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Murderer of Art

Several months ago I attended a speech by a well-known abstract painter and he said something that haunted me for weeks afterward.

Up to a point, his presentation was everything I expected. He spoke about his work and his process, both of which are fascinating and highly respected by the art community. I was hanging on to his every word and feeling inspired. And then he said it. “Design is the murderer of art.”

Naturally, as a design student, my heart sunk. I am such an admirer of fine art, and he made me feel like I was betraying it. In a way, what he was saying does make sense. Design is more business oriented. It is more about money and clients. Everything is streamlined. The “designer’s hand” is forgotten, and it’s all about people pleasing. This is the reality and from an artist’s perspective, it may seem sad. It may seem like a shame that design lacks some of those amazing qualities where fine art pieces thrive.

However, the more I mulled over this, the more I realized that this artist made a poor argument. He suggested that design fails at being art, which is only true because design is not fine art. Design should not be competing with fine art, because they are not the same. A design piece may be useless in the fine arts world, but that is because it does not belong there. He shouldn’t have dragged design into the world of fine arts. It would be the same case if you tried to pass off a charcoal drawing as a logo. It would fail miserably. Fine art and Design have completely different purposes, but that doesn’t make either one less valuable. In defense to his statement, design is absolutely necessary and important and I am NOT a murderer of art.