Digital Art As Fine Art

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Digital Art As Fine Art

From Brian K. Yoder

Published before 2005


Patrick Lawrence wrote:
Sorry, now it's a project I have in the work, but at the moment I am just working on a digital work process/style and creating pieces that are really just testing brushwork textures, etc., not trying to be great works of art.

Actually, I think that this is not the right way to look at a new medium, though it is something that happens whenever a new medium appears. Consider film for example. When it first appeared nobody knew how to make a good movie. What they knew was theatre, so that's what they put on the screen. They put a camera in the audience and they had the actors stand there and act. After a while they slowly figured out how to use the special abilities of film to create close-ups, moving camera shots, special effects, and a host of other things that you could never dream of doing in theatre or that at least would have been very difficult to accomplish.

New tools always share some qualities with old ones and have their own peculiar strengths and weaknesses that need to be understood and exploited/avoided. The same is true with computer-based image-making. For now everyone is trying to replicate what drawing and painting offered but on a computer. With time artists using computers will discover the best ways of using the strengths of computers and avoiding the shortcomings of them. We have already learned some of those things already, but as I see it we are still in the "filming a play" level of adoption and not the mature forms that will be commonplace in a hundred years.

I should also note that the predominant use of "digital art" today is by modernists who strive to be on the cutting edge of novelty and therefore gravitate to the new medium for their pointless exercises. It is for this reason that I instinctively cringe when someone walks up to me and says "Hi, I'm a digital artist." I'd be a lot happier if they said "Hi, I'm an artist, and oh by the way, I use computers to make my images."

--Brian