Monday, September 1, 2008

What are the differences between fine art and graphic design?

First, I would like to offer my definitions for these areas of the art world. To me, fine art is the study and execution of art include painting and sculpture. Painting can be in oils, water color, and various other mediums. It can be on canvas, paper, or murals among other things. It can be done for payment but in many cases. It is done for the sheer joy of putting your impressions on the medium.

There are masters such as Rembrandt, Da Vinci, and many others. There are such things as the Cistine Chapel, and great sculptures such as Rembrandt’s David or works by Rodin. Fine art comes from all over the world, Roman and early European, the Far East, Africa, and our own artists in America.

Fine art is the depiction of ideas, thoughts, inspirations or simply your own expressions. You may paint by number, you may take art classes, or you may just be a genius in the ability to make your design into reality.

On the other hand, graphic design, or as it was formerly known, commercial art, is normally produced for pay. It can include advertising, bill boards, print medium, packaging, or even web pages. Some artists are able to cross over from one to the other, but most specialize in one or the other. In some respects, I believe that graphic design is the harder of the two. It requires the ability to satisfy not only yourself, but your customer and your targeted audience to be successful.

There are conventions to be followed and general guidelines to be adhered to in graphic design. In the fine arts, it’s what’s in your head and heart that governs your design. You may just start drawing or hitting a piece of stone to accomplish your final piece. You make decisions as you work and may even change the direction of your design, or scrap it completely. In fine arts, your piece may hang in a museum, or gallery. It may be outside a large building or wall inside it.

In graphic design, you probably make a preliminary sketch, refine it over and over, then produce your finished product. It may be seen by your targeted audience in a commercial, web page or on the side of the road as a sign. It might be on television or the side of the box. It might even make it to the super bowl.

In both cases, you may have a large impact on your world and the people that see your design, or it can simply be a small audience of a few people. You may touch lives and inspire them, or convince someone to buy the product that is in front of them. There is a need for both, and will continue to be. In the future, there may even be more of a marrying of the two.

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