02 May 2012

The value of Digital VS Traditional Art

I won't presume to define what's art and what isn't but I think I can explain some important differences between paper and screen and how that effects how we all view the final product and particularly its value as art.

There is not much difference on how art is conceived, wether it's analog or digital. It takes ideas, planning, skill and practice to do both. Most renderings will require research and reference images as well as testing of techniques and styles. Tracing and blocking out reference images save time and insure proportions and perspective are correct. So in many ways, the final product is produced using the same skills and procedures. So then, what is the difference?

While the quality and concepts of the final image may be the same, the thing that makes something "art" may boil down to uniqueness and permanence. A digital piece, though beautiful, can be reproduced at will but does not have the advantage of being truly tactile. It can also be modified and changed at any time. A huge plus. Art on paper etc is given value not just from its beauty but by its uniqueness. There will only ever be one like it. It's impermanence is what gives it some of its value. It may last a long time, but probably not forever. Working with real world materials force decisions that can't be corrected later on and can lead to very different decisions during creation. So while digital images may be on par visually with traditional art, and have certain advantages over it in terms of reproduction and flexibility, the things that make traditional art so rare also give it a value digital art can't replicate.

What do you think?


T' said...

I think digital art, by its very frequency and ease of transmission helps enforce the idea of its valuelessness. Also because it's harder, in general, to see much of the 'how' of digital work (as opposed to brushstrokes, pencil marks and the like) I think people believe digital art to be 'easier,' or take less time. And to be fair, it might be but digital, as any medium, has its advantages and disadvantages. I think also that its permanent maliability makes it seem that it's never necessarily done, either (depending on the piece). And, lastly, the ability to make digital art of the same quality as traditional hasn't been around very long and as such, people are naturally skeptical of it. That's what I think. :"D

Behemoth media said...

I wonder if, over more time it will be valued as much as traditional art somehow and those features like mailability might be seen as positives towards value and not negative. I can't see monetary value changing much though as a one of kind piece will always have a better change of gaining value as years go by.

T' said...

Yah, the digital image has already gained its 'lack of monetary value' stigma, much as music and, to some extent, movies have (i.e. kids have grown up having stolen such content without ever having thought about paying for it). I think, too that the image in general has lost a lot of status, that people simply assume that there should be new images for their enjoyment and little thought is given to who makes them and how they're supposed to make said images with no compensation.

Behemoth media said...

I think you are right, but I also think it started with the people paying for the images.. studios etc. They have the same attitude as tough who want free entrainment, they think "oh a computer did it" and it's like the artist doing the work is somehow diminished by that. I think it trickles down to the consumer. I still here the "You're so talented you could be rich selling your art" thing all the time... even though I can usually guarantee the people saying it have IKEA prints on the wall, not original artwork. I'm not sure where they think that artists' grand fortune will come from if, like them, no one actually buys it.