Technology: Aspiring Artist’s Best Friend

Those of you who know me will agree that I am technologically backwards in that  the latest electronic gadgets hold no fascination for me. It is somewhat incongruous I suppose since I work at a major technology company. I have never bought a computer (I have always had a work computer) and I still have not been tempted by the smartphone revolution. That being said I am a very passionate advocate of technology and find it incomprehensible when people use their smartphones with their right hand and bash technology with their left. The varied benefits of modern technology are too numerous to list and it is not my intent here to launch into a tirade against anti-technology folks. Instead I want to shed light on one particular aspect of technology that has perhaps been overlooked: the role technology, particularly in the last 50 years or so, has played in democratizing the arts.

Art is an outward expression of an idea in our head and as such needs a medium of expression. Without the medium there is no art. My assertion is that technology has not only created a wider variety of artistic mediums but also ensured that these mediums are available to a broad spectrum of people. Now more than any other time in human history it is easier to bring your creative vision to reality with technology. An aspiring writer need not use the traditional medium of pen and paper to get his writing to people nor does he need to pound the pavement and wait for an editor to get published. You can start a blog like yours truly. The number of people you can reach is only limited by your ability to be social online. What technology has done is lowered the barrier for entry into all types of artistic endeavors.

Aspiring musicians have benefitted from technology tremendously. A wide variety of music software exists to facilitate music creation. You don’t need a big music studio to record music. Software can provide you with all the bell and whistles you need to add to your own compositions. You can jam with your friends remotely. Musicians across different continents and cultures can create music together without spending money on flights and hotels. Technology has even done away with the need for recording on physical media. Photography is another relevant example. No need to mess around with chemicals in dark rooms. And if you believe the hype around Lytro, focussing will become a thing of the past. This new fangled camera allows you to focus after the images are taken!! You can play around and create the perfect picture in the comfort of your home on your computer long after you pressed click. How cool is that?

In addition to providing newer mediums for older art forms technology has also created brand new art forms such as web design and video game creation. Not only is content creation made easier, marketing and selling that content is also faster with technology. More people can dream of making a living through art. And if that is not possible technology makes it simpler still for an average joe such as myself to create his own art and not merely be content with consuming the art created by the professionals. Now that is cool indeed.

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4 comments on “Technology: Aspiring Artist’s Best Friend

  1. Kapil

    Your post offers much to ponder. i wonder what masterpieces Leonardo da Vinci might have created with Photoshop. Too bad Michaelangelo Bonarati couldn’t create his three-dimensional art directly on a computer, but i suppose there would be a program where he could design King David and a software program would guide a machine operating hammers and chisels to create the masterpiece in mere hours. I just hope that this time Michaelangelo will remember to hang a briss on the good king.

    And in music, just think how many Rings and Parsifals Richard Wagner could have churned out using compositional software. And, he could play back snippets fully orchestrated to see if it sounds like he wants.

    And then, maybe we, the consumers, could rearrange the great works of music or the works of writers like Shakespeare to make the works come out the way we want. Just think of Goetterdaemmerung with a happy ending!

    I would say the prospects are virtually limitless, not only for the great composers and writers, but also for those who benefit from enjoyment of the art. Why, Hamlet could even survive and marry the pregnant Ophelia and live happily ever after. Or perhaps we could unwrap the Mona Lisa to see that she is really none other than Leonardo in drag.

    John S

  2. Great article Kapil!!! And “dad” (John S) Stop dragging Leonardo out of the closet. . . Think I will go twitter about this article.

    Ta Carla

  3. This is one of my favorite posts so far…I think it’s so incredibly true! For me, googling to find ideas and inspiration have helped motivate me to create something myself, rather than buy it. The whole DIY (do-it-yourself) culture has grown exponentially due to the internet. You don’t have be Leonardo to get all “artsy fartsy” as one artist I know puts it 🙂

  4. As an artist, I will admit that I am personally drawn to create art that focuses on the handmade, physical, and tactile. I like learning how to put materials together and enjoy using tools such as welders, saws, etc. Challenging my drawing and painting skills is a constant for me as well. Even though my work may be labeled anti-craft because of its frenzied nature; I do believe that craft is an important component to being an “artist”; even if it is just having a rudimentary understanding what it takes to develop a “craft”; such as pre-digital, darkroom photography. I also believe that artists should know some history and their own influences. Art is not created in a vacuum. With that said, I am a HUGE proponent of technology and the arts. When I am stumped for ideas, or need a visual representation of a certain subject, I can find one in under 10 seconds…and then get back to my non-computer oriented work. I can take a picture of an artwork and within minutes have it on blast for thousands to see, cool indeed! And, if I just want to salivate over some of my favorite artists’ work, or read up on different theories, I can do that too! Kudos on another wonderful article, I apologize for leaving a response in an essay format!

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