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Digital Arts

Digital art offers a contemporary counterpoint to traditional analog art forms such as painting, drawing, and sculpture, which rely on age old methods and materials. In contrast, digital art employs computer technology as an essential part of the creative process, expanding the possibilities of traditional art forms. With digital art, contemporary artists respond to the cultural ramifications and aesthetics of the Internet age by producing works that employ technology from video game and virtual reality to computer painting programs.

Digital art can either be produced purely from computer-generated imagery, such as algorithmic art or fractals, or have a physical basis, such as a scanned image, which is then manipulated by the artist. For example, world renowned photographer Jeff Wall stages highly elaborate photographs which are then altered and recombined using computer software. This process produces highly evocative works that bridge the gap between traditional and digital art.

Contemporary artists such as Michael Manning and Cory Arcangel have built successful careers around exploring the implications of digital technology in art and culture. Even masters of traditional art forms such as esteemed painter David Hockney have recently begun to explore the potential of digital art. Hockney recently produced a body of work that he painted using a tablet device.

Quick Facts

  • Andy Warhol was one of the first artists to explore the promise of digital technology, digitizing a monochrome image of Debbie Harry using a primitive graphics program called ProPaint
  • Much of digital art can be considered mixed media artwork, which has arguably existed since the Renaissance era as artists would add gilt and sometimes gemstones to religious portraits
  • Video art demonstrates constantly evolving creative expression in the visual arts. Artists such as Ragnar Kjartansson have achieved world renown and obtained blue chip gallery representation with this art form as the basis of their practice

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