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Now you have sorted that out can you get people in the sciences to stop calling everything we do "arty" in a disparaging way, which often carries with it the connotation that it can't really be a manly activity.

Will Smith
Queensland Herbarium
DSITI
Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Mt Coot-tha
Mt Coot-tha Road, Toowong Qld 4066, Australia
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-----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

http://agresearchmag.ars.usda.gov/2014/sep/insect/

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