- by Barney Davey
Although I believe traditional forms of painting will never cease to be created, enjoyed and collected, I see digital fine art taking its own important place in the field of visual arts
While browsing for information on another subject, I unexpectedly and delightfully came across Digital Art Revolution: Creating Fine Art with Photoshop, a new book by Scott Ligon. He is a digital artist, filmmaker and the coordinator for the digital foundation curriculum at the Cleveland Institute of Art.
Although I believe traditional forms of painting will never cease to be created, enjoyed and collected, I see digital fine art taking its own important place in the field of visual arts. As such, you can find on this blog numerous posts about the impact of digital art, the growing interest in digital painting and how using the term “Convergent Media” might be a helpful term to digital artists.
Now comes along Scott Ligon to add an impressive voice and contribution to the conversation about digital fine art with his new book. You can visit his Digital Art Revolution website to read a synopsis of each chapter. The book is illustrated with fine art from 40 digital artists. There is also a link to download his critically acclaimed short film, “Escape Velocity”, on iTunes.
Glimpsing the future of digital art
I suppose we all have milestones or epiphanies where we get a glimpse of the future. One for me was when attending an art and picture framing tradeshow, produced by my then employer, Decor magazine in Orlando, Florida. This show took place in the 1990s and was so long ago it was called the Art Buyers Caravan (ABC) Orlando Show. The name changed to Decor Expo a few years later.
It was there in the booth of an exhibitor, I met an artist named Rocco. The company was selling a full-service digital art creation and printing service. While there were other companies selling ink jet printers, there was nothing like this company in the market at the time. Rocco showed me a very nice digital still life image of an apple he had painted earlier in a demonstration there. It was quite well rendered on a white background, and one could see it could be finished into a commercially viable piece.
What was really cool was when he played back the series of strokes used to paint the apple. It was sped up and only took a few seconds to watch this image be completed. To give some perspective, the term “giclee” had yet to be introduced into the market. So, it was a bit surreal to see this use of technology to create art. I likened seeing the sped up strokes magically come on to the screen to watching the late TV drawing instructor, Jon Gnagy, on speed.
Rocco was using a digital stylus and tablet that was a crude forerunner to a modern Wacom Cintiq 12 x 12 Tablet. He told me from the first time he picked up the stylus and realized he could mix colors at will and change pressure on the point to get different effects that it felt as natural as a paint brush to him. That he could easily demonstrate how to use it to get realistic looking brushstrokes and create an appealing image were all I needed to know I had just seen the future of digital art.
Now, more than a decade later, we have artists like Scott Ligon coming along to teach and help push the importance and acceptance of digital art. And, I can’t wait to see what happens next!