject: [SCIART] Is it ART?
> >
> > "Art".   The modern understanding of the term, I believe, includes the
> concept that the maker emotionally and intellectually is working on
> expressing him/herself in some manner on the worthy topic of the human
> condition and culture.   Plays, novels, fine art painting, landscapes,
> still
> life, abstractions, conceptual stuff, sculpture, film, any image making..
> One topic, 7 billion interpretations.
> >
> > This is where illustration - the goal of which is inherently to tell a
> story or explain a specific something - falls a bit outside. Editorial
> illustration, which is often conceptual and if its any good IS evocative,
> frequently address aspects of the human condition (or situations) and gets
> so some slack. So it is sometimes reluctantly included as "art".
> >
> > Technical illustration - scientific and natural history included - does
> not deal with  this and so we are not invited under the umbrella of "art".
> Some good scientific illustration is emotionally evocative of course, but
> much is not.   It is not the goal of the work.  We make images that society
> has come to value as the way our culture sees Science changes.  What we do
> with our images CAN put our output on a more meta level, and the resulting
> self-aware product can jump into the traditional sphere of "Art".   But
> usually our clients have no interest in doing that.  They just need us to
> explain the facts, in the vehicle of their choice.  This is what I have
> made
> a living doing for the past 35 years.  Image making - I love it. It has
> value, but it's not "art".
> >
> > Taina
> >
> > Litwak Illustration Studio
> > 13029 Chestnut Oak Drive
> > Darnestown, MD 20878
> >
> > tel: 301-527-0569
> > mobile: 240-750-9245
> >
> >
> >
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