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The conventional distinction between illustrator and artist is artificial.
Great art can come from clearly proscribed or narrative subject matter and as
well as a demanding relationship with a patron; witness the Sistine Ceiling, as
illustrative a piece of work as any ever produced. We should think long and
hard before going out on a limb to judge the value of one discipline over
The concept that art is fundamentally removed from business is also artificial
and irresponsible. The artistic community, in promoting the notion that our
"inherent drive to make art" is somehow superior to the efforts of other members
of our community has been responsible for the corner into which we've painted
There are many in business, medicine, science or even day labor who approach
their vocation with passion, dedication and even an aesthetic sense that is
every bit the equal of any artist. And the premise that our work is on a higher
plane - that we don't need to be responsible to anyone or anything but our own
'vision' - has led to the marginalization that we've experienced over the last
century. Jesse Helms didn't rise from a vacuum; we've done our part in creating
him. And the attitude that art and artists are special has also been, in large
part, responsible for the struggle to keep the arts in education.
No question, the arts can be glorious. But they should also be viewed as
honorable and accountable. The arts are part of the spectrum of human
discipline and expression, no greater or no lesser than any other discipline
that makes up the warp and weft of the fabric of human experience.
Now that I've got that off my chest, I should say that I only agree in part with
Mike about the need for the arts to sink or swim entirely upon their demand
within the market. There is work that needs support from other quarters. But I
believe that public government may well be the least qualified of any
organization to evaluate and provide that support.
David Pyle (I won't list any degrees)
Lauretta A. Hendricks-Backus wrote:
> I see a difference between an illustrator and an artist. Mike you are also
> a business man. some people don't have that skill. (Thank God.) Some
> people have an inherent drive to create art. I personally find value in
> that. Our tax dollars have gone to support a war in the gulf to keep us
> running with oil. I have no problem spending some of that money on the
> arts, let alone educating our children. I also want to point out that
> Vincent Van Gogh sold one painting in his life time and died in poverty.
> Maybe that's not relevant or maybe it is. My problem with NEA is the
> decision making on who and what gets the money. However, that is how it is
> in big governments. The little guy always gets lost. I would like to see
> distribution at more of a grass roots level.
> At 10:23 AM 10/26/98 -0500, you wrote:
> >>Mike - I am curious. How do you make money with your art work? Also, what
> >>do exactly suggest artists do to support themselves and still have time
> to make
> >I am an illustrator. I paint images for books (mainly children's
> >literature), design projects (annual reports, brochures, collateral
> >pieces), advertising (posters, packaging, ads), institutional (posters, PR
> >materials) and editorial (magazine articles, newspapers, some television
> >I began as a film animator and did Sesame Street segments, commercials, a
> >piece for Nova and even Saturday morning cartoons.
> >I also occasionally teach drawing and life drawing in a local college and
> >drawing seminars to corporate design departments.
> >An artist CAN make a decent living - provided he divests himself of the
> >foolish notion that purity is some kind of virtue. If personal projects are
> >important to you either do them on your own time or you can forgo the money
> >to be had from commercial ventures. Should you choose the latter you
> >shouldn't expect the public to pick up the tab for your decision.
> >Mike Reed