I think the Wikipedia definition is a good starting point though:
|Fine art describes any art form developed primarily for aesthetics and/or concept rather than utility. This type of art is often expressed in the production of art objects using visual and performing art forms, including painting, sculpture, music, dance, theater, architecture, photography and printmaking. Schools, institutes, and other organizations still use the term to indicate a traditional perspective on the art forms, often implying an association with classic or academic art.|
An effective commercial architectural image illustrates and sells the clients creations. It is all art but different in concept and approach and intent than my personal work which when successful I refer to as my Fine Art. The fine art is intended primarily for aesthetic contemplation, though there is a visual reality to work from and oftentimes there is a descriptive intent such as trying to bring to life the spirit of a particular place. Aesthetic contemplation is a kind of utility but far more personal than public as in my commercial work. The FA work also illustrates but it is illustrating my feelings about a place as much as its visual reality, which leads me to much manipulation of tone etc that exceeds documentation. So aesthetic contemplation, strictly speaking of is role in my life has a more profound purpose and personal utility and I distinguish that as my Fine Art.
There are huge areas where my own definitions don't hold much water. For example I have been part of city public arts commission projects with fairly strict limits on subject matter. Is this commercial illustration or fine art? I have struggle to accomplish the latter while honoring the boundaries set by the city/client. Many observers of my work don't see my distinction between commercial illustration and fine art and see the commercial work equally as creative as the FA and the FA work equally as grounded in real time and place as the commercial work. Also ironically, some of my favorite FA work has come out of HABS documentation projects. For me it is a personal distinction that helps me focus on what is important in each endeavor, but not an aesthetic straight jacket.
Just some of my personal views on the subject based on my own work............and an example of the personal FA work, the upper Morada in Abiquiu. Does any of that make any sense?