Digital brings new forms, language and accessibility

Like the myriad traditional media I studied as a studio art major, there are many different forms of art in the digital realm. I first encountered, and then created, digital art as a journalism student (double major) studying visual communication, which includes graphics, information visualization, multimedia and web design. Not only are these pieces of art, they are pieces of communication. I found that overlap fascinating (and it’s why I chose to double major in art and journalism). Art is a form of communication. It is about seeing and translating, making impressions and sharing a view of the world. The medium is a way of doing that. It’s a matter of differing processes and forms. I have seen traditional art that is “cold and antiseptic” and also digital art that is “exciting and innovative”. Art that informs and inspires conversation and experience is art that is exciting and innovative.

The text talks about the artist and the computer in the first chapter, but since it was published, we’ve seen the birth of new technologies for making art: the smart phone and the tablet. Jorge Colombo is one of many artists I know who create works on his iPhone. Is he drawing, or is he painting? David Hockey also does “drawings” on his iPhone, as well as with his computer. An iPhone and iPad user myself, I have experimented with the different art and design apps. They have different tools, brushes, markers, pastels, erasers, blending sticks, palate knives, et. al and you can use a mixture of these to design a digital piece. When I play with these materials on my iPhone or iPad, do I call this designing? Or drawing, or painting? Doodling? Is it even art? These new technologies are forming a new language around art and the defnition and conventions of digital art.

What I truly appreciate about the rise of the digital age is increased accessibility to art, to artists, to museums, and also to owning original art. And for artists, the opportunity to, like the text said, bypass the traditional art world to distribute one’s work. Manhattan gallery owner Jen Bekman started the 20×200 project to enable people to own original prints by accomplished artists for as little as 20 bucks. Artspace also sells fine contemporary art at affordable prices. Museums and other cultural instituions are designing virtual exhibitions and exhibition microsites to spread their reach beyond traditional visitors. The Guggenheim Museum has just launched online publications. The Google Art Project allows us to explore the physical space of museums and their collections online. The Internet, social media, and digital and mobile technologies have done our society and culture the good service of bringing art out of the museums to the people, where, I will argue to say, it belongs.