Digital Art As Fine Art

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Digital Art As Fine Art

From Iian Neill

Published before 2005


Patrick Lawrence wrote:
Now as for the thought that process of making an image being hard should make it better is just silly. By that reasoning if you make your own canvas from scratch, grind your own colors, use toxic lead, work by candle light, make your own brushes after killing a wild hog that some how that makes your image better. No it does nothing of the kind the person looking at the image does not see this. But then again it would make the story of your life as a painter more interesting:) [...]

I could be misinterpreting Juan, but the way I understand it the 'imperfection' he talks about with respect to the physical medium, tools, etc., is really the artist's 'touch', or the mark of his individuality. In other words, the algorithms of the digital graphics package or the musical synthesizer are only 'perfect' in a mathematical sense: they describe a perfect circle, or oval, or faultless glissando. Human imperfection arises out of the struggle of the artist's mental vision with the intractability (or facileness) of the medium, of the steadiness of his hand, sense of spatial co-ordination, etc. In other words, this mechanical imperfection of the artist is really the craftsman's imperfection - it is something that can not be abstracted out of the creative process without leaving behind a cold, smooth, residuum of machine inanity.

The 'imperfection' of hogshair brushes, of oil paints, of chisels, marble, etc., is really more perfect, more adaptable, more faithful than any computer aided design programme or synthesizer. It is the electronic instruments which are in fact imperfect because they can only generate mathematical approximations of the subtle nuances in expression that art lives and expires by. In circumstances where the artist wants to produce a perfect circle than a compass may be the best (most expedient) tool. But a compass can only give you circumference - it cannot give you the infinitely supple line that the masters sweated over.

regards,
Iian