moca museum

January 13, 2015
Blog 06


Art and Computers

by Bruce Thacker

Computer cannot create art, just as the computer cannot write poetry or great music. Computers are not, (at least not yet), intelligent enough to duplicate human creativity. Computers cannot make art, but they provide the artist with a multi- faceted tool to enhance his/her creativity.

We know that an artistic creation is not defined by the tools used to make it; true artistic creation is defined by the imagination of the artist. The computer is just another tool that can be used by artists as are the pen, pencil, paint brush, the sculptor's chisel and the photographer's camera.

Why do we always say "computer art"? All artists should attempt to dissuade the public from the notion that art can be made by a computer. We should also try to persuade all artists that the computer is a great tool for enhancing their artistic creativity.

Computers cannot make art but they are powerful artistic tools. The computer offers an immense palette of colors. A 24 bit system can display 16.7million colors, depending on the graphics card and monitor.

Software such as Photoshop, Gimp (free), Picasa (free) and many fractal generating programs (many free) can provide scores of patterns, textures, lines and forms; and the means of manipulating them in a seemingly unlimited variety of ways.

The computer offers several advantages over traditional art tools:

Complexity: The computer can handle tremendously complex patterns, colors and compositions; all at the speed of light.

Speed: This great speed allows the artist to test and reject or save concepts and their variations rapidly; keeping those that might be useful in the future or saved as a record of the sequence used to arrive at the final artwork.

Distribution: The computer and the internet allow for rapid distribution; digital files can be easily sent to galleries, websites, blogs, and to your printer for printing into fine art prints.

Storage: Thousands of artworks can be stored on an external hard drive no bigger than a book. Artists who make large paintings or large sculptures have a tremendous storage problem.

Material costs: Those same artists mentioned above are faced with the very real expense of buying materials. Many artists of great energy and imagination are forced to delay or abandon art careers due to lack of finances.

Printing: The digital revolution and the ink jet printing process has radically changed the way printed hard copies of artwork can be made. The artist can now have affordable, one?off copies made on archival substrates with pigmented inks that produce permanent, long lasting artworks. Large size poster prints can be made for gallery display to be replaced within days by high quality archival prints delivered after the sale of the artwork; thereby greatly reducing the artist?s costs of showing in a gallery setting.

Ubiquity: The computer is the great leveler; everyone has access to news, the knowledge of the world, as well as tremendous computational power. The computer is everywhere and it is a very democratic tool allowing everyone to be a creative artist.

Photographs: In the days of film the darkroom was the end of the process and changing what was recorded was limited to a few darkroom manipulations. Today the computer is a digital extension of the camera. With the computer one can change what the camera records in ways only dreamed about by the film photographer.

The digital revolution has occurred, the changes are in the air and it is an exciting time to be alive.

See my book on blurb:

See my website:


by Bruce Thacker

As with many artists, I value highly the accidental or serendipitous event; that instant when a fluttering red leaf becomes a red bird; just as when a line of poetry creates a tingling sensation like champagne bubbles in the brain. And so it is with my abstractions. I have recently enjoyed most of all working in the abstract. All the clutter of content is removed and I am delighted working with line, color and form; moving them until an association occurs that I cannot ignore, then I have found that moment of poetry.

Art by Bruce Thacker


by H. Gay Allen

Thanks Don for this wonderful new blog and the opportunity to hear such inspirational offerings as J.D. Jarvis's, "I often imagine art as thoughts pretending to be objects." Truly profound and useful in explaining the alchemy of art.

But I add that there are a lot of "art" OBJECTS out there these days pretending to be thoughts, i.e., mass produced décor offerings at the big box stores. Which really goes to support (my view of) J.D.'s subtext that the "art of art" is in the making.

I often tell my salon members that the most rewarding approach to what we do is to ignore all criticism, accolades and other commentary about our art and do what we love to do, the way we love to do it. We must submit to the allure of the alchemy; let it take you for the ride of your life; and you will grow and be enriched by your love affair.

I know that alone doesn't pay the bills if one is trying to make a living from the practice and growth of your art, but it should help you get to your end goal, if you persevere.

Now, as far as the general public being able to distinguish between the "thoughts as art" and the "art that pretends to be thoughts," I don't know what we can do about that, except to just be true to our knowledge that our art was created authentically....even though we were using new automated techniques, it was the result of the alchemy that occurred in the sanctum or our soul.




The Donnie is the Web's most prestigious and influential digital art exhibit and contest.



Digital Art Gallery Online
Digital gallery of best pictures and photos from portfolios of digital artists.

Digital Art Served
Top work in categories such as computer graphics, matte painting, digital painting and photo manipulation.

Soho Arthouse (Soho Gallery For Digital Art)
Event space, gallery, tech, film screening room, product launches, pop-up, fashion week, charity art shows in NYC.

DAM - Digital Art Museum
Museum and gallery

Los Angeles Center for Digital Art
The Los Angeles Center for Digital Art is a contemporary gallery in downtown LA dedicated to the propagation of all forms of digital art, new media, digital video.

Community of artists and those devoted to art. Digital art, skin art, themes, wallpaper art, traditional art, photography, poetry / prose. Art prints.

Almost entirely 3D rendered art from such programs as 3DS Max, Maya, Lightwave and others.

Museum of Computer Art
Nonprofit US educational corporation chartered by the NYS Department of Education.

Digital Art Online
Online digital art exhibition space. Includes thematic exhibitions.

Museum of Digital Fine Arts
Spotlighting the most brilliant new artists of the modern age.


by Eric Wayne

I'm not sure "dematerialization" is a factor in digital art, unless the artist wants it to be, in which case the flexibility and capacity of computer generated art would make that possible. The argument that digital art is "art in potentia" gets used against digital artists when dismissing digital art as "potential art". I had a debate with the founder of Stuckism who said my art was "conceptually" art, because it wasn't physical like a folksy, daubed painting. If you can see it, whether it's glowing on a monitor, or printed out exquisitely on the large scale, it exists. It doesn't potentially exist. We don't think of electronic music this way. If we can hear it, it's music, and there's never a physical object. It really doesn't matter how it was made. And when you CAN make a gorgeous, high quality print, the argument that digital art isn't physical falls apart. And it is quite odd that people who accept photography as real art, do not accept as real a digital piece printed the same way, but which was not created in the blink of an eye, but took dozens of hours to produce.

For many of us, the only real difference between digital and non-digital art is the tools. There are young artists who are classically trained and also do digital art. I know these guys through their Youtube tutorials. One only need watch some of their videos to see that people who are very competent in traditional physical art making, and the digital equivalents, don't draw a distinction between the two in terms of which is more or less art.

Personally, I choose to work digitally because of the unlimited potential and flexibility. This was obvious to me when I first saw a demonstration of Photoshop. You could stack semi-visible layers, and move them interchangeably. Sold. I wonder, how could an artist NOT be tempted to play around with that possibility? The ability just to flip an image horizontally on the fly is priceless, and you don't have that with traditional media. You can't change the colors at will. You can't easily mask and reverse mask. The arsenal of techniques and ways of image making that computer programs make possible are phenomenal.

Some people complain that when they make art on the computer it's all clicking buttons, and not a natural, free-flowing process. I guess that's true it that's their style. I find you can be MORE spontaneous using the computer, and you don't have to clean your brushes while you work, or sharpen pencils, or go out and buy a new tube of cobalt blue oil paint.

For me, the arguments against digital art are the equivalent of arguing that if you type a novel in Word, it's not a real novel, you have to write it with a quill pen on parchment. But then you couldn't copy-paste, and most anyone nowadays would hate to have to work on a typewriter, let alone dip a pen in an ink well. So, in a word, the prejudice against digital art is just fogeyism. If people want to work with oils and turpentine, that's cool, just like it's cool if someone's musical instrument of choice is an acoustic guitar. And if someone wants to explore digital art, it's no more or less real or artistic than someone composing music with a synthesizer and sound editing software.




To assure credit to you as artist, include your name in the image title


Let's hear it for the blog

top of page