Opinion: To Accept or Not to Accept Digital Art

Recently, some artists have criticized a new art medium for its validity.

Written by NELSON LUU / Published March 12, 2010

Today’s art world boasts a wide range of mediums that artists may choose, from the tempera egg paints that dominated the ancient world, to the oil paints of the Renaissance to the acrylics from the recent past.

With the invention of the computer, the art world has discovered a new frontier: digital painting, and it has never been easier or more affordable for artists to create artwork.

However, with the advent of digital painting comes much controversy amongst the traditional media artists and the new age “digital artists” over whether or not the computer is a legitimate medium for artists to use.

I myself have experimented with digital painting and I do believe that digital painting is a new revolution for the art world even though it has been around for the past decade or two. Digital painting has many advantages over traditional mediums.

They, in theory, require very few materials. One needs only a computer, a graphics tablet (a pen-based input device which allows you to draw on the computer), and painting program.

Many would argue that those few materials may become extremely expensive, but the long term benefits outweigh the cost and a frugal mind goes a long way.

Although a tablet may range anywhere from $60 to $1000, many tablets come equipped with a painting program to get started with. Most people are equipped with a standard computer in today’s world, but for those who have yet to own one, they would price in the $900 range for a desktop with adequate performance.

Also, a basic graphics tablet, such as Wacom’s Bamboo Pen model, costs about $75 and also comes with Corel Painter Essentials to allow a digital artist to learn the basics without having to spend $400 for the professional Adobe Photoshop.

By working directly on the computer, artists need not worry about gel mediums, paint thinners or other essentials for painting, and they would not need to buy more supplies which helps offset the cost of the programs and tablet once he or she begins selling pieces or commissions on websites such as Deviantart.com.

Furthermore, mistakes would not be a problem any longer for an artist because it can simply be undone by the single click of a mouse button or the severely handy “ctrl” and “z” buttons.

However, despite its benefits, many critics have viewed that digital art cannot be considered a true art medium.

With the computer, several new art effects can be achieved without any effort at all. With a program such as Photoshop, digital artists can manipulate aspects such as tone and color on the fly, something that traditional art forms are incapable of doing. Even with the “undo” button, these conveniences are seen as “laziness” and “cheating”.

In fact, amateur artists with very little experience can emulate the art of a professional who has undertaken several years of hard work. Although it is true that many traditional artists approve of the effectiveness of a computer, the majority of the art world is at a standoff.

Digital art is now considered one of the most economical and practical forms of art out in the commercial art world today and is used by a wide range of professionals ranging from comic book artists and illustrators to 3D animators and game designers.

In fact, many, if not most, of the artwork seen in commercials, advertisements, and in the media are now done with the use of a digital medium. Chances are that the next Mona Lisa might soon be painted from a computer out there in the world.

The opinion of this author does not reflect the views of the Temple City Voice or its staff.

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One comment

  1. ARTbyVENY

    Forgive me, but how the computer drawings can be called art? Perhaps “digital art”. In my mind art should be creation of the human mind and hands. Computer art is no to be mixed with fine art. Other than that I think any form of art is acceptable if there is an auditory that likes it.

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