Ownership of artifacts: Parthenon marblesAugust 9, 2010
Paul Gauguin & Non-Western Art (Discussion Board)August 22, 2010
Question: Do you think David Hockney’s research and theory on the use of technology by the artists of the Renaissance period is important for artists today?
Answer: Absolutely. In fact, I believe this theory is more relevant today than ever before. For years I created with pencils, inks and paints, and now, I create with a Wacom Intuos4. I’ve traded in my sketchbook for my Macbook and suddenly in would seem that many no longer consider my creations art. These detractors discredit my art purely on the basis that they are digital pieces.
My company sublets a portion of our offices to a partnering company eDemographic, Inc. who recently had a client over to their office for a meeting. After the meeting Mike, the owner of eDemographic, stopped by Jared’s and my office to introduce us to his client. During the introduction, his client noticed a commissioned piece that I had just finished and left open on the screen of my iMac. He took one look at the piece and said, “It’s amazing what computers can do these days.”, as if the computer had created the piece of art and not me. Unfortunately, I’m use to this type of ignorance and gave no reaction; instead I pretended not to hear what he had just said. After the introductions and tour had concluded, their client was leaving, when he noticed one of my sketchbooks on display in the lobby. It was left open to an anime styled sketch that was inspired by the likeness of my wife and done in pencils. He paused and approached the piece, seemingly squaring up to it. After a long moment of studying the piece, he turns to me and says, “Now that’s art.” His comment irritated me to no end since it seemed to imply that what he had seen earlier on the iMac in my office was not art.
I see my Macs as my digital canvases and I create on them the same way I would on a piece of traditional canvas, only with a lot less mess and simpler transitions between brushes. Who knows, perhaps if artists like Leonardo da Vinci had the technology of Macs and Photoshop during their time, the Louvre might be full of flat screens instead of stretched canvases or poplar wood planks. I know for me personally, there are times when pencils or inks on paper simply aren’t enough to accurately represent the images trapped in my mind. However, give me a Mac loaded with Photoshop and sometimes, I can make the visions from my dreams real enough to share with others. People might argue that anyone is capable of creating cool images and effects with proper Photoshop training. While this may be true to some degree, I would argue that it takes a true artist to make their art breath. When an artist brings one of their creations to life, the piece seemingly breaths and takes on personality of it’s own. In a sense it becomes immortal.
I see my Wacom and Macs as the tools that I create with and while digital may be a new medium, I do not feel that my choice of tools at all detracts from the creative or artistic merit of my works. The same would apply to the use of mirror and/or lens-projected images by Renaissance period artists. While this may have provided an outline for them to work with, it was their masterful ability to work with their medium and apply their unique technique that gave their creations life. It takes more than staying between the lines to create a piece of art. If it were really that simple, museums would be full of “paint by numbers” paintings.