The Digital Art Process
Unfortunately, the computer's
capabilities are simply considered from a business perspective.
The business world is concerned with how computers help
them communicate, with the goal being to convey information
in as straightforward and linear way as possible. Show a
graph, do a spreadsheet, add a photo of our founder to the
newsletter, these are the ways businesses use computers.
Underlying all of this functionality is the way the computer
processes the same piece of information in different ways.
The business world is content to stop here, applauding the
computer's ability to integrate diverse media into letters
and proposals. The reason for this is that the business
world seeks to communicate in a linear fashion, conveying
information in a straightforward analytical sense. The computer
simply allows them to present the same data in different
forms, enhancing their straightforward message.
The digital artist must not fall into the same pattern.
He must realize that art is not presented using linear logic,
but instead that the artist often develops his message using
circular logic that can be metaphorical, intuitive, or irrational.
Because of this, the digital artist must use technology
to explore new ways of combining diverse ideas into a single
work. The computer allows for an intuitive exploration,
and is perfectly suited to the circular development of ideas
that is so important to the artmaking process. Artists will
not succeed if they merely fill out a singular thought or
message using sound, images, or text. They must push beyond
this capability and realize that the true power of digital
technology is in how it empowers the artist to freely explore
a concept without the encumbrances of traditional media.
One such encumbrance is the actual time that it takes to
develop simultaneous drawing or paintings. This time delay
often results in a lack of cohesion, where the artist finds
it hard to retain his original intentions as additional
thoughts or ideas come to him while he is working. With
traditional mediums, the artist is not able to work fast
enough to keep up with the various and often divergent ideas
he develops while in a creative mode. In addition, because
the act of drawing or painting is so time consuming, there
may be breaks of hours or days between works, making it
difficult to carry a feeling or approach over from one drawing
to the next. The computer's ability to facilitate intuitive
exploration is tied directly to how it allows the artist
to overcome these kinds of time constraints.
Another encumbrance artists face is the underdevelopment
of technique, or an over emphasis on it. With a few notable
exceptions, the traditional artist's ability to create art
has only been as effective as his craft or technique has
allowed. If he couldn't draw realistically, capture likeness,
or handle paint, his work had little chance of being considered
successful. Even in abstraction the artist has to show a
mastery of his medium in order to convince the viewer that
the work was a product of his intentions rather than a "happy
accident." Therefore, it has been the role of technique
to show that the artist is articulate, and that we should
consider what he has to say. Once technique has given him
the floor, the artist is then expected to engage us in some
way, and it is the content of the work that does the engaging.