Digital art predicament

I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t fall asleep again, so I’m writing here. (again)

I happened to pass by a little debate in a corner of the internet regarding the validity of the digital art as one of the ‘true’ or ‘fine’ art. Now, I personally consider the digital art medium to be just as fine and true as any other art form, and I mostly see current difficulty of many digital artists as lack of a true vision on the part of the artists and unfamiliarity with the medium on the traditional art front.

The answer I have drawn myself for economic nature of the digital media would be simple. The rules and such that applies mostly to photography right now would apply to the digital arts just the same. And I believe no one now is crazy enough to argue about photography not being ‘real art.’ When magazines and such hires professional photographers (which is I believe how most of them make a living), they are not really paying for a little piece of negative that can be copied over and over and over again. They are paying for the unique perspective and characteristic talent the photographer him/herself had achieved with the medium of photography. In a sense, the industry is not buying ‘photography’, they are buying the essence of art contained in a medium, which in this case happens to be a photography. I believe the similar pursuit is natural, and indeed necessary, for digital art scene to make an impact on the traditional arts community. The only way to transcend the limits imposed by the infinite malleability of the medium (no matter how ironic it may be) is to drag the essence of the art away from its physical medium, to be freed from all the dpis, pixels and screen resolutions. In effect, the only way for digital art to truly walk into the realm of the common notion of ‘valuable art’, would be to trade the artist rather than the art object. The digitally created art object is in fact an extension of the artist him/herself, and we are buying little pieces of the artist, with his/her sharp eyes, lucid thinking and agile hands, rather than the jumble of bits and data that was created as a result of his/her effort. I see a street light outside my window. If asked to draw something outside, I will most certainly draw a street light. But will some highly talented digital artist see things differently? Will he/she draw something more when asked to draw the same scene outside the window? While we all share the same world to live in, we don’t necessarily see the same thing within that world, and that’s where the salvation of the digital arts lies.

The art is trying to drop from the canvas and smudge the world. The fetishes and sculptures are frozen in middle of movement, and will walk and speak when the waiting is over. And beyond all that shenanigan is art, that had been applied to many things yet not quite touched in any fundamental way for the duration of the human history. We’ve been trading art objects. We are trading artists now. Maybe in the future the art objects will tap us on the shoulder and ask what that was all about.


2 thoughts on “Digital art predicament

  1. as a digital artist (who 1st started experimenting with it in the late 1990s) thank you! It is just another creative tool and it’s the vision and the talent of the artist that makes it art. I hope that you have a chance to look at the art on my website and on my blog – anntracy/


  2. Hi Ann. Thanks for the comment. As things are right now I do certainly believe that the art object can only be an extension of the artist, and meaningless on its own context. Maybe this is an interesting side effect of the pervasive mass-media age we live in right now. When/if in the future the boundary between sciences and arts are blurred, things might change.

    I’ll certainly take a look at your website. Cya.

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