Digital Art: Not “Real”?
Trolls are something you expect when it comes to the internet. Especially in PuGs. PuGs wouldn’t even BE PuGs if it weren’t for the infuriating, obnoxious, rude trolls that spam our party chats with curse words and poorly written English. I have been insulted I don’t know how many times for being the player I am. I’ve been called a bitch numerous times for wanting to pull mobs as a tank, told I have no balls because I refused to heal the DPS who was trying to pull for our tank, and many other choice words that I don’t remember. Don’t be thinking I was helpless, though; I may not have typed my curse words out, but my mind is full of all sorts of nasty phrases for the trolls that stink up PuGs.
But where I never thought I would get shit for how I play, is in art. When I signed up for my deviantArt account, I was expecting maybe a little bit of trolling. “lulz u play wow thts soooooo stupid u r so dumb lulz!” To my delight, there were no trolls! That’s because I had absolutely no viewers (but that’s a rant for another day). Digital art has, as far as I can tell, been completely accepted and welcomed into the contemporary art community as a viable way of expressing images, thoughts, emotions, passions, everything that art is meant to convey. DeviantArt is filled with digital art. And during my almost full year (!!) of being an artist, blogger, and fairly active ranter on Twitter, I have never received any crap from anyone for doing the sort of art I do. That is, until this morning, when someone told me that because I create art using my computer, it isn’t “real” art. “It isn’t truly yours, because the computer does all the work for you.”
I was hurt, like I haven’t been hurt in a long time. The Twitter community has just been fabulous for my ego (it could probably do with some deflation), constantly supportive of my art and me as I bumbled my way through. People like Lore, Rhoelyn, Apple, Will, Ice, Oestrus, Rezznul, Quaunaut, Aymee and Mitsune, Velidra, and DiscoPriest (and so many more; the list goes on forever) are so kind and caring and give me pep talks and get snarky at me if I even try to put myself down. So when a professional artist, a well known sculptor who is a huge promoter of abstracts and free-form art and “Bohemian” artists, was suddenly telling me that my art wasn’t really art was like a slap in the face.
It turns out they had no clue how you do digital art. They didn’t realize that you use a tablet to draw, that digital art has it’s own pros and cons. I spent a few minutes showing them just was digital art, to me, really meant. Got out my tablet, showed them how it works. And while they might not have completely understood it, as computers aren’t really their forte at 81 years of age, they still changed their opinion. But it made me wonder if there is a population of artists out there who have this opinion about digital art. Is there a community of people that don’t understand exactly how digital art is created? Is that why digital art (other than those weird, semi-horrible modern art pieces that sell for millions; you know the ones I am talking about) has never made it into museums? I’ve never seen an exhibit that boasts “Come see John Smith, master of the tablet and champion of Photoshop!” I’m sure the museums would come up with a more enticing name, but the point remains. It makes me wonder if digital art will ever become an accepted part of the broad artistic community. It’s there, it’s everywhere. All over deviantArt, all over the WoW and fanart communities, all over game concept art and so many other things. But will it ever reach the status of ‘museum-quality’ art, like Impressionism, or the thick and heavy oil paintings from the past? Would it take years, decades, generations? Or do you think digital art will remain quiet, omnipresent but always stuck in the shade of the Rembrandts and Monets of the world?