Fine Artist or Illustrator?

I have always found the division between what is considered "fine art" and what is considered "illustration", a little self-righteous and self-serving. The only real difference I understand is for whom and what purpose the artwork has been created. Illustrators tend  to create artwork for publication or mass audience consumption, Fine artists tend to create work for themselves and galleries. But that line can also blur. And that is due to the artwork itself. Many artists can straddle the fence, because their work looks just as good hanging on a wall as it does printed in a book or magazine. So that begs the question, why is there a difference in occupational label to begin with?

As artists we know better than most how labels can limit creativity and limit income, yet we still cling to them. I actually think there is a good reason for this. Visual artist is too general and can mean many things, so you have to be more specific. Specific in communicating to others exactly what you do. But remember as an artist, not to box yourself in and look down on other artists whose main audience may be different from yours. Especially in this economy, we cannot afford it. And honestly, technology and the Internet have made these divisions a little old-fashioned.