What is wrong with calling it what it is? PDF Print E-mail
Digital imaging is everywhere today. If we are talking about digital fine art with a gallery owner or the media, we have to be precise. What is wrong with calling it what it is?  Excerpt from a threaded discussion about digital fine art on the Yahoo Digital Fine Art Group.

What is wrong with calling it what it is?

Thread Participants, Yahoo Digital Fine Art Group, Fall 2004
[David Blanchard, Wayne Cosshall, Steve Danzig, Klaus Dieter Dill, Stephen Greenfield, David Heidelberg, JD Jarvis, Harald Johnson, Dolores Kaufman, Maria Kruse, Anil Rao, Ansgard Thomson]

Editor's Note:

The rough and tumble of internet communication plays out in a variety of formats, one of which is the “group” (or bulletin board style of posting). The Yahoo Digital Fine Art Group numbers over 4700 members with posted messages in excess of 30,000 since its inception on November 11, 2000. With the reposting of this article in January 2007, the membership has grown to over 7300 members and posts in excess of 43,000.

Information on joining the Digital Fine Art Yahoo discussion group can be found at Digital Fine Art Yahoo discussion group. A description of this discussion group is appended to the end of this thread.

A recurrent theme is the nature, contours, history and semantics of “digital art.” This particular thread arose in the context of another thread, “How do you distinguish Digital Art from Digital Photography,” initiated by Bob Goldberg (October 23, 2004). Prior to this thread, there were related topics including “Definitions of digital art” (October 7, 2004) and a lone post “I am an artist” (October 9, 2004) as well as posts on numerous other topics.

The thread “How do you distinguish . . . “ provided the trigger for a resurrection of a discussion about digital art that had occurred several times since the beginning of this group. Several posts to the discussion about distinguishing digital art from digital photography provide us with a starting point to calling “What it is . . . is.” [A smaller splinter titled “What it is . . . “has been merged with “What it is . . . is.”]

The commentary travels back and forth and around several curves. The discussants are at once serious, light hearted and spirited. This is a conversation worth listening in on. As this conversation progresses, separate lines of discussion emerge, which are worth noting: “What it is and who is it,” “Naming what is,” “What it’s not” and “What it takes.”

Most of the participants have allowed me to craft their comments – lightly edited – into this dialogue.

[Note: Each new post is given a number and each paragraph within that post is given an extension number. This numbering system makes it easier for subsequent posts to refer back to earlier ones.]

1.0 . . . . . 10-25-04 . . . . . JD Jarvis

1.1. Harald Johnson wrote:

[Ed. Note: The definitions referred to are part of the new Digital Art Practices and Terminology Task Force (DAPTTF) and its effort in formalizing a glossary.]

The art or process of capturing an image onto a recording medium (whether photographic film or image sensor/detector) by the action of light or other radiant energy with the aid of a camera or other device.

Digital Art:
Art created with one or more digital processes or technologies. [This is intentionally vague and open-ended]

1.2 Harald Johnson and all, Ah ... so the glossary has already become useful. That's great! It appears to do exactly what is hoped by providing a starting point for these sorts of distinctions.

1.3 To the question of when a "digital photograph" becomes "digital art" -- perhaps the decision could be based on the perceived intent of the artist. Traditional dark room techniques allowed an artist to take chemical wet photos beyond the recording of a moment into a more highly manipulated and often distorted statement, without the need to call it anything but, "photography."

1.4 But the degree to which a digital photo can now go beyond even those expanded "dark room" manipulations is obviously something apart. Perhaps if more than one photo image is used as with collage or if the manipulations exceed the standard focus, cropping and dodging et al. and yields a piece with a high degree of recognizable manipulation, that might qualify it for the "digital art" category. Better yet, perhaps, think of a way to possibly rid your contest of categories all together. It is all "digital imaging" whether those images are photobased or internally generative images.

1.5 I want to again note, as I have to the degree of "ad nauseum," that this struggle to come to grips with what we should call various digital output is very significant.

1.6 "Original," "reproduction," "paint," "print," "photograph," all things that were just a few years ago well known and universally understood are now thrown open for question and debate. This tussle gets right at the important changes that hypermedia has brought to our culture. Digital art and photography being only a small part of this aesthetic and cultural (r)evolution in which we all have a part.

1.7 All summed up nicely in this bumper sticker I saw recently which read, "Having failed in my quest for truth, I am now looking for a good fantasy." Maybe a "photo" represents the old quest for truth and a digital image is part of the current search for the "good fantasy."

2.0 . . . . . 10-26-04 . . . . . Ansgard Thomson

[Reference to 1.1 and 1.4]

2.1 JD and Harald Johnson and all:

I do not think this will work .

2.2 Digital imaging is everywhere today, but if we are talking about Digital Fine Art Definitions to present to a gallery or to the media we have to be precise.

2.3 What is wrong with calling it what it is !!

2.4 Photography - Digital Photography - Digital Photopaint - Fine Art -Original Digital - Digital mixed media -Digital Collage - Digital drawing and painting.

2.5 I think artists will have less problems to identify with one or the other if they are honest with themselves.

2.6 If a print is an original print call it an original print. If it is a reproduction call it a reproduction .

2.7 Most members in this group hate the computer generated term. I suggest they go back to paint and draw on paper or canvas or find a way of changing it.

2.8 Why scratching your right side of your head with your left hand, when it is much easier to do it with your right hand :-)

2.9 JD ,your fantasy is just that, avoiding the facts and play around with words that mean nothing in the long run to help to solve the problems all digital artists are facing today.

3.0 . . . . . 10-27-04 . . . . . Ansgard Thomson

3.1 Ansgard Thomson citing Stephen Greenfield citing Ansgard Thomson:

“What is wrong with calling it what it is !!”

3.2 [Stephen Greenfield] You've hit the nail on the head. Some people seem hell-bent to call it everything but what it is. Like when people call baloney "Tube Steak," but it still tastes like baloney.

The efforts to define words for "official acceptance" is as gimmicky as the term "giclee". Beware of those who would define your work by their terminology. After all, artists as a rule are independent souls, not a collective.

3.3 [Ansgard Thomson replies] Yes. I like to hit the nail on the head. The main reason we do have so many different artists in this group is they all use mainly the digital printing for their art and that defines the group as digital printers not digital artists.

3.4 [Stephen Greenfield] Digital art is meaningless as a term as is watercolor art or photographic art or oil art.

3.5 [Ansgard Thomson] True. Try to become a member of "Watercolorists in North America" as a photographer, they will send you to your professional group in a hurry. If digital artists keep on calling anything digital that is printed by digital means we [would] look pretty poor as a "Professional Art Group."

4.0 . . . . . 10-29-04 . . . . . Klaus Dieter Dill, David Heidelberger and Stephen Greenfield

[Reference to 2.3 - 2.5 re: artists being honest with themselves.]

4.1 We are beginning to get on track here. Why not call it what it is? Art. Digital is a medium, just like acrylics and oils, but it's called painting. It's not called stone sculpture or wood sculpture or metal sculpture. It's called sculpture.

4.2 When we begin to present our work as art and not as digital painting or digital printmaking or digital photographs, we will begin to gain the respect we deserve as artists, not just digital artists. When I am asked what i do (which is superfluous anyway) I say I am an artist. Then I am asked to relate my media. I never say that I am a digital artist because I'm not. I currently use digital as a medium.

4.3 David Heidelberger referring to Klaus Dieter Dill: KDD has makes a VERY important point. As artists we must mandate our work be taken as seriously by others as we take ourselves. When we complete a piece we are far more excited by its now completeness and tangibility than we are by its production by oils, watercolors, or digits.

4.4 Stephen Greenfield referring to David Heidelberger: That is much of the problem. "Artists" that take themselves too seriously and ask the rest of the world to see their greatness and bitch and moan when their creative genius is not instantly recognized. You can take your work seriously, but "mandate" the world accept your art seriously? Now that is funny.

5.0 . . . . . 10-29-04 . . . . . JD Jarvis

5.1 [Transition to new subject] What it is ... is

5.2 Of course, what we make with our computers is ‘art’ first and foremost, but what the call-it-what-it-is crowd seems to overlook is that too many art buyers, art festival jurors, and average gallery owners do not know what it is. How can you "call it what it is" when you don't know "what it is"?

5.3 Some people really want to know how you can call it a painting when there is no pigment, brushes or canvas. Some people want to know how you can make a photograph without sequestering yourself in the dark and dipping your fingers in smelly chemicals. Some people want to know how you can call it a print when there is no physical matrix brought under pressure against paper to make an "imprint." Some people want to know how you can push some buttons, evoke an algorithm designed by an unknown mathematician, packaged for ease of interface and operation by scores of nameless and faceless software engineers and call it "art." It is not enough to say, "but it is Art"!

5.4 People, important people, want to know what kind of art it is.

5.5 And, while I never think about this much myself when making or preparing my art for display, the fact that the medium I have chosen to create my work is unlike any other medium we have known, that digitalization of such a wide and pervasive set of artforms is occurring in a global culture, that by making art with these tools we are humanizing a mechanism that is heretofore better known as a cold and inhuman device. We may not only be dealing with just a new way to make art but a New Art altogether that reflects a new aesthetic within a global culture, which makes discussion and the creation of appropriate and meaningful terminology tantamount in this Art's development.

5.6 Further, I believe that at this stage of development our thinking and discussion of these greater issues behind the artwork will far outreach and outlast any particular piece of that Art now being made or exhibited. If you don't want to think about this…don't. If you don't want to use any of the terminologies or paradigms that have been developed by people who also think about their artwork, then…don't.

5.7 Critical thought and consideration about what it is that you are doing is not a gimmick. Every successful movement in art history happened because someone wrote about it and explained it to the rest of the world outside those that were producing the art. This sort of discussion is exactly what keeps this group of Yahoos from become a nuts and bolts digital-printers-only-chat-group. If you don't want to think or discuss or seek some sort of "official acceptance" for your oh-so-special Art, then…don't. But, then why get so hot and go to the trouble of writing so much about not writing about art? Just…don't.

6.0 . . . . . 10/30/04 . . . . . Steve Danzig

6.1 I'm probably going to sound a little cynical in my response to your post. [5.0] Not for one second do I assume a position of importance. Some of us (like you I think) work as art directors, writers etc and are challenged daily to qualify and contextualize this thing called digital.

6.2 Who wants to know? I'm not so sure "important" people want know the technical difference between styles as a primary concern. I'm defining "important" [cf. 5.4] as a senior curator or director of a major institution, or historian or critic. Perhaps from a technical/training/education position your points hold more weight. Programming of exhibitions have adapted new terminology - photo-media or new-media for example.

6.3 In my daily digest of programming exhibitions/writing articles etc., the documenting of art history lends itself more to how a genre has impacted within the sociopolitical not about any distinction of category. The above said "important" people don't care if something is inkjet vs photopaper vs manipulated vs non manipulated as against who is actually making the art. Beyond this group or your own curiosity I would challenge anyone to show me one example where technical process was primary. Art history didn't concern itself with Warhol's mixed media as a technical influence, nor Hamilton, Rauschenberg, Duchamp, Starn Bros and so on.

6.4 I'm making this distinction between a learning/academic environment and the art world as a 2ndary and primary value. Interestingly we have just gone thru a process of defining our IDAA selection criteria and on research this point of comparative process is not of any concern eg. Siggraph, IV, LAB 3000, IDAA etc. A call for technology is a call for technology where such processes are not questioned and specific branding is more than understood eg. inkjet, Lambda, photograph, print etc. I think you sometimes run the risk of re-branding a topic (granted close to your heart) that has been discussed many times on this very board. I think the dialogue needs to move on from a historical point. The very people who are trying to move things forward run the risk of restricting the knowledge base.

6.5 Otherwise we risk silly dialogue:

6.6 Ramsbottom: "I say Smithers, I believe that is a rare 1992 red breasted African Inkjet print using 91.3754 lb cold press Arches ceramic coated velvet handmade paper which is pressed in China by 3 virgins before being shipped to India and having 3 hairy backed Elephants fart on it! This filter and and that filter make it a wonderful piece of photomedia manipulated digital art don't you think?"

6.7 Smithers: "Oh absolutely Ramsbottom, you can smell the art from at least 200 feet away - definitely photomedia manipulated digital art. Of course if you could smell it at 100 feet it would be just a photograph!"

6.8 In support to your position I would add that we make clear distinctions between what is learning and what is art. The art world cares more about who is making it as against the processes of a JD Jarvis (respectfully).

7.0 . . . . . October 29, 2004 . . . . . JD Jarvis

7.1 Of course, what we make with our computers is Art first and foremost, but what the "call it what it is" crowd seems to overlook is that too many art buyers, art festival jurors, and average gallery owners do not know what it is. How can you "call it what it is" when you don't know "what it is"?

8.0 . . . . . October 30, 2004 . . . . . Anil Rao

8.1 I have loved reading your essays and posts and will always do so. So I hope you continue to write on these topics. Even if some of us don't readily agree with what you say, it sure sparks a nice discussion in most cases.

8.2 I can understand where you are trying to go with this but I get the feeling that in some cases you are becoming overly defensive of your stand.

8.3 Some people want to know how you can make a photograph without sequestering yourself in the dark and dipping your fingers in smelly chemicals.

8.4 For instance people today are already aware (actually have been for a few decades if I am not mistaken) that you don't have to be in the dark dipping your fingers in smelly chemicals to make a photographic print. Small photo labs (some even located inside grocery stores) have had automated machines for a long time that are operated by untrained teenagers (who could care less if they drag your precious film on the floor). People are accustomed to dropping their film off at such places and picking up "photographic" prints (if I can call it that) an hour or so later. In the more modern times that we live in people go to places like Costco, etc. and have photo prints made from their digital memory cards. Ask any of those folks if their prints are photo prints or not and they will all say that they are.

8.5 I am a little concerned about this classification that we seem to be rushing to establish. While it may serve the needs of certain disciplines it can hurt others. I have seen several mentions in this particular thread for instance that a photographic print would be something that is primarily made from a single exposure. If we were to follow that, how would you classify an image that was comprised of multiple exposures of the same scene, with different exposure settings that were later blended in PhotoShop to produce one resulting image. I know of several landscape photographers (still working with film cameras btw) who have adopted this approach over graduated neutral density filters. They claim that they have a lot more control on the final result. Is their work photography or digital art? Is it manipulated digital photography?

8.6 Consider another example. Suppose I were to use color transparency film to make a photo, convert it to B&W using PhotoShop and produce a light-jet print on traditional photographic paper. What category would I fall into? Should my work be relegated to digital art, digital photography or is this just plain old photography done using modern tools available to us in this day and age. Does it really matter? Will putting me in a separate bucket really help a gallery owner or potential buyer? Perhaps it might, but on the other hand it might not.

8.7 Photographers (and I am sure most artists working in other mediums) have almost always ended up adopting newer tools. A photograph made from a modern day 35mm SLR is no less or more of a photograph than one made from an ancient 8x10 view camera using glass plates. So why should we worry so much if someone is using a digital camera or film or scanned film (like myself) to eventually make our prints?

8.8 I don't pretend to be a big "New York Museum" caliber photographer. However, I am quite sure that [most] folks who are able to afford my prints but don't buy from me are not doing so because of the workflow that I employ to create my prints; rather it’s because they are not moved sufficiently by my photos to want to own a print. There are exceptions of course, but I surely don't want to spend my time and effort trying to convince this minority that my prints are as authentic as old fashioned wet-darkroom prints. I'd much rather try and elevate my work so that it is appreciated for its content and not the process. Processes come and go; what we have today might become obsolete in a a few years; hopefully if I can improve my photography that will last for my lifetime.

9.0 . . . . . October 30, 2004 . . . . . Anil Rao

”If the most significant part of the image creation process happens inside the camera, then it's photography.” (Reference available at website.)

9.1 A lot of us (photographers) disagree with your statement above. Here is the web-site of good friend and excellent photographer Tony Kuyper. If you read his own statement (under Creative Notes) you will understand that a lot of Tony's creations are actually made on a computer. Having seen some of his original untouched film scans I can attest that the significant part of the image creation took place on a computer much after the film came out of the camera.

9.2 This is why I have been arguing that a simplistic method of classification like what has been proposed above is not sufficient.

10.0 . . . . . October 30, 2004 . . . . . Ansgard Thomson

[Reference to 6.8 re: the distinction between learning and making art.]

10.1 JD and SD, I know both your art for years and I agree with the statement that "the art world cares more about .who is making it !!!!" This is a fact . Promoting an artist costs money and if either of you are getting attention by the media, no one will care how you did your digital manipulations even "if you do not know what is” yourself :-) I am slightly amused by this kind of debate.

11.0 . . . . . October 30, 2004 . . . . . Ansgard Thomson

[Reference to 9.0]

11.1 The main thing is that you and the other photographers are talking about refer to their works as photographs and appear to feel comfortable with it even if they have used a computer for enhancing their work in Photoshop or any other way. After all it is a clear statement. An artist is using his photograph to change the image in a series of several computer manipulations and identifies himself as a digital artist and not a photographer might have the answer you are looking for. As long as you love what you are doing.

12.0 . . . . . October 30, 2004 . . . . . Steve Danzig

12.1 I think Wayne already pointed out - some while ago now - that one difference between the hobbyist and professional mindset was a focus on medium and execution for the former, and content and intent for the latter.

12.2 Even so, there are two issues here. One is that sizeable parts of the art market still do care about media. God only knows why, but it's a detail you'll find listed in catalogues from the biggest exhibitions on down.

12.3 Digital media are *different* because they do define the medium in a way that pastels and oils don't.

[Reference to all media following similar development.]

12.4 Such as - photography? Like digital, this had its greatest impact just on the basis of its technology for at least the first fifty years or so. It only mutated into something distinctive very slowly, and only really got to where it was going after the technology evolved to the point where you could take a photo without asking the world to stop moving for five minutes.

[Reference to awareness coming with a long view of history.]

12.5 I don’t disagree here... but my point refers to "after the fact" that we own a history and a knowledge base. I'm not suggesting the technology wasn't important only that it has moved on and we need to be aware of such movement. JD position is valid but I don't think it's as primary as it was 5 years ago.

[Reference to the contrary perspectives of good art as against the digital quality of the art.]

12.6 Not sure what you're saying. You can always set new parameters within a paradigm - like life, it's a living document. We set a directive within a broad appeal and hopefully present a positive outcome.

[Reference to IDAA winners in 2004 having the quality of art and digital, but without being in a group with social impact.]

12.7 I'm not so sure about that. One would need to look more closely beyond 1 or 3 images an artist enters. However the IDAA is certainly a portal for such work. It has too because that's what artists do for the most part.

12.8 The angle in which one curates an award/exhibition is always multidimensional. As a side perhaps you could refer to those works in the IDAA that are not sociopolitical. I'm not sure making such an exact point is relevant to my response to JD.

[Reference to whether computer-generated art would be good or bad if no humans were involved.]

12.9 Don't know. Does it matter?

13.0 . . . . . October 30, 2004 . . . . . Steve Danzig

13.1 OK, now this is getting freaky. Anyone who can quote a previous post by index number in this case 25529 is way tooo obsessive for my liking. *wink*

13.2 Umm. . . if that's what Wayne said then I respectfully disagree. I don't believe anyone creates art by consciously branding them self like that - by this definition Jerry Uelsmann is both hobbyist and professional. It's at best a contradiction in terms.

14.0 . . . . . October 30, 2004 . . . . . Anil Rao

[Reference to a post about composition within the camera as opposed to darkroom adjustments.]

14.1 Going by your definition (and this time I am praying that I have understood it) Neil Folberb's images in his latest book "Celestial Nights (published by Aperture) isn't photography. Here is an excerpt from an interview by Brooks Jensen in which Neil states (taken from LensWork, No 53, Jun-Jul 2004):

14.2 "To make photographs of the sky as we see it, not as the camera sees it, you have to precisely move the camera to track the movement of the stars while exposing the photograph. Exposures take about 30 seconds or so. But, of course, that opens up another problem: namely, by moving the camera to track the stars, the landscape is moving in the camera's view. These competing technical problems led me to create these photographs for Celestial Nights in two new areas. It required the combination of two separate exposures - one for the stars and one for the landscape - and then combining them in the computer. I combine them into one image using Photoshop."

14.3 So as you can see Neil not only composes his multiple exposure on a computer, he often makes these individual exposure at different locations.

14.4 Of course, you must be right and Neil's work isn't photography. :)

14.5 I never confused photography with other forms of digital art. All I am saying is in order to distinguish the two we cannot rely on a simplistic definition of what photography comprises of - specially in the digital age. Doing so will mean that many modern day photographers will suddenly find that their work doesn't quite fit into either category - photography or digital art. We need to be careful this doesn't happen. I think I have said enough on this topic. ;)

15.0 . . . . . October 30, 2004 . . . . . Maria Kruse

15.1 Hmm, how about - ink on paper? Maybe too simple?

16.0 . . . . . October 31, 2004 . . . . . Wayne J. Cosshall

16.1 Yes, I did say that the hobbyist level was more concerned with technique and the 'pro art end' more concerned with who, why and what they said. I am really impressed that anyone can quote by post number. I'll have to be more careful what I say :)

16.2 Let me elaborate a little here. This is the way I see it. Please note none of the below is being judgmental in terms of valuing somethings more highly than others, just observations. Note also that while I talk of two main ends of the art market, it is in fact a continuum.

16.3 First let's look at the artists themselves. At the hobbyist level, artists are often still coming to grips with whatever medium they work with, and there is often a huge amount of insecurity about their technique, so they are often very interested in how work is done, to see if they can learn from it. This insecurity also manifests as dogmatism about what is good art or not, based on technique, not content. 'Professional' artists on the commercial track also often have a hobbyist mentality. 'Professional' artists on the fine art track have generally stepped outside of the concern with technique and are more focused on what they are trying to say and what is the best way of presenting it.

16.4 Now let's consider the institutions, and that includes competitions, camera clubs, etc. Again there is a hobbyist and a 'professional' end. The hobbyist end includes most art fairs, markets, many group exhibitions and many galleries. Here there is a tendency to rank art by medium. Heavens, I've seen people at some of these who wouldn't buy anything except an oil painting because that is real art. At the hobbyist end photography is still often a poor cousin to the 'real' art of painting, because many people consider there is more skill involved in painting than in pointing a camera at something (their perception of what photography is). And photography has been around for a bloody long time. So is there any wonder that digital art has problems in this segment? Note that both photography and digital art suffer here because of the marketing of the camera, computer and software companies who like to give the impression that it is all so easy. At the 'professional' end, leading institutions, galleries, museums and collectors are really only interested in who made the art and, to some extent, what they have to say. Since the early 20th Century fine art has moved away from any real concern with the medium and has concentrated on the artist and the image. Does the contemporary fine art world care if something is a painting, photography or digital print? No. The reality is that an art world that can embrace art made out of chocolate will accept anything.

16.5 Yes, a major museum catalogue will list medium, but do not confuse this with being really concerned about it. Exhibition catalogues are a major source document for later art historical work, and so it is meaningful for institutions to document as fully as possible. Such institutions also play a key role in education, where again such information is useful. Your work will never make it into a major collection or exhibition because you have picked the right, magic label to describe your digital art. You'll get there because you have built a reputation, talk about your work in a contemporary framework (which means have the right intellectual concepts driving your work) and present a coherent, interesting body of work that says something interesting.

16.6 So, in the interests of education, where to from here? Well, IMHO spending a lot of time discussing what to call digital art is really a form of mental masturbation that is either a waste of time, an avoidance mechanism to delay having to actually make some art, pandering to the ego or trying to sound more important than you actually are to the art world (and I say that without having any illusions about my own importance). At the end of the day, it is like sex, there are those that have it and those who talk about it.

16.7 So here is a little personal advice: If you are a beginning digital artist, yes spend time getting your technique down pat, but also spend a lot of time looking at the best art available, and also start reading on contemporary art practice (don't just limit yourself to digital) by people who are recognized by the art establishment. Read the articles on the IDA web site and read magazines like Art in America, etc. as well as books on contemporary art and artists. Make a lot of art and be your own worst critic. If you are going to ask others for their opinion, firstly choose who you ask so you get meaningful feedback and don't get your nose out of joint if the feedback is not positive. I am amazed at how many people have asked me to comment on their work and then been upset when I have given them an honest, reasoned and often exhaustive criticism.

16.8 The most important thing is to know thyself. To make it in the real fine art world is a massive investment of time, energy, money and intellect. Are you really willing to go that far or do you want it as a nice hobby? Be honest with yourself. There is nothing wrong with saying 'I want to enjoy this, but I am not willing to go the whole hog'. If you are seriously on the pro fine art track then the opinions of the hobbyists mean absolutely nothing, because they are speaking a different language. I have sometimes been asked why it is that I haven't asked that person's opinion of my art. The reason is that I ask the opinion from people who are in a position to give meaningful comment. I ask from people further along than me, because, frankly, the opinion of people who are less advanced in their careers or who know less of contemporary art theory and practice than myself will not help me to advance my work. If you want to sell work at art fairs and markets then recognize that you are a commercial artist and be really good at what you do and make heaps of money. People do. But don't let the ego tell you that your work is more than commercial art. If you want to have fun only, do some expression and a bit of personal growth, go for it and have fun. Life is good. You can ignore all the intellectual crap, and the rubbish that is dressed up as intellectual stuff, that too often gets treated by the less knowledgeable as meaningful.

16.9 Whichever of the above three you want to follow, get busy making art. Leave the discussions of the correct naming of digital art, etc, to the people who will actually do it, the art historians and theoreticians at the major universities, and curators at the big institutions. Anyone else is pissing in the wind, as we tend to say down under.

17.0 . . . . . October 31, 2004 . . . . . Klaus Dieter Dill

[Reference to thread that had given rise to “what it is” – ie. “How do you distinguish digital photography from digital art”]

17.1A [Reference to comment by Stephen Greenfield] That is much of the problem. "Artists" that take themselves too seriously and ask the rest of the world to see their greatness and bitch and moan when their creative genius is not instantly recognized.

17.1B You can take your work seriously, but "mandate" the world accept your art seriously? Now that is funny.

17.2 [Klaus Dieter Dill] That is what i hear on this list. Artists bitching and moaning that their work is not being accepted as art. That is what i was talking about, presenting your work as art and not "digital art" or "oil painting" or "wood sculpture" or "...."

17.3 What does it matter what processes or tools you use to create the work. if it has content and substance and can elicit a reaction from the viewer, whether positive or negative (i.e. robert mapplethorpe, who did both), then you have done your job as an artist.

17.4 Mandate is too strong a word, but if you don't take your work seriously and present it as "art," then no one else will accept your work as "art."

18.0 . . . . . October 31, 2004 . . . . . Ansgard Thomson

[Reference: Expanding thread to ‘What it is . . . and who is it ?’]

[Reference to 16.1]

18.1 You are right by saying what ever you like .This forum is for "digital" artists to air their concerns. I took the time to visit your website and found more of your thoughts in your library. http://www.artinyourface.com/library.htm (Someone else might like to read it to better understand your comments in this group.)

18.2 As far as I am informed as an artist the division line between hobbyist and professional is decided by the tax man and by "who is who in the art world." :-)

18.3 A free lance artist with "any art education" making his living by other work because he can not live from his sales is just as concerned if not even more than the professional (usually someone to make a living not from its sale of art, but by teaching art.

18.4 The fact that a degree in fine arts does not always make an artist and very often end up in some kind of administration or research we must understand thar only the art he or she produces makes the artist.

18.5 Most artists will agree with my statement because how many do make a living today as an artist????

18.6 Being accepted in any active art group makes the difference for the free lance artist as well as the art teacher.

18.7 Best wishes for IDAA 2005 that is great undertaking down under. Wish we had something like it in Alberta, Canada .

19.0 . . . . . October 31, 2005 . . . . . Harald Johnson

[Reference to 16.1 re: hobbyist and professional.]

19.1 Wayne makes some excellent points in his recent message, and, as is typical with him and me, I have some differing opinions. Not about everything he says, because I agree with much of it, but there are some things that jump out at me as needing another point of view. I'll try to slice out those items from the main text for response, hopefully not making a mish-mash of Wayne's intentions. He'll let me know if I have, I'm sure ;-)

[Reference to 16.3 re: hobbyist mentality and “professional” artists.]

19.2 I know that Wayne is trying hard to phrase this in the right way to identify various art levels or areas, but using the word "hobbyist" is very risky here. It has a negative connotation when applied to professional artists who would hardly consider themselves hobbyists. As Wayne himself says later, there is nothing wrong with being a hobbyist, but by definition, a professional cannot be a hobbyist (although a hobbyist can aspire to be a professional). More about this following.

[Reference to 16.4]

19.3 No. Again, Wayne is mixing up these two key words "hobbyist" and "professional." I see it more like this: (A) there something that I call "High Art," which is what I believe Wayne calls "fine art" or some call The Fine Art World or just Art (with a capital A). This is the world of art museums, historians, critics, and all the rest, as Wayne well explains. [And let's not get into the name of this group here, please; that's another discussion] (B) There is something that I call "Decor or Commercial Art," which I believe Wayne also calls "commercial art," and others call all kinds of things. And like Wayne, I don't believe that these are the only two categories, but that there is an art market continuum with all kinds of groupings and exceptions and blurring in between and all around.

19.4 In fact, an example of the blurring of the edges of "High" and "Commercial" art is with elite photographers. Take Annie Liebovitz, for example, one of the most famous living photographers in the world today. She's primarily a portraitist, that is, she takes pictures of famous people, usually on assignment from either a magazine (e.g., Vanity Fair) or a corporation (e.g., American Express). This is clearly "commercial" work, and this is how that work is defined by her and everyone else. But, guess what? As soon as she has an exhibition of those same images in a fine-art gallery or museum, the work has now moved over and become "fine art." And it's the same work! Some will argue that she is not truly a "fine art photographer/artist," and my response is, "so what?"

19.5 But my main point here is that it's not just artists in the High Art world who are professionals. The art fair circuit is certainly a place for professionals. How could it be otherwise? The photographer-artists who exhibit at these make their livings creating and selling their art. These are not hobbyists. The same goes for many "decor art" galleries, online stores, frame shops, interior design companies, hotel chains ... the list goes on and on.

19.6 In fact, I would guess -- although I don't know -- that, if one had to guess, and I'm sort of arguing against myself by doing this, the vast majority of "creatives" (photographers, artists) on this list fall into the Decor/Commercial art camp as opposed to the purely High Art one. And I'm certainly not putting down the High Arters; in fact, I admire them immensely. However, since much of High Art is automatically beyond our influence (belonging, as Wayne says, to art critics, educational institutions, etc.), then I think there ends up being much more to talk about here on the D-FA list on the Commercial or Decor art side. And this is where matters of technique and medium become more important.

[Reference to 16.6 re: discussing ‘what it is’ is a waste of time.]

19.7 Well, obviously I DO NOT agree in terms of the huge Commercial/Decor art world that many of us inhabit. The confusion about what all this new digital stuff is and what it should be called is a major issue in this section of the art world. Of course, the art marketers take a big role in deciding these things, but unlike in the High Art world, artists can also have a big influence, in my opinion. Artists are asked all the time, "What do we call these things of yours we're selling?" If all the photographers or digital artists out there started calling all their prints Wayneographs or Haraldographs, I can guarantee you that the commercial galleries, stores, art buyers, etc. would start talking about them in exactly that way.

19.8 Now, Wayne also brings up an interesting point about talking vs. doing. However, this is, after all, a discussion group, and the purpose here is to TALK about stuff. I assume that most creatives on this list are also spending time creating, but there is nothing wrong with coming here to talk, ask questions, and in general become informed about the changes that are swirling around us. This is a community, and people in communities talk about things and watch out for each other. Please do not feel somehow inferior or intimidated by those who suggest that discussion here is somehow bad. It isn't. *It is our mission, after all.*

[Reference to 16.7 re: spending time to getting your technique down]

19.9 All good points, but too limiting from a Commercial/Decor point of view. I think one type of publication that professional or hoping-to-be professional artists here don't take advantage of is something like ART BUSINESS NEWS (www.artbusinessnews.com). This is a U.S. trade publication (it's free if you can figure out a way to qualify) mainly for art galleries and other art retailers. It discusses what's selling, what's not, what the trends are, etc. More and more, it's covering digital art, photography and such. Why? Because those art forms -- the art we're here to talk about -- are becoming more popular and more "sellable." Believe me, they wouldn't have articles on these subjects if it wasn't happening. These types of magazines tend to write about emerging trends in the marketplace. For example, I just picked up the latest issue (Oct. 2004), and there's the cover story about the "Gaining Momentum of Foreign Photography." Also, a little further back is a small piece about photographic artist Joe Gemignani's beach images, 420 framed prints of which were just purchased by the new Fontainebleau II hotel opening next month in Miami. There are also ads for giclée printmakers, artists' editions, and all sorts of interesting stuff.

[Reference to 16.8 re: OK to admit enjoyment without going all the way.]

19.10 You're oversimplifying again, Wayne ;-)

[Reference to 16.8]

19.11 Now Wayne is starting to make some sense. At the end of his message, I come away with the idea that there are three main groups (for him): pro fine art, pro commercial art, and amateur hobbyist/personal growth. I don't disagree with these three, although there are probably a few more we've overlooked.

[Reference to 16.9 re: leaving the naming of digital art to the art historians and theoreticians.]

19.12 Again, this view ONLY applies to the one "pro fine art" group. Ignore this advice if you're not in that group. Keep discussing!

20.0 . . . . . October 31, 2004 . . . . . David Blanchard

[Reference to 16.5 re: presenting a body of work that says something.]

20.1 This is an important insight into Wayne's conception of "fine art". What he says is that art is more-or-less secondary to the politically correct BS you spin and the folks you schmooze. He is right. It is Selling 101 and it has always been thus. The first thing a successful sales person sells is their self, the art/used car/Brooklyn Bridge comes later. You still have to make stuff, but your main task is to chat it up (market it) to fame makers.

20.2 If you lack the BS gene, his advice about doing your art your way and enjoying the ride are spot on. If you would rather discuss nuts and bolts with other "hobbyists" than schmooze a critic, do so with your eyes open and sleep well at night. And yes, quit losing sleep over how to categorize your art. If you want to show it somewhere and they don't like what you call it or how you made it, take it elsewhere and (hi Dolores), get over it.

20.3 I do have a quibble with Wayne. He looks down at people who successfully sell their art by slamming them with the dreaded "commercial artist" title. In my opinion if you make art that nobody will buy, you are not a successful artist, fine or otherwise. If anyone mentions the anomaly of poor crazy Vincent, I'll barf.

21.0 . . . . . November 1, 2003 . . . . . Dolores Kaufman

[Reference to 16. and 19.8 re: the purpose of this group is to TALK]

21.1 Thanks Harald, I needed that. You know, soon after arriving at the DFA group ( maybe 2 years or so ago) I recall two (new members then also) who raised the question: What is Digital Fine Art. Remember that? It was a deceptively simple question - almost a trick question - but it energized me, both intellectually and creatively. As a result, it's a question I still keep asking. The answer is elusive and still evolving, but I find it worth my while to keep it in mind as I sit in front of this machine we have all appropriated as a tool for making art. Yes, ALL of us. Categorizing art is one thing, but categorizing artists is quite another. As the lines of a popular song go: "Hey, we're in this thing together". Thanks for reminding us of that.

22.0 . . . . . November 1, 2004 . . . . . JD Jarvis

[Reference to15.1 re: ink on paper is what to call it.]

22.1 But, "what to call it" is a minor part of the discussion. Paintless painting, cameraless photography, matrixfree printing, "authenticity" without a physically present "original," simulation vs. material, illusion vs. fact, instantaneous global exhibitions without need of gallery or "Fine Arts," art which is created by the viewer ... (there's much more) ... but, there are large issues swirling around HyperMedia Art and the culture that is emerging from the use of these tools.

22.2 "What to call it" is a simple and mostly personal matter. Where this is heading and what it has to say about life inside HyperMedia is a different and, I believe, far reaching matter. The fact that it is often hard to pin down exactly what digital art is, where it begins or ends, is a strong signifier of the presence of these greater questions. That's all I'm saying ... maybe that also is too simple.

23.0 . . . . . November 2, 2004 . . . . . Wayne J. Cosshall

[Reference to 16.3 and 19.2 re: hobbyist vs. professional.]

23.1 I had made it clear that hobbyist referred to attitude, not career status. Now I could have used different words here but I wanted to get over the fact that even when people make a transition from a hobby to a career in an area, they often still bring across their hobby attitudes. That's the message here, if you are going to make the transition from being a hobbyist to being a professional you need to have a good hard look at the attitudes that come across with you, because many hobbyist attitudes are not appropriate to professional practice.

[Reference to 16.4 and 19.3 re: mixing concepts up.]

23.2 No, I'm quite clear on what I mean here. What I am referring to is institutions that share the hobbyist preoccupation with medium and technique, rather than on content and message. At the high end, what I call professional, you do not get major museums separating and more highly valuing oils over watercolours, say, in a survey show, unless it is a show on the history of watercolour or some such. Rather it is all art and they may make value judgments on a period of an artist's work, etc. whereas a hobbyist art fair will often have separate categories for oils, watercolours, 'real' photography, digital art, etc.

23.3 Over emphasis on medium and technique, and segregation based on this = hobbyist. Focus on artist's career, content, meaning and/or context = professional.

23.4 Commercial falls into a funny situation in between.

[Reference to 19.4 re: context affecting categorization of work.]

23.5 Yes, and the art world sometimes makes mistakes. It often reflects our over interest in stardom. Of course art history will make the real call on this.

23.6 In my view Annie's [Leibowitz] work is clearly ONLY commercial because it is done on clear commission and under the direction of an art director from the magazine, who one could argue might be the real creative here, plus and probably most importantly Annie is not putting her work in an art historical context and is not trying to say anything beyond this is a great portrait of an over exposed person. :) . . .

[Reference to 19.6 re: estimate that most in this group are Décor/Commercial as opposed to High Art.]

23.7 Yes, I think that is probably a correct placement of the majority of people on this list. The list is split between real hobbyists, commercial artists and fine artists, as well printers, etc. with the smallest group being the fine artists by a long shot.

Technique and understanding are most important to such people, agreed. Not arguing about that.

[Reference to 16.6 and 19.7 re: how important is labeling digital art.]

23.8 Not sure about this. I suspect that what really matters to digital acceptable at commercial galleries and art buyer's at the non-high end will be the selling price of digital works at Sotheby's and Christie's. At the high end there is NO problem with digital acceptance at all.

[Reference to 19.8 re: the purpose of this community is to talk.]

23.9 No one should get the impression I am trying to stiffle meaningful discussion here, since that is the purpose of the group. What I have tried to do is put some of these discussions in perspective and suggest that some of these discussions that just go around in circles are not really helping anyone on the list really. There are better things to talk about. See below.

[Reference to 16.7 and 19.9 re: what to read.]

23.10 Yes, Art Business News is a good source, as are some of the commercial photography mags, etc. Plus of course books on marketing, self promotion, finding a unique edge, branding, etc.

23.11 Also, a little further back is a small piece about photographic artist Joe Gemignani's beach images, 420 framed prints of which were just purchased by the new Fontainebleau II hotel opening next month in Miami. There are also ads for giclée printmakers, artists' editions, and all sorts of interesting stuff.

[Reference to 16.8 re: knowing thyself, making it in the art world or having a hobby; and to 19.10 re: oversimplifying.]

23.12 Harald, how can that statement be oversimplifying. Are you suggesting that it is easy to make it in either commercial or fine art? If so that is a disservice to readers on this list. The reality is that buying a computer and photoshop and running a few filters over some images will not get you discovered. Look at the CVs of fine arts and commercial artists who have made it and you will find years of study and hard work.

[Reference to 16.8 re: commercial art, personal growth and intellectual stuff; 16.9 and 19.11 re: the idea of dividing up artists into three main groups.]

23.13 Disagree. I believe that what happens is that there is a filter down effect from the high to the low. The only lobbying and efforts by artists that will have any impact is that which refers to what is happening at the high end. So see what is happening at the high end, quote it and don't waste time trying to define things that other will do better and are in a position to actually have impact.

23.14 What are great topics for discussion on this list are real critical discussion of art work, discussions of what makes a successful commercial or fine art image, career paths, developmental attitudes, great books to read, etc, etc.

24.0 . . . . . November 2, 2004 . . . . . Steve Danzig

[Reference to 22.2 re: hypermedia.]

24.1 JD, you've shifted the discussion significantly with your last post which I find quite interesting. Now you're either being quite manipulative and clever by throwing this term hypermedia in or you're mixing all these terms under the one umbrella from your original post which confuses me a bit.

24.2 I'll pay you the benefit of the doubt and say your being clever - although it does raise a cautionary radar wondering where the research will come from with your next article...

24.3 I sit quite closely with you on said hypermedia phrasing - more so than worrying about specific styling techniques as you have previously raised. I think hypemedia defines proper historical context for this genre... even more so then my own preference for using IMMERSIVE over and above "Digital" or "electronic" as the root. However, I will stick with Immersive for personal reasons.

24.4 What's been interesting for me is to observe so many different points of view within the one thread. I'm less interested in what has been going between Harald and Wayne because it's simply not where my head or career is at needing to qualify hobbyist/professional status. However, that is not to lesson the value of what they have to say or offer. Wayne sits by my side coz he's quite clever *kiss kiss*

24.5 Back to Hypermedia - JD in a private email to me you gave a quick Hypermedia outline that I think is worthy to share with everyone here if you're kind enough to oblige.

24.6 Harald, your preferential branding has been noted! Please don't tell me I have to sleep with you too *wink* - Don't even think of responding - (I'm just teasing.)

24.7 Keep it up everyone... it's been at the very least entertaining.

25.0 . . . . . November 2, 2004 . . . . . David Blanchard

25.1 There is nothing in a formal definition of "fine art" that drags Wayne's baggage along with it. I think it would be better to use a less judgmental, more descriptive, name entirely. Harald used "high art," but that carries the same judgmental baggage. I mean, there no "fine music." There is classical, rock and roll, baroque, hiphop, dance, etc., but no "fine music." I kinda like "museum art" or "college art" or "academic art" or "artsy-fartsy art." My personal favorite is "artsy-fartsy" because when I'm trying to create an image with museum-like pretense, I call it an AFP (artsy-fartsy photo).

25.2 Bottom line: Let's invent a name implying all that baggage that has its place somewhere in the world of art, but drop the overbearing pretense of "fine." Sorry Harald, fine art was fine until Wayne stomped all over it. Wayne: I kid a bit here, but I think your process argument would much more acceptable with a less pretentious name.

26.0 . . . . . November 2, 2004 . . . . . Maria Kruse

Hey JD, You always hit the nail on the head. It's a great time to be an artist. HyperMedia---I love it!!! It's exciting to be wandering in this not quite undiscovered country" of new ways to communicate and share our own unique visions using these wonderful tools. Leaving down to earth now and soaring into the blue skies of adventure and inspiration. Pixels away!! Okay, I took my meds and am my normal old sober self now.

27.0 . . . . . November 2, 2004 . . . . . JD Jarvis

[Reference to 24.1 re: shifting discussion to hypermedia.]

27.1 I think you are reading far too much of yourself into what or how I write. In fact, my most recent post was to get back to what I had actually said all along, which is to simply note that, in my opinion, the difficulty that a group member had had in determining where digital photography became digital art; that difficulty, to define what we are doing as artists is a strong signifier of deeper issues revolving around what has been called "digital art."

[Reference to 24.2 re: being clever and wondering about JD’s new research areas.]

27.2 Why "cautionary"? What are we cautioning against, Steve? If I write anything it will be based, as always, on what I read, what I think, what I talk about, what interests me in the art I am making at a particular time. Are you suggesting that I am somehow stealing ideas from this group or you? I assure you, I have enough trouble organizing my own thoughts without mudding those waters anymore than they are, thank you.

[Reference to 24.3 re: Steve Danzig’s preference for the term “immersive” rather than “digital’ or “electronic” art.]

27.3 My thoughts, as well as my artwork, are evolving things. Early on I focused on delineating that "digital art" was not one cohesive thing, but rather could be roughly divided into somewhat familiar genres each with their own historical connections or links. These are only my thoughts, not edicts and, if anything, I mean only to encourage others to think about the wider and wider areas that make their work important, beyond personal satisfaction and sales. When logic and rationality prevail over blind passion and insults, I am always open to change my mind. And, everyone is free to call what they want whatever they want. They are also free to ignore me. . . .

[Reference to 24.5 re: request to explain hypermedia.]

27.4 Alright, I'll take the bait. There is much for me to research and turn over about this. Most of the ideas I have along these lines are still decidedly half-baked. I may or may not pursue this, it depends if I think it helps me clarify my own thinking on these matters.

27.5 So, as has been noted in this group and in other writings, the term "Digital Art" is too general in that almost anything made with a computer might and often is called "digital art". And, this term is also too specific in that it does not include work that is executed using traditional media; but to my eye, looks, at least, inspired by "digital" processes or the hyper state of a range of digital media. In particular, I am seeing traditionally made paintings that look quite "digital" in terms of their themes, forms, color and complexity.

27.6 I also began to recognize that, if there is to be a viable aesthetic built around the use of digital tools that, like all aesthetics, it must be far reaching enough to find expression in a wide range of media, not just one set of tools. For example, Surrealism as an aesthetic found expression first as a literary poetic movement and was also expressed in painting, sculpture, films and theatre. In short, I think the term "HyperMedia," as it applies to an over reaching and more inclusive aesthetic and which can be seen to have strong signifiers in the emerging culture in which we increasingly participate, is more viable than "Digital Art."

27.7 I first saw the term "HyperMedia" (sic) used by a painter, Scott Anderson, to describe the source of the distorted and wildly detailed landscapes he exhibited in New American Painters Magazine. We traded e-mail and after some cursory research into the evolution from "hyper text" into what many already call "hyper media," I feel that it is a more pliable term to serve as a better descriptor for what I had been calling the "Digital Art Aesthetic." More on this at: http://www.dpandi.com/essays/jarvis2.html

28.0 . . . . . November 2, 2004 . . . . . Steve Danzig

[Reference to ??] JD, wasn't having a crack at you 'ol boy... far from it. I always appreciate reading what you have to say."...artists take themselves toooo seriously sometimes"

Steve..."like I know what I'm talking about" Danzig

29.0 . . . . . November 2, 2004 . . . . . Ansgard Thomson

29.1 Hi JD and all members. Now you are talking to Steven and to the group to clarify some of the confusion you have created. Thanks.

29.2 One point you made that I totally agree with is: it is important to know "who is doing digital art and why."

29.3 It is true that for me that digital art has become a process of my mind and it is not that easy to find the words for the changes in my perception. Not sure where it will take me in the long run. "Not much left at my age, at least I will not be bored with my computer" :-) Maybe it is the fascination with the process of using the machine instead of a realistic image to start with to express myself "freely" with the hope that someone might even remember any of my images I created.

29.4 One thing for sure the influence of digital art in general has moved on to something new, what you like to call "Hypermedia."

[Reference to 27.6 re: greater viability of the term “hypermedia.’]

29.5 Well you will have to live with this for awhile. Inclusive aesthetics happens in the mind of the artist who is doing the art and that might change in the process of making, no?

29.6 I had named my site right from the beginning "Ansgard Thomson Digital Fine Arts."

29.7 To say mainly I would apply the same principles to my digital art as to my traditional art explorations. "Fine Arts" means to me an attitude towards the freedom of accepting some basic rules that have been established in the art world for a long time and as an artist I live according to those rules. The fact that I did, I am accepted as a member of the Visual Arts of Alberta Association .

29.8 Warren Furman called his art site http://hitecharts.com/ he is also composing music that fits the term.

30.0 . . . . . November 3, 2004 . . . . . Steve Danzig

[Reference to the emerging thread: What it’s not.]

30.1 I think what everyone has written reflects a greater understanding of the many different facets of art making. In this sense it's all valuable and we take or ignore what we need.

30.2 In terms of over-valuing the fine-art establishment I'm not sure what that means. My day to day digestion as artist and art director sits specifically within a fine art and institutional environment as against someone like Wayne, who is more centric to the commercial vein (that's not to say he doesn't do "fine" art) and so within our unique situation we (you and everyone on this list) all share a common platform.

30.3 Your references to curators, critics and gallery owners being predators and vultures is without qualification and unnecessary. There are strict protocols for best business practices that all major institutions and organizations must abide by. You would be risking your career if one took such liberties (that's not say it doesn't happen). The IDAA adheres to these protocols and this is why we are supported by the National Association for the Visual Arts and the Print Council. This is important for all artists to understand and a good reason to affiliate with those organizations that do. However, let's put things into context... existing as an artist or administrator is a very hard gig and understandably most people are protective of their positions because success will grace only a few. So one needs to be understanding when one meets the precious "ego" without feeling threatened or that you're dealing with hidden agenda.

30.4 "Fine/high art" is institutional (that is a fact no matter how you want to define it) and programming will always reflect philosophical criteria as determined by respective museum/gallery boards and their benefactors... and this applies across the board to the 2ndary markets as well as academia and the commercial sector. Make no mistake about fine/high art curators, critics and galleries it is highly political and artist's need to be vigilant in learning the language base rather than being offended each time they are rejected.

30.5 My dedication/passion/stupidity as an artist and art director is not unlike say JD's where our motivation is really about programming a better dialogue and understanding of this genre but NOT as an absolute truth.

30.6 Anwyaz, the moral to this story is just get on and make your art and call it whatever you want to call it . . . if the art world likes it . . . it'll let you know )))

31.0 . . . . . November 2, 2004 . . . . . Harald Johnson

[Return to the ‘what it is’ thread.]

31.1 Wow... some interesting discussion here. Just a couple of selected responses to Wayne:

31.2 Wayne wrote: The most important thing is to know thyself. To make it in the real fine art world is a massive investment of time, energy, money and intellect. Are you really willing to go that far or do you want it as a nice hobby? Be honest with yourself. There is nothing wrong with saying 'I want to enjoy this, but I am not willing to go the whole hog'....

Me: You're oversimplifying again, Wayne ;-) <<

31.3 Wayne writes: Harald, how can that statement be oversimplifying. Are you suggesting that it is easy to make it in either commercial or fine art? If so that is a disservice to readers on this list. The reality is that buying a computer and photoshop and running a few filters over some images will not get you discovered. Look at the CVs of fine arts and commercial artists who have made it and you will find years of study and hard work.

Me: No, you missed my point, as silly as it was (see that smiley face?;-). I read from your words that you were offering up two possibilities: (A) massive investment or (B) nice hobby. I was just trying to point out that there are many more options.

31.4 Wayne writes: Whichever of the above three you want to follow, get busy making art. Leave the discussions of the correct naming of digital art, etc, to the people who will actually do it, the art historians and theoreticians at the major universities, and curators at the big institutions. Anyone else is pissing in the wind, as we tend to say down under.

Me: Again, this view ONLY applies to the one "pro fine art" group. Ignore this advice if you're not in that group.

31.5 Wayne writes: Disagree. I believe that what happens is that there is a filter down effect from the high to the low. The only lobbying and efforts by artists that will have any impact is that which refers to what is happening at the high end. So see what is happening at the high end, quote it and don't waste time trying to define things that other will do better and are in a position to actually have impact.

Me: I know you believe this, but I don't. I believe in non-elitist, bottom-up action. Some people are in the Ivory Tower; many more are in the street. I'm in the street.


Thanks to the participants in this discussion about digital art: David Blanchard, Wayne Cosshall, Steve Danzig, Klaus Dieterdill, Stephen Greenfield, JD Jarvis, Harald Johnson, Dolores Kaufman, Maria Kruse, Anil Rao and to the person who focused the discussion, Ansgard Thomson.

David Blanchard
Wayne Cosshall
Steve Danzig
Klaus Dieter
Stephen Greenfield
David Heidelberg
JD Jarvis
Harald Johnson
Dolores Kaufman
Maria Kruse
Anil Rao
Ansgard Thomson  

Thread Editor:  Joe Nalven

If you are interested in joining this group, dial up the internet and sign up for Yahoo Groups and then join the digital fine art group: Digital Fine Art @ Yahoo Groups.

The owner of this Yahoo Group is Harald Johnson, who can be reached at his website: DP&I


A discussion list for anyone interested in the process of digitally produced fine art including inkjet prints and/or "giclées." If you're involved in the digital medium for photography, traditional fine art, alternative process, or any hybrid combination, this is the place to ask questions and share your experiences about this new process that is revolutionizing the art world. Topics include: using a printing service vs. printing it yourself, photographing original art, scanning, digital image manipulation, print permanence, inkjet printmaking and giclées, equipment and supplier choices, paper, inks, editions, pricing, promotion, framing and display, copyright and legal issues, and any other topics related to the process of creating, printing or marketing digital fine art.

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