Digital Fine Art encompasses many different styles of art, from Realism to Expressionism to Impressionism. It can mimic any medium, including oil paint, watercolors and acrylics. What distinguishes Digital Fine Art from its predecessors is that it is created with digital technology. In the long history of art, Digital is a very recent addition. But since it was introduced a few decades ago, many have added a variety of modern tools to their artistic arsenals, including computers, tablets, scanners, and many more.
This particular time in the history of art is unique because it encompasses a short window wherein established traditional Fine Artists can choose to either reject or embrace the digital medium. Not all Fine Artists have chosen to trade in their canvases for screens, but of those that have, many have asserted that digital technology has enabled them to explore new perspectives and create new ways of both experiencing the world and expressing their ideas.
One such artist is David Hockney, who at 77 years old, is arguably the world’s preeminent iPad artist. First rising to fame in the 1960s, Hockney has consistently been an early adopter of the technological advancements of his changing times. Some of his most popular work used Polaroid Cameras, a relatively new invention at the time that now teeters on the edge of extinction. His most famous work A Bigger Splash (1967) is acrylic on canvas. It depicts a swimming pool beside a modern house. A diving board above a splash in the pool implies an unseen human presence. Hockney once commented, “Most of the painting was spent on the splash and the splash lasts two seconds and the building is permanent there.” Like the building, Digital Art is here to stay, and Hockney is the quintessential example of a traditional Fine Artist using this new medium to make an enduring splash.
The term “giclée” (zhee-clay) means “to spray” in French, so it should come as no surprise that it is used to describe Digital Fine Art prints made using ink jet printers. The label “giclée” has evolved and is now used to indicate archival quality Digital Fine Art prints produced using digital printing. These prints can attain the look and feel of actual watercolor or pastel paintings. In addition, a wide variety of materials can be used to print on, including various textures and finishes of photo paper, watercolor paper, cotton canvas and textured vinyl. Like so many aspects of the digital world, the possibilities are endless.