Does Art Have a Place in the Digital Age?

2020 has pushed us, willing or not into a new type of digital age. Every day across England, Wales, and Scotland, almost 50 shops, restaurants, and other leisure and hospitality venues close forever. Artists have relied on places like galleries, coffee shops, and cafes to showcase their art, but with many of these businesses closing and no public to show to even if they were open, the only place left is in the digital space. It is no surprise that online visual platforms such as Instagram saw an engagement increase of 25% just in April last year and the internet giant Amazon saw sales increase by 40% in the run-up to summer. Those numbers tell us a lot about our behaviour over the last year, we are clearly doing the vast majority of our viewing and our purchasing online, so doesn't it make sense for us to be creating there too?

Last year I stumbled across a documentary about an exhibition of paintings David Hockney created on his iPad of Yorkshire landscapes (which were especially interesting to me as we are from the same place - Bradford, West Yorkshire). It was fascinating seeing something go from a small image on a tablet to a large and beautiful print, displayed in a prestigious gallery, framed and embellished as any other traditional painting would be. There was a particular discussion about the term "hand-painted" where David was adamant that there is no difference between his digital and tradition creations, they are all hand-painted, just using different mediums.

It sometimes takes people like David who are well established in this industry already to bring those whose opinions have a lasting effect on artists' careers around to these new ideas and modern ways of creating, and also to carve the path for the amateurs who are looking for someone to show them the way.