Is Digital Art, Art
What is digital art, why is everyone talking
about it, and is it really art?
Words by Benjy Barkes
In March 2021, Everydays: The First 5000 Days, a JPG file made by Mike Winkelmann,the digital artist known as Beeple, sold for $69.3 million, making it the third-highest price paid at auction for work by a living artist. The sale put ‘digital art’ on the front pages and drew attention to other artists like David Hockey who ‘paint’ using an iPad. As the world gets its head around art that you can’t touch there’s both excitement, controversy and confusion. We feel it’s time we shed some light on the subject.
Beeple’s collage, Everydays: The First 5000 Days
Digital art is an artistic work that uses digital technology as part of the creative or presentation process. For Hockney it’s an ipad, for Beeple it’s a program called Cinema 4D.In the 1960’s artists experimenting with computers created the world’s first computer generated art using mathematical functions to transform visuals.In the 1980’s the first paint programs were developed enabling artists including Andy Warhol to create digital paintings without having to write computer code. Then came the internet, the tablet, the stylus, and better programs giving today’s digital artists instant access to more colours, mediums, textures, brushes and tools than could be dreamed of by a renaissance painter.
David Hockney, Yosemite I
“The iPhone makes you bold,” says Hockney, who also highlights the accessibility of digital art. An oil painting can only be viewed in one place at any one time.Digital artists have the ability to go back and change or correct things. “It’s more fun to learn. You can make mistakes and have so many outcomes.” says Angelica Lena, Art Director at 2050cards.Modern programs are equipped with a wider range of colours than is possible with paint. “More colours gives scope to more emotional breadth”, says Oliver Trace, Creative Director of 2050cards.
Angelica Lena, Art Director at 2050cards
Some people just can’t get their head around digital art. Perhaps it seems too easy. You can’t touch it. It’s not one-of-a-kind. You can own the rights to digital artwork (we’ll save NFTs for another day) but can’t lock them away in your home. Who knows? As Henri Matisse said: “Creativity takes courage.” We love it and are excited to see young artists pouring out of art schools, tablet in hand, taking the medium to new heights. And as we all look towards a more sustainability-focussed future we think we’ll be seeing a lot more of it.