Thursday, November 7, 2013

Is Digital Art Art?

Is Digital Art Art?
That is the question everyone seems to have an answer to although everyone may not arrive at the same conclusion.

I have had arguments/conversations with other artist regarding this. Traditional artist either detest digital art or, in cases where they actually do some digital art, they view it as a time saver, lesser art form, evil necessity, etc. I’m not talking about photo manipulation, or programs like Poser, in which case I personally believe that all arguments against would be valid. I’m talking about digital works that artists create using the same methods they would if they worked on paper or canvas only using digital counterparts. Programs like Sketchbook Pro, Photoshop, Corel Painter, Procreate, Mischief, etc. I’m talking about it from the point of view that you have to know how to draw and paint first before you can create something on the level of what has been done before pixel art. I have worked both ways, traditional and digital; I prefer Traditional but have no problem with working digitally.

There are two main arguments I hear.

1)      Digital art is not real. It’s virtual. There is no paper, no canvas, pencil or paint. Just pixels. Therefore it does not exist.
One can argue that all you have to do is create a quality print. Painters like Rembrandt took up etching in order to offer affordable art to a wider audience. In the same way art can be created on the screen instead of on a metal plate or an lithographic stone and then printed and sold. It is simply another process, one that still requires the skill of knowing how to paint and draw in order to create your image.

2)      People will never value digital work as much as they do traditional work. Okay, but does that mean it’s not art? I think that may depend on how much people enjoy the image. Collectors have placed a value on printed work, maybe not as much as work done on paper or canvas but significant enough. It’s a matter of what the artist creates more than it is the material he uses.

There are, of course other arguments but all of it comes down to process. I respect and enjoy the process of creating art, of painting and drawing. I enjoy learning how to use different mediums. But that is an artist’s personal journey. What the audience sees is the final image and they make their judgments on that. Is that final image compelling enough to make you want to hang it on your wall? Does that make it art? Only time will tell, but that would hold true for any image no matter how and what it was created with.

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