Rejecting “Digital Art”

2 11 2009

As a digital artist, did I get you attention in saying I was rejecting my chosen media?  Not really, it’s more that I am questioning and perhaps rejecting the label “Digital Art”.   The reason for this is that it is not very descriptive and also not very communicative.

Think about this for a second, with today’s technology, almost all music is ‘digital’.   It’s recorded digitally, it’s mixed digitally, it’s modified digitally, and it’s stored digitally in my MP3 player.   So why do we not call music ‘digital art’?

Because with music, what is important is the musical artist and the artist creations, the digital aspects are just tools for managing that music.  Also, since almost all music involves digital tools (including live music), calling it digital would not tell us much.

Is this different than visual art?   Maybe.   Unlike music, there is multiple genre’s of visual art that use minimal to no digital technology.   So the label ‘digital’ does describe some subset of all visual art.

As I discussed in my last post, in the early days ‘digital art’ described only a very small percentage of all art, but times are changing.   Digital art is encompassing more and more of all visual art.   For example, a very large percentage of photography is now digital.

And what we call digital art is dividing itself into a multiple of artistic forms.  Consider this list from itechsquad…

* Artistic computer game modification

* Ascii Art

* Bio Art

* Computer art

* Digital poetry

* Tradigital art

* Electronic art

* Evolutionary art

* Generative art

* Hacktivism

* Information art

* Interactive art

* Internet art

* Net art

* Performance art

* Radio art

* Robotic art

* Software art

* Sound art

* Systems art

* Video art

* Virtual art

So, is it time we dumped the label ‘Digital Art’?



Letting Art Grow

17 10 2009

I think I have mentioned this in previous blogs, but I have been wrestling with how I manage my art work. One of the characteristics I’m seeing in my art is that I am never quite done with any piece of my art. Yes, I know that many say that one should say this piece is FINISHED and then move on to a new piece. But why? Why cannot art works continue to grow and change over time?

I think this will be or even must be a characteristic of my art. I cannot imagine stopping with any piece. There are too many ideas to explore.  For example, below are two different versions of the same piece.   Both I think are exceptional art in their own right, but each works with the same source material.

Cherry Blossom 01-F1

Version 1 of Cherry Blossom #1

Version 2 of Cherry Blossom #1

Version 2 of Cherry Blossom #1

As such, I am going to use the term ‘Version’ to designate a release of my art. Each version will by definition be unique and reflect different ideas and explorations of the work over time.

I probably could not do this if I was working with a fixed physical media like oils or watercolors, but since digital never degrades, and allows for multiple versions, it works well for my media.

This approach will also give me a solution in how my art can be made available. Some versions I can release as single unique physical works that I control through the Giclée printing processes for which there are no copies, and other versions I can release to digital printing houses for multiple releases.


What is medium?

28 09 2009
Cherry Blossom #2

Cherry Blossom #2

This post is tied to one of mine a couple of days ago.   When I took in my art to the LAC show Saturday, I discovered that they had changed the media of my art from ‘Giclée on Canvas’ to ‘Digital’.   Is ‘digital’ a medium?   The dictionary defines medium as “the means of communication”, but another definition defines it as “the material or technique with which an artist works”.

Digital certainly is not the means of communication.   My label of ‘Giclée on Canvas’ describes that.   The final work is physical, not digital.   However, some of my techniques I used in creating the art definitely were digital techniques.    So if technique is the defining term of medium, then perhaps my works are digital.

But digital is such a broad term.   It pretty much defines all communications in the world today (including this blog), and much of it’s art, especially when one considers most film, photography, video, music and printing are digital.   So is it appropriate to label the media of some art works using digital techniques as ‘digital’?



Learning a vocabulary

24 09 2009

It’s fairly obvious that any industry, including fine arts would have its own vocabulary. And part of learning the fine arts world, should be learning the new vocabulary. However, I ran into an interesting confusion the other day. I received a call from a representative of an art show I had applied to enter. The caller had a problem with how I used the word ‘print’ in describing the media of my art (I used the word Giclée print on canvas as a description of my media). She said I could not enter the pieces because the show prohibited “prints from originals” and to her mind, a print was a reproduction. To my mind, ‘print’ said nothing about being a reproduction, but instead just a description of the final media.

So have I run into just a specific instance of miscommunication, or did I run into a larger issue of new vocabulary? If the latter, then I need to find a new description for media. I am hesitant to call it digital because the art is not done in my mind till it has specifically been fixed into a final media. Digital does not describe the final media.

Marla Louise