It quite often happens that people look at my digital art and say things like : that's lovely, I wonder what it would look like if it were an oil painting on canvas ?
My immediate response is defensive. I get defensive in a way because underneath I am slightly uneasy about its validity as an art form. "Art made on a computer isn't real art", and "there there dear, one day you could be a real artist if only you worked in a proper medium", spoken in my head in a truly condescending inner critic's voice.
So I feel that my own digital art isn't as valid as the art I make on paper...is this some kind of deep seated snobbery? I think it is. After all, digital art hasn't really been around very long. It's a new medium, and because it's new it's bound to be seen as a threat by those who don't want to embrace it. Look at the furore created by photography when it was first invented. And yet now photographs are everywhere. Photography is a tool for creative expression.
Photography as a tool is used by people to create art, to create records, as an aid to other creative processes. It can be utterly prosaic, and it can be utterly sublime. So why not allow the same of digital art ?
It's a new tool. A tool which is unfamiliar to many people, which demands a serious commitment to learning how to use it. There are as many ways to use the software as there are people who use it. It creates unique kinds of marks. It's an art form which for now can only be seen outside of the computer, iPad etc, if it's printed.
Digitally based art is as good as the person who wields the stylus. Just as watercolour is a difficult medium to master, so is working digitally on a piece. It demands the same kinds of aesthetic decision making, the same kind of knowledge of what you can and can't do. The same creative skill. But, and this is the thing I think we all have to really get, it's not watercolour, it's not an oil painting, it's a piece of digital work. It's a medium with unique properties, and I'm going to claim it for myself as a medium as valid as anything else.