can CG break into the Art World?


I had an interesting discussion with my great uncle who must be around 90. He has a pretty solid collection of expensive art from oils to crystal sculptures, and he frequently buys and sells, sometimes at auction.

I showed him Expose 2 and D’artiste and wanted to know his opinion. He thought “it was nice”. I asked him if he thought it would be considered art and he said absolutely not. His reason was you couldn’t sell CG stuff for the same prices you can sell “normal art.” Nobody would buy it, because there is no such thing as an original digital. You can print as many copies as you want. There is no texture of the paint. It wasn’t created by hand, it was created by computer.

So, when he said that last line, I whipped out my palm pilot, and drew a little cartoon on the screen. I asked him if he could do that. He admitted, no. I asked him if he thought it was any less of a drawing since it was on computer and not on a piece of paper. He admitted no, but he insisted dealers and collectors would not buy CG since reproduction would be too easy. They would make great wall decorations, but you could never get someone to pay the same prices as “normal art.” (I hated every time he used that expression…)

(My grandmother disagreed with her brother about it not being art, but she didn’t know what to say about it actually selling at auctions or in galleries.)

Do you guys think CG can crack into the Art Market, fetching thousands? Or are we confined to produce all our works on commission or for regular commercial uses only?

(I’m aware of Ray Caesar selling prints of his works in the traditional art market, but I don’t know what the prices are.,1284,66966,00.html )


The Portland Art Museum has had several prints of digital media on display. It was controversial, sure - but so is the Clement Greenburg collection.

In a way - the art world is a bit outside of any one definition - or a singular moral.
One of the most beautiful aspects of the art world is that it is far bigger than one person’s opinion. To really state a strong opinion is to really shut down a larger view that is necessary to even attempt to encompass what the hell is going on.

I’m just trying to enjoy the ride. :slight_smile:


Your grandfather has a point, but more importantly, people are too closed minded to view in that way.

Look at Graphic novels, some of it is very much ART (and often much more time to produce), but many still look at it as childish no matter how sophisticated.


i think what ur great uncle is trying to say is that cg doesn’t share the same values and effort (not saying it doesn’t require effort).

There are lots of tricks in cg,where as a traditional painter would have to mix all his own pallette,paint for hours,no ctrl z stuff,and its one and only,he/she did the whole thing with no tricks.

digital art can take hours on end aswell,but it doesn’t really EXIST if u think about it,yeh u can print it out,but the actual thing u worked on…OH GOD DAMN I CAN’T EXPLAIN IT LOL!u know what i mean

but ur great uncle is old,just think of what he’s seen,he is just backing up his generation,just like you are all doing now.

i’ll leave u with the Quote i always say

CG is like junk food,and traditional like a good home cooked meal…u can eat loads of junk food and be satisfied,but at the end of the day,theres nothin like ur mothers home cooked meal…uuuuuuuummm um.


well, it seems that the only strong argument of your uncle is the “not buying copies”. (?). if it´s so, then something is wrong, or he have never bought an engraving. as far as i know, there´s a whole system for numbering engraving copies, and some artists leave a will stating how much copies of that engraving is allowed to be done.

depending on the technic, even sculptures can have many copies.

and back at the subject of CG being taken as “normal art”, what´s the point? there´s so much BS being done in contemporary art, that sometimes i like CG being taken more as a product than as art by curators and collectors.

sometime along the 20th century art has completely lost itself. the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th is wonderfull art-wise, but then all references were broken and limits were so broadened that everyone seems a little (maybe a lot) lost.

but still, this unlimited madness is also wonderfull, and i completely agree with stepington:

eks, the ambiguous


Replying to the main question:

No, not now I think.

All our societies are full of prejudices and STEREOTYPES. Everything, from people to cultures, from thoughts and actions is attached to stereotypes. And art is the same. Its attached to stereotypes too.

And, to me, for now at least, CG is still attached to the ‘not normal art’ stereotype. Just a simple example of this is what Dmonk said: A graphic NOvel cant be art by the current standards because its simply attached to the stereotype of childish/comic.

And, as we know, dealers and collectors and curators and all these people decide what to buy/sell, not us artists. And, as Tevih’s uncle said: a very few people would buy CG as ‘normal art’.


I don’t see why CG art should break into the traditional arts market. There already is a market for CG art.

There’s many ways to define art, high art, modern art, whatever you want to call it (I personally prefer spam-egg-spam-spam), but I think thing in itself has far less to do with the market than with the ways it changes people and their perception of things. Or the ways it doesn’t change people but simply portrays the change. Or the current condition.

Most of the CGtalk stuff is hardly cutting edge, philosophy-wise… Hm. A deja vu. I think I’ve said that before. Better go sleep now.


CG Art will never command the prices a fine artist can make. I used to work with an animator that was originally and still is a fine artist. We had the same conversation and he shows his work regularly a well know galleries. The highest priced, most rediculously simple works sell because the wealthy ecentric buyer wants something no one else has. He knew an artist that just gessoed huge canvas and sold his works close to a million dollars a piece. It was his artsy fartsy attitude and pre-madonna aura that helped him. Also, his and his galleries salesmanship.

Comes to the same thing though, texture and unique item. Anything that is easily duplicated and cannot exihibit itself as a true original cannot hold the same value.

I think there are some large format printers that are trying to emulate the texture and feel of traditional paintings by printing a specific type of ink on canvas.


I think you meant to say prima donna, Jon. :slight_smile:

Aside from that, I’m afraid I must agree with most of the people here- digital work is fine for CONCEPT and ILLUSTRATION work- that is, work that is for a SPECIFIC PURPOSE. However, if the work is purely aesthetic, it can’t hold a candle up against traditional work.

We all buy posters for our rooms that aren’t once-off though. Digital art is good for that purpose, but who would fork out millions for something that could be easily copied? When you are buying an original, you are buying something that has been carefully thought out and translated to the paper/canvas by the artists’ own hand and you own THAT. The artist actually touched and painted THAT thing that you own and hang on your wall. Digital art just can’t have the same appeal.


I can see both sides here, it’s a rather thin line. Art isn’t about money ! Well if the artist painted it on the comp then printed and deleted the file, then wouldn’t this be an orriginal piece and would be worth something… If they call modern art, art i see no reason why digital pieces be called art .


After thinking about this i questioned myself why i do digital art but now reading again through the reasons seems like i’ve waisted my time o.O Think i will brake out some accrilics or water colour tommorow


Depends on what you think art is.
I cannt really go along well with the saying; you could copy it, so it isnt art.
If you would for example build a machine who copys a rembrant exactly, wich would be possible, it wouldnt be art anymore?

Digital art could be sold like “normal” art, if for example the artist only gives out the really detailed and big picture to the buyer.

Do i think digital art will brake into the art market? No, not yet.

Many people think, oh its done on a Computer, its easy, the computer does all the work, so its worth nothing. There are many things like this for example wich will prevent cg art from beeing sold.

When you are buying an original, you are buying something that has been carefully thought out and translated to the paper/canvas by the artists’ own hand and you own THAT. The artist actually touched and painted THAT thing that you own and hang on your wall. Digital art just can’t have the same appeal.

But this is a very strong point from paperclip. Its the uniqueness wich seems to make art worth something, at least for some people.

Maybe in the future there will be a way, to make unique art in cg?


To OP:
CG art is already sold as high art all over. You’re thinking inside the box. The trick isn’t if it’s created by computer, but if it can be recreated en mass. If it canm, then it is not considered unique and therefor not art of the same caliber as a unique piece. Saying that, there are plenty of unique CG pieces out there that have already proven your Uncle wrong; they sell for thousands of dollars. They aren’t, usually, simply prints, though.

And what gives with this topic popping up so often when for YEARS CG crafted stuff has been selling in the high art circles? Check around and do some research before you conjecture.


I know of a site where you can sell a hiigh res version, and are no longer allowed to sell it anymore by contract. I think this could work.

I’m not sure that I like where this is going though. IS all this going into a dusty museum? I like browsing on-line galleries and I have no problem making art for them. I think that if it gets really tough to make money from it though, it might have to happen. I hope people just realise that digital art really is worth a lot and start paying real money instead of kudo’s and credits.
maybe, if you only sell highres versions for a lot and just show of the smaller ones for free? Who knows, looks like a good idea. But millions? I hope not, and the ‘artworld’ is pretentious anyway;).


I have a couple of comments on this one:

a) the accessability of digital art, could be argued as a form of democitization of art. (Rembrant printed his etchings en mass to allow broad accessability to his work).

b) While digital art appears to be a mature technology, there are many aspects of digital art that are uncharted, and the technology has lots of room to grow.

c) digital arts’ success depends on whether or not it is embraced by the best artists out there - whether they be filmmakers, photographers, illustrators, architects…

I don’t think DG will ever replace other art forms, but I think it will hold its own.

I think that the strongest manifestations of DG to date are in the 3D and animated film domains, as well as its usage as integrated components of high quality, big budget films.



Thanks. I guess my term would mean before Madonna’s time :smiley:

I do think CG has the possibilities, but it should not emulate traditional art. I think it should break that mold and offer something completely different and unique to CG. I think frames on the wall should be huge flat screen monitors with perhaps a rotation of art or something. Holographic art could be cool too.


Simple, they will hire officials to watch them work and not copy the file making it an original.

  • a contract saying that item is the only one being sold, ever. If another copy exists, the maker simply returns the money that was paid + a fine.

Giving temp jobs to the flood of IT’ers that are now being trained and cash in the pocket of the people creating the art.

This will also bring more money to companies like adobe and corel and the people behind max and maya and so on because the versions will be checked for legality.


Selling a single original for a million bucks is an impossible dream for a cg artist. It will never happen, not even with DNA coding or whatever. Let’s just let go of that silly notion right now.

But what if a cg artist sells copies (prints or DVD’s or whatever) of his work, and one of the pieces makes more than 1 million? What about several hundred million, like certain cg movies of late? Which of the two scenarios would you prefer? Which one do you think that idiot with the white gesso canvases would prefer, if he had a choice? The thing is, he doesn’t have a choice. He’s stuck with his smelly paint and cleaning brushes and physically carrying his work to a brick-and-mortar shop to sell it to a tiny group of people. That’s it for him, for the rest of his life, it’s not about to change.

We’re in the new paradigm, and it’s kind of silly for us to cry for the recognition of those who stick to the old one. It’s like the first automobile manufacturers feeling bad because they were kicked out of the yearly horse-and-buggy trade shows.


Hey! I’m into CG to tell my stories, or make people laugh and smile! I couldn’t care less about having my own work sell in galleries or auctions.

I was thinking of CG as a tool for any artist - can the medium be embraced by all and accepted in all cirlces?

Is High Art really just for old and stuffy people and Cg will never be a major part of that?


Hey! I’m into CG to tell my stories, or make people laugh and smile! I couldn’t care less about having my own work sell in galleries or auctions.

Me too, and I think it’s the same with most of us.

Is High Art really just for old and stuffy people and Cg will never be a major part of that?

I’m fairly sure the definitions will be different in the future. At least I sincerely hope so… today you could define high art by the prices, by the places it’s sold, by its customers. This is obviously ridiculous - you should define art only by the work itself and the context it was created in. Nothing else. The digital paradigm can help with that… perhaps it even makes the change inevitable, by removing the cult of the ‘original’.