German artist Albert Oehlen presents his augmented reality avatar, Jeff Koons and his sculptures Moon Phases – partially sold in the form of NFT – or even the French gallery Edouard Montassut selling a digital creation by Turkish artist Özgür Kar. At the recent edition of Art Basel, held in Switzerland from June 16 to 19, digital art proved once again that it took an increasingly important place in the great nebula of modern Art†
However, there is nothing abnormal in this situation. In fact, this evolution is quite logical since all the interstices of our society are dominated by new technologies. Like any human activity, art is also subject to it numerical revolution and must reconsider his way of being, his creation, his raison d’être, his exhibition.
However, it can be difficult for a layman to approach this topic as its ramifications are multiple. Word “digital” is a contraction word that encompasses many realities, just like the word “art”, which also refers to many expression techniques. As a result, the association of the two can give rise to multiple interpretations. To see it more clearly, here are five questions that should give you some answers.
What exactly does the term digital art mean?
As the curator of the Whitney Museum in New York, Christiane Paul, suggested in her 2004 book digital artit is necessary to distinguish between art that uses the digital as a simple tool of creation – for example photography, printing or music – and theart that uses digital as a self-contained medium† This form of art suggests that the digital, in the broad sense of the word, becomes the material for the creation, transformation and/or functioning of a work.
To better understand the complexities of this field, let’s move forward through opposition. Digital art contrasts with the more classical form of Fine Arts, in the sense that digital is participative, interactive, more dynamic and, above all, adaptable. As a result, digital art can take on multiple aesthetics and forms of expression. 3D modelling, pixel art, digital sculpture, mapping, interactive fiction, vector drawing, game design, Net.art, 3D printing…
What is the history of digital art?
Logically, the history and evolution of digital art are intertwined with developments in IT† From the sixties, there was a meeting between art and technology. However, it would be difficult to describe in a few lines the whole history of these arts, as the number of experiments and their currents are abundant. To fully understand that digital art is a cauldron that is constantly boiling under the fire of technology, here are some great figures from different movements.
In 1963 at the Parnass Gallery in Wuppertal, Germany, the Japanese artist Nam June Paik impressed with his exhibition “Music/Electronic Television”† His project, which was totally grotesque for the time, consists of 13 televisions placed on the floor that display distorted images due to the presence of magnets around them. This device marks the arrival of video art within digital art. In 1980, the artist will also be one of the first to introduce a story in his installations in his project “Video cryptography”presented in Paris in 1980 at the Center Pompidou.
Of “The readable city”, Australian Jeffrey Shaw proposed one of the first interactive digital art projects in 1989. Placed in front of a screen, the spectator pedals a bicycle to virtual place lined with walls of 3D letters that gradually form sentences.
For his part, the Frenchman Maurice Benayoun is one of the first artists to give meaning to the virtual. In 1991 he broadcast on Canal+ the first animation series with both synthetic images and an imaginary scenario. Passionate about immersion, this visual artist created the revolutionary installation in 1997 “World Skin”† Equipped with stereoscopic glasses, the viewer is immersed in war scenes where he is invited to take pictures like… during a safari in Kenya.
However, digital art should not be reduced to wacky installations. Sometimes this art takes on more “classics”† This is especially the case with the digital painting by the artist Rhads. Inspired by the world of the English painter William Turner, this illustrator delivers surreal and dreamy works of great beauty. Just like the German Karsten Schmidt who uses software and data to design generatively. Thanks to his exhibitions at the MoMA (New York), the Victoria & Albert Museum (London) and La Gaîté Lyrique (Paris), this programmer, passionate about images, has given the Data Art movement an international appearance. As you will have understood, the digital arts are an area where each technological evolution can create a new form of expression.
Are NFTs Finally Closing the Debate Over? “is digital art really art” †
Now that the scene is set, let’s take a look at this almost existential question. Is rarity a constitutive quality of art? Despite more than half a century of history, the digital arts have long remained on the periphery because of their opposition to thetraditional art in the field of collection, sale and conservation. The most conservative galleries and art institutions have always been wary of the technological abstraction of digital art. What is its lifespan? Who is the owner? The judge? Or the viewer? Who is the actor of the work? This great confusion inherent in digital art is coming awaken the notions of collection and expertiseso dear to the world of contemporary art.
And now since 2017 the hurricane of NFT came as a savior by proposing concrete solutions to these questions. By introducing the concept of scarcity, non-replaceable tokens had a significant and immediate impact on the world of digital art. From now on a digital work has the possibility to be linked to an owner in an immutable public register, so it becomes collectable.
Thanks to NFTs, digital art can be monetized and this form of expression is slowly no longer being marginalized. A godsend, since many artists can now earn a decent living with their arts and thus continue to build a dynamic and creative community. A testament to this evolution, illustrious galleries such as Sotheby’s, Christie’s or Drouot are increasingly organizing digital art sales.
More and more experts in the sector are well aware of these dynamics. This is especially the case for David Brocherie, Training Experience Advisor at the Artline Institute, a pioneering digital arts school that already incorporates these developments into its training.
“The timestamp of a digital work allows the creator to use it in a monetary way: royalties on the use by third parties, sale of exploitation rights… It is a real revolution and it is an expanding universe with countless possibilities to Just look at the January 2022 figures, this market generated a total sales volume of approximately $16.57 billion.”
Digital art under NFT, one of the cornerstones of metaverse?
Owning a digital artwork in NFT gives a collector access to many exclusive experiences in the metaverses† Private concerts, previews of events, product launches, virtual talks… Many brands are already experimenting with these new forms of interaction and vertical communities. So much so that the digital art could become both a new brand lever for companies, as well as a medium of exchange and a membership card for the various virtual users.
Going further, the metaverses also provide a new field of creativity and a new place of expression for digital artists. Art fairs, galleries and virtual exhibitions, the metaverses are an opportunity for artists to connect with their audiences in a whole new way. For example, the famous Charlot gallery specializing in digital art, together with the start-up Spatial.io, organized the Unvirtual NFT Meta Art Fair last February in Paris. This event was the first digital art belly fair in the form of NFT in France, both physically and virtually. During the event, collectors could discover the works before their eyes in a loft, but also through a metaverse of more than 1,000 m2.
Digital art, how do you make it your work?
To live and satisfy his passion for digital art, you don’t have to be Beeple and sell his work at Christie’s for $69 million. As we have seen, the digital arts are of unprecedented transversality. They take various forms (3D or motion video, animation, graphics, illustration, graphic and interactive design) to express themselves in many fields (audiovisual, luxury, marketing, culture, entertainment, video games, etc.). In the field of digital art, jobs are very diverse and especially with the emergence of metaverses, these types of profiles are increasingly sought after.
On the other hand, if you are already looking for a digital art school, be it for a… education, reintegration or a simple upgrade, then you must have realized the blatant lack of accessibility of these courses. The barriers to entry are many, as often unfortunately when one approaches the subject of art in the world of work.
The Artline Institute, founded in 2013, wanted decompartmentalize the world of digital art and make it accessible to as many people as possible. Beyond the nuts, digital art is not a field of effort, it is a passion. For this reason, the Artline Institute makes its selection based on the motivation and professional project of each candidate.
Through an innovative pedagogical approach, 100% online courses, this school offers professional training and diplomas with full support for students, delivered by mentors from the greatest areas of digital arts. As Lucie, who attended the 3D VFX Artist Masters at the school, testifies, the philosophy of the Artline Institute is in perfect harmony with the world of digital art.
“I really appreciated the way the courses worked, which allowed us to have tutors from all over the world, specialized in their field and belonging to recognized companies. Who doesn’t dream of being able to attend their classes in pajamas, getting acquainted with mentors in London, Los Angeles or Montreal? †
As some artists do, the Artline Institute proves that the digital arts are no longer in the elitist shadow of the fine arts and that it is now possible to live and make a career out of it.
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