Illustration is imagery used to tell a story. Fine art’s definition is a bit more nebulous. For my work in particular, inspired as it is by dreams and folklore, there is a lot of crossover! Why do I bother to make the distinction, and, if I make the distinction, why do I share my illustration work on my fine art website?
I can’t deny that I experience two very different modes of working; the “illustrative” state is about discipline, detail, and fidelity to natural forms. The “fine art” state is one of translation, the expression in visual media of non-visual concepts and experiences.
I also can’t deny that the one way of working informs the other. There is sometimes animosity between “fine artists” and “illustrators”. In these instances, “fine artists” suggest that illustration is pedantic and uninspired; “illustrators” suggest that fine art is the result of poor drawing skills. I suspect that this animosity is a product of the “fine artists’” envy of finely honed craftsmanship, and the “illustrators’” envy of the unfettered freedom of expression.
I place a higher value on my “fine art” work, only because it’s where my heart pulls me. Much as I enjoy the work of celebrated illustrators (Boris Valejo and Julie Bell are two of my heroes), in my own work, I don’t want to be literal so much as expressive (Keemo is another hero!) Perhaps in future as I add more expressive paintings, I’ll remove the illustration-leaning work from my site in order to keep things simple. But for now it stays, because it relates well to the other art on the site.