Digital Art Versus Traditional Art - No Competition

When digital art tools first emerged onto the scene there were many critics. Traditional artists and galleries were reluctant to acknowledge digital art as a "true" art form. It was a common misconception that the computer, not the artist, was responsible for creating the images.

Don Seegmiller, traditional art example 1Don Seegmiller, digital art example 1 To make matters more complicated, the term "Digital Art" has become a very broad brush used to paint a wide range of creative processes that make use of computer technology. These processes include an array of products and styles commonly referred to as graphic art, graphic design and multimedia. A closer look exposes the beauty of 2d and 3d art, vector graphics, raster graphics, fractals and so much more. Too often, digital artists were dismissed as not being "real artists". However, artists that tried digital art technology quickly realized they had discovered an expansive set of powerful tools.

The difference between software packages and tablets can be viewed the same way as one would view the difference between creating an image with watercolor, charcoal, pen, pastels, acrylics and oils. Each medium has it's own unique look and feel. Which artistic medium to use depends on how the artist wants the final image to look. They must determine which choice will best express their artistic vision. The decision is often driven by which artistic medium will meet the requirements for a specific project and how quickly the project needs to be completed.

As our schedules have become more hectic, time is an important factor in selecting which artistic medium to use, especially if there are deadlines involved. The choice to use a 3d model or not is like choosing whether to have a real-life model pose, or to work from a photo reference. It's all about choices, personal preferences and time. 3d models can save time. But, only if it's the right model for your needs. Even still, 3d models alone will not produce a finished work. Great images requires captivating content, interesting perspective, creative use of color, realistic lighting, "touchable" textures and a well defined focal point to create a masterful image...of any kind, regardless of the medium.

Bao Pham, digital art exampleBao Pham, traditional art exampleSpeaking with a curator at a local Nashville museum, she commented that digital art didn't have the depth of traditional art. When pressed to explain, she said it "lacked the brush strokes of real art". These words have haunted me from time to time, particularly when I see the comparative works of artists such as Don Seegmiller and Bao Pham. With the use of digital art software programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter, pressure-sensitive tablets such as Wacom, and canvas printing, it has become nearly impossible to tell digital art from traditional art.

One would be hard pressed when looking at these examples of Don Seegmiller's works to know which medium he produced his images with. Likewise compare the two examples from Bao Pham. Both are lovely. Is one inherently better than the other based on what was used to create the art work? Is is "real" or digital? You make the call.

Don Seegmiller, traditional art example 2Don Seegmiller, digital art example 2

It takes time to adopt new technologies and even more time for a majority of people to embrace them as "real". There will always be those that have a preference for one medium over another. However, a personal preference does not negate the beauty or value of any of the other choices.

Art is about vision and the expression of that creative vision.

There is no competition between traditional art and digital art...only plenty of beautiful choices.

by Lillian Hawkins

The difference is:

That is very well said and I am really glad you feel that way.

However...I up to some point have to agree with the curator and I am both traditional and digital artist.
I love the PC, it gives me possibilities I could not have dreamed of 20 years ago.
BUT....I refused to go to an art academy for similar reasons why I say there is a difference between traditional and digital art.

I was born with a talent...let me state that clearly...I was born with it, I did not learn, earn or bought it, it was 'just' there.
When I became aware of this talent I wanted it to be mine, I wanted it to be pure.
Going to an academy and learn techniques would destroy that pureness, no matter what my interpretation would be, it would always have a base in something someone thought me, so I decided to do it on my own.
I wanted each stroke to be mine, my rules, my vision, no exceptions.
At all times the end result would be something that was born in my mind and executed by me with techniques that were self-thought.
whether this was done by an expensive brush I had to save for or an old rusty nail that would just do the trick, it was mine.
Sure I had and have influences, I studied art history, I saw other artists works, old and new, but when that brush hit the canvas, when that pencil was put down on a clean sheet op paper, the stroke that followed was 100% me.

I once touched a Dali...of course you are not supposed to do that and if I was seen doing it I would have been in at least some kind of trouble, but being personally in awe with Dali I could not resist touching the canvas he once pressed his brush on to create what I many years later saw and touched in a museum.
The fact that the artist mixed his oils to a color he wanted and then took up a brush to paint what he wanted onto a physical canvas IS different than printing a digital piece on linen.
Digital art misses the personal touch.
The up-most you can get is the artist actually pressing the print button instead of a company that specializes in printing digital art on canvas.
The original is on a hard-drive somewhere, backed up on a DVD-rom or CD-rom and printing it out makes the outcome a reproduction at best.
Hit the button again and you have the same piece twice in the same quality, with the same signature printed out by the same machine.
Digital art printed out even only once does not have the same personality as a painting on canvas.
IF the artist hand-signs the print it's up-most similar to a silkscreen.