The line between fine artworks and decorative pieces is thin. Both are decorative, and both encompass elements of artistry in them. But these two art types are different in its nature. Telling a difference between a fine art piece and a mere design objects can be difficult, but if you pay attention to the elements below, pretty soon you'll be able to tell the difference.
Unique vs. Mass Produced
The originality of fine art is one of its most precious qualities that determine both its value and its price. Many art pieces are one of the kind. The ones that are not, are created in limited editions ranging from two to several thousand prints. On the other hand, most of décor art pieces are mass produced and the number of identical pieces is almost limitless.
Also, the fact that fine art prints are made in multiple editions, doesn’t mean that they are easy to make and reproduce. Décor art, on the other hand, is deliberately made in such a manner that it can easily be copied and quantified. Décor artists, for example, keep multiple patterns around, like templates that they can use and reuse to reproduce a certain image numerous times.
Fine Art Evokes Emotions
Unlike décor whose main purpose is to be decorative and to embellish the surrounding space, fine art has a deeper meaning. It is an expression of something larger than just the subject matter. Fine art pieces are meant to provoke an emotional reaction or generate an intellectual response. They can convey a variety of ideas and emotions – good and bad, shocking, disturbing or even ugly. Decorative art, on the other hand, is limited by its decorative function. You won't find any disturbing pieces of decorative art as decor has to be beautiful and aesthetically pleasing to fulfill its main goal.
The Message It Sends
Art pieces often have a myriad of meanings. They can mean different things to different people. They are interpreted by experts who take into account its subject matter, medium, form, and context. On the other hand décor art is pretty much straightforward. Reduced in meaning with decoration as its main purpose, décor objects communicate the same things to its entire audience.
When fine artists choose the material for their pieces, they focus on the ones that fit the message they want to convey. Décorative art, on the other hand, is more often than not made from materials that are affordable and easy to use. That’s why fine art usually features better quality of materials that enable artists to control their processes and create a work of art that speaks to the audience. When you see artworks made from an affordable material such as acrylic or paper, but get a sense that they would look better in oil on canvas or bronze, it’s definitely a sign that you are looking at a décor art rather than a fine art piece.
The Difference in the Creative Process
The process of making decorative art is much faster and less complicated than the artistic process of fine art making. Sometimes, decorative artists will drop its quality standards and pay less attention to details in order to produce pieces efficiently in large quantities. After all, when it comes to décor, it’s more important to be cost-effective and look good. Fine art is a result of a more complex artistic process that the artist uses to convey an idea or comment on the surrounding environment. Efficiency is not a primary concern, which is why fine artists are willing to experiment and change their artistic process over and over again until they find the best way to transfer their vision onto the canvas.
Decor Art and Fine Art Serve Different Purposes
As its name suggests, the purpose of décor art is mainly to decorate. More often than not, the decoration is there to fill in an empty place on the wall. To enhance the background, décor artists will use colors, lines, and patterns that emphasize the main focal points of the room, while taking the desires of the client into account. Art, on the other hand, has no other purpose except to be admired and contemplated as an aesthetic object. Fine art pieces do not mend into the background. Quite the opposite, they are a very important part of the foreground. If décor art’s purpose is to fit in, fine art purpose is to stand out and grasp the attention of the viewers. Needless to say, buyers’ desires have no influence on the final product and the artist is free to choose his or her own concept, style, and colors that best express his ideas and feelings.
Fine Art Can Be an Investment
Due to its materials and simple production technique, décor art is much more affordable than fine art. Fine artworks cost more, but also bring more value in the long run. Fine artworks are likely to be an investment, whose value is expected to grow over time, while the value of décor will likely remain the same or even drop over time.
Now that you know the difference between art and decoration, it’s up to you to make the right choice for your home. If you want something that’s unique and communicates a deeper meaning, go for a fine art piece. On another hand, if you want a beautiful but inconspicuous art piece that will perfectly match the rest of your home then décor might just be the way to go.