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In With the New: Digital Art Takes Many Forms

Cultural Events | LQAF Blog | LQAF News

Written by Steven Biller

Digital art was inevitable. Technology, especially the personal computer, has impacted every aspect of our lives, including the art we make and love. Light, sound, animation, and projection all play a role in digital art, and even the most traditional artists are integrating technology into their practice. Malibu-based Robert Weil, for example, has been making art since 1969 using traditional processes — lithography, silkscreen, etching, monotype, photography, and acrylic painting on two- and three-dimensional surfaces — and now parlays the fruits of his labor into clever and inventive digital compositions. 

“At its inception, digital art marked a relationship between artists and engineers/scientists, which explored the connections between art and technology,” according to The Art Story. “As artists began to explore these technologies, they were not merely using the new medium but were oftentimes also asking viewers to reflect upon the impact of the information age on society overall.” 

That’s certainly the case with Lake Mary, Fla.-based artist Ed Myers, who won best in show at the 2016 La Quinta Arts Festival, emerging from the Mixed Media category. Myers’ obsession with the possibilities of technology and its effects on humanity manifests not only in his almost-surrealist art, but also in his creative process, which includes digital media, new media, and mixed media. “Creating everything from scratch using a digital pressure-sensitive tablet called a Wacom Cintiq, he conceptualizes in both two and three dimensions, then assembles complex structures that blend in and out of reality,” his website describes. 

Weil and Myers return to this year’s La Quinta Arts Festival, March 1-4, in the newly designated Digital Art category, which includes original works for which the artist used a computer to render an image or manipulate other source material. Works must be available in limited editions, signed, and numbered on archival quality materials. The category excludes images from the Internet, vintage pin up art or comic book art, stock art, or other sources subject to copyright law.

“With technology, artists have more tools, and they’re introducing new kinds of expressions into the art world,” says festival CEO Christi Salamone. “We’re excited to introduce Digital Art as its own category and deepen the experience we offer visitors to La Quinta Arts Festival.”

Other artists showing in the Digital Art category at the festival include:

* Tanya Doskova: The Bulgaria-born, Phoenix-based artist draws and paints her politically infused works on a digital tablet using Corel Painter, prints the images on canvas, and finishes them with transparent acrylic paint. “I use the tablet and the digital brush the same way I paint my traditional oil paintings,” she says. 

* Carolyn Quan: Splitting her time between Palm Springs and Napa Valley, the artist creates collages using her photographs of people, animals, and elements of nature. “The organic theme of my art emphasizes that our natural world provides us with all of our basic needs and an insurmountable abundance of beauty.”

* Barry Reithmeier: The self-taught artist from Rockford, Ill., was an early adopter to new media art. He uses no photographs or fractal programs to create his colorful abstractions. He explains on his website: “When I begin a new creation my screen is blank. I begin to build an atmosphere in 3D space that includes sky, clouds, sun, and water. … I build objects and write material files to tell that object how to react within the environment. … I am literally constructing an abstract and surreal world to explore. While exploring this world, I will capture unique and interesting compositions and reflections to render into final art.”

* Daryl Thetford: The Chattanooga, Tenn.-based artist poses people in various positions and creates imagery that incorporates mannequins, signs, train cars, graffiti, urban walls, newspaper boxes, cracks in walls, old maps, and other Americana ephemera that he finds while traveling.