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Digital - Boon and Bust

by Graham, about 3 years ago

I consider myself a fortunate artist/writer by virtue of having been published by a New York publisher 28 years ago. "Watercolor and How” was printed conventionally by a lithograph printing press. I have just finished a self-published book, "Let There Be Light”, an autobiography with over 461 illustrations, ranging from watercolours, drawings, printmaking, sculpture and Japanese moku hanga (woodblock prints) of my work spanning the past 70 years. I spent several years endeavouring to find a publisher and finally I bit the bullet and went to self-publishing. I learned to use a desktop publishing application to writeand design the book on a Mac computer. Photographing the work, I used Photoshop to ensure the quality of the images accurately portrayed my work. The digital inkjet printed book was produced by Victoria Bindery on Vancouver Island.

The digital age has been a boon for some and a setback for others. In the literature field the opportunity for writers to get their work to the public comes home to rest…. they are able to, after doing the writing, produce and distribute their work through epublications. There are apps out there, such as Flip PDF, that facilitate this opportunity. The tutorials on the internet are available and if the writer wishes to develop their knowledge, they can create web documents for epublication. Should the writing/writer become recognized, the original is there, and can be transformed into ink and paper to become a treasurer to pass down to family, friends and public libraries.

As for the publication of Fine Art images, digital is second-best,which I believe to be "throw away creations" when one changes a room decor. Giclée, (inkjet print) are readily available in small quantities at about $10.00 a square foot compared the Photo Mechanical Reproduction Lithograph product, which cost several $1,000. These print forms proliferated the market for many years, belongs in the decorative art category, lacking longevity, not being passed down from person to person and generation to generation. Since the cost of presentation (framing) is greater than the cost of the digital image, these inkjet prints will be replaced by the Digital Picture Frame. When these frames evolve, and become more decorative, the giclée will go the way of the dodo bird. One will be purchasing a chip card with assorted images and plug it in for new imagery that have the ability to transform through assorted images, depending on the room decor and the individuals mood.

I am of the mind that traditional tools should be used to create their work with the hands-on physical touch, transforming the personality of the artist into the work. It's where artists use line, shapes, colour and texture, to relate to and seduce their audience. Recognizing the transition that is occurring at exhibitions and galleries and the criteria that are being set down, artists are more aware of the pitfalls of usingPhotoshop to create digital imagery to be printed on inkjet printers. It is a "do and undo" process lacking in-depth thought and the improvement of artist's skills to arrive at a Fine Art images.

It is becoming apparent that digital imagery is being questioned and rejected by associations, institutions and the public. It will of course survive because of the decorative art business, but only as a throw away art form. More and more I see and hear about the revival of traditional Printmaking organizations, that arebreathing new life back into Original print form, that are truly hands on and worthy.

It seems the digital age has been a boon for some industries (Publishing), and a setback for others, (Fine Art Prints).

Graham Scholes

Artist don’t retire they draw to a conclusion.

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