Modern day artist: the impact of technology on artistic creativity

Abstract artist, Claire Desjardins, in front of painting.

Technology has revolutionized our world, but its effect on artistic creativity is a topic of debate, especially more recently concerning all the various A.I. tools that are filling our timelines and home pages. With so many advancements being made - daily, it seems - it can be difficult to keep up. While convenient, concerns are growing that technology can stagnate our creative spirit and even ability.

Convenience vs. Inspiration

Artist Claire Desjardins draws on digital pad, in art studio.

Technology provides artists with easy access to resources and tools, but this convenience can limit originality and exploration. Relying on pre-existing ideas hampers the expression of unique concepts and individuality.

Patience and reflection

The digital age promotes instant gratification, pressuring artists to produce quickly and undermine patience and reflection. Having a large number of followers on social media is validating, but can also serve as a distraction (I know this, first-hand!). True creativity requires time, introspection, and a delicate combination of solitude and community. It can be so easy to get distracted by the constant pings and vibrations of instant validation - sometimes even lack thereof. 

Abstract artist, Claire Desjardins, drawing on her digital pad.

Photo: my early days of ART x TECH led me to a partnership with Microsoft Canada, where I was one of six Canadian artists selected by Microsoft to feature their new (at the time: 2017) Microsoft Surface 4. It was my first foray into creative tech. This is a screenshot from a video for Microsoft in the Toronto studio.

Over-reliance on tools

Powerful digital tools and automation simplify artistic processes, but they can diminish the tactile experience that artists value. As well as the personal touch many art collectors actively seek. The physical connection with the art is lost, potentially eroding at uniqueness and authenticity. I remember when digital art first came on the scene: there was argument whether it was actually "real art" or not (a debate of the ages!)... Now, it definitely is, but personally, I prefer a more tactile hand in my work.

Replication vs. exploration

Digital art enables easy replication of styles and techniques, which can be seen as hindering to the development of a personal style, especially now that AI is becoming more prevalent. Relying solely on digital references can be creatively limiting and may unintentionally lead to imitation instead of inspired. It's important to challenge our brains, to forge new paths that are less dependant upon tech. I'm not saying to never use it, but rather, to limit its use to being only a fraction of an artist's practice: to put trust in your own mind and its experiences. 

My 2-cents

Finding a balance is crucial. Disconnecting from technology enables artists to engage with the physical world and generate fresh ideas. As well as, in my opinion, allow for some much needed time away from screens. Embracing traditional practices alongside digital tools encourages exploration. By navigating technology consciously, artists can preserve their creativity and nurture their unique artistic voices. The balance looks different for everyone. For some, technology can be a great way to visualize ones most silly, even nonsensical ideas, until inspiration strikes. I believe the inherent value of art lies in its creators and how the viewers and collectors of the world feel they can relate to them.

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1 comment

I’m right there with you, as a longtime fan of your work, it was a breath of fresh air to read how you feel about digital art. I’ve watched my daughter produce some really cool art on her iPad but I prefer the physical part of picking out my colors and the physical part of using a brush and putting those colors down on a canvas & if something doesn’t flow right, painting over with another color. The whole process is cathartic for me. Don’t get me wrong, I think some digital art is cool, but a lot of it seems too all look the same, at least when it comes too abstract art. That’s just how I feel about it, as an artist, I enjoy actual paint and the whole process of looking at a piece and trying to figure out what looks best, coming back to it while working on a different piece and adding or subtracting real paint and mixing actual paints together to see what comes out. Your blog was wonderful and I think a lot of artists will agree with you also. Keep up your canvas paintings!! The ones that have layers instead of a computer screen because you’re paintings inspire me!!!!

Amanda Izzi

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