Friday, April 30, 2010

Traditional Media - a dying art?

I know, I know, I'm normally posting about animals and nature-y things on my blog if I'm not just rattling off personal, but today you get an art post.

Something I've noticed over time, wading through art online and taking account of what seems to be the most popular, is that digital art is on the rise.

Now, this makes sense of course, seeing as how digital tools are getting better, it's a lot easier to layer and fix your mistakes than it is with paint or even pencil, and you can get flashier effects in general without as much fuss if you know what you're doing. A lot of emphasis on the knowing what you're doing part as I am currently a hopeless case when it comes to digital art. It evades me.

However, there seems to be this strange trend where traditional art gets overlooked. I tried to chalk it up to the fact that the well-known artists were all just switching to digital, and that a well-known artist who does a traditional piece will still get lots of views and comments and attention. But then something happened with my own artwork that threw off that idea completely.

Now, I am not a popular artist. I don't even consider myself a particularly good one, at least not lately as I have been terribly uninspired and not really inclined to push myself to improve. I have other things on my mind, simple fact of life, so I've put off improvement in that arena for later, when I have more time and energy to devote to my hobby. I do primarily traditional-media art, particularly colored pencil and watercolor pieces as it doesn't cost a whole lot or make much mess, so I can just sort of sit on the couch and doodle. I have a few pieces that I am quite proud of, most are just mediochre.

However a while back I uploaded a digital piece that I had done, in part to cheer somebody up but also just to toy around and see what I could do, since with all my art programs and photo editors I'm still not very good. The end result was, well... it wasn't good. At all. It was this godawful piece of work that I can't even compare to my traditional pen-and-paper drawings, and yet it got more attention than ANYTHING else in my gallery, including the professional photography work which is a far sight better than most of my drawings.

I have to admit, it made me a little sick.

Is this really what we've come to? How can it be that a terrible digital piece can get more favorable reviews than one that shows much more talent, but with watercolors and pencils?

I guess it's no wonder most online artists don't bother with actual paints these days. But I do think it's a shame. And it's a mystery to me why everyone automatically labels digital as "better" even in cases where it's not.

Do me a favor: next time you see a beautiful picture that was done in real paint, real watercolor, real colored pencils, pastels, and not touched up or painted on the computer, leave a comment. Digital art programs are a great and wonderful tool, they take a lot of talent to use, but never forget the talent and work it takes to use actual, physical paints on a real canvas or piece of paper. Those people are artists too.

Don't let them go out of style.

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