I love art. Some people want to relax on the beach all day, go to a concert, or spend the day at the mall. Not me. If the bookstore is closed, take me to a museum. Better yet, drop me off at a starving artist’s boardwalk. Oh, and don’t wait up. I’ll be back sometime after dinner.
I’m not partial either. Graphite sketches, copper plates, paintings, sculptures, and hand-carved woodwork all captivate me. I love most forms of creativity–except, if I’m honest, really gory stuff like a display of ancient ear necklaces. Yuk.
Pastels, on the other hand, speak to my soul, and I can stare at a sculpture forever wondering why the artist chose a bottle cap with a crown on it for a toenail. For me, art has its own language. It has a dream and just like a novel, it has a story to tell–if the artist has done his or her job.
Over the years, art has changed though, hasn’t it? The museums came to the masses via the internet and with them came an artistic revolution. The common people rose up with eyes blazing with inspiration and a burning desire in their hearts to create something. Technology giants eagerly seized the opportunity to
make money empower the general public. Suddenly the tools were affordable. Software programs marched into the stores, handy tutorials invaded the world, and the ability to publish and disseminate artwork became as easy as tapping on a few buttons.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m amazed at all the amazing work out there, and the sheer number of creative people in the world. I’ve seen paintings that make my pulse race, and photographs that brought me to tears. Sometimes, I can’t tell which were created by hand and which by technical means.
I do think we should acknowledge those who take the craft seriously, though. Particularly those who spend years honing their skills and developing their ideas, in addition to learning new techniques. Because while the results of this technological creative revolution are nothing short of breathtaking, there’s a part of me that shivers at the impending loss of tangible, hand-crafted art. I mourn the death of visions that require weeks and months on one piece of work. I don’t want to passively watch the disappearance of passion from the canvases of the world. And let’s not even talk about the amount of time we devote to a photograph or sculpture these days. Reflection is so overrated anyway, right?
The creep of technology into creativity’s realm isn’t anything new. Neither are the fears. In his post Don’t be a Tooler (2009), Designer Von Glitschk says:
“Our industry may be digitally driven but ideas are still best developed in analog form.”
(Important to keep in mind for ANY creative industry, including writing. Handwriting produces more ideas, something a plastic keyboard can never do. Have you used a pencil today? Ha! That’s my new tagline)
Von Glitschk goes on to say:
‘That’ll never change no matter how advanced our technology gets. So step away from your computer, grab a pencil (It’s that yellow thing not tethered to a keyboard), start drawing, stop whining, take some creative risks and see where it leads you.’
There’s something special, almost spiritual, about putting pencil to paper and brush to canvas that a software program can never re-create. I can only hope the saturation of easy creativity doesn’t deter traditional expressions of art, and wound the soul of the artist too much.
In case you were wondering, I am NOT an artist (you’ll see for yourself next week. Yes, it’s going to take me that long to build up the courage to share my own work). No, I’m an author. My husband, on the other hand, is a closet artist. I’ve suggested he take a lamp in there, or at least a flashlight, but he never listens.
He did, however, agree to let me share some of his sketches here.
If you’ve visited my Contact Page, you’ve seen this one:
He drew this adorable creature over the course of several years.
The scales alone must have taken days.
(the discoloration at the bottom is a reflection; proof of my poor photography skills)
I’ve always wondered why a giraffe had stalks!
I’m not sure what to say about this one. I like the flag. You can’t properly conquer anything without a flag. Ask Eddie Izzard.
What about you? Do you enjoy getting your fingers dirty? Or do you like the versatility and ease of technology when it comes to creative expression? Do you think technology will eventually render traditional methods extinct? Should everyone have a flag? Most importantly: