As another week of choice, change and chocolate unwraps itself I begin with a look back at a few of my illustrative creations from the past 10 years.
Unlike the world of fine art, illustration bridges the world of art and marketing in ways that no other media can. Illustration can idealize or villainize a character. It can simplify or complicate a scene. It can also create story and emotion simply through brush and ink. All of this and more achieved through the hands and eyes of an artist in ways photography could never duplicate. Illustrators create stories and visual belief systems designers and marketers often call “visual branding.”
Why then has illustration been devalued in the world of contemporary entertainment marketing? Why does the value of the artist remain minimized until generations later when they have passed away? There is no union for the illustrator, no guild or academy to protect artistic rights and monitor the standards by which their gifts are commercialized. Why was the brilliant artistry of Rockwell, Leyendecker, Elvgren, Sundblom even Struzan seen as “work for hire” until their brush no longer met the canvas? Today the same paintings from these talented visionaries adorn museums and sell for hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars. In this day of digital imitation, Photoshop “effects” and thousands of illustrators popping up throughout the digital pages of Deviant Art and Behance, I implore truly passionate artists to remain true to their craft and never sell themselves short of their gifts. Yes, it’s true someone can and will come along who will do it faster and cheaper, but they cannot see through your eyes or touch the canvas as your hands do. If we each stand by the value of our unique hearts and hands, we will lift the value, integrity and prosperity for the masters who have come before us, for ourselves and those artists whom in turn we inspire.
Today I created an awareness of the illustrator – he who rightfully deserves authentic credit and higher value for their uniquely artistic view of our world.