New Senior Portrait Guide

I have produced a 2015 Senior Portrait Guide you can read it, download it, or print it by clicking the link with in this sentence or by copy and pasting the url below.

Other Photography guides and Guides to my products and art will be up and available soon, please check back often.  If you have any questions or comments, let me know.

 

Blessings,

T

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Illustration vs. Fine Art

Greetings My Blog Readers and Followers:

I once again apologize for such a long pause between posts. I have had one electronic issue after another this past few months, two hard drives crashed, a lap top crashed etc.  I have felt like I am in the middle of a electronic apocalypse.  Instead of my electronics taking over they have refused to work for me to the point of crashing, right down to the point of refusing to turn on and losing all my art work and data.  My electronics are killing me slowly by killing my data right in front of me.   Thank goodness that I have a client I work for writing and posting fashion blogs, www.fashionmania.com, because she came to my rescue this weekend. 

 

The topic I wanted to write about is one a fellow artist and I have been discussing and debating about and that is what is the difference between Illustration and Fine art.  This is a debate that has been going on for years in the art world.  Some of the definitions I found on the internet are:

The distinction lies in the fact that art is the idea (brought to life) while an illustration is a depiction (or explanation) of an idea.

In modern illustration the intent is most often the selling of a product.  When something noble is put to ignoble ends, there is a deterioration of value.

According to Illustrator Robert Weaver who once stated;

Until the illustrator enjoys complete independence from outside pressure and direction, complete responsibility for his own work, and complete freedom to to do whatever he deems fit– all necessaries in the making of art– then illustration cannot be art but only a branch of advertising.

As many different styles of art there is such a fine line between these two styles, according to my art class an Illustration is an aspect of the imagination that subordinates itself to a story or concept in order to realize a visual equivalent of the verbal idea. Illustration is description executed in a graphic manner rather then literal mode.  Whereas artists and illustrators commonly work from the same stock of ideas, they both work from imagination, yet the artist use imagination in its purer sense; – not to describe visually what can be described verbally within a story, but to compose with a more essentially pictorial logic, thinking through images not words.

eyeoftheuniverse

To me illustration art is more pictorial drawings, and fine art is more imagination centered, from the artist imagination for the viewer’s imagination. This is not to say that fine art does not have a specific meaning or came from a muse, but when viewed the viewer can walk away with their own emotions embedded within the art work not just the specific meaning that is story derived.  Take some of the Fine Art Greats;  Van Gogh – his works were taken from the world around him but also from within his own head. He saw that world around him,  took it in, “twisted it around” before allowing it to flow out to his canvas.  Yet, each of us view his work and are moved by our own world of emotions, which we embed into his world painted there on the canvas.

Yet,  a great Illustrator like Boris V. takes his paintings/drawings from models and stories that is given to him, such as a,  story board music album, books, etc. and places it into picture.   This is not to say that either Van Gogh or Boris V. are better at being an artist then the other, they are different styles of art.  One moves moves the viewer emotions and the imagination of the inner being, while the other stirs excitement and the imagination of the story.

starrynight When you look at Starry night you see a small town under a swirling sky and a bright starry sky in the presence of a looming dark mountain, with out Van Gogh’s title “Starry Night”, however, the viewer may of come up with other ideas of this pictures such as stormy night, due to the swirling paint strokes of white and the stream of smoke coming from the chimneys.  There is no back story, no story line, just visual imagination which leaves the viewer to feel the emotion within the painting and develop a story deeper within the painting.

 

magicring While Boris V. Painting “Magic Ring” could be titled by a laymen, by simply looking at the painting/photograph.  The model is holding up her hand and pointing her fisted hand out to a flying dragon and magical force is emitting from either her fist or a ring she is wearing.   So, the painting itself is centered around this one force, this one item which is the center of the story line, which in the long run is the center of the illustration.  You can learn more about Boris V.

What do I think?  I think there is no real difference, I think that line between Illustration and Fine art is a romantic illusion.  This line between Illustrator and fine art has nothing to do with the talent of the artist, or the quality of the work, or its morality, or its intelligence, or even the style of art.  It is far too easy to identify examples of illustration that are superior to “fine” art in each of these categories, just as it is easy to identify examples of fine art that are superior to illustration.  It hardly takes any effort to puncture any of the theories that have been put out there about these two works, or the categorical distinctions between the two types of work.

The art world creates this illusion due to the class and economic status of the artist, the art world is made up of networking, who knows who, and who can afford what.  Fine Art Artist get noticed by those who are able to travel more often, pay submission fees to get into more art shows, belong to more art committees, art networks, etc.    Illustrators are those who work in the field that take commissions, produce prints, etc. – in a sense mass produce as much as possible.

Take for example;  For the first 30,000 years of art, artists were able to earn a decent living working for kings, priests, pharaohs and popes.  Art was commissioned for temple walls and public spaces.  It adorned palaces and royal tombs and the homes of aristocrats.  Then kings began to disappear from the earth.  Popes stopped commissioning new art.  They were replaced by a new commercial class, fueled by the birth of capitalism and the invention of the corporation.  This class became the new patrons of arts. It’s important to emphasize here that although art buyers and subject matter changed, the quality of the work did not.

Artists adapting to the new business realities yet they found two paths:

The first was to produce what we now call “fine” or “gallery” art for the private class and corporate art collections.

The second path opened as a result of the newly invented printing press: rather than selling a picture to a wealthy patron,  artists could now make multiple copies of a picture and sell them for smaller amounts to larger numbers of (less-wealthy) purchasers.

Looking at it this way, Illustration could be considered any artwork that is mass produced or which uses technology to create it, because I assure you if this option had existed during the golden age of Greece or the early Italian Renaissance, the greatest artists would have taken full advantage of it.  In fact, when the invention of etching first emerged, some of the greatest artists, such as Durer and Rembrandt, quickly embraced it, and Rembrandt turned to etching as away to sell multiple copies of a single image to Dutch Merchants. In this sense, this would make Rembrandt an Illustrator as well as a Fine Artist, No?

Perhaps the real definition between the two arts is Illustration Art generally reaches a broader audience while selling for lower price, and Fine Art reaches a smaller audience while selling for a much higher price?

I have always considered myself a Fine Art Artist – but during my discussion with my fellow artist he defined me as an Illustrator – once again that fine line waving back and forth…

What is your thoughts on the differences of these two arts?  Those who have seen my art, which would you title it?

Reblogging Marketing Artist Marketing Tips Dot Com

I belong to several newsletters and blog sites and this week I am going through http://www.artistmarketingtips.com/ and re-reading their series of newsletters about artist profiles and how to market your artwork online.  I will re-blog their work and make sure to credit their site through out the blog. That way those who would like to check out their website and newsletter may.

 

Week 1: Building An Online Portfolio

Building An  Online Portfolio

      The best place to start with this series is to talk about

building an online portfolio

      . Every artist/photographer that wants to market their artwork, needs to start with a good online presence – and why not? Portfolio websites are easy to setup and so inexpensive, there is no excuse for not having one!
    Your online portfolio displays your artwork to the world. It also allows others to contact you and gives buyers the chance to purchase your artwork.

What Is Your Purpose for Being Online?

    The first question you must ask yourself is, why do you want to be online? The answer to this question will help you determine what type of online portfolio you look for. There are typically three responses to this question: Sell my artwork, display my artwork or participate in an artist community. Some artists want to have all three. Once you have defined your online purpose, you should look to create an online portfolio that will accomplish your goals.

Two Types of Online Portfolios

      All artist websites basically boil down to two types…1) Artist Community Websites and 2) Custom Artist Websites. Here is a brief description of each:

1) Artist Community Websites

      allow the artist to upload his/her artwork into a online portfolio at little or no cost. Normally these community websites have hundreds (or thousands) of artist members, who display their artwork together and interact with each other. Art community advantages include: Low/No setup cost, high amount of traffic, rich set of features, built in e-commerce shopping cart, artwork feedback, the ability to interact with other artists and much more. Each website has it’s own list of features/benefits. Pick the website that aligns with your goals and has the features you are looking for.

ArtWanted.com

      is an example of an art community website.

2) Custom Artist Websites

      are unique and custom built for the artist. Normally these websites have their own ‘dot-com’ web address (ie http://www.ArtistName.com) to make them more personal and easier to remember. Custom websites are good for artists, because you have full control over the exact look and feel of the site and they will only contain YOUR artwork. However, custom websites are normally more expensive to build/maintain, web programming knowledge is required to keep the site updated and they usually get far less traffic than a community portfolio. Some artists drop their art community website, once they have a personal site. This is a big mistake! You should still upload some of your artwork to one or more art community websites. Then use your community website to gain exposure and point visitors back to your official website.

TIP:

    Get the best of both worlds. Register your own dot-com website address (for under $10/year) and then point it to your community portfolio website.

How Many Websites Should You Have?

Computer  Monitors

      This is a common question we get asked by artists.

The answer is…

      you should have as many portfolio websites as you have the time to maintain. For some artists, this may only be one website. For other artists with more time on their hands, posting your artwork on multiple websites will always increase your exposure and potential buyers.
    For example, if you wanted to advertise a new product on TV, wouldn’t you rather advertise on three TV stations, instead of just one? Marketing your artwork is no different. The more places you can post your artwork, the better!

What Should Your Online Website Contain?

    Every portfolio website is different, but there are several things that all artist websites should have. Here is a quick list..

  • Your Artwork – This is a no brainer. You are an artist, so you better show off your art (or photography) on your website. Your website should showcase your BEST artwork. Remember, your online portfolio is not a collection of everything you have ever doodled which dates back to elementary school. It’s a place to show off how talented you are, so make your pieces count! If you have a lot of art on your site, break your artwork into categories, so your website visitors can see the many styles/subjects you have made.
  • Artist Bio – If people are interested in your artwork, then they will want to know a bit more about you. You need a spot on your website to toot your horn. Talk about your schooling, your experience, past clients you have worked with, your philosophy, hobbies/interests and anything else that will help someone get to know your better. You should also use this area to promote any galleries or exhibits you may be featured in.
  • Contact Information – What’s the point in having a website, if people can’t contact you? At the bare minimum you should allow people to e-mail you from your site, but if you are interested in selling your artwork, you should include additional contact information, such as your phone number or mailing address.
  • Fresh Content – If you went to a clothing store every month for 4 months, and it never had anything new, would you come back on the 5th month? Probably not. The same concept applies to websites. You need to continue to post new artwork and new content on your website to keep your visitors coming back for more. Even if you don’t have any new artwork, at least have a blog/journal that your fans can read and see what you are up to. If your website gets stale, you can kiss your fans good-bye.
  • Other Ideas – Here are just a few additional ideas to get your brain going. Let your visitors sign-up for your newsletter. Post tutorials or step-by-step photos on how you have created a recent piece. Offer advise to new artists. Create a blog, so people can see what you are up to. Encourage visitors to bookmark or share your website with others. Post links to other websites that contain your work. Feature specific artwork or products that are new or on sale. Over the next few weeks, we will be talking about some of these ideas more in-depth, so you can see the power of marketing.

Promote Your Website Everywhere!

    We will be talking about this topic multiple times throughout this course. What’s the point of a great website, it no one knows about it? You should advertise your portfolio website anywhere and everywhere. Make sure it’s listed in your e-mail signature. Tell your friends and family about it. Print your website address on your business cards and all other marketing materials. Talk about your website on your social media website (ie Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, etc.) Print personalized products (t-shirt/hats/mugs) that advertise your website address. Mention your website on your voice mail message. Bottom line, you want to drive everyone to your website, because this is where they can see and purchase your artwork.

Track Your Website Statistics

Laptop  Stats

      Once you have a website, it’s important to make sure you have some kind of statistics tracking enabled. How many people are visiting your site. What artwork did they like? How long did they stay on your site? Did your gallery showing increase visitors to your website? Did your last e-mail newsletter bring in new traffic? Are people browsing and not buying? All these questions and more can be answered by having the proper statistics tracking for your website. You can then use this information to give your art fans what they want.
      Most community websites have basic statistics tracking enabled for your online portfolio. Some websites offer very detailed reports of your website traffic. If you own your own website, then you will need to install some type of web analytics program to track your website activity. You could spend thousands of dollars a month for an excellent statistics engine, but lets not go there now. Google offers a free statistics engine for your site called

Google Analytics

      that is actually quite powerful. For more information, visit:

http://www.google.com/analytics/

Homework

      Yep, that’s right, you WILL have homework in this course. What’s the point in learning how to market your artwork, if you don’t put any plans into action? Don’t worry, your homework will be light and will leave you plenty of time to use your right-side of your brain to create new artwork. This week’s homework is:
  1. Write down your purpose for being online and the goals you would like to accomplish.
  2. If you don’t already have an online website, get one! If you already have one, review what you have and see what you can do to improve it.
  3. Update your website this week with at least one new image or one new blog post.
  4. Add your website URL (link) to your e-mail signature.
  5. Review your website statistics (if you have them) and see what images/sections are the most popular.

Artist Helping Artist Network

Artist Helping Artist Network

Artist Helping Artist Network

I have started a new group on FB “Artist Helping Artist Network”, I hope this group takes off and There is a lot of communicating between artist from all over, Here in Buffalo and Western NY but also other states and even countries.  Talking about how they market their artwork, how they work together with in their own communities etc.  I truly believe that Artist with in a Community need to work together to help the Artist Community grow because if they don’t that Community won’t grow it will stagnate and die. There will be to much in fighting and cliques being built “East side” vs “West side”, “Contemporary” vs “Photography”  vs “Realism” etc., and then again we have those who say if don’t have formal training you can’t possibly be an artist.  What ever happen to apprenticeships or born in talent?  With all these cliques and inner fighting the Art Community will die out,  I have seen it happen and it is a very sad thing to watch.  Because Art is really the center point to many economies  and to many education plans.

Art can bring tourist into a town/city, it gets children and teens off streets and give them something to do on the days they don’t have school. Art has saved lives, healed those who are sick, mentally and physically.  I have always said “Art is the Music to my Soul”!   If I get down or feeling like I am losing control of my life, I shut myself into a room and lose myself into an art piece, my art works what ever is bothering me out onto that canvas and I come out feeling refreshed and all ready to face what ever is stressing me out.  Or I can take my camera and just go off into solitary walk and just lose myself into taking pictures of what ever hits me at the moment.  I meditate as I take those pictures, losing myself into the moment.   Again, I return refreshed and ready to return to what ever it is I need to face.

I know others who do the same thing but with music, beading, wood working, dancing, writing, etc.  What is it that can cause you to go into the “moment of focus” and then feel totally ready to face a problem?

If you are on FB and interested in joining my new group Artist Helping Artist Network please go here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/491008764300955/

Just a side note* This group is not just for artist, it is for anyone in the art community – Artist, Art Dealers, Art Gallery Directors, Owners, Curators etc, Art Collectors, Those looking to Sponsor Artist – Etc

What are your thoughts on Art Communities in your area?

Reaching Out

Campaign –  

I have started a Campaign to get a new lap top.  I am offering signed prints in return for donations. The laptop I have is dying and I use it in so many fashions, from my computer paintings, to these very blogs.  I am hoping to get a lap top that is high end processor with maximum ram, so that I can create even better artwork for you my fans.

Please, have a look at the campaign  and share it with your fans.  Every little bit helps and every little bit will be rewarded with at least a 5×7 and larger signed print. If you do not like the print I am offering, please feel free to let me know and I will be glad to let you choose a different print. 

Thank you and Blessings,

Trinton “TrinityHawk” Garrett

Online profile