The Language of the Future – article by Marianna C. Feiteiro – April 2011

Oct 03, 2012 No Comments by

The Language of the Future.

Specialists disagree on whether Computer Art is beneficial or harmful for children, but they agree in one point: it is the art form of the youth.

The digital world has gained power over the last decades and is now a very important part of the physical world. Today, people use technology for nearly everything: studying, working, shopping, banking, researching, consuming news and information and even relating to each other. Even though the internet is present in people?s everyday life, it is not yet a fully developed tool – it is constantly changing and is still realising its potential. Because of this, many specialists claim older generations are generally less comfortable around these devices than younger ones. While adults try to adjust to a new technology and keep up with the constant innovations, children are exposed to this culture at a very young age and adapt quickly.

As a consequence, children are becoming familiar with the concept of Digital art – which includes everything produced in a computer, ranging from creations, such as paintings and drawings, to photo manipulations and mixed media. While some say too much exposure might not be beneficial, others claim this art form is the future and therefore children must become familiar with it.

Freelance illustrator and Young Australian Art Awards judge Craig Smith says children become passive when exposed to Computer Art.

“The use of this technology in primary schools should be extremely limited. Certainly not in the „art? space,” he argues.

Mr Smith says Digital Art has brought two main challenges to artists, “paying for machines and muscular tension.” Mr Smith, who stopped creating digital illustrations a few years ago and “hopes never to again”, believes one of the downsides of computer- generated work is the great amount of time it takes. Artistically, he says, the biggest loss is in “texture”.

“Software can mimic it [traditional art form] amazingly but still it has an artificial, flat quality,” he says.

However, the illustrator recognises that a relationship with digital interfaces, including art-related ones, is important for children. He argues that they must be schooled in emerging technology, as the digital revolution in the workplace is a reality, but it has to be balanced with traditional art techniques.

“I do think a lot of youngsters are attracted to traditional forms of art for traditional reasons – it is fun and intuitive,” he says.

“Why work on a machine when you have a pencil?” Freelance visual artist Leah Robinson offers a different view.

“Why use pen and paper?” she asks.

Developer of the project Mind Creativity, a series of programs to help children become familiar with the digital world, Ms Robinson believes children do not show much interest in traditional drawing. Even though she thinks it is important to maintain traditional art skills, she claims Computer Art makes it easier for children to express themselves in a much more comprehensive way.

“The multimedia art format allows them to tell their personal story by combining video, sound, images, text and animation,” she says.

“They have increased options for self-expression, imagining a positive future for themselves and their world, identifying with their heroes.”

Ms Robinson claims this art form can also help develop a child?s creative problem- solving skills, as well as teamwork and organisational abilities.

Both artists agree that Computer Art is a type of work produced mainly by the youth.

“Probably that is the case, in a general sense of familiarity with digital interfaces,” Mr Smith claims.

“I believe Computer Art is the art medium of the future,” Ms Robinson says. “Children grow up with technology and are native to these multimedia environments.

“They need to become fluent in the use of this technology as their fundamental literacy form for all types of communications.

“Digital media is the new global language.”

Marianna C. Feiteiro – April 2011

Articles, In the News

About the author

Leah is an experienced visual artist of both traditional art and digital media with a background in graphic design, video and photography, through individual projects, as a lecturer and through industry. Leah has taught web design, multimedia, digital photomedia, and new media theory and practice at a number of universities, TAFE colleges and schools. She achieved a Master of Visual Arts in digital media and is a qualified Workplace Trainer and Assessor.
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