The line between 'fine art' and 'commercial art' is often hotly debated. Often these debates center on a subjective list of criteria that can be applied to a body of art and judged. Certainly there are such lists, it’s just that each “expert’s list” is different, but this doesn't mean that there isn't some commonality.
1. Deeper and more unique interpretation. There have been many ways of describing that eye-catching quality of fine art but perhaps the simple “something you just love” describes it best. Fine art is a sharing of the human experience; it creates a connection with the viewer that is very personal, moving and memorable. From the moment you connect with a piece of art you start a unique connection, years later you will remember the first time you saw the painting, like the first time you heard a favorite song. You’ll remember who you were with and reconnect with what originally drew you. You might wonder about the artist and the meaning. You’ll associate your lives moments that the art was part of. All these connections, this increasing appreciation and involvement are the fine art difference.
Art is our companions in our minds; haunting melodies that are always in your heart. Your collection of fine art becomes a personal statement of your individuality and identity. It sooths you and creates your space. Others remember you by your art for a signature style. Every time someone admires your collection, it’s a personal affirmation of you too. It’s that restorative and reaffirming connection.
2. Master artists are trained and experienced artists. Fine artists are working artists. In all things, including art, there is a road to proficiency that will hone and challenge the artists to reach the limits of their talent. The methods of development will vary (some artists are self-taught, some are college educated) but there is a sincere dedication to ethical growth and artistic improvement built on long records of practice and achievements.
3. Not commercially created. By this I mean two things: a. That the work is not created solely for commercial or fad goals. That the artist’s motivation was providing that “deeper and more unique interpretation” and not just something that will sell or is popular. This is the basis behind the stereotype that a fine artist must live like a monk and produce art untainted by consumer demand. But an artist must be part of life in order to interpret it, and the success or failure at obtaining a fine art status rest in the actual paintings under consideration not in the lifestyle of the artist. b. What I don’t mean is that fine art must be a certain discipline or substrate, like a painting and not a photograph or a t-shirt. It’s not the substrate that art is on that defines whether it’s fine art, or the type of artists (photographer, painter, sculpture, etc.), but it does mean that there was an original artist that makes a unique original work. The work was not made from kits or other artists work, and is produced in limited quantities on exclusive original designs.
4. Collectable and Archival Many factors will influence the value of an individual piece of art and the collectibility of an artist. But in order to be collectible than an artist’s must have gotten their work out there, had it seen and a reputation established. Besides being working artists than fine artists often participate in juried shows and contest, and hold active memberships in professional organizations and acclaimed art guilds. You might not understand what an art judge sees in a particular artists work but you can understand that it’s between the artists that entered the contest. Likewise, you might not understand why an artist is popular, but you do understand that you see it everywhere. If the artist, you’re collecting isn't out there working on building a reputation, than it’s unlikely that the collectibility of their work will increase.
Collectible art also requires archival methods and materials involved in creating the artwork to ensure longevity for the work. Only quality materials and substrates are used. Collectible work will be passed down for generations, and with proper care will stay beautiful indefinitely.
Collecting fine art is the ultimate personal statement. New technologies have made collecting fine art more affordable and versatile than ever before. Giclee reproductions are almost indistinguishable from the original, and at a fraction of the cost of original work. Having the entire collection of your favorite artist's works is now possible for all. Signed and dated prints are highly collectible, and enhanced giclees are custom new originals. Nor are you limited by size and configuration of the original or just to wall art. Wallpapers, ceramic tiles, apparel, even cards and stationary don't have to be limited to mass produced choices. Fine art is available today on almost every substrate but was first created as a unique fine art original (even if the original is digital) that succeeds in connecting with the viewer. Bringing the deeper connection that you have with fine art into all aspects of your life has never been more possible.
Defining your home and business with affordable, collectible and unique original fine art by contemporary (living) artists is new and exciting. Artists don't have to be dead to be collectible; contemporary artists with growing reputations are both the most appreciable but also your personal discoveries.