Digital Art--- the next big movement?


a thread questioning the validity of cgi as a medium for art appeared on another forum and got me thinking.

i came to the conclusion that cgi or ‘digital art’ could be considered a new chapter in the history of art and not simply another medium. However it dosnt seem to have penertrated into the conscience of world of serious high art. when was the last time a digital work won the turner prize? and im not talkin about video installations either, they are not recognised as digital but rather as film.

Perhaps its because the self appointed experts are too aloof to notice what is happening right under there upturned noses. Perhaps because of its proliferation its seen as too common?

i think its because digital artists themselves have not understood the uniqueness of their chosen medium and not set out to create or define a movement which promotes it. i also think the type of works created by digital artists does not , generally, make full use of the possibilities of computer generated art. in short, they dont take themselves seriously, so why should the art world at large do so?

There seems to be no one(or collective) championing the cause, yet we are all together…from programmers, those who paint stills in photoshop, 3d artists , cganimators, to website designers. A seemingly disparate bunch yet all our paths cross, we all have many things in common, above all our work is digital, ones and zeros, a sequence of electrical currents stored in tiny transistors.

so can CGI/digital art and all it encompasses been seen as a new and distinct chapter in the history of art?


I think it’s already there to some extent. I don’t think it’s yet reached its vintage - but it will. Several pieces have already exhibited in major galleries world wide of digital photography. Digital is already in most art history books. It’ll take a little more time - but not long to really steamroll.

Another issue is that it isn’t a physical object - sure many high resolution images printed for several hundred smackers have sold in the thousands. - But it’d definately be difficult to sell mass replicated digital information alongside a one of a kind Keith Herring at the same price.

That definately challenges the philosophy of the old school way of "high art" - but then art always has.


this is one of the reasons why digital art is unique, and one of justifications that it deserves more respect. it is changing our very understanding of what art is. Yet there are more reasons, eg, internet art opens up all sorts possibilities never allowed before, possibilities to do with interaction and communication that spans the globe. questions on how a viewer engages with a piece of art and more over , who is the author of the piece? infact through programming into the mix and it opens up a whole new can of worms. fractals generated by simple algoritms. this all come about because of computer technology.

more specifically, photorealism, and physics simulation within computer, the questions posed in many cases transcend art. it would be great if the world of high art could embrace this digital phenomena and move on from wallowing in post modernism and conceptualism. sculpture and paintings, film and music have been swallowed whole by digital technology and this has yet to be recognised in the vaulted, esotric, circles of arts cognoscenti.


IMO, all these talks CG not getting respect, is the new chapter in history of art…etc are like the choir talking among themselves or to the already converted. It has zero impact on the real world of art. Respect is given. When the world feels that it is deserved, it’ll freely give the respect. I’m not surprised at all that CG doesn’t get respect–majority of the works done in CG are immature and cheesy. The minority of good works are far out-weighed by the bad. Until the genre grows up more, it’ll always be seen as commercial entertainment and nothing else.

Other forms of art got their respect after paying their dues for decades. We gotta pay ours too. Other forms of art also had their body of works that stunned the world and moved them with their profound ideas and artistry–and that body of works is what gained them the proper respect. CG needs to build that body of works that deserves respect.


i dunno,i wudn’t really call digital art an ART MOVEMENT u know? i can’t really doesn’t have any main characteristics apart from that fact that its digital.

hard to explain,sumone else must know what i mean.


I think the biggest element of digital art is that it will bring together all nationalities (as we see here on CGTalk) in order to change the current face of regional styles into more widely developed styles- i.e people from Ireland will be inspired by current designers from Mexico. This was not the case before and still is not. This means that countries less well known for their art will be able to push their boat into the sphere and be judged alongside everyone else.

I don’t think we can consider digital art as its own ‘genre’. As noob said, it’s merely a tool. I think it’s analogous to the time they moved over from tempera to oils. Look at the amazing developments in art as a result of that. I think eventually digital art will have the same impact on the general art current.


On the contrary, true digital art is highly influenced by the technique. The look of CG cannot be mistaken. Art produced using a computer is quite unique in its characteristics. Whether it is for the better or worse, is not the point, but the major difference in this form of art is the way the idea is processed. Even with the best CG artists, you sense that machine is taking over. What I mean is the way the artists allow the capacity of the tool to take centre stage in representation, allowing more critical weight to be given to the “how” than “why”. It is partly evolutionary, and it is bound to change into an art with a message.


hmm,i guess what i mean is,i think of movements as a dramatic change in the art itself,not the tool used,

example: if an artist uses a small brush…then a few months later he uses a big brush…u wudn’t call it an art movement,hmm maybe thats bad example but it explains whats i mean about its the actual artwork itself thats evolving,not the tools or media used to produce it.

and i think thats what paperclip is also trying to say.*correct me if i’m wrong

in medievil art the characters where flat,simplified and had no real perspective etc…then some time later classical art came about,where characters where proportionally correct,physically perfect and characters hadideal physical beauty.thats what i call a movement.

maybe thats a better explanation of what i meant,best i can do heh.


Certain kinds of people are interested enough in computers to be bothered to work with them, and I feel that the majority of these people are not really interested in the things they ought to be interested in in order to produce anything that’ll compare with any kind of piece produced with any more thought than “Will it look anatomically correct?”

Maybe tech oriented people are the ones who end up developing also their art techniques, and not that what matter: the the place the art originates from.


not only is digital art a new genre, it is the biggest thing to happen to art since history began.

it has completely revolutinised our perception of art, or rather it should have…as i said i dont think it is accepted yet, perhaps because of its percieved impact is seen as a threat.

Lunatique: i agree many works dont exemplify the unique nature of digital art, but i think the fantasy theme that i think you allude to is the tip of the iceberg. artists are failing as a whole, nobody is really being imanginitive in the use of digital technology. anyone using photoshop to paint a 2d picture is like driving a ferrari down to the corner shop for a pint of milk. its using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. theres nothing wrong with making 2d stills with photoshop, but can we not use it in a more imaginitive way? also the proliferation of digital art , brought about by the easy availibility of software, has resulted in a deluge of mediocre work which may have tainted peoples view of the whole gennre. But this proliferation, this easy availibilty of such powerfull tools is more liberating and revolutionary, its one of the great aspects of the digital phenomena, and ulitmately it will result in many people getting into art who may never have otherwise. it converges the disciplines of artisan and technician and ultimately they will cross over, technicians/programmers will be creating art and artists making programs and who knows wher one will stop and the other starts.

ofcourse digital art will be accepted in time, its weight and force is irresistable, it will wash away all that has gone before it. i just wish some would give it more respect and recognise it, those both within the field and outside.


How do I get the feeling that there are lots of people here with strong ideas about digital art and art in general (myself included), shooting our mouths off, still producing nothing very fancy, compared to our fancy ideas?


I’d be really interested in an example of what you mean.


And I’d like to add that in order to use the current technology to the full extent of it’s capabilities, you have to be so into the technology that you’d have little time for anything else, including the all important down-time you need to produce anything meaningful.

So the so-called traditional artists often have no clue when they work with modern media. Same goes with CG-people, content-wise, or more like ideas and philosophy -wise.


What? Since when is digital art a genre?!? Since you said so? Look at watercolour! Is it a genre? Even though many watercolours have a “similar” look? You can say whatever you want, the way you want to say it, with almost any medium, including CG!

BTW, I love the way Linda or Aly go get milk!


perhaps it would help to define digital art. the reason it is seen as a medium like watercolours is because of reasons i stated before, mainly that nobody acknowledges its full impact, the artists that work with it and those outside the field. watercolours dont do away with the concept of original creation, dont question the signicance of copying, watercolours dont place the tools of creation in the lap of almost every school kid, watercolours dont allow viewer interaction…these are name just a few, hopefully you’ll realise that digital art is not comparable to ‘watercolours’. i think NOOB said that there is no distinct style emerging with digital art and therefore cant be seen as a genre, that maybe right, but i am saying it is more than a genre, it is bigger than cubism, it swallows dada whole and spits it out, it tramples over impressionism , it brushes aside abstact expresionism, it crushes pop art, it mocks de stijl, and it dosnt even stop to look as it steam rolls over tracy emin.


Who is tracy emin?
Watercolours are one of the first tools of creation on the laps of schoolkids, certainly more affordable than a PC and software!
You’re right about interaction, though. The computer allows some pretty awesome stuff to happen at the viewer’s guidance! But it still is not enough to define it as a “genre”. A genre is something much more specific, for example “Interactive Abstract Installations” could be a “genre”, or a “trend”. Or “Parametric Design” could also be one. Or “self-evolving automata”.
But not “computer art”. It is too vague, too widespread, and frankly, a little demeaning. Like saying “he paints oils” to sum up Velasquez.


Obviously the medium is different. And I’d say that with the current state of things we’re actually discussing more than one (2D, 3D, 2D+3D).

Do we go the McLuhan way then? The medium is the message? I never could actually figure out what that meant, beside that the medium is important because it affects the message.

I still wouldn’t say that CG is very revolutionary, content-wise, but if you look at it in a weird crooked way, then you might start to think that this “backwardness” in itself is the revolution: if the expected thing is to go forwards, go back.

Hm. Seems that I might have to concur with you on some points, 6foot5.


DrFx, you are right, digital art cannot be seen as a genre, it is too big and too vague, its boundires are nubulous, thats why i am saying it is bigger than that. yet there seems to be no acknowledgement of this, its a revolution on a tectonic leval, shaking the very ground art has become rooted in. those whose job it is to comment on art should have stopped discussing all that has gone before and used the past history of art simply as a yardstick by which to measure digital art and yes , Kalgokultti, the medium is the message. It would be great to see more artworks commentating on and exemplifying the uniqueness of the digital revolution, and exploring the extra dimensions CGI opens.

one case in point is the two catergories for the master servant competition. now, i ask you what is essentially the difference between the two? in terms of the work produced. could not every entry been accomplished in 2d? perhaps the use of 3d tools aids some in creating their final image but find a skilled enough artist with enough time and any 3d entry could have been painted directly in photoshop, infact that is exactly what he computer is doing in a 3d render. what sets these entries apart in essence, what could be accomplished in 3d that could not be in 2d is what we should be concerning ourselves with. and so i compare digital art to that what has gone before. we should put the emphasis on showing what can be done in art with digital technology that never could before .


Tectonic, schmectonic, the real world’s not going to go anywhere soon. (To put it bluntly, I prefer traditional art, if only for the simple reason that viewing a drawing, painting, sculpture or performance is so much more pleasing than viewing any screen there is).

But seriously: I have to admit that I haven’t perused the M+S 3D entries very thoroughly. Will have to do it, some of these days, but still I would like to argue your supposition that 3D can do what 2D cannot.

The 3D created for the challenge is still images, neh? As are the 2D ones, obviously. So, the end products are, in essence, the same, when it comes to material: ones and zeroes on a drive somewhere.

I’d say that creating original images is easier in 2D. There are no presets. Well, there are, but if you paint a ball on a surface in Photoshop, the image will have more you in it than many 3D things out there. So being unique is very easy in 2D, easier even, I’d say. How bout that?


when it comes to the Master/Servant challenge, i wasnt arguing that one catergorie was better than the other. i was using the fact that there were two catergories, yet the art produced could have been made in either one, as an anology to how digital art needs to differentiate itself from traditional art. although there is nothing wrong with creating digital works that could have been made in a traditional medium, it is not progressive.