What is Digital Art?
The digital medium uses technology in its creation. Digital Art has revolutionized more traditional art forms like painting, sculpture and cinema, and it is even finding its way into craft design and architecture. All art is technology; it is what makes art human. From the first cave dweller who realized he could tell a better story using color in his drawings, artists have always encountered technological barriers. Digital is simply the newest medium artists have discovered in their quest to tell their stories.
Digital Art is distinct from computer art, but the early history of both can be traced back to the same origins. The 1960s were a particularly important decade in the history of Digital Art, as artists started experimenting with computers. John Whitney’s work using mathematical functions to transform visuals was among the world’s first computer-generated art, and he is considered one of the “fathers of computer graphics.”
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, artists increasingly experimented with computer imaging techniques to tap into the unlocked potential of the digital medium. But the true technological revolution in Digital Art genuinely took hold and flourished at Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), a visual effects company in San Francisco. The small team of scientists, artists and engineers at the Computer Division was an instrumental part of an entire generation of artists who “cracked the code” of digital media, manipulating video, audio and graphics in unprecedented ways, and producing spellbinding photorealistic digital images that were never before possible.
Coupled with the proliferation of increasingly affordable and portable computers, digital technology developments have enabled today’s artists. The ability to grab a tablet and draw or paint a picture or create a film—this is thanks to the technology that resulted from the radical digital revolution initiated by early pioneers of Digital Art. The digital medium is used in all forms of art today, from Photography and Illustration to Sculpture and Fine Art.
About the Artwork
The Museum’s collection, launched with inspired objects from George Lucas’s personal holdings, is growing to encompass an unparalleled presentation of narrative art forms. Gifts from George Lucas, his family and trust will help the collection grow to show a breadth of narrative art forms, ranging from classic illustrations by Norman Rockwell to cutting-edge digital works of the 21st century, as well as a range of painting, children’s art, comic art and photography from many periods and cultures. Some of the featured artwork is not a part of the Lucas seed collection and is here to illustrate the role digital art plays in narrative art.