Digital Art are works that have been created wholly or in part through the use of computer hardware and related software. Digital art can also consist
of traditional works of art that have been scanned (or copied) into a computer where additional processing and/or enhancements can be performed. In both
cases the source, or viewable "hardcopy" is usually reproduced through a number of traditional output processes such as photography (prints),
large format ink jet plotters (posters), small ink jet printers (prints), as well as photo offset lithography (posters, prints, brochures, etc..).
It's been my experience that the digital medium shares a number of characteristics with photography. For the photograph, for example, the
"source' is the negative. Within the digital realm the "source" is the graphic file residing within the computer or in within a storage medium
like a hard drive or CDR. As with photography, one can sell reproductions (or copies) of the source image as either limited or unlimited edition runs. More
importantly, one can also sell the source (the graphic file) itself.
- To Top -
There is currently a lot of controversy over the value of digital art. Currently, most art galleries shy away from buying and selling
digital. The medium has not yet established a reliable track record. They don't know what to buy pieces for, nor what to sell them for as well. I
suspect there is
considerable concern that, like a virus gone rampant, unethical duplication of the graphic source file could easily dilute the value of individual pieces of digital art. In my view, it
probably hasn't settled in that these fears, while certainly legitimate, are really not much different than the buying and selling of photography. After all,
rampant and unethical duplication of photographs from the negative is just as much an issue. Art galleries that specialize in the buying and selling
of photographs seem to have survived and flourished. In my opinion, the same will eventually occur within the digital medium as well. As with
photography, copyrights will be enforced and rules will be adhered to.
I recently attended seminar at a Science Fiction Convention where we discussed the value of Digital Art. We asked some experts on what the market was
currently willing to bare for "digital" art. At the high-end and mid-end range: NOT MUCH! One the other hand, there is a flourishing market for
"economical" digital art selling somewhere within the $10-$30 dollar range.
Digital artwork is a sign of the 21st century. Their value will be recognized in due course. The ability to reproduce digital art (in hard-copy
format) continues to
improve in both quality and cost effectiveness. For example, currently, my digital art work can be photographically reproduced for approximately $12.00 at
sizes up to 12” x 18” at typical 1-hour photo shops that possess the new digital processing equipment. The color saturation and values are absolutely
superb! Likewise, the same digital artwork can be
reproduced on large format high quality ink jet printers located at specialty studios for approximately $60 - $100 depending on size and whether you wish to
protect the front and back with a laminate coating. Reproductions from large format ink jet printers can be tricky however. I've noticed that certain
colors and values have a tendency to look washed out, especially when compared to the same digital reproduction processed through digital photography.
Prices continue to drop steadily. Related hardware continues to improve as well. We are currently paying somewhat of a premium for digitally processed
reproductions such as digital photographs because
much of the equipment is brand new and expensive! Stores and service bureaus that recently purchased the equipment are still in the process of getting
their investment back by charging a premium for prints directly created from digital files. Time, however, marches on. Once this brand new digital equipment becomes more
"amortized" prices will drop.
What is being sold is also going through a major paradigm shift with the introduction of digital art.
Traditionally customers purchase a piece of art work by buying something physical, a painting, print, poster or photograph. Digital Art, on the other hand,
can just as easily be bought and sold within the medium, like a CD. There are strong reasons for doing so. It cuts down on overhead for both the buyer and
seller. A graphic file residing on a CD is significantly easier to transport as compared to lugging around a huge 30"x40" oil painting! CDs can take
up less inventory space in a gallery as well! The customer, presumably once he has purchased the graphic file, is then free to chose which medium he wishes to
reproduce his digital art with. He has many choices, i.e. photography, large format ink jet printing, etc... Purchasing just the graphic file tends to cost
less for the customer than it would be for the seller to reproduce and sell at his end. A seller would have to charge more because more of his capitol would
be unavoidably tied up in inventory.
- To Top -