OF ORIGINAL PAINTINGS IN DIGITAL MEDIUM
circles in India, as elsewhere, have poor understanding and appreciation
of digital art works. Some see it as a threat to the integrity of fine
art traditions. Among artists, gallery owners, and collectors, digital
paintings are looked down upon. Digital art works have low value among
art lovers; something fishy and tricky. The prints of digital creations
are not considered 'paintings'. Even etchings, lithography, leno,
collage and other print works of the artists have better profile than
the prints of digital artists. The fine art of original paintings in
digital medium is yet to gain its due recognition. "How can you call something done mechanically without
brush, canvas and colour, a painting?" Well-meaning artist friends invariably say, "This
is very good, you should do it on canvas."
OF DIGITAL ART:
digital art or computer art is not digital fine art. A number of terms
are in use for computer-based art works - Computer Art, Digital Art,
Cyber Art, mixed media, 3D-art, animation art, web-art, etc. Internet
art-portals have 'computer art' or 'digital art' as one of the
categories, often the largest one. The generic term 'Digital Art' stands for a variety of computer based
applications in the field of art. The "fine art of original
paintings in the digital medium" (item 5) is a minor category of
art market: Digital copies of the original works of artists and photo-graphers
(made from digital cameras or scanned from prints) for presentation,
promotion or sale. Some websites deal with prints of worldwide artists
– past and present. Some digital 'artists' make digital copies of
classic art woks, or works of eminent artists, and sell the prints.
Websites of Art Galleries are of this type.
4) Original Mixed Media and 3D digital art:
Some digital artists use photographs, clips, and scanned images to
digitally modify (using a variety of software packages) and recreate
strikingly new original images. Some of these works are very impressive.
Many of the well-known digital artists on the internet are of this mixed
media type and produce stunning original ‘photographic’ or virtual
images. They produce original works and are different from graphic
designers. Special software packages are available for them. This is
perhaps the more common form of digital art on the internet. Some
websites specialize in this type of digital art.
Some Digital artists/photographers combine 2D and 3D tools in
their works with very good results.
They use paint tools but do not generally start with painted
DIGITAL FINE ART
fine art has never been in history created on such large scale and so
democratically shared worldwide as is in the case of digital fine art.
This is perhaps a serious challenge to the conventional close-circle
expose and deals of original fine art. Rejection of digital fine art by
these elite art circles, at par with conventional fine art is
understandable. It is perhaps a defense mechanism (self protection) from
being overwhelmed by the sheer quality, quantity, variety, popularity
and availability of digital fine art beyond their protected
“boundary” which is artificially imposed on art.
WEBISM – a community of international digital
artists who create and share art online in cyberspace worldwide is a
fine example of this movement. So are the museums of computer art and a
large number of websites dedicated exclusively to digital art of various
categories. The number of
websites, digital artists and digital art works on the internet is
simply overwhelming. It is
difficult to hazard an estimate of the total internet traffic to all
these websites worldwide, but I can safely bet that it is likely to be
many, many times more than visits to real life galleries per day.
THE MYSTRY OF DIGIAL FINE ART
unique feature of digital fine art is the mystery and technology
surrounding the process by which digital paintings are created. The
viewers, fellow artists and art critics when they see a regular
(physical) work of art rarely do they ask, "How is it done"?
But in digital art, the technology (the hardware and the software) -
creates a mystery, a lingering suspicion. Why can't a digital painting
be appreciated for its intrinsic artistic worth and aesthetic value?
Conventional fine art is no way devoid of the magic or mystery of the
medium and style. Strangely these doubts emerge only with regard to
digital fine variety not with regard to other categories where the
of a clear understanding of the variety of steps and procedures through
which digital fine art is created has contributed to the mystique that
feeds suspicion. The digital artists need to pay more attention to their
obligation to the community of art lovers and write openly about the
steps and process behind their digital fine art creations. There are
many websites where artists share their digital techniques behind
specific effects, or teach others about software they use. These
examples are piecemeal and sporadic; not specific to artwork of a
digital artist. There are
some good examples where this has been done in some detail. These
examples are too few and not well known.
AND MACHINE IN DIGIAL FINE ART
is commonly misunderstood that “digital art is done by the computer”
and that “software creates art automatically”. Computer and software
does not create art automatically. There are some things that the artist
does and some things that the computer/software does. In digital fine
art the artist does (decides and chooses) more and computer does less.
In simplistic terms I could say that computer software offers a variety
of ‘actions’ each with a series of possible ‘options’ for each
action and a range of ‘value’ for each single option. It is the
artist who must click the mouse after choosing the action, option and
value. Then only computer does something automatically as per the
software. So when computer does something, it is done through a series
of choices and decisions of the artist.
Computer software requires feedback from the artist about
‘which option’ and ‘what value’ without which a given action
cannot be executed. Artist interacts with the software tools and options
back and forth, sometimes decisively and sometimes tentatively, to
modify/improve the result. If artist finds the outcome unsatisfactory
she clicks “undo” and feeds another set of options/values.
Artist compares the output with the ideas or vision in her mind.
Or the output may suggest a new possibility or direction.
Artistic sensibilities guide this interaction between man and the
machine. Digital art
represents images created and refined on a digital canvas by the artist
with the help of software tools. Artist’s
mind interacts with digital tools of the selected software and sometimes
creatively transcends the limits of her initial vision or the limits of
exploration of options and limits of the software tools is a challenge
in the digital medium. This leads to a creative learning through trial
and error. Exploration and
experimentation is essential ingredient of digital medium – much more
than in the conventional fine art.
Never before in the history of fine art has it been possible for
the artists to repeatedly do and undo various alterations or effects,
and compare the result of various permutation and combination of various
options, and then finally select, through her artistic sensibilities,
the direction in which the artist wishes to pursue his creation in finer
detail. And all this within a very short span of time compared to
redoing a canvas. It is
because of this process of “do, undo and choose” that digital fine
art is likely to be aesthetically more rich, focused and mature than the
conventional fine art (of comparable experience), where the artist does
not have the same freedom of trial and error. It is a fact that many
conventional artists today, secretly or openly, make use of computer
applications to explore their “sketches” on the digital canvas
before putting brush and colour on the real canvas.
EASE AND PLEASURE OF CREATIVITY IN DIGITAL MEDIUM:
digital artists have expressed that the outcome of their creative
exploration through trial and error is sometimes startlingly different
from the original they start with, yet artistically so potent.
Conventional art is bound by the limits of artists’
imagination, and physical limits of brush, canvas, colour, time and
space. Digital fine art is able to transcend beyond these limits and is
emergent through interaction between man and machine, mind and software.
It is something of a new dimension of fine art, so to say. Digital
artist is sometimes guided in a new direction by these unforeseen
outcomes when working on computer. As some digital artists have
expressed, these meta creations “speak” something refreshingly new
to the artist. The artist then responds creatively to the “voices”
of emergent forms, invitation to work in a new direction, sometimes much
different from the one originally conceived. Some digital artists have
expressed emotional bond they feel with their emerging work.
aspect of the conventional style is iteration of similar medium, similar
form or composition, similar tool (colour, brush, etc.), and a unique
treatment. This creates an underlying similarity in the different works
of the same artist – a distinct unmistakable flavour unique to an
artist. This is formalistic meaning of style. In another sense all works
of an artist, if truthfully coming from the sincere application of the
same mind, heart and spirit, have a deeper underlying unity despite
variety in form. Since digital fine art takes shape through interaction
of mind, software and machine, style in digital fine art is as much a
matter of a learned sequence of mouse clicks (actions and choices within
a software environment).
PHYSICAL OUTPUT OF DIGITAL FINE ART:
unique feature of digital art is the nature of physical output. The
"painting" is created on the "canvas" of monitor
within a given software environment. The actual "original
painting" exists in the hard disc of a personal computer in a
binary digitised format. But once the "painting" is copied on
a floppy or a disc, or uploaded on the Internet, there is no limit to
the number of PCs, anywhere in the world, that can display it. Contrast
this with the pride of a buyer of a painting in possessing a work of
art, one and only one, in the whole world. Physical paintings can be
viewed by a selected few in the galleries or exhibitions only once in a
blue moon. Copies of digital paintings can be viewed or shared by
multitudes through the Internet, anywhere in the world, at the same
time. Digital fine art is more democratic, universal and close to
popular cyber culture.
I think one's 'beliefs' (ideals, visions) are powerful inspiration
(instrument) both for self-realisation and for altruistic social objectives. But
I do not think beliefs (ideas, visions, ideals such as afterlife or God); have
to be "real" (physical facts) or scientifically valid. There is a
borderline between "vision" (beliefs) and "reality"
(physical facts). The thickness (or visibility) of this borderline depends upon
the perception of the viewer shared by some others who have similar vision-view.
Yet visions (ideas and beliefs) have an existence of their own independent of,
or even interacting with, the physical reality.
Perhaps a similar borderline separates the digitised “original” in computer language stored in the hard disc and its display on desktop monitors through Internet worldwide. Compare again the hard “copy” of digital art (on paper or canvas) through a printer for physical display and the “real” painting on canvas, which in effect is a copy of the vision in the mind (brain-cells) of the artist.
Those who underestimate digital art are concerned less with the intrinsic aesthetic and spiritual qualities and more with "market" value, privileged (unsharable) possession, and vested interests. Digital art is not considered collectible because it is not as scarce (rare) as a real art canvas (the supply). Something becomes collectible when the supply is low and demand is high. The market managers thereby put low value in money on the digital art. The digital artists need to learn this equation and practice it in action – restrict the supply of real product (print) and increase the demand for it through aggressive promotion and marketing to increase the price. Or reduce the price and increase the sale (pavement sale) so that many can possess it.