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.

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.

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.

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?