In an exhibition held last year in London, 11 painters showcased their latest digital artworks which were created using a graphics tablet instead of the conventional pencil, paint and paper. Some of the works were so flawlessly designed that it would take the keen eye of an expert to spot the difference between it and a real painting.
Perfectly done to within the minutest of details, intricate patterns, fine nuances of the brush and impeccable shading dominated the exhibition. And it goes without saying that most of the people were left dumbstruck with the stunning display. As expected, it also created a few doubts in the minds of everyone who was privy to the artwork.
Does the digital era usher the end of art as we now know it?
Is the idea of an artist with his ragged clothes splattered with paint and peering into his canvas too mundane to be true in this age?
The rise of digital art
Today, an artist’s workshop looks different. Picture a young artist making deft strokes on his graphics tablet, like the Wacom 13HD, for example, which happens to be one of the most popular graphics tablets in the market currently.
The creation comes alive on the large computer monitor in front of him. A bright and clear screen that gives a precise representation of the colours and hues.
Digital art empowers the artist with tools and abilities that they did not have access to in the world of conventional art. Erasing a false stroke for example, is now a possibility. Undoing a mistake is as easy as clicking a keyboard shortcut. The artist can play with layers adding more depth to their works as their creativity unfolds and just delete the layer if it doesn’t seem like what was anticipated.
The potential and the power of digital art are immense and this is one of the main reasons why artists are slowly transitioning towards it.
As of now, a significant percentage of the population has already made the switch and a lot more are expected to follow as graphics tablets continue to evolve. The pressure sensitivity has already undergone a sea of change as compared to the early graphic tablet models. If you have never tried some of the newer Wacom models, then you have no idea what you are missing out on.
What does the future hold
Rather than looking at digital artwork as a successor to conventional art, it should be looked upon as a new tool that lets artists explore their creativity and venture into uncharted turf. All of the advantages that it brings to the table are impossible to ignore.
And the commercial potential is definitely there too. The market may still be nascent and the idea of paying astronomical sums for artwork created on a graphics tablet and a computer may seem alien.
But there are telltale signs that it is definitely warming up to digital art. For example, David Hockney’s ‘Arrival of Spring’ which is a digital artwork has sold 25 limited edition copies priced at $28,000 each. For now, digital art is here to stay, and we are not complaining.