Digital Art and its Market

Digital Art and its Market

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Digital Art and its Market
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The future of digital art promises many new alternatives to traditional artwork. Digital art offers a whole new perspective on the way people see and perceive art. For this reason, people across the globe have varying opinions on whether or not digital art should be accepted into society. This technological based art allows people to express themselves through art created using a computer. People who can’t draw traditionally can turn to digital art as a way to convey their inner thoughts and feelings. Likewise, more advanced artist can sell their extremely realistic pieces from hundreds to thousands of dollars each. New and exciting advances are coming about when it comes to displaying digital art, and this may strengthen its market it the long run. Digital art although extremely controversial, provides a new way of expression and allows for a whole new market to evolve.

The value of digital art pieces is steadily increasing throughout the years. In 1998 the value of the digital fine art prints reached over 170 million dollars, and by 2003 the number was predicting to be at 249 million (Williams). This figure is only based on work produced by artists, and there are many at amateur levels creating art at home. This is a huge amount of money that is being invested into this new form of art. Digital art is still at its early years, and like a young child it still will mature more and more.

Digital Art still remains experimental too in many ways. It’s taught in art schools, but no one really has a firm grasp of what it actually is (qtd. in Jesdanun). As long as technology plays a stronger role in our lives, artists will continue to use it to help them come up with new ideas for their artwork. Golan Levin, a man who works artistically with computers often says that “The computer is just as much a medium of art,” contrary to those who believe the computer is not. It may not be panting, carving or sculpting the old-fashioned way, but it takes just as much knowledge and intelligence to be able to work with the computer to create a finished product.

Artists have been exploring digital art since the 1960s, but only in the past few years has it become widely practical because of better technology and prices (qtd.

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in Jesdanun). Most people think that digital art has been around forever, but in reality it has not. The last few years have proven to be the most important in digital art’s existence. Many people find digital art to be a way to express yourself in which you never could think of a century ago. A man named Tom Kemp created images on a palm pilot handhold. He said, "I end up with a brush which could not exist in the real world. That's what I like about digital work: the ability to create tools, hence work, which would be otherwise unimaginable” (qtd. in Jesdanun).

I decided to do some research concerning the forums online that are available to digital art users. One I checked out is the web-support site for the program Poser. I have used Poser in high school and I am familiar with a lot of the program. When you enter the Poser site, you see a main menu with links such as forums, gallery talk, chat, downloads, tutorials etc. I think this site is really a way to enhance your Poser experience. A quote that pops up on the screen as I am navigating around states “Are you really sure that a floor can’t also be a ceiling?” by M.C. Escher. I think this is a very interesting way to look at a piece of artwork, and I think that it relates in many ways to digital art masterpieces.

Each link provides more and more information to me about the purpose of the site. Forums are a place to go and post thoughts and responses to various topics ranging from 3D modeling to animation. Under downloads you can download different things for your poser character- from textures, to animals, to hair. Under tutorials there are quite a few actual tutorials that would help with you with certain digital art programs such as Photoshop. After deciding to further look into the forum portion of the site, I came across one comment that stuck me in particular. The post was made by a person with the id of “Neven,” and under the title “Why is Poser art sneered at by the main stream artistic community,” a topic to post under made by the creators of the site. Neven went on to elaborate on how Poser Art is not real art by any means. “It is dressing up someone else’s doll and photographing it, and it should not be considered an art.” I felt that this was quite a dramatic statement to make on such a public website, and I am sure that many Poser users were distraught with Neven’s comments.

As for the market of digital art, like anything else, it has to be created and accepted before a market can come about. I found out some very interesting material about how digital art will be displayed in the future. The main idea I am seeing from articles include the purchasing of mounted flat screen monitors that will display digital art on them. This art can be bought online, and programmed right to your flat screen. Art can be bought individually, or in collections of pictures that switch images after a certain amount of time. As for who will buy these, a digital artist by the name of Rick Doble wrote “Bill Gates is supposed to be installing huge flat panels in the house that he is building, so he might buy some” (Doble). They will appeal to the very rich at first, and gradually I believe they will be a part of almost every home; just like a television is.

Also, in response to the general operations of these flat screen art displayers Doble says “As an artist I could provide a buyer with a signed and numbered CD and/or encode numbering or even the buyers name into each picture file which would make the pictures unique and more marketable.” It is interesting to read about how the data within the LCD screens would have a backup. This would reassure those buyers who felt that their data would be lost if their screen got old. People buying basic prints of digital art include museums, hotels, restaurants and casinos to name a few.

In one famous gallery for digital art, a man by the name of Steve Sacks founded and directed the Bitforms Gallery in New York. This gallery has an interactive digital catalog which “features an artist's entire work for collectors to browse and print information from” (Jesdanun). There is no other gallery like this anywhere, for it is the first centered on digital art, and digital artists. I think eventually more galleries like the Bitforms gallery will emerge, and digital art will become more and more accepted into our culture. Anything new that comes about is easy to criticize, but give it time and it will inevitably be accepted to some degree.

Furthermore, there are many people questioning how someone can tell whether a piece of artwork is original. There are so many pictures on the internet, and so many ways to manipulate these pictures, there’s no way to really know how original a piece or artwork someone claims to make is. For example, let’s take Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.” The original painting is respected greatly, because it is obviously the original. By using digital art, a picture is reproduced numerous times, and what makes the copies any more original than the piece? Yes, copies of “Starry Night” are reprinted, but there is only one original textured copy done with his exact paint. Digital Art copies are all the same, they are copies. Is this going to be acceptable in our culture? It is hard to tell.

The writer Molly Burr proposes a solution to the problem of people not wanting to buy digital art because it is not original. There are many different mediums to sell digital art on, including canvas, silk, watercolor paper and photo-glossy. She says that “The first print that I sell will be on canvas as the original, and each subsequent print after that is part of a limited edition. Certificates of Authenticity are included with the sale of each piece, and when the edition is exhausted the original file is archived or destroyed.” I personally feel that this is a very brilliant idea because this will dramatically increase people’s interest in wanting to buy from the digital art market.

Next, Molly Barr says in her article, “Many feel that it is a threat to the field of fine art--that the artist is somehow cheating or perhaps getting off easy and not employing true artistic skills or standards,” which is understandable. It will be hard for the digital art market to sustain itself if everyone takes a view like this. Barr refers to what she calls “purist digital art,” which is created on the computer using nothing else. There is no manipulation of photographs, no scanning in photographs, just 100% pure artwork. She feels that this type of art is acceptable, since you are not stealing anyone else’s work.

In conclusion, it can be seem how essential it is that the new market for buying and selling digital art is handled delicately. Digital Art offers many new angles to look at art from, and it is easy to see why many colleges and universities, like Canisius are adding new majors in digital art to their list. Thanks to all the technological advances taking place, a market for digital art is speedily approaching. There is a difference in people’s perspectives on whether or not digital art should be accepted as actual art, and these differences will continue until solutions are found to bridge the two sides.

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