Is Digital Art really Art?

I was at an art show in New York City a few years ago and this very heated debate went on between two gentleman regarding digital photography. Is something that is manipulated digitally, whether a photograph or art really art? Some may say if you can hit an undo button then how can that lack of commitment be respected as true art? I am a digital artist so Im sure you know where I stand. I love traditional art and have spent many years playing with watercolors, ink and acrylics. I just love being creative. Yes I appreciate the UNDO button cause I would have loved an undo after spending an hour on watercolor abstract and I mistakenly smeared a part of the image. But there are challenges in creating digital art that make up for that easy undo.  Learning how to use the digital tools are very challenging. It has taken me years to become comfortable with my wacom tablet and Pen. So many times I wanted to throw it away and give up!! I didn’t have to learn just use one piece of software there are many. Here is a partial list of some of the software I use: Photoshop, Corel Painter, Illustrator, C4D (3d software), ArtRage, Lightroom, Sketches by Tayasui, Procreate. All these programs especially Adobe and Corel products update and make major changes every couple of years and so the learning continues.

My art emulates traditional. This is different style then many other digital artists. Yesterday I had a buyer ask about the size of my canvas. He had no idea that my art was digital. I work very hard to create my abstracts and collages with a very real world texture. There is no button or tool in Photoshop that does this….Wait let me go back there is no button in Photoshop that creates real world textures and do it realistically. In order to get those real world textures many steps are involved. I study acrylic, oil, mixed media and watercolor paintings. I take that visual information to my digital canvas. It takes some problem solving skills to figure out how to emulate that look digitally. It takes some trial and error to solve these puzzles. Sometimes it’s a success and other times I have to put it aside and come back later. I have some styles I am still tackling. Many times I have to wait till a tool is perfected. This means Im waiting on a really geeky programer to figure out how to make a digital tool better. I say geeky with much respect for their skills. Where would I be without those geeks? I actually met one of those geeks a few years ago. He was a programmer for Adobe. You should have seen me…like I was meeting Bono. Sorry I digress from the subject. Bottom line before deciding on whether digital art is really art first understand the process. You don’t have to like the style but try not to judge harshly. Learn from the past. There have been many critics of every new art trend in the past. Most of those trends now decorate all the major art museums around the world. Like then or not, they are still ART!

2 thoughts on “Is Digital Art really Art?

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  1. In the definition of “Art” I believe in this sentence ……..It is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination making works that will be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power. For me, digital manipulation is part of that creative process and and produces those results. And the undo button is no different than an eraser, or covering stroke of paint to readjust your art. Good artist or bad, if it accomplishes the above, it is Art.

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