The power of expression is of incomparable value to humankind; our ability to form opinions and the will to share them unites every one of us. It is therefore a shame that it has become customary for some of us to instinctively disparage the innovative mediums people use to do so. As capable of making a statement, eliciting the pleasure or dismay of an audience and of articulating any emotion from an infinite spectrum, digital art threatens to redefine the craft – whether you like it or not.
Before mindlessly criticising digital art, we should ask ourselves: is one form of knowledge more valuable than another? Is a classics scholar who can reel off the names of fifty Greek deities on demand any more deserving of reverence than a sports enthusiast who could do the same with footballers? Questioning the validity of an art form such as this one encapsulates the age of academic snobbery we inhabit and I, for one, am sick of it.
If our enjoyment of art is dependent on the explicitness of the skill required to create it, then it becomes something increasingly exclusive. We are mistaken in presuming that exclusivity is one of the criteria necessary to appreciate artistry. We venerate those who exhibit exceptional creative ability on paper or canvas, so why should we bemoan the evolution of an art form that even extends the opportunity to develop artistic awareness to a technology-dependent generation? Fusing technology with art is a natural progression that may prove essential to maintaining the relevance of visual art in a world that is increasingly disinterested.
Our opinions of what we classify as art are as widely diverse as our opinions on the art itself. Why should the tools we use determine whether or not that which we have created is worthy of note?
It is all too easy to adhere to conventional ideals where art is concerned, but where tradition unfailingly outranks innovation we risk losing far more than we stand to gain from clinging to the obstinate, stagnant thinking we know so well. Increasingly prevalent in the media, advertising and, of course, on the internet, digital art is unavoidable; something for which art enthusiasts should, in my opinion, be profoundly grateful.