The Rise of Digital Art
“Stop thinking about art works as objects and start thinking about them as triggers for experiences.” – Roy Ascott
Art, in its broadest sense, is defined as a form of communication; it’s a means for the creator to relay a message. With the exponential expansion of technology over the last few decades, this expansion has seeped into art as well, giving rise to digital art. The first time the term “digital art” was used was in the early 1980’s when computer engineers created a paint program, known as AARON, which was designed to create large drawings on sheets of paper placed on the floor – an invention first used by one of the first digital artists, Harold Cohen. Digital art is artistic expression which uses any form of digital technology, from a camera to a tablet to a video editing software as either part of its creation or presentation process. Digital art not only gave artists a new means of expression, but also expanded their toolboxes from traditional raw materials like charcoal and paint into the new and ever-changing realm of electronic technologies.
With digital art on the rise, there are some artists that have stood out for their ingenuity. It’s safe to say that the name “Beeple” has become a household name after selling an NFT for a whopping $69.3 million in an online auction at Christie’s. Alberto Seveso, known for his high-speed underwater photography art series like Disastro Ecologico, Medicina Rossa and A Due Colori, where he captures the explosion of color after releasing ink underwater. Another noteworthy name is Jason Naylor, whose work is distinguished by his use of bright colors against rich black background. Naylor’s work focuses on spreading positivity and kindness with the use of typography as the central element. Naylor also makes it a point to credit Apple for his passion for design and pursuit of a degree in graphic design, saying “It changed my entire workflow. It actually changed my life.”
Just like anything else in the world, digital art and digital artists are criticized and many people refuse to accept digital art as an authentic art form. “I still think it has some way to go for some people to accept it as a proper medium. Some critics see it as just the computer doing all the work, which is totally not the case – it’s just a different tool to the pencil or paintbrush.” said Richard Davies, a digital artist from Carmarthenshire, South Wales. It’s ironic seeing as these same critics are very quick to praise these same technological advances in graphic design, fashion and cinematography, namely CGI (computer-generated imagery), used by filmmakers to create realistic-looking special effects in movies. Despite the criticism, the more technology advances, so too will digital art leading to the recognition of numerous digital artists who might not have been acknowledged otherwise.