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The Digital Art Debate: Why True Talent Shows No Matter the Medium

Digital art has a PR problem. Created on computers with software tools, it is often seen as somehow less serious, original and creative than conventional art. Such perceptions affect other forms of art as well, modern music and photography among them.

Where does the lack of regard come from?
To see why all digital art seems suspect to some, you need to look no further than the heaps of questionable digital creations published today. From music cobbled together on loop-based recording software to images that use Photoshop manipulation, digital tools make it easy to create without being creative. Since gimmickry tends to be harder with traditional art forms, fewer examples tend to come out. While such criticism of unskilled digital creations is legitimate, however, it is hardly fair to tar all things digital with the same brush.

Digital art requires the same training
When people question the value of digital art, they often do so because they suspect that it is far easier than conventional art. A look at the training that digital artists put themselves through is all it takes to see the problem with this argument. While some digital artists are self-taught, many train at conventional art, and are skilled at it. They have degrees in art, and train further for specific skills. The process by which they achieve their effects may require digital tools and processing (Photoshop and tablets for artists, for instance), but many examples exist where great effects are produced with minimal processing.

Digital art can move
Digital artists who manage to produce such works go through the same steps that conventional artists do. Unlike hobbyists whose involvement extends no further than fun with the latest equipment or software, true artists draw on a deep understanding of the medium, of human emotion and psychology. They strive to create works that comment on human nature and the state of the world, and inspire viewers to think and change.

Graphic design magazines highlight the hundreds of stunning products of pure imagination that artists come up with each day around the world. These examples succeed in moving people.

The Lumen Prize
The Lumen prize is the Academy Award of the digital art world. Lumens, each year, are awarded to works that show the greatest imagination, originality and ability to inspire. Tellingly, the winners each year are chosen by a panel of experts from the world of conventional art. For 2016, the panel includes museum directors, artistic directors, fine arts professors and art curators. In other words, experts in conventional art do not question the legitimacy of digital art.

It is conventional for those who love established activities to wonder if a new development is worth their while. Time alone can really answer the question with digital art. If the digital art created today is appreciated centuries from now, it will have proven itself. Until then, one can only look at the dedication that these artists bring to their craft today. Judged on commitment, these artists are as serious as any whose names the world has been familiar with forever.

Amelie Banks is a student who recently signed up for media studies. A creative individual, Amelia is a digital artist in her spare time and either writes about movies and TV shows, music or digital art in her articles.

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