A Case of the Art Technology Dizzies

A preview of a new illustration I am working on. You'll never believe the transformation!
An artist got me thinking last Thursday during a life drawing workshop.

He is an elderly gentleman with some wit to his words. He says he doesn't care one bit about the wave of the future – that what artists like me will face at his age will be even more different than what he faces now as a traditional painter. To him, the world is technologically different, and impossible to keep up with.

We don’t need paper, just a pressure-sensitive device.

We can paint without mixing colors.

Distribution is easier and cheaper than ever before.

Learning is more efficient with more tools and resources.

The industry’s market is different.

We don’t have physical paintings, or physical anything really.

Why all these changes? Perhaps a better question would be why so many older artists reject these changes. One could say that what they are certain of is worth clinging to in these uncertain times. But, one could also argue that if they wanted to stay true to art, they would accept the changes; continue to learn and expand and “go with the flow,” as we are reputed to do in the first place.

Personally, I see his point, but I did try to defend my methods.

I told him that drawing/painting would remain human as long as it was made with hands, since that is my interpretation. He said offhandedly that years ago, the old masters would argue that to be human, one needed to mix the colors first.

This struck a chord in me, since it is not something I often do anymore.

Because digital artists do not mix/have to mix paints, does that make what they do not art? Of course not. But the idea that the masters I admire would not approve of my work, if they could see it now, is disheartening.

Though, as artists of today, we do not seek the approval of those long before us. We seek to build upon the genius of what has already been done and to just do our own thing. That is what Impressionism did, what photography did, what Helvetica did. How can you not do it?

I fear the day when no one will know how to mix paints any more, sure. That would be a terrible waste of progress.  But something tells me that the day will never come. There is romance in oil painting, and frankly, anything with romance survives. Art is as old as humanity!

How dizzy is art technology making you, and is it a good dizzy or a bad dizzy? Leave a comment below, and remember to share with a friend.