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  1. #1
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    Is digital painting a legit form of Art?

    Ok y'all... I've been painting in acrylics, oils and digitaly since 1992. I'm still trying to figure out the "value" in digital painting. At the moment I am selling giclees on canvas of my digital paintings. But whenever somone asks to buy the "original" I"m forced to tell them it's just a file. It's alot like photography. you print your image up, sell it, but the original doesn't "really" exhist.

    Does anyone see an advantage or disadvantage to this?
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    In digital art, the artist makes a selection out of the various possible combinations of zeroes and ones that can be interpreted by a standard computer as a visually displayed image of pixels. This is comparable to the selection of placement of molecules by an artist in real media. I do not hold digital media to be an illegitimate form of art simply because it holds fewer possible combinations. The selection process by the artist of which pixels to place where is extremely artistic, aided by programs which simulate real media. However, if an artist attempts to simulate real media in digital media, merely opting for the convenience of the digital media, he is cheating himself by limiting his own creativity. It is akin to scanning a piece of real media and having to choose between this gamma level or that gamma level, when niether levels give a truly accurate representation of the original image. Indeed, the very reason digital media is so popular is the fact that it is so easily transportable as an original. When the original data sequence is all that exists of a piece, the art is perfectly represented in the digital world: it gains all the advantages of being digital while losing no accuracy as to it representation. However, is art that can be recreated perfectly by any computer out there less valuable than art that can only exist perfectly in one single place? Are we limiting ourselves by confining our artwork a plane that can be perfectly recreated by a computer? Is the interpretation of a .png file by a computer and the subsequent rendering of the image on a monitor, in itself, an art form?

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    I don't see any problems with it. I get the same kick from creating digitally as with traditional media, and that's more or less all that matters to me. So, if someone wants an original to hang on their walls, they have probably come to the wrong artist. (And *cough*,um, I keep the few originals I do for myself, they're precious little gems, and I'm not willing to part with them..)

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    O.k...you lost me on that one. I'm looking for a simple answer here. One that revolves around value and potential value.

    I know the creative process is almost the same between the two mediums, but from a potential "value" perspective..which medium is more valuable?

    Example: Lets say Andrew got REALY famous. Would his digital portraits be worth as much as his traditionaly created portraits? ?
    "If one advances confidently in the direction of
    his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he
    has imagined, he will meet with a success
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    Digital artwork isn't a style, its a medium.

    If you're looking for saleable value, originals in physical medium will always outweigh the digital equivalent printed on the finest paper simply because value is placed on that which is more difficult - and I'd be hard pressed to say that working in the digital medium is more difficult to achieve the desired outcome than say oils.

    The reason is that with physical medium, you can't undo, you can't do a hue shift, you can't do a contrast or brightness change in 2 seconds, so essentially the physical painter needs to have a lot more skill to create the same image. What peopl are paying for - apart from the image itself - in physical paintings, is the embodiment of the painters skill, they need to have color theory embedded in their minds, they need to preplan a lot of things, they need a billion and one bits and piecesm they need to make a mess...all of this is removed from the digital medium.

    If you're purely all about the final image without need of an original, then the digital medium is imo the only way to go, for a few reasons: speed; alterability; reproduceability.

    If your field is advertisement art, concept design in the entertainment industry, etc, it is totally impractical these days to create something with say oils which has inherent speed limits with its drying times. Digital also allows you to experiment and go nuts and not be afraid of screwing something up because the original can alwas be saved.

    So if your aim is speed and turnover, digita is the preferred choice.

    If your goal is representation of your skills in a much less forgiving medium - typically gallery art, then physical medium is the only way to go.

    The price attached to physical medium is typically more fr a few reasons, the most obvious is that there's something special about holding the original and knowing its one fo a kind that people treasure, also, the assumed skill leve of the analogue painter is deemed higher than that of the digital master (although digital painters are also often accomplished physical medium masters) and last but not least - society hasn't fully accepted it as a true medium yet, more as a psuedo medium.

    m

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    Yo magic man wuz up! I dig your work and your opinion. But comparing one's skill to the medium they work in is irrelevant. Warhol proved that.

    Majority of fine artists can't paint digitaly. So that skill is truly rare..and valuable.

    The only aspect I'm torn with is the "origianl" aspect. Photos in my opinion are not worth as much as an original oil..mainly due to it's medium.

    The fact that negative and "files" can be copied.. makes them worthless and subject to freud, Compared to an original painting. On opposite end, sculpture defies this argument. Typically the "original" sculpture is destroyed after the cast is made. Leaving only casts fo the original.

    Now i'm really confused! HELP!

    Can digital paintings be worthy like scupture or photography?
    "If one advances confidently in the direction of
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    has imagined, he will meet with a success
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    Quote Originally Posted by otis
    O.k...you lost me on that one. I'm looking for a simple answer here. One that revolves around value and potential value.

    I know the creative process is almost the same between the two mediums, but from a potential "value" perspective..which medium is more valuable?

    Example: Lets say Andrew got REALY famous. Would his digital portraits be worth as much as his traditionaly created portraits? ?
    What the hell? The quality of art is measured in monetary value?

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    SJ, value from what I've learned is determined by name and recognition. Money is just a way to measure it.
    "If one advances confidently in the direction of
    his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he
    has imagined, he will meet with a success
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    Ah, so Thomas Kinkade is the best artist who ever lived.

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    I think it can be argued that digital media is a valid art form.

    But at the end of the day, for better or worse, it's digital. I don't think it will ever really be considered a "fine art", though, which is unfortunate. The biggest roadblock here is that people generally don't understand what we're talking about and the education process is too long to convey the point.

    Bottom line for buyers is you can't touch the original - if you're okay with that, no worries. Do limited runs of giclee prints and you're good to go, especially if you've got a name.

    However, I think that traditional media will *always* beat out digital because the artist actualy worked on what the buyer is purchasing. Hard to define, but it's ture.

    ~S

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    As much as you or I hate it, yeah..do you know how much a Kinkade origianl goes for? I hear he doesn't sell his originals. He will sell out of editions before he considers selling the original...making it worth astronimical amounts of $$$.

    Oregano, I totally agree. But couldn't one say that in a limited edition of each digital painting is almost an original in itself? Considering the fact that printing is it's ONLY way of being produced?
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJ Bennighof
    Ah, so Thomas Kinkade is the best artist who ever lived.
    SJ stop being needlessly confrontational.

    He didn't say that. What he DID say is that name recognition has a lot to do with how much money you get for paintings. Thomas Kinkade has a lot of name recognition thus money. He DIDN'T say that name recognition = skill/greatness.

    As far as value goes for real mediums vs digital paintings as far as value... I think the real mediums will kind of always have that "unique", "can't ever be reproduced exactly the same" quality that will affect price.

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    Etchings can be reproduced almost as much as you want, reproductions are usually numbered (like 1/5, 2/5...) So the one who buys it can be sure that it hasn't been printed more than 5 times and that he has something original. I'm sure you could do something like that with digital media.

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    Quote Originally Posted by otis
    Yo magic man wuz up! I dig your work and your opinion. But comparing one's skill to the medium they work in is irrelevant. Warhol proved that.

    Majority of fine artists can't paint digitaly. So that skill is truly rare..and valuable.

    The only aspect I'm torn with is the "origianl" aspect. Photos in my opinion are not worth as much as an original oil..mainly due to it's medium.

    The fact that negative and "files" can be copied.. makes them worthless and subject to freud, Compared to an original painting. On opposite end, sculpture defies this argument. Typically the "original" sculpture is destroyed after the cast is made. Leaving only casts fo the original.

    Now i'm really confused! HELP!

    Can digital paintings be worthy like scupture or photography?
    Thanks man - sorry didn't make it clear - when I said "skill level" I meant "percieved skill level" from a casual observer or a lay person. And its widely known the majority of casual non-artists still percieve the physical artist to be more skillful.

    I personally don't think so either way, I think there are plenty of digital artists who are equally as good as analogue artists and vice versa.

    But if its pure monetary value, physical medium will imo, always be valued higher because of the constraints they work within as well as percieved value.

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    Digital art will probably never be as intrinsically "valuable" as the classic forms. Precedent for this is photography. You can never own an original (unless it's one of the old style photos to metal, etc. that were one of a kind images without a negative). The printmakers suffer from the same problem to some degree...their original can be one of a set of identical pulled proofs (the original stone or block is not a work of art in itself, but can be collected and valued), unless the artist does only one final proof and destroys everything else...something the public probably wont believe. I wouldn't.

    I'm not talking about prints that are photomechanical reproductions of paintings and shit like that. As far as I'm concerned, these should be sold at really ridiculously cheap prices because of what they really are (signed or not)--- glorified and overated pics from National Geographic or a calendar.

    Digital art falls TECHNICALLY in this "print" area, because the original is digital, and to be seen must be REPRODUCED. When you sell a digital piece to the public, you're selling a REPRODUCTION, because it's impossible to produce an original. If we had to assign us a position in the "art" world, we fall maybe TECHNICALLY in with the animators. They produce a film considered a work of art, but in their case, there are many little works of art that do not make a whole, even when gathered together, that the public can recognize as "traditional art."

    We ain't even got that...

    Therefore...in the eyes of the art world, which prizes the artifact over the execution...we're screwed.

    Is it valid as an art form? You bet your friggin' ass it is! We're breakin' our balls producing something no one else has ever seen, and I'll be damned if I'm going to apologize for my choice of media.

    I do have one personal reaction to digital in general, though...

    Technology alone can never replace the ability of the human artist to create an image "internally" before it is executed. Because of this, I don't have a lot of respect for digital artists who can't reproduce at least to some degree that same image in a traditional way with traditional materials...especially when they cover up this shortcoming up by denigrating the traditional learning and working process as "no longer meaningful or useful."

    I knew how to paint with poster paint because I learned certain basics with a crayon/pencil. I learned to paint in acrylics because of the poster paint, and I now know how to work with a set of imaginary colors on a machine that only recognizes two numerals beacuse of everything that came before. Tell me with a straight face you can pick up Photoshop 8.0.z and teach yourself to be an "artist," skipping all that boring shit that should come first, and I'll respectfull tell you you're full of shit to your face...

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    Quote Originally Posted by otis
    Can digital paintings be worthy like scupture or photography?
    Worthy in what sense?

    For once off value gained from a sale, the physical painting will be worth more - assuming it is good.

    For fine prints, its arguable that the digital would be worth more, since the reproduction quality is always top notch and the residual income created by multiple sales could very well out value the sale of the psysical piece.

    However, if you also take into account appreciation in value, the physical piece will then seem more attractive since many fine art pieces are seen as investments that can increase in price over time, whereas digital medium would not - since if it fades, you can print out another one.

    Its a complex question, but simplified, if you're looking for most "fine art" sale value, stick to traditional.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilaekae
    I do have one personal reaction to digital in general, though...

    Technology alone can never replace the ability of the human artist to create an image "internally" before it is executed. Because of this, I don't have a lot of respect for digital artists who can't reproduce at least to some degree that same image in a traditional way with traditional materials...especially when they cover up this shortcoming up by denigrating the traditional learning and working process as "no longer meaningful or useful."

    I knew how to paint with poster paint because I learned certain basics with a crayon/pencil. I learned to paint in acrylics because of the poster paint, and I now know how to work with a set of imaginary colors on a machine that only recognizes two numerals beacuse of everything that came before. Tell me with a straight face you can pick up Photoshop 8.0.z and teach yourself to be an "artist," skipping all that boring shit that should come first, and I'll respectfull tell you you're full of shit to your face...
    I completely agree.

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    Quote Originally Posted by otis
    Oregano, I totally agree. But couldn't one say that in a limited edition of each digital painting is almost an original in itself? Considering the fact that printing is it's ONLY way of being produced?
    Well, no more so than photography. But with photography, as opposed to digital painting, you're ultimately dealing with real subjects (i.e. - something "real" had to be in front of the photographer in order to photographed, so again, you're living vicariously through the artist).

    I've stuff in a gallery right now. I had planned on showing some digital "fine art" pieces that I had done, but the gallery owner wanted to know "how someone would ever own a 'real' Shane Watson painting?"

    That got me thinking. And it really bugged the hell out of me. The conclusion that I came to was that digital stuff is fine (for me) for the game work. It's all cheap crap anyway on rediculous deadlines, so what the hell.

    But if I'm going to display in a gallery I'm going to bust my ass to do some real paintings, which I ultimately did.

    Another line of reasoning behind this is that a traditional piece (painting vs. digital) will typically physically last longer than a print. Plus, it has a physcial presence that a print doesn't - namely the canvas that it's painted on.

    And, I think it comes down to what would you ultimately rather own? A print, even tho though they can be really cool and really well done, or an original?

    So, not to belittle or devalue what we do, but I personally think that digital stuff is best left to the industries that it best serves - entertainment. Whereas original works are better for the fine art collectors, if that makes sense.

    And SJ, what's wrong with you man? Of course Kincade is the best artist that ever lived. Jeeze, dude, I thought you knew this. I'm revoking your Kinkade fan-club card, though it pains me greatly to do so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilaekae
    I knew how to paint with poster paint because I learned certain basics with a crayon/pencil. I learned to paint in acrylics because of the poster paint, and I now know how to work with a set of imaginary colors on a machine that only recognizes two numerals beacuse of everything that came before. Tell me with a straight face you can pick up Photoshop 8.0.z and teach yourself to be an "artist," skipping all that boring shit that should come first, and I'll respectfull tell you you're full of shit to your face...
    Well said

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    I don't know if I totaly buy the statement that digital paintings are "reproductions". Mainly due in fact that reproductions are mediums to translate the original to the print. Since there is NO original in digital art..is it correct to call them reproductions?

    Another intersting fact I'd like to present is : Recent auctions of giclee prints have fetched $10,800 for Annie Leibovitz, $9,600 for Chuck Close, and $22,800 for Wolfgang Tillman.

    So who is to say they are not as collectable as originals?
    "If one advances confidently in the direction of
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oregano
    I've stuff in a gallery right now. I had planned on showing some digital "fine art" pieces that I had done, but the gallery owner wanted to know "how someone would ever own a 'real' Shane Watson painting?"

    That got me thinking. And it really bugged the hell out of me.
    You know, I've been thinking about this as well, the only way could see it working is that if the "original" is thought of in the sense of music, rather than traditional painting, that is, the physical print of the work itself is worth nothing, it is the by product of effort, just like the music coming out of speakers from a CD.

    And like cds and any other copy-able mediums, they have a gold master, which, if you wanted to ever buy would cost an arm and a leg. Attached to the digital artwork gold master, would also have to be included the rights of rproduction and sale of the image, and the copyright needs to flow with the gold copy itself. Like anything, an inanimate object's value is percieved on its potential ability to make the owner money IF they decided to.

    Original works of art are deemed higher in value because of the underlying fact that there is only one in the world, scarcity being a built in constraint as well as advantage IF you are looking for asset appreciation in the future.

    A gold master with the digital artwork with transferred free flowing copyrights to the owner of the disc would satisfy this requirement.

    A real paradigm shift in thinking away from the way you traditionally view artwork valuation, but imo a nessesity IF digital artwork is o ever transcent the glass ceiling of value.

    m

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    Quote Originally Posted by otis
    Another intersting fact I'd like to present is : Recent auctions of giclee prints have fetched $10,800 for Annie Leibovitz, $9,600 for Chuck Close, and $22,800 for Wolfgang Tillman.
    I'd be interested to know how many prints of each were available, and if the original of the prints were still in existance. Aside from that, we're talking about household name artists, so they will pull a much higher return on just about anything associated with their name.

    BUT, if I'm not mistaken here, these are also prints of originals, right? As in Not Digital.

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    Quote Originally Posted by otis
    I don't know if I totaly buy the statement that digital paintings are "reproductions". Mainly due in fact that reproductions are mediums to translate the original to the print. Since there is NO original in digital art..is it correct to call them reproductions?

    Another intersting fact I'd like to present is : Recent auctions of giclee prints have fetched $10,800 for Annie Leibovitz, $9,600 for Chuck Close, and $22,800 for Wolfgang Tillman.

    So who is to say they are not as collectable as originals?
    A few factors I'd like to point out that make these sky rocket:

    a. these prints are probably extremely rare.
    b. the ability to reproduce these prints is virtually zero.
    c. they are prints of famous artists.

    Satisfy these requirements and I'm sure you'll fetch an arm and a leg too

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    By Oregano: "Another line of reasoning behind this is that a traditional piece (painting vs. digital) will typically physically last longer than a print. Plus, it has a physcial presence that a print doesn't - namely the canvas that it's painted on. "

    The situation is even worse than that. What affects us affects video artists also, and for the same reason...

    Lets say I want to buy your original digital document and make my own copy in whatever manner I wanted...but the piece I'm interested in was done in a time when only 5-1/4 floppies or 400k floppies were available. How would I access it? Technically, the technology we're all using may not exist in a form 15 years from now that will allow us to access even our own work. Talk about "fugitive!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilaekae
    By Oregano: "Another line of reasoning behind this is that a traditional piece (painting vs. digital) will typically physically last longer than a print. Plus, it has a physcial presence that a print doesn't - namely the canvas that it's painted on. "

    The situation is even worse than that. What affects us affects video artists also, and for the same reason...

    Lets say I want to buy your original digital document and make my own copy in whatever manner I wanted...but the piece I'm interested in was done in a time when only 5-1/4 floppies or 400k floppies were available. How would I access it? Technically, the technology we're all using may not exist in a form 15 years from now that will allow us to access even our own work. Talk about "fugitive!"
    I try - I mean I *really try* NOT to think about that...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toaster
    SJ stop being needlessly confrontational.
    Sorry, didn't mean to come off that way.

    He didn't say that. What he DID say is that name recognition has a lot to do with how much money you get for paintings. Thomas Kinkade has a lot of name recognition thus money. He DIDN'T say that name recognition = skill/greatness.
    Ah. Gotcha. Misread his post; "quality" and "value" somehow got swapped in my mind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oregano
    BUT, if I'm not mistaken here, these are also prints of originals, right? As in Not Digital.
    I honestly do not think that the source material is an issue, I think the main three issues are: the names behind the prints, the low reproduceability, and rarity in the items themselves.

    Its like if Hitler took a shit on his hand, and wiped it over himself, then, he took a photo of it. If he then took the photo and photocopied it, then burned the original...that photocopy would be worth a shitload.

    Pun intended.

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    "I try - I mean I *really try* NOT to think about that... "

    ...chicken-shit coward...

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    So. if you wanted to build your reputation and shoot for fame, producing digital works of art would be pointless? Having to create traditional and "orignal" works of art...later to be reproduced is the way to build value?

    Or...is it all about developing a name for one's self? If it's just about name recognition, then I think I will follow the philospohy of Warhol.
    "If one advances confidently in the direction of
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    I don't know how relevant this is to the topic at hand, but at the Michael's frame shop that I work at (worked at, just quit to prepare for school) We treat all non-numbered prints as "poster art" meaning that we generally dry-mount them onto foam core board in a manner that makes it impossible to safely remove it from the board unless you're a specialist with the right tools. The process involves heating the prints with a large flat machine that goes to about 180 degrees faranheit. Needless to say, for a customer to allow us to do this they would have to have a pretty low value attached to the piece. Numbered prints, however, are treated as "Original Paper Art" and mounted exactly the same way we mount originals, by merely dropping them onto the mats and frames, cut specifically to the size of the piece, and stapling a board to the back of the frame. The piece is neither harmed nor altered in any way. I have never seen a customer bring in a print, numbered or otherwise, of a piece of digital art to be framed, or purchase prefabricated materials for the same purpose.

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