Art, illustration or design?

stained glass panels in art deco style

I have dabbled in stained glass, but unfortunately have not kept a record of the door panels I have completed. These designs for a run of six windows have never been taken to completion because I have nowhere to install them and stained glass panels should be functional, not put in a storeroom somewhere.

But are they art, illustration (albeit in glass) or design (architectural in nature)?

The inspiration came from some magazines entitled L’Art Decoratif and published in France around 1900. The landscapes depicted here are imaginary, but imagination always draws from your life experiences.

Art
Produced from the soul of the artist with no ulterior commercial stimulation. That doesn’t mean you can’t sell your work to put bread on the table.

Illustration
To my mind an illustration exists only because it’s been commissioned. That doesn’t mean it isn’t of artistic merit, but it is usually fulfilling a brief of some sort.

Design
The most commercial of the three disciplines I learned. It is always to a commission or with a commercial end in view. That doesn’t mean it can’t be admired visually, but rarely does it reveal the soul of the maker.

So where does that leave my six ‘designs’ for stained glass panels? I drew them because I thought they would look beautiful. I have the glass and the skills to make them, but they remain as a cherished idea rather a commercial or practical venture.

Somewhere between art and illustration?

Christmas cards for the RNLI

A few years ago I was asked by a greeting card manufacturer to produce ideas for Christmas cards for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. The manufacturer ceased trading and I doubt that the RNLI even got to see them. So they disappeared into a file on my computer and I just found them again.

I was quite pleased by the results, they were jolly, pertinent and didn’t require glitter. If anyone at the RNLI happens on this page, you’re welcome to the artwork.

RNLI Christmas card helping santa
RNLI Christmas card with santa
RNLI Christmas card with mermaid and fish
RNLI Christmas card with Rudolph helping