Why Oil Painting Is Still the Standard
Popularity contests come and go, but it is the history of an art form that enables it to transcend today’s sparse popularity standards. The most famous painting to date is still Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, a masterpiece created in the 1500’s. This is one of many priceless pieces of oil paintings, and if you get out of the priceless realm oil paintings of renown sell for millions of dollars each day. This is a huge contrast to digital art that does not maintain the same level of worth, and not only lacks value but is often copied and mass marketed since it literally takes seconds to replicate. Digital art that takes up to a month to complete can have an exact copy in seconds, yet you can line up artists from around the world to copy the Mona Lisa and will get a different version each time. This is the essence of oil painting, and why it remains the heart and soul of the industry despite the popularity of digital art.
An oil painting by an unknown artist will always hold more value than any digital art creation, regardless of the artists standing and past work. Some have classified oil painting as a dying art, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The truth is the amount of capable oil painters is at an all-time low due to the emergence of digital art. As a result oil paintings are having a bit of an underground resurgence, and attendance at art gallery exhibits are enjoying a nice boost because of it.
Understanding Why Digital Art Is Popular
This is the part that often baffles people that are interested in art, and for good reason. How can an art form that is inferior to oil painting be several times more popular? Accessibility of course. The faster computers got, the easier it became to accomplish certain things with less work. That is not a slight to digital art at all, as any art form that creates takes an incredible amount of skill. Complete digital software suites on smartphones retail for under $2, putting Picasso’s tools in the hands of any teenager but neglecting to gift technique and passion. But that is concentrating on the lower end of the platform, and not the higher end.
On the higher end there is the inclusion of Wacom tablets and other expensive hardware that is custom made to offset the prices associated with oil painting. So cost is another reason that digital art has gained massive popularity, which also speaks again to accessibility. A prospective artist that is willing to enroll in an Adobe Cloud program can offset the costs of his craft by hundreds of dollars a year. This is a prime reason why there are more digital art courses in college than there are oil painting courses. A closed off ecosystem with Adobe and Wacom dominating the market has also caused some licensing issues with certain companies, but that is a story for another day.
The last reason why digital art is so popular is none other than digital media. When thinking of digital media, try to focus more on the movie industry, the video game industry and websites. Once again, going back to accessibility, and this time around adding in conformity. Due to its ease of use and speed at getting content out, digital art is the preferred option. Content consumption has long been the norm for society, so speed is the priority and the fastest will always be digital art.
The Stigma Associated With Digital Art
When discussing the true value of digital art outside of content consumption and marketing, there may be a little bit of a backlash from purists. Granted it isn’t always the purists that roll their eyes at the newest digital art exhibit, but looking past the norm there is definitely a small stigma attached with the huge popularity of digital art. A good example is how many digital art exhibits that pop up serve mainly as a marketing tool for potential investors rather than to show off an art form. This is not the case with all digital art exhibits, and there are plenty in Los Angeles alone that are worth taking a trip to. Yet somehow association with digital art is sometimes frowned upon due to the immaturity of the product itself, and not the vision. Even if the art form has not yet gained the ability to tell as deep a story as oil paintings, it still deserves to be recognized for the equal amount of hard work that goes into each creation.
These two methods of art will continue to duke it out for many years to come. Digital art will never gain the standing of oil paintings in our lifetime, and even without the respect it still is a very complex and interesting media. Since content consumption isn’t going anywhere, fans of art should be ready to deal with both of these types of art for generations and more.