I have spent a great deal of time and thought on trying to convey my thoughts on the digital art form as a medium on equal level to traditional media. But after multiple writing and rewrites, I have come to the simple conclusion that perception of this medium may never change without thoughtful discussion and dialogue. Yes, traditional media is an original work of art; however, does it demand a higher price? Due to it's exclusivity, yes, I believe so. But creating digital art is a direct equal to painting. The same thought process and demanding mental awareness occurs. Being in the zone in front of the canvas with brush is the same as me holding a tablet and stylus. The exact same. Sure, there are apps that claim to emulate oils, watercolor, pen and ink, but they are invariably different from the real media they are trying to copy. The tools that the app developers make are unique unto themselves.
Why does digital art have a stigma? It's likely because of the art published that was traced, or painted over in some program like Photoshop. Apps that make photos mimic paintings through programmed filters are very popular. It's easy to see why artists feel threatened by this. I totally understand why some collectors or even artist themselves don’t want anything that can be mass produced. Rather they desire something that is handcrafted, one of a kind. After all, a digital drawing can be mass produced with ease. But let me argue this point, fine art has been reproduced for a long time. So what’s different with digital art? If drawn and rendered by the artist, is it not art to be appreciated and admired? Some artist go the route of only reproducing limited prints or even limit it to one digital art print. What's the difference between that and a clay sculpture made from a cast?
Will the digital art form ever rise to the level of traditional methods such as oil, watercolor and pastel? There are many artists that use the digital medium. Is it because it's ability to reproduce an exact copy each and every time? Andy Warhol made reproductions and used the argument that with each pass, the image itself changed, making it a unique piece. Thomas Kincaid made mass reproductions of his work with people embellishing paint on the print to make them individualized. I won't make any other comparisons to these artists, but you get my point, slight alterations can make anything "unique".
Over the past year, I have been approached by people wanting to purchase the digital art I've created. Some people are unaware that the artwork is digitally made. I truly believe that my drawing, color, design, and composition have been improved by digital painting. I have been perplexed with how to reproduce it in a way that is ready to hang. It is been quite frustrating to know that prints of my traditional paintings purchased by friends are still boxed up, unframed years later. I myself am guilty of this and know that the cost of a frame can be at times more than the cost of the print. There are services for printing digital art ready to hang with out the fuss of going to a framer. I look forward with seeing how the results pan out.
Let's look at the benefits of digital painting. I have found an outlet to create visual comps for ideas to paint and flesh them out. With the assist of a television to project them on, I can see if they will work as a large scale painting. Seriously, how cool is this? For oil paintings that I personally am stuck on, digital painting over a photo allows me to work out ideas to complete the painting and solve problems. Plein air digital painting is even being offered now by artists that work professionally in movie and gaming industry. The digital art form is a tool and medium unto itself and deserves equal respect for those that choose to create work in it.