I hear a lot of argument on both sides about digital media. Galleries have been slow to accept it as a valid media and many analog purists dismiss it as somehow “cheating”. I’ve actually heard some say that digitally created works of art somehow “don’t count because you can just whip ’em up”.
As someone who has worked on both sides of the aisle on this issue let me start by saying that nothing is “just whipped up” in any working artists studio that I know, my own included.
I’ve been working with digital media off and on for well over 20 years. As of late I’ve been working in combinations of digital and analog mediums. Has the digital experience changed my approach as an artist?
Yes and No.
I work mostly with Corel Painter IX these days. It has a gazillion and fifty two nifty features that I don’t use, opting to work the digital format like an analog medium. Why don’t I just work the analog equivalences you may ask?
My reasons are as follows:
1. Pixels aren’t toxic.
I worked in oils for years, then switched to wax pastels due to toxicity issues. I tend to not pay attention to where my brushes and solvents are and also have an unfortunate propensity when rapt in work to stick my brushes in my mouth when I need a point or to wipe solvent laden brushes on my pants leg. *DOH*
Even though there are other mediums that don’t require toxic solvents I realized that most artists pigments are, in and of themselves, toxic. This includes the pigments in pastels, acrylics,watercolors etc. Cadmium anyone? And then there’s always the issue of toxic fixatives.
2 Pixels are green
No solvents, no minerals, no wasted paper in reworks , no waste in general.
3. Safety of Originals
I had a studio flood on me a few years back. I lost a lot of pieces. I’ve also had pieces meet a number of more unusual demises, some involving housecats.
Back up your files on disc regularly and your originals are safe
it takes a whole lot less space to work on a Wacom Tablet than to work on an easel, as well as a drafting table and airbrush booth. That and one doesn’t have to pay for all of that equipment.
See entry 3.
I tend to approach my digital works the same as my analog work ie with classical layering technique.
I also tend to combine scanned analog and digital, using the best of both worlds.
The only thing I really miss about analog is working with impasto, but then again a girl can’t have everything.
When I was in college , back in the earlier days of computer art, my instructor told me 2 things that have stuck with me throughout my career.
The first is that it doesn’t matter what tools an artist uses to get the effect that they’re going for. They STILL have to come up with the idea for the piece and make every call along the way as far as approach.
The second is that a computer is really nothing more than a fast pencil. You still have to be able to draw and be well grounded in artistic fundamentals in order to make it do what you want.
My challenge to you is this…look around the works posted on this site and My Imagekind Gallery.
I have a whole lot of pieces that are marked mixed media. Can you tell which are purely analog and which are analog/digital?
I’d be interested to hear which you think are which.