Sunday, January 21, 2007

David Apatoff on Digital Art

David Apatoff at Illustration Art has a wonderful essay on what may be lost with digital art. I flip back and forth. A mental list of my favorite contemporary illustrators is a mix of digital and traditional....in fact, many fo them mix the two within the same work. As someone that loves to experience original paintings, I am sad to see exhibits of print-outs and posters, but as someone that also loves to see wonderful illustration out in the world, digital or traditional doesn’t matter to me.

I realize that, eventually, illustration will move and project and spin like a Bladerunner set.....but I do find it interesting that most of the digital artists I know regret, to some degree, that they are not painting traditionally. Certainly not all, but, many want to return to oils "at some point."To my mind, this does not diminish their digital accomplishments but it does testify to the idea that there is something so deeply personal about being able to stand in front of a hand made object....something that cannot be duplicated by a machine.

8 comments:

Bob Eggleton (Zillabob) said...

Digital, I find winds up less about being about the "object" or the painting itself-the statement being made, the presence of a painting(like when viewing oil paintings in museums) but it becomes sort of a technogeek exploration. SOmeone might say "that's a nice image" and then someone jumps in and talks about "this program" or "that tablet" and the entire conversation is lost in technoland, and in one case someone talking about how they re-mortgaged their home to be able to afford all the hard and software to use and whatnot. That is when one questions the concept of it. Some VERY fantastic images have been done digitally to be sure and some guys do amazing work, make no mistake. But it's the mistaken belief, on the part of less talented people-like,say, some "businessguy" who decides he doesn't need artists or creatives and thinks it's all about moving photos around and anything can "look good" to him. I've played with digital myself and to that extent, it's alot of fun. But I'll always go back to my oils and pencils. I meet some people who've thrown all those out..yikes!

Irene Gallo said...

Hi Bob,
Off the topic of digital but you reminded me of an experience I had at Illustration House. Vin Di Fate had invited me to go there with his class and listen to Fred Taraba give a talk. One student went up to a juicy Dean Cornwell painting and said something like, “Man, I can never _afford_ too paint like that!” It was funny. I had never thought about Cornwell’s wonderful brush strokes a sum total of the expense of the paint but, being able to afford good materials is a real issue for students. Just as they are struggling with the mechanics of painting they are also fighting their student-grade materials...But that builds character, right?

Bob Eggleton (Zillabob) said...

Yep. I remember in art school(early 80's) I had painting teachers who thought we had money to burn. Part of the reason I left was that they seemed to want you to use the "best" materials but then have you basically paint crappy paintings on them and they wanted alot. So I bought alot of cheaper canvas boards but they wanted stretched linen and such. And the paintings were absurd still lifes, or they'd want something abstract.It was heartbreaking watching good materials being wasted. When I left, ironically, I got a job in a art supply store that catered to that school, and the owners of the store GAVE me any kinds of new paint or brushes, for free to "try out" if they should carry it. And they gave me a good 40% discount on the other stuff. I got such an education working there, trying out new things, getting them for free I found, later, it was truly the best way to go!

David Apatoff said...

Thanks for the kind note, Irene. Like you, I flip back and forth on this issue. I love physical art objects, but my next posting will be examples of digital artists who I think do a splendid job (all suggestions welcome). All we can do with rapidly evolving art forms is put our heads together and try to separate the wheat from the chaff-- just what blogs are best at!

Stephen Heigh said...

Thanks for bringing the subject up of digital versus traditional paint. There is no way ever that a digitally created image holds the same lasting appeal than a traditional painting does. It just never will be and there will be those that argue that. I say to them...go to the Brandywine River Museum in Pennsylvania and stand in front of an N.C Wyeth original and then try arguing that. They'll look very foolish. The list of great illustrators goes on and on. The feeling of one's hands as they work a canvas or board and those accidental triumphs and discoveries cannot be replaced by any computer. The value is just not there and for good reason.

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