The Personal Atelier
Digital imaging has brought to both graphic art and photography a capability to rival, or even surpass, traditional printmaking in many ways. Combined with high-resolution archival printer technology, the computer may eventually supercede the atelier and darkroom entirely. Images can now be created, manipulated and combined with a sophisticated ease that allows the imagination to roam with unprecedented freedom. Digital artists are not constrained by the limitations and quirks of traditional printmaking processes, or even by the printed output itself. The gateway to this freedom is the challenge of mastering highly complex digital tools in order to produce works that are serious creations in their own right. This technology, and the new journeyman skill it requires is not for every aspiring artist.As well, all digital images are not art in the fine sense. So much of what one sees these days are reproductions of paintings usually called Giclee prints.While often impressive in themselves, they are still reproductions. Unfortunately many artists are tending to number them in editions, which is counterproductive to the evolution of this new media as the unique and valuable art form is actually is. There also exists a rivalry of sorts among photographers, between those who enthusiastically use the computer to alter and enhance their images, and those who vehemently adhere to and extol the superiority of printing exactly what they see and shoot. Then there are the hobbyists who use canned filters and fiddle with adjustments while producing uninspired and predictable pictures solely by chance, convincing themselves that it is an act of premeditated vision.These factors are among the challenges facing serious and committed digital artists for the universal acceptance of the medium as fine art in the highest sense– in other words, elevating it past the stigma of being considered merely commercial. I liken this situation to that which existed a century ago when lithography caught the imagination of the impressionists, who passed then it on to so many of the masters of early 20th century modernism. As then, innovation and originality will take digital art on a path where other forms of creativity simply cannot go.
Charles exhibits in the Museum of Computer Art (MOCA) of which this is a distinguised member website.