Me and the Digital World

Mr. Danita is a big fan of old school electronic music, but I don't share that taste myself. He's all exited about a new record from a band called Daft Punk, and he showed me a quote from an interview they had about their new record:

"We really felt that the computers are not really music instruments, and we were not able to express ourselves using a laptop. We tried, but were not successful."

Which are pretty big words for artists that dress up as a bunch of robots and play electronic music, but he explained that the record was made with real instruments on a real studio and not using a computer to create their music.

At that moment those words resonated deeply in my mind, because I feel the same. I feel an immense respect for digital painters and artists and admire their work, some of my favorite illustrators are digital, but for for me a Laptop has not been an instrument of creativity. I have a good deal of digital tools in my studio... a touch enabled digitizer display, a huge monitor and a powerful computer, an army of styluses for my iPad... But I have not been able to be lured into the digital world.

For me, creating an image is a complete sensory experience, I must feel what I am doing in order to make it mine. The feeling of every crease on the paper when I am sketching, how the texture of the pencil changes when the lead is eroding as you draw, the texture of the wood when I apply paint to it, how the brush gives in when you put pressure on it and how the paint responds to even the tiniest amount of water it encounters, the smell of fresh paper and paint, the colors of a hundred tubes of paint waiting to be used and even the sound of the scissors when I cut and paste paper for my collages.

All of that allows every piece of work to make it mine, and it made me remember how in love with the world I am, it makes me feel alive and in touch with my work, every fiber of myself is placed on everything I make, and when I am done I have something I can touch, admire and pass around for others to see, to give meaning to. That's what I love.

When I see the images being prepped for reproduction on my computer, all I see is pretty image that is nice to look at, but that's all. But then when I have something in my hands again, prints of my work, I remember that I was an active part of the creation of that object, because the image in it, it's soul, came from my heart, and my hands. And it makes me so happy to touch the lush paper and to smell the drying ink! It's a real thing that I can enjoy!

Sometimes I wonder if it's just out of rebelliousness that I don't care about moving onto more digital work, but if a bunch of famous robots thought it was time to back to the roots, why change what keeps me alive and I love doing?

What do you think? Am I being a dinosaur that refuses to evolve, or I am just a crazy girl who loves to get her hands dirty with art?


Anonymous said…
What you say makes a lot of sense to me. It sounds silly to say that how we create works of art is personal, duh! But there it is. To each his own. It totally makes sense to me to do what your soul tells you to do. So keep on doing it sister and there is no need to apologize!
I think the creative world is a beautiful mix match of talents, passes, expressions... I prefer painting with real paint on a real surface. But I love digital art too, especially in regards to photography and grhic art. I love that the digital age gives me a chance to play with my imagination even when I don't have access to the traditional tools. I can imagine that those who sculpted from marble with a chisel might scoff at my paper clay "sculptures". But it's one of the many tools of e trade I enjoy working with. Digital may not "feel" real. But it allows a real expression to come to life, from a real beating heart. And a lot of artists are making a real living from it. So, I'm not sure "real" can even be clearly defined anymore.

Like you, I enjoy getting my hands dirty as part of the process. I guess it's all just a matter of personal preference.
Unknown said…
I'm old school, like you Danita. What you said about feeling the painting coming alive with the scent of gesso, paint, fixativ, graphite - feeling and touching is all part of the experience for me. I admire digital artwork and have great respect for that art expression. I prefer to rip open a canvas, take in the scent of pine, and then get my hands dirty :o) Thank you for your lovely post!
Муркина said…
I love Daft Punk! I'm waiting for the release of their new album! I have a dream to go to their concert)
Watched an art programme on t.v. recently and they were saying digital art is taking over and in a few years time our kids won't even want old style -they are only interested in modern.!!
Debora Hoffmann said…
I think art is what you love and enjoy. If you enjoy getting into it with real paints, papers, pencils, and the like, that is art for you! I think I'm in the same camp as you. I like the hands-on experience. I can't wait to get back to making my bears out of mohair fabric and stuffing...and I would love to take up painting and illustrating. Someday!
Sue Allemand said…
I think you are TOTALLY right Miss Danita! I love the hands-on-touchy-feely-experience of art! It's where I find my happy place! I also like to read REAL books - hardbound books - instead of reading on a computer. In recent years a lot of artists are creating digitally - now that there's more education on it out there - but I can't do it. It's just flat and has no personality to me. I need to see the brushstrokes, "feel" the paint flow under the brush, see the texture each type of medium creates. Dimension - I need dimension. So other than manipulating my paintings on the computer for resizing or adding some words (and I even resisted learning that until recently) - I'm with you! I need to actually "feel" my art, "smell" the supplies - that's where the joy is for me! :)
bellefrogworks said…
I agree with you - I see some spectacular digital art out there. At the same time it is not my medium. I like mess and using my fingers and all different types of paint and ink and crayons and art bars. I like the way art feels and smells and looks. I just love to handle the materials and feel the paper or canvas.

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