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Remember back in the '80s when the GNSI slogan was "Scientific illustrators do it for reproduction"? I think this is helpful in the art/not art discussion. The purpose or end goal of science illustration is to educate and inform - and this means (usually) that the art is reproduced and used somewhere for a specific reason: a museum exhibit display, a monograph, an article in a popular science magazine or textbook. The purpose is not to hang this work in a fine art gallery and sell it to a collector. Subsequently, the field as a whole gets pigeonholed into the illustration/commercial/not fine art category.

Lynette
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Lynette Cook
www.lynettecook.com

On Aug 19, 2015, at 8:31 AM, Taina Litwak wrote:
(snip)

> 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”.  

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