Pygoya's Global Living History of Digital Art
September 20, 1998
The Internet, R2001 and the Arts
The advent of the Internet changes the rules of the art game. Its coming in the last decade of the century makes it a pervasive symbol of the now immediate future, the next millenium. Through the ages the young and aspiring always aligned themselves with the future instead of the past. The most ready and daring jump at this ground floor opportunity and initiate a precedence for those that would follow. Such is the excitement and dynamics of the R2001 art ring.
Prior to Cyberspace serious artists had to rely on art agencies and their influences or maintain a creative life in relative obscurity. Suddenly with democratic access to the online world, an agent's "black book" of contacts doesn't seem so thick anymore. Nor is the will as strong to pay salary to the publicist for the chance to get "discovered".
Through personal perseverence anyone can place one's work in front of the eyes of the art world. The probability of finding that one rich and supportive patron, some place on this planet and in one's lifetime, becomes less remote. The more the webmaster networks the less likely one's art site remains a hidden needle in the cyber art haystack.
In less than a year the congenial online group of artists, R2001, has coalesced into a working team that gets results that artists of past could only dream of. Through member contacts dispersed around the globe and competent leaders spearheading with voluntary hard work, prior solitary artists that launched homepages now have successfully clustered sufficiently to empower reentry from Cyberspace with down-to-earth exhibitions. In England. In New York. Soon Tokyo. The planet's the limit for future R2001 shows. Each high profile landing attracts new audience and artists from the sighting unto the Internet. A history emerges and a group world reputation grows.
R2001 is a generalist and democratic group. All art mediums and all artists are invited, no matter what national citizenship, ethic background, religion or age, no matter how "good" or how "bad" the work is. Group consensus is that art not be judged but just is. The ring is the ideal democratic sanctuary from the present art world's power hierarchy and prejudices.
The ring is an open invitation to forge into a new art frontier and help pioneer a cause. Fall out from the crusade to change the art world automatically is expanded exposure of members' work and the opportunity to exhibit internationally and also within one's means.
For artists creating in traditional media, launching into Cyberspace may be merely the added step of photographing the work and scanning it into graphic files. That's all it takes to get onboard and join the virtual art colony.
For the digital artist it can get more complex as now the work remains at home - in the computer. Now, instead of outputing to printing inks, the electronic image must be matted in html and framed by the monitor.
The computer artist no longer lives in an isolated ivory tower - an instant global audience awaits to review and to be entertained. Suddenly, colored photons composed in one's private studio will be scrutinized and compared to the thousands of other "computer artists" out there, around the globe.
It's harder now to deceive oneself about just how good one's work really is. And it is also difficult not to be influenced by prominent online works that are also constructed from the same software tools. Through familiarity of others' results there is a tendency for online graphic arts assimiliation that reduces idiosyncratic results/style in using popular software.
Yet continued education on e-tools and the sharing of technical knowledge among digital artists are critical as the shelf life of digital work is shorter than traditional media when it comes to the physical, pixel based makeup of the image itself.
The Web based artist not only must kept abreast with the latest graphic software but now must maintain and nuture the substrate (html, etc) in which the works develop.
Technology heralds a new world of vastly improved efficiency and production. Art cannot remain isolated from its influence and applications. It's easier to "Undo" and "Save" than to build in brick and motar, or paint and chisel.
In 1985 I serendipitously became acquainted with this new art tool. The instant infatuation and passion was so strong I slept with Digital and consequently was forever banished by art's king (sculpture) and queen (painting) for fathering electronic imagery portrayed as legitimate art. But, as yet, no regrets as the monitor's mesmerizing bright lights forever extinguished the urge to create otherwise.
So beware to those among you who still create without a computer.
It is more than a tool - it can stop how you work today.
Over thirteen years ago I found that out and have since seen so many
others also forever give up the brush.
Pygoya, MA (Painting, 1975)
PO eBox Lighthome Hawai
My personal involvement and prophesy for "computer art" is documented in an 80's magazine article. I welcome any so inclined to review it.