You’ve more than likely seen this new trend of electronic “art” somewhere. Lately, it seems to be popping up pretty much everywhere you look. Even the focus of one of the new Windows 8 ads (seen above) focuses directly on it. And man, do I hate it. To me, this is one of my largest complaints, not to mention one of the most horrifying trends, of the past year. It may seem simple, and a complete non-issue for many, but I’m here to explain why this growing practice of electronic “art” is something to fear.
First, I know that art comes in many forms. Art has no boundaries. The entire point of art is that art doesn’t need a point. It can be anything, and thus, can be created with anything. While there are some really incredible artistic computer programs that let you create on a computer in unique ways that can’t be emulated elsewhere, these types of programs aren’t what I’m talking about. I’m mainly talking about programs that seek to REPLACE traditional art forms, especially for children. So yes, before anyone nay-says my argument for these reasons, let me first explain upfront that I get all that. I’m mainly talking about these replacement “programs” and here’s the thing about this new mode of art… it’s castrating creativity. Instead of enhancing the experience to a whole new arena, it’s detracting from it, taking the nuances out, and in essence taking ingenuity down with it. Stay with me. You’ll understand.
Creativity has no boundaries. Creating art with pencils, paints, or any other media, is something tangible, something visceral, and something experienced with numerous senses. But when you try to translate these specific experiences to the uniform setup of a computer screen, or some other electronic/non-visceral form, it’s takes many of those senses away. Art is as much about touch, smell, and sound as it is simply with sight. When swathing a hand (or fake paintbrush) across a flat, slick screen, do you really think the same amount of creativity is going to come out than when you feel the paint as you spread it with your brush. Or when you smell the oils as you squeeze them from their tubes. Or even as you hear your brush strokes across the canvas. Art is meant to be experienced in many ways, shapes, and forms. This is how creativity bursts out. But when you eliminate all these additional aspects, and bring it to a more sterile environment, creativity will diminish. It just will. No matter how much you try to emulate a specific tangible art form in a digital arena, the best parts will be left out, and so will the best creativity. And everyone suffers.
Art is about making a mess. Spill some paint. Get eraser shavings everywhere. Splash, splatter, and go nuts. But when you don’t even have this opportunity to make a mess, everything becomes generic and uniform. I’m sure you’ve noticed that with many art forms lately, it’s felt flat. A lot of it has felt “the same.” I firmly believe these new digital art trends are aiding in that. I’m not saying that there’s no good art out there, because there most definitely is. But I am saying that numerous new artists are learning in too sterile of an environment now and they just aren’t using the same senses and full extent of their abilities anymore. And it’s sad to me to watch.
Look, art is what defines a culture. If sterility is what society seems to want, then this is your first step, world. If you take art, and essentially castrate it, like electronic “art” does, then this will be your outcome.
So quit it with the digital emulations Crayola, stick with making actual crayons.