On Tuesday, I had to make a mock-up of a postcard. It didn’t have to be anything fancy – just a way to communicate a design concept. The concept involved brains and art.
I fired up Adobe Illustrator, and stared at the white screen for about 15 minutes. I got about as far as making some postcard shaped guides. Then I put my computer to sleep and picked up some construction paper and a pair of scissors. The project that I ultimately presented was composed of a manila envelope, white paper, scotch tape, pen, pencil, colored marker and glue.
I think most people might agree that when asked to free-associate about the word “art,” they go right for the tactile – oil paints, brushes, canvas, clay, a rainbow-smudged artist’s smock. Increasingly, however, the art that is relevant and present in our daily lives is created on a pixilated screen. The past decade has ushered in an era of amazing, compelling, groundbreaking digital creativity. The latest issue of Communication Arts magazine (which I am so excited comes to the office, because it costs about as much as an entrée at a fancy restaurant), is just page after page of jaw-dropping images. And most of them are ads! I’m excited about looking at commercials!
So why did I reach for the scissors when it was time to put together my little project? Are paints, pens and paper the instinctive bedrock from which all art springs? If I was more technically proficient, would I have been able to put something more professional-looking together to present?
I assume that every artist has a unique, personal experience with old media vs. new. Some might view the two as mutually exclusive, and prefer only to work in one area or the other. Some might see the possibilities presented by digital media as just another facet of the complicated, ever-changing world of art. Personally, with my rudimentary skills (I’m no Picasso, and the pen tool still remains frustratingly elusive), I find it easier to communicate an idea with simple tools like a pencil and ruler.
What are your experiences with new media vs. old? Acrylic purists and Photoshop enthusiasts, please leave your thoughts in the comments.