Is Digital Art Really Art?

Now that art programs and incredibly high resolution printers have become fairly commonplace, digital art has begun appearing in galleries and exhibits around the world.  This has sparked a debate on whether or not digital art is really art.  Does it take as much talent to creating a piece in Photoshop as it does to create it on canvas using oil paints?  Should digital art be considered inferior to traditional art, or is it like comparing apples to oranges?  There are a number of responses to these questions.  Here are some of the arguments made for and against digital art.

Creating Digital Art Requires No Talent—Anyone Can Do It!

Anyone who has tried to draw a picture using their computer mouse knows how difficult it can be.  Even those who use a art without skill and talent.  Creating digital art does require a grasp of color, shading, perspective, and more.  You also have to know how to properly use the different graphics programs.  It does take talent and knowledge.  The computer cannot create art for you, even though it can help in some ways.

You Can’t Touch It

For many people, the tactile feeling of the brush in their hand or the touch of the canvas is what art is all about.  They find using the computer to create digital art is too cold and sterile.  There’s also the fear that you could spend hours working on digital art and then, in a blink of an eye, the computer crashes and all of your hard work is gone.  That’s certainly a valid concern.  For these artists, it’s a matter of preference: digital art just isn’t for them.  They need the touch and feel of a brush and canvas to truly create something.

You Can’tbe as Detailed in Digital Art

With a canvas, no matter how large or small, you can step away from it and see your entire composition as it actually is—the size of your canvas is the finished size of your piece of art.  It’s not that simple on a computer.  You can zoom in and out, of course, but you can’t really get the perspective of size, especially if you’re working on a large piece.

Digital Art is too Clean

Another reason why digital art might not be equal to traditional art is that it’s too clean.  You can control every single dot on your virtual canvas.  With real art, there’s the occasional drip, smudge, or defect that isn’t present in digital works.  Traditional art is messier, and that seems to help capture the spirit of the work and of the artist.

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Digital Art is Precise and Perfect

On the other hand, some artists claim digital art is at least equal to traditional artwork because it allows them to process their work without fear of errors or imprecise color placement.  If they accidentally get a spot of color somewhere it shouldn’t be, it’s simple to undo that brushstroke.

It’s not as easy to correct errors using oil paints or charcoal.  Some artists with unsteady hands or overly sweaty palms also find it much easier to create art digitally than using other media.

Each Piece of Traditional Art is Unique

Because of those little drips and other imperfections, each piece of traditional art is going to be unique.  Even the best artist won’t be able to reproduce a painting that is exactly the same as the original down to the smallest detail.  Yes, you can have prints made, but the original is still unique.  With digital art, all physical creations of it are prints, and the original digital piece can be copied and published all over.  There’s no unique original piece.

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Computers are Still Limited

Even with the highest resolution printer and monitor, it’s still not possible to create every shade of color.  Artists can perfectly define the amounts of blue, red, and yellow that are mixed together, but there’s also something to be said about feeling it, such as deciding that your green needs just a drop more of blue.  The digital art created on the monitor may not print out in exactly the same detail or color, either.

They can’t be compared

Some artists and art connoisseurs won’t even get into this argument.  They see value in both types of art or say that the two types are so different that they can’t be compared.  Traditional art does have that human touch and imperfection inherent in it, so why try to compare that to a digital creation that will have no defects?  Each has its place in the art world.

The Final Word

There’s no final verdict on the debate: art is what each individual person decides is art to him or her.  Some people find digital art to be just as good as traditional art, while others don’t.  The final choice is yours.

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