Oh, Digital Art, why do you continue to frustrate me?
I was trained to be a Graphic Designer. I love to use all the Adobe applications to create digital things. I also love photography. My camera and my MacBook are as much a part of my studio as my easel and my paints. However…
The world of digital art has become cheap. Whatever the supporters or critics say, the world of digital art is changing. It is no longer about learning to use a Wacom tablet or Procreate. It’s no longer about knowing how to draw or even knowing your medium at all. When you can type a word and let artificial intelligence do the work, it is no longer the work of an artist. 
When skill is irrelevant, the artistic value is removed.
And so I find myself moving further away from my MacBook and moving closer to analog (or traditional) art creation.
Original physical artwork will always have artistic value because skill is involved. Artists learn how to use their materials to create, innovate, and communicate in a very tactile way.
I ran across this article from the St. Louis Art Supply blog about the Two Definitions of Color. It is an informative discussion about digital color versus physical color, probably one of the best I’ve read, but it is also about the physicality of art. My favorite quote from the article sums up the idea:
“Physical things do not simply follow our instructions; we have to shape them in accordance with their intrinsic properties. Sometimes it feels like we have to sneak up on our materials and trick them into doing what we'd like.”
Working as an artist requires that we know the emotional range of our materials (to paraphrase from the article). Analog art supplies do have individual behaviors and emotions just like the artist who uses them. And just when you think you have them figured out, they’ll turn on you and do what they want instead. Sometimes this becomes a Bob Ross Happy Accident and sometimes goes straight to the recycle bin.
Which leads me to compost…yes, I will always circle back to gardening every chance I get.
Creating analog art is a lot like gardening. A garden is always changing, growing, dying, and blooming. We learn what plants grow best in our garden, which ones we love, and which ones we would rather let go to the compost. We learn the “intrinsic properties” of each plant so they thrive, and sometimes we have to problem solve and trick them into thriving.
One of my favorite designers/authors is Austin Kleon. Recently he wrote about finding messages in the compost heap. We need to remember that even the things we put into the compost have a purpose because compost by nature fertilizes what comes next. 
What can we learn by creating digital art when artificial intelligence can create it for us? Where is the compost heap?
In contrast, what do we learn from analog art creation?
We learn patience, resilience, adaptation, and problem solving, to name a few. We also learn about ourselves as makers, creators, and artists. Working with analog materials is also therapeutic and has mental health benefits.
Why would we give all this away?
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