Why painting is here to stay…

Watch how I cleverly start a new post, while at the same time promoting an item on an alternative webpage. While I was reading through some of the answers I had received from Kendrick Mar for the e-terview (Yes, I just a made that one up, yes it’s bloody awful) with him I was writing for the cultblender site, it suddenly dawned on me: Painting as an art-form is here to stay… where a lot of digital art forms may not be.

Digital visual artKendrick said something along the lines of: “Painters who prefer not to have pictures of their art taken and posted on the internet -since you can never translate a painting to a digital image- are like musicians who don’t want their music recorded to cd, since it’s always better if you hear it live.” (not a quote, free interpretation) To me, it seems there is a lot of truth in that. In Wired magazine I read an article by David Byrne (former ‘Talking Heads’ band member and recording artist) who stated that the main mistake made by the record industry when trying to find an answer to downloading of music is that they thought that they were in the music business. Which is not true. Record labels are in the business of selling containers in which you contain the music you like to listen to. Big difference. The containers are things you can hack, make copies of. The music itself however….

Music, like painting, is an analogue and organic art form. A lot of its beauty comes from the personality the artist can put in it, or even the small mistakes he or she makes. That’s why we love to see those things in real life. And it’s the whole package, all the senses are important, smelling the paint, tasting the air, feeling the connection with all the other fans in the stadium. If art is performed or seen live, you can feel it, submerge in it. And since people will want the real live experience, it will always be possible to make money of it and make a living a an artist. If you are in the business of making digital art, it may be that you find that -even though you’re brilliant- it’s almost impossible to make a living of it. Because it will always be possible to make exact copies of your work that will be spread for free as soon as it seems that you can make some money of it. That’s the internet anarchy for you.

We also see an exact opposite development. Polaroid has announced it will stop producing their films because of the success of digital photography. It seems no one develops a film anymore. Except, obviously, for those photographers that enjoy developing their own films, which will – as long as you have a vague notion about what you’re doing- always lead to better results than the pictures that come from the lab. But by developing your photos yourself, you are , again, creating an analogue version that cannot be digitally copied, because you will lose a lot of the original attraction.

Like painting, analogue photography or live music performances will never die as an art-form. Simply because the total experiences cannot be copied to a digital form, from the relative comfort of your won home.


3 thoughts on “Why painting is here to stay…

  1. I think the distinction between analog and digital becomes very hard to distinguish if you run technology forward a few more years. As our technology becomes nanotechnology, and analog media can be represented digitally with a clarity approaching perfection, the distinction is lost. Afterall, an ‘infinitely’ complex digital representation of something IS the analog representation of that same thing. In our future, real and virtual become one. Nice article!

    1. Thank you very much for your reply Steve. I agree with you that digital representation will continue to get better, I am still sceptical about whether or not it can replace the ‘real experience’. On the other hand… why should it replace anything? Perhaps it can just be extra?

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