I read one of the rules for a prestigious visual art competition and
was disappointed that I could not enter my latest works because they
had specified that no manipulated photos or digitally created works
would be accepted - nor could any part of the work be computer
generated. I wondered if the painters who painted from photos
considered that their work had some digital content in the process?
Why is it that we are so resistant to change? History tells us that
new ideas and even some old ideas revisited, have been met with anger
and rebuttal from the traditionalist, murders and even war. Yet change
is one of the characteristics of life. Is it that we prefer the death
of staying the same or have we the tendency to invest too much in the
present or past, so much that it would be uncomfortable or costly to
invest in the future…too costly to change. Without thinking we place
the highest values on our own values even if we have never even
consciously thought about how valuable they really are.
How long did it take for the art of the impressionists to be
accepted into the “mainframe” of what was considered valuable “art”?
There are still some who would refrain from calling it, “good art”.
Poetry like fashion is clothed in styles that affect its acceptability
and/or respectability and promotion and if we look at history we will
see that art is the same. For some poetry still has to rhyme, and art
is not art if it is not “photographic” (but not a photo!) or created
using what we presently think of as “paint”! Ink is acceptable in some
places but “print” is still the second class citizen of many art or
would be art ‘academies’ in the mind!
Some say that process rather than product is what art is about. Some
say that art is about idea rather than technique. Yet it is the
technique that has delineated a new direction and “newness’ has been
one of the criteria we have chosen to distinguish the creative process
from other processes. We are full of contradictions! We say we value
newness because we value the creative.
we hold on supposedly for ‘dear life’ to the old ways, the things we
know, the things we have always done. If it sameness we want then as
the saying goes…if we always do what we have always done we will keep
on getting the same!
We are full of contradictions! We say we value newness because we value the creative.
We are well into a digital age and the temporary and disposable
nature of products seems to have increased or at least our knowledge of
the temporary nature of products has increased. Is immortality at the
heart of our understanding of what the best art is? Do we think that
art that lasts, like a song or poem that outlives the rest, is truly
good, because it “stood the test of time”? If so then digital art has
the potential for a great future, as long as we keep the technology and
knowledge needed to view it and store it suitably. It will not change
like paint and plaster that flakes and needs another coat to refurbish
it. If we make limited edition prints of it, we can replace originals
as the paper or ink wear out more quickly and with less change to the
original than those art works created in the past.
If I created a constantly changing sunset, I could call it art and
it would be art, at least to me. If we use an animal to produce
something visual, we can call that art and it is art to some. If we use
a machine to make visual products we can call that art and for some
that will be art too. Process, product or idea, art is art - some of us
‘know it when we see it’!
What we value changes…history tells us this. The digital
technological world is upon us and in the future people will look back
at our products and only what has been ‘saved’ can be considered for
inclusion in the “Art” stakes and those who acquire it early enough
will make the best profit as it rises in value and the smallest loss if
it doesn’t. But we are not left to the mercy of others or the whim of
some invisible art wind. We can actively influence the world to value
what we value.
and publicity can change values and even if the product is lost like
some of the 7 wonders of the world, the future may still remember what
was said about what we called ‘Art’.
We can actively influence the world to value what we value.
(Editor's Note: All the artwork here has been used
by kind permission of their creator and author of this article,
Jennifer Kathleen Phillips. Please take a moment to visit Jennifer's
online gallery to see these and more in their full glory as they are