IS DIGITAL ART REALLY ART?


HAWLEY ABSTRACT

Hawley Abstract – Digital drawing


Civilization’s thirst for knowledge has realised many wonderful inventions. Some have improved our lives, even extended them while others we could well do without.

The world of art has never been so challenged by new technology than it is at present. Some artists shun the “new ways” and happily create their art in ways that have been the norm for centuries. But things are changing; the old values are being challenged. New ideas are great, but they don’t guarantee a better outcome than art is presently experiencing.

The basis for producing meaningful art is sound education and worthwhile art experiences. I am unaware of what is going on around the world in art education/training, but I am greatly concerned about the situation where I live in Tasmania. These days there seems to be an attitude that technique is not that important in an artist’s repertoire. I see a lot of art and often it reveals a lack of understanding in regards to technique. Why is there so much “borrowing” of information these days? Why is there so much copying? What’s happened to being original? Don’t tell me we’ve run out of ideas!

Digital art has opened a “Pandora’s Box” in that it seems to have no boundaries or conscience when it comes to creating art. Is this a good or a bad thing?

I think digital art is the reflection of society today and that makes it a legitimate art form and this fact would no doubt send shivers down the spines of “traditional artists’. Art today is tomorrow’s creative archaeology, it’s a record of how we feel now about the things that really concern us (or it should).

The camera and the computer have shaken the foundations of art and this is a good thing. Complacency only encourages creative dullness and there is a lot of work about that is more about imitation than individual response.

The potential of digital art is awesome, but I feel this will come at a cost. The use of “borrowed” images such as photos and scanned illustrations has encouraged more people to participate in art. While that may sound a good thing, there often seems to be a lack of understanding of composition and at times, a total neglect of the value of drawing.

I’m sounding old-fashioned aren’t I! Maybe I am, as I was the product of an art school education, but I believe we should be in control of what we do and not always rely on chance or accident for our successes.

Digital art in the hands of a trained artist has so much potential. Will its place in art history be determined by the economics of the art market or by its intellectual standing?

Richard

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About artkleko

artist, art curator, art teacher, art judge, art critic
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40 Responses to IS DIGITAL ART REALLY ART?

  1. Chelsea says:

    Really like this post Mr K. Agree with what you say too. Digital covers so much… For me there’s digital scrapbooking, making scrapbook elements and of course editing photographs. I have seen some articles lately about not editing v’s editing photographs. People should know how to use their cameras properly and not have to rely on editing to fix them … but for me I love the editing, I love changing them into a piece of art work by adding textures etc. Interesting topic.

    • artkleko says:

      Thanks for your comments Chelsea, it’s great hearing from you again.
      when we take photos, it’s the camera taking the image, we decide the composition. I too, love to edit because then you can leave your own marks on the image.

  2. Pingback: iPhoto | Digital Definition for Photographers

  3. Tomas says:

    Digital art challenged the world. Prior many were used to label the image according to its technique and thus were talking either about the oil painting, or the watercolor- about the tools for the artistic expression, but not the beauty they enjoined on the art canvases.
    The digitals made such practice meaningless. So to speak, the digitals opened the eyes. It’s obvious now that what matters indeed is not the fashion of our shoes, but the direction we take.
    So the digitals question each of us, what do we look at. That as tests us, it enables us to share our feelings with just unimaginable speed.
    http://artbytomas.blogspot.com/

  4. Good post Richard. I think the digital artists of today deserve a lot of credit for what they do. I am amazed by what they do.

  5. Jim Plaxco says:

    It is not just the creation of art that has been so affected by the digital revolution – it is also the creation of a new form of exhibition – the Internet art gallery. Prior to the Internet, art created either traditionally or digitally had a limited audience. Now anyone can put their art online for all the world to see. This is why there is apparently so much digital art of questionable value out there – everyone is their own curator. All the world gets to see the good, the bad, and the ugly.

  6. Zeana says:

    I just started a blog and my first topic is along the lines of this very same subject. Like you, I am also the product of art school. 🙂

    http://lacrimosaarts.blogspot.com/2009/11/digital-art-is-it-real-art-my-case-for.html

  7. Joe Nalven says:

    Sometimes, when I am in a grouchy mood, I will tell an inquirer asking about digital art: “Here is a paintbrush. Now go and do Rembrandt.” The point is that because anyone can use a paintbrush (including children in preschool — since not much art is funded in the higher grades) that making art with a paintbrush is somehow suspect. The person may get a great deal of personal joy with the paint on canvas, but is it really art? Same with digital or any other technology.

  8. Outstanding many thanks in your considerably more details

  9. I’m glad i found this blog page.

    My name is Bonnie, and i’m currently studying a HE art & desgin course at my local community collage (so that i may get a qualifacation to go to a Art School). As apart of our contextual studies class we had to choose from a list of quotes and write an essay; i chose “its digital Art really Art?”

    Firstly would you mind if i used your blog for one of my refrances? and secondly, do you know where else i’d find more debates on this subject as i’m finding it quite diffacult?.

    As for what i think of your blog, i have to say i completly agree. And i don’t think you sound “old fashioned”, because of the simple fact everybody has access to ‘digital’ art these days but not everyone understands what makes ‘good art’ but then, as you said, that opens a whole pandora’s box of questions and debates ‘what *is* good art’ bla bla bla…

    • artkleko says:

      Hi Bonnie,
      You are welcome to use my blog, thanks for your interest. As for other references, I frankly haven’t come across any. I’m sure that you will find some on the Internet, but it may take a bit of investigation. I have had a fair amount of interest in this topic on my blog of late and think that I may write some more thoughts on this subject. If I did, are there any areas that you would like me to specifically address?
      I wish you all the best in your studies.
      Regards,
      Richard

  10. Digital art is a general term for a range of artistic works and practices that use digital technology as an essential part.

  11. We most usually do not post in blogs but your Blog forced me to, beautiful work.. simply unreal! The contents are different but your Blog & FreeCredit Report Blog are definitely both the most favorable I have read to this date. Keep it up!

  12. boston seo says:

    I guess I agree with what you are saying although I don’t want too :p

  13. Harold Ward says:

    The line becomes even fuzzier when the ‘digital artist’ creates a printed canvas painted in Painter, which they then finish in acrylics or oils and a final glaze. This type of ‘painting’ is very hard to differentiate from a traditional painting if not impossible. Ultimately if the ‘longevity’ issue is not a contra argument, then in my opinion, this new type of painting is a work of art and it can only fairly be judged by the eye of the beholder.
    I have a degree in Fine Art and never thought I would see the day when I could choose another medium other than the ones offered to me in school in the ’60s. I welcome with open arms and an open mind the revolution which is occurring now.

  14. akhunaton says:

    interesting article. I am a life long artist that has recently found that digital painting is a revelation . The speed as to how the manifestation can occur is unprecedented. I was concerned about the merit such digital art would be conceived by the the public but I don’t care anymore. I can now express myself much faster and easier. That’s what is most important to me. It’s bliss.

  15. Great post. So many questions and opinions expressed. I have been creating art using a computer since 1986. My first computer was the Amiga 1000. I began creating digital art because I wanted to be able to express my self more in real-time. Traditional methods and tools like drawing and painting lacked that ability for me. However, I wanted to maintain a paintery/photograph look to my work. For me, digital art as always been art. It is a tool that provides creativity. Intimate expression. It releases new possibilities. It is at the heart of Modern Art.

  16. Night Owl Art says:

    Digital art is not real art. Why? Because you can’t alter it with a computer. And yes I would say the same for photoshopped photography. Sorry no one else will tell you the truth but there is no such thing as a digital art!!!!

    • artkleko says:

      Ah, a non-believer! If digital art is made with a computer, why can’t one alter it? A computer is a tool that artists work with, just like painters who use brushes and palette knives.

      • Night Owl Art says:

        Ah, a man who has silently accepts the fact that he has to have a computer program create the art he loves because he cannot produce it himself. He wants everyone to say how great it is and tell him he is as talented as a traditional artist. Of course those who do not are non-believers. I don’t buy your fake art, Yes!! I am a non-believer!!!

      • artkleko says:

        My art comes from my head. I use a mouse, or a coloured pencil, even a paint brush to produce a piece of artwork.I don’t need computer software and I do not trace my drawings. My computer won’t think for me, neither do my pencils or brushes. I am not a fake artist.
        I believe in using and celebrating new technologies along with the old. What is wrong with that?

  17. cleanoldman says:

    I now work predominantly in digital paint. It’s not unusual for someone who sees one of my paintings either in-person or online to be really enthused by the piece and then ask, “Is it a REAL painting?” I used to get irked and tell them there’s a single key on my Mac that spits them out instantly. Electronic music used to get the same rap and now it’s basically irrelevant if the piano is made of wood or it’s a sample of a piano that’s made of wood. A great recording is a great recording. It’s always about the song. I bet Picasso would’ve reveled in Creative Suite 6.

  18. Amal says:

    I really liked your article.
    Being a traditional artist like yourself, “the digital art debate” does ruffle my feathers a bit. Not to say there is no skill involved in creating a painting using a program like photoshop, but as it stands digital art is mimicking an already established form of art; the traditional form. It is taking something that can be created traditionally, by hand, and creating it digitally. It is not another form of traditional art, it is not its own art form(yet), it is a mimicking of an art form. Blending colors has been taken from the artist using his judgement and experience to know how much of a certain color is needed to make a certain effect to clicking a certain area on a rainbow colored grid on a screen.
    I agree, the potential for digital art is huge. I would like to see digital art morph into its own form. Perhaps going to a digital art gallery where everyone wears special glasses and people can interact with the “paintings”. Perhaps walk through them and touch them.

    • artkleko says:

      Thanks for your comments Amal. You make some excellent points. I’m sure that there will be a place (and acceptance) of digital art in its own right in the not-too-distant future.

  19. At-rI$K says:

    i wrote a post and it didnt send so just gunna leave the jist of it. i consider art self expression not just pretty pictures so i dont believe you really need an education. i for one never had one and i consider myself an artist. digital art in my eyes are no different then using stencils or tracing projected images on canvases or transferring them through a tracing sheet. theyre all crutches in my eyes. everyones trying to make something look like art. as opposed to just doing art. sorry for my comment being blunt and unorganized, but last message didnt send.

  20. norbyscook (andy) says:

    I agree that digital art is just another tool
    like a pen, paper, wall, …. and all the funky stuff
    a well trained artist can make cool art out of anything!
    In fact, art to us is just like religion to us. One can call it art while the other can call it junk.
    In that case, one can even say that our physic formula is incorrect, because we are simply viewing the rest of the world through our own pair of perspective lenses.

    There fore if you or I or we or he or she believes that digital art is art, then it must be art. (at least for them)

    PS: you work is very inspirational
    I think I will write a journal on that topic
    thank you

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