Digital Art in the Pandemic and Beyond
The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Saturday, July 13, 2024

Digital Art in the Pandemic and Beyond

Artists are creative by nature, and being unable to display their work in the conventional sense was not going to hold them back. Apart from anything else, artists needed to continue to bring in the money; while sales may have been few and far between, many artists found their particular style of work is more popular than ever.

Digital art is designed to be viewed on a screen or uses technology in the creative process. This means it can be viewed from anywhere online, hence why it’s become so popular in lockdown as it can be viewed without leaving the house.

It’s also more than that. Digital art has pushed the art world as a whole into the 21st century and has made art accessible to everyone. It also has great potential and room to grow thanks to technologies like virtual and augmented reality, which could bring these works to life in your very own home.

Art in the Time of Covid-19

In March 2019, at the beginning of the pandemic, Barcelona-based art directors Emma Calvo, José Guerrero, and Irene Llorca set up an Instagram account with the hashtag #CovidArtMuseum. Almost a year on, and the account has 159k followers and thousands of contributors.

Calvo and Guerrero focus on illustrations, paintings, photography, and digital artworks that provide commentary on Covid-19 - highlighting representations of hope, anxiety, solidarity, humor, and encouragement in these trying and difficult times.

While it’s not clear if you can buy these works, the curators hope to move the digital museum into a physical exhibition once restrictions are lifted.

Numerous forward-thinking art galleries, museums, and institutions recognize the opportunities the digital arts can provide. As a result, they’ve started to focus on their online presence and have promoted their digital initiatives accordingly.

Who, What, Where

In London, the Tate Gallery has taken significant steps to ensure its digital offering is up to scratch. The Tate makes it their mission to champion art and artists by creating rich content experiences to highlight the collections and exhibitions and make art accessible to everyone. By providing a compelling online experience and significantly growing its audience, they can monetize the online traffic and save the gallery, or at least that’s the plan.

New York has seen the Museum of Modern Art’s (MoMA) digital content expand the essential mission of the Museum to bring art and artists closer to audiences. Before the pandemic and, in fact, for decades, MoMA has embraced a digital strategy to open up its collection of modern and contemporary art to the world.

Between the Museum’s website, YouTube, and social media channels, MoMA has the most extensive digital audience of any museum, reaching 30+ million people worldwide who can view 84,000 pieces of work online at any time, day or night.

With that being said, nowhere has embraced digital art like Japan. In 2018, the Mori Building Digital Art Museum launched as the world’s first digital art museum, situated in Odaiba, Tokyo, and called teamLab Borderless. By celebrating Japanese art and artists, the concept has gone from strength to strength during the pandemic.

There’s little doubt that the Mori Building Digital Art Museum is unlike any museum or gallery you will ever see. The building comprises 10,000 square meters of space that uses 520 computers and 470 projectors to create the collaborating artists’ experiences.

All three museums ask artists to contribute their work, and while it may not always be possible to publish everything, many new artists have found it easier to find recognition and, in turn, sell their work.

The Rise Of Artistic Social Media

Famous artists like Takashi Murakami of Mr. Super Flat fame and Yayoi Kusama, the spotted princess at 97, have embraced the digital age, and subsequently, they are Japan's most influential artists. Why not see for yourself (@yayoikusama_) has 118.4k followers and is a beautiful page worthy of her title and influence.

Another digital artist who is creating a wave is Alejandro Gonzalez (x2terra) from Venezuela.

Alejandro’s an animator, graphic artist, and art director at WizzWear. Gonzalez has 14.8k followers on Instagram. His digital illustrations are a mix of urban and contemporary, totally inspired by street-style fashions, offering the perfect blend of strong characters and vivid color palettes.

Jeremy Hoffman (theheartofjeremyhoffman) hales from the Netherlands and specializes in creating cool street characters. His varied style goes from an unrecognizable loopy design to intricately detailed real-life characters. Taking his observations from his daily life, he captures gestures and expressions from passing strangers.

Tasia M. S. (tasia.m.s) from Johannesburg, South Africa, is an illustrator and animation student specializing in creating and empowering female figures. Tasia redefines femininity in her inspired way, swapping her style as she goes from super pastel fairy queens to urban street-style inspired girls. She’s a rising star and will most likely out-perform many digital artists in the coming year or so.

We could go on. Social media has given birth to a new and exciting band of artists who are not dependent on art galleries, art dealers, and industry experts to spotlight or help them sell their work. Digitization has made the art world a level playing field, which has to be a good thing.

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