Tuesday, 7 May 2013


The Future of Digital Art

in Web Design



I would like to thank Debs Wilson for her continual support and guidance; furthermore I would also like to thank Kyoko Street-Yasuda, David S Carlin, Linda Carlin and Chris de Roux for answering my questionnaire.


This document looks into the evolution of digital art. I will be exploring and discussing its past and present, showing major events; in addition I’m going to present some of its practitioners.
I will also be going to investigate whether digital art has a future in web design.

In order to present my findings as accurate and detailed as possible I will be explaining these topics in separate sections.
In the first one I am going to describe the history of digital art. In the second part I am going to explain the different categories and present a few newly appeared artists.
The third section is going to reveal the outcome of my questionnaire. The fourth part is going to be a list of the advantages and disadvantages of digital art. Finally, I am going to discuss and evaluate the thesis of my dissertation.
At the end I will draw my conclusion based on the findings I have presented.
To explore the subject I used a variety of primary and secondary research. The secondary research involved published literature (e.g. journals, papers and books) and online websites. The method used for primary research was asking professionals or who have an understanding of digital media about their opinion regarding digital art.
The significance of my paper in this area is that it gave me the opportunity to explore better the subject which has always been my passion: art; furthermore it demonstrates my preparedness for the industry.



The reason why I chose to get a degree in Digital Media Design was because I wanted to learn how to produce works of art digitally. During the years I became interested in web design too, but art still remained important to me.
I realised it would be interesting to combine the two: to use digital art for web designs.

My goal for my dissertation was to find out as much as possible about this area and to identify does digital art, because it is still a new part of digital media, have a place in web design.

As I was conducting my research I got fascinated by the rich history of digital art. My findings show that people’ perception of art not only means art in itself but also aesthetics.

My work’s value lies in the fact that it explores my favourite subject, the evolution of digital art; furthermore it gave me a better understanding of my profession.
This paper looks into the exciting and diverse area of digital art and its possible future in web design; and it expresses my opinion on where I see myself as part of this industry.

The Foundation and History of Digital Art

Digital art is the newest, most innovative trend in contemporary art. It makes use of technology and creates extraordinary works that fall outside of any conventional aesthetic definition. It’s a broad and active field which is infused with the spirit of innovation.

In her work, Digital Art History (2008), Iona Miller claims that art is the most fundamental activity that characterises modern man. She believes knowledge of the rich history of art adds depth to our perception, heightens awareness, and provides a sense of our place in the world.

In order to understand the future of digital art, first we must get to know its past. In this section I am going to present a brief summary of its history.

According to my research the beginnings of digital fine art are hard to determine because they consist of many elements, which relate to each other in different ways.

Through the development of the computer in the 1950s to the home PC in the 1980s and Internet in the 1990s, the earliest date since artists were experimenting was the 1960s.
In the 1960s a diverse array of artists, musicians, poets, writers, and filmmakers around the world were engaging with mainframe and mini-computers to create innovative new artworks.

The development of digital technologies transformed creative activities like painting, drawing, sculpture and music which resulted in the birth of recognised artistic practices.
Since then, various names have been used to describe this new form of art such as computer art or multimedia art.

The term digital art is placed under new media art and has a broad meaning. Generally the term describes that form of art which makes use of digital technologies in the production of a work of art. In a wider sense it means contemporary art that uses the methods of mass production or digital media.

The evolution of digital art can be distinguished in three periods:

·         1956-1958
·         1986-1996
·         1996-2006

The first period which took place in 1956-1958 was called the “Pioneers”.

Artists like Ernest Edmonds, Manfred Mohr, Frieder Nake and Roman Verostko were the first pioneers who made creative breakthroughs, with the computer becoming a companion in their work.
They are responsible for the development of art history from dada into digital.  These pioneers began to re-plot the way art might be made, from creating drawing and plotting machines to using algorithms and code to construct their work.

Although all this seemed very new and interesting, the idea of using computers to create art wasn’t readily accepted in those days.
For example Charles “Chuck” Csuri, who was considered the father of digital art and computer animation, faced a lot of rejections from journals and magazines. An art critic clearly dismissed the idea of people working with electronics and art.

At that time few art schools had programs that addressed the use of computers in art-making and only such visionary centers as Gyorgy Kepe’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT provided environments where artists could access the latest tools and devices.
Of course, now all major universities have or are starting to have new programs in art and technology, or art and new media.

The second phase of digital art history was “The Paintbox” era which took place in 1986-1996. The emphasis wasn't on computer programming anymore but on the use of paint program. It was then that commercial art software became available (though slowly at first) to the general public.
In 1994 the World Wide Web took off, becoming a popular medium for global art movement. This era began to explore the cultural, social, and aesthetic possibilities of such new communication technologies as the Web, mobile phones and PDAs.

 The third era which was around 1996-2006 was called “Multimedia” when the internet and interactivity started imposing new models of relationship between the artist and his audience.

As you can see digital technology has had a major impact on the production and experience of art during the years. Traditional forms of art have been transformed by digital techniques and entirely new forms have emerged.
Although its rich history, digital art still hasn’t found an established place in the arts; perhaps this is why many designers still don’t make enough use of it in web-, smartphone-, tablet designs and don’t recognise the possibilities which lies in them.


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