The fine art of illustration

Home / Education / ARChives / Foundational Discussions

The fine art of illustration

From Gabriela Dellosso

Published before 2005


This next letter is from Gabriela Dellosso, one of the prize winners in this year's ARC SalonTM:

I was just on the page on ARC concerning illustration vs. fine art, "quote of the week" commentary. Congratulations, I one hundred percent agree with you. I have to say that since the beginning of my artistic training, I have been confronted with the constant putting down of illustration. I am sure you have heard people say "Oh that looks like an illustration" as a put down comment. You know what I think about that? I think it is ABSURD. What I find REALLY amazing, is that this is coming from traditional classical painters (I call them the purists), as well as modernists. Here is my theory as to why this phenomena has occurred. Traditional artists have been trying to fit into this "New Age" of modernist art, and in order to do that, their art must be about a "high philosophical" principle. Anything concrete like illustration, is a cheap rendition of an idea. What these people don't realize is that basically all great art started as illustration. Basically, art history is filled with religious ILLUSTRATION. The purists or modernists might argue that "but that does not count as illustration because it was done with a higher purpose, than modern day commercial illustration". ABSURD, once again. Shouldn't the criteria for great realist art be, that if you look at a painting or drawing, not only is the technique wonderful, but that it also has meaning and spirit. It would be ridiculous to say that just because a painting was commissioned as an illustration, it can't have true meaning or spirit.

Gabriela Dellosso.