Pushing the boundaries of creativity with technology by LeRon L. Barton

Art, like life evolves. Visual ideas were once confined to paper canvases, and sculptures, with the only tools used to express ourselves being paint brushes, chisels, limited colors of paint, and a sharp pencil. The evolution of artistic tools has given way to illustrators curating new worlds on a pc, imaginations brought to life with video, creative expressions done on smart phones, and new techniques being born.

While artistic movements such as the Renaissance and Realism periods relied on stills and gentle brush strokes, tech has brought us into the digital age. Computers and software are center stage in this new artistic movement. Barriers to access the art world such as class and popularity are weakened as people can just log on, upload their newest pieces, and maybe become the Basquiat of a future generation. Technology has allowed the playing field to be open to anyone with talent.

With tech being nearly irreplaceable in our lives, it is only logical that art and technology would intersect. Painters are utilizing digital canvases instead of the standard paper ones, bringing a new interactivity to their pieces. Takashi Murakami, the legendary Japanese artist, takes full advantage of technology when creating his works such as digital scanning and printing for his 2014 exhibition “In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow,”. Young film makers are creating full length movies with DSLR cameras, and Tangerine, the indie sensation about a young Black transgender woman was shot with an IPhone.

The marriage of art and technology has also benefitted the African diaspora greatly. In the past, our talents and stories have either been ignored or told through a white lens. However, with tech being more accessible, Black artists have been able to not only represent us truthfully, but push our talents to the forefront of the art world. NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism, a collective of Black women artists, held an exhibit at SXSW that focused exclusively on the hair and skin of a Black woman. Through showing images of braided hair and aloe vera cream, this piece represented the daily beauty regime of Black women. Xaviera Simmons, a photographer and sculptor in New York, blends various mediums to create innovative works that focus on the African experience world-wide. Hank Willis Thomas, a photo conceptual artist, recently had an installation at the Baltimore Museum of Art that took a look at Black masculinity. Jepchumba, a digital artist out of Chicago created the website “African Digital Art” a site she says is a “celebration of African culture and art, design, and technology.” Described as a collection of different artist’s works around the world, African Digital Art is an amazing display of photographs, painting, and illustrations that span time, cultures, and viewpoints that show how art and technology have seamlessly become one.

Today, artists of all mediums continue to redefine art is with technology at their disposal. With the advancements made in tech every day, it is exciting to see what illustrators, painters, sculptors, film makers, and photographers are able to create. It is a sensational time to be alive.

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