The debate between traditionalists who create with the purity of brushes and pens against the new media artists who generate artworks with anything digital technology has to offer, is expected to continue for a long time yet.
This discussion between the old and the new school is like a “style battle” fought in the name of the “real art”. In the last years, digital art also had an interesting development in some African country.
On the frontlines in Namibia are artists like Sigi Kolbe, Romeo Sinkala and Don Stevenson, who use digital technologies to do anything and everything from creating photo fantasies to psycho-portraits to digital paintings.
All remarkably realised, their artworks are classified as digital art because they have used computer technology to create original pieces with programmes and innovations which have arguably reduced or refined the effort of the traditional hand made.
A dream designer and femme of fancy, Sigi Kolbe is in the business of building worlds.
Able to sell her photographic fine art to establishments as illustrious as “Getty Images”, Kolbe believes digital art is a versatile and legitimate art form which, like all new things soon to become the norm, is involved to defeat its first wave of resistance.
He use photography primarily to create fantasy’s images, often with an underlying message. Many of his works are influenced by surreal scenarios who invite the viewer to stop and to think. “My computer is my darkroom and Photoshop my art studio. This is where I create images that feed on my fantasies,” the artist likes to tell.
Perhaps most vexing to traditionalists is the type of work done by Romeo Sinkala.
Sometimes indistinguishable from traditional painting, digital painting can apply traditional techniques with digital tools by way of a computer, a digitising tablet and a stylus to create original works as well as reproductions of some of the most famous pieces in the world.
Sinkala believes that digital art offer many tools that fit easily into the mainstream of the digital world we’re living in. Maintaining that digital art is great for movie production, storyboards, animation and advertising where most works have to be kept in their digital form until the final product, Sinkala certainly believes that mode of creation is secondary to transmission. “Art is about the piece of art an artist shares with the world regardless of the media used,” says Sinkala.
He’s currently working on the first full digital illustration storybook in Namibia.
Stay tuned for next steps.