If you want to learn about the everyday life of a society, you look at their art. In it, is found the hopes, dreams, and fears of the culture. Our history is rich with famous artists; Van Gogh, Picasso, Mozart, Beethoven, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Thespis, Charlie Chaplin, Sophocles, Aeschylus, Homer, Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, J.K. Rowling, and The Beatles.
In the modern world, our idea of art is changing. Through the technological revolution, we have forever changed the way that art is made in the world. Technology pushes the limits of art. However, there is a lot of push back when it comes to using technology to change art. But what many critics realize, is that without technology, we would not even have the rich history of art we have. Take for example, the paint tube.
Before the paint tube, oil paints were stored in pig bladders sealed with string. In order to use the paint, the artist punctured the bladder. However, the hole never could be fully sealed once opened. Oil paint didn’t travel well, and it dried out quickly. John G. Rand, an American Portrait painter was frustrated with the paint, and in 1841, invented a metal tube that was sealed by a screw-on cap. The new tin revolutionized art. It allowed impressionist artists to leave their studio and paint on-the-spot, to use more colors in their art, and to paint everything at once. We can thank Rand for the beautiful art of Monet, Pissarro, and even Van Gogh.
Yes, technology changes art, but it also can make it better. Below are four technologies that many artists use to create beautiful and new art forms.
3D Printing is an amazing technology that allows people to “print” three dimensional objects from a digital file. The machine puts down layers of the material until it creates the solid object. You can 3D print virtually anything: tables, chairs, car parts, model replicas of real-life objects, guns, guitars, camera lenses, shoes, electronics, and more. You can even 3D print fabric.
3D printing has created a new form of sculpture. You can print complexly detailed and tiny pieces for your sculptures that would be difficult, if not impossible to do with your hands. There are full-color 3D printers, or you can 3D print an object in white or grey, and paint it afterwards. Another amazing technology that works alongside the 3D printer is the 3D scanner. You can scan a real-life object with a 3D scanner, and then duplicate it with the 3D printer, or make a smaller or larger model. Some modern artists who work with this medium are: Joshua Harker, Theo Jansen, Bathsheba Grossman, and Eric van Straaten.
Many artists use light as their medium of choice. Light is an incredibly intangible medium that can be focused to create profound art. Artists will install lights in different spaces that sometimes react to those who are in the space. Light art is not technically new, as light has been manipulated in stained glass since the 4th century. What is new is the technologies that we have that allows us to manipulate light. But light art is more common than we realize. For example, e have all seen the Main Street Electrical Parade at Disneyland (or have at least heard of it) created by Bob Jani and Ron Miziker. Some would argue that marquee lights (like those in New York and Las Vegas) are an art form as well. Some amazing light artists are Yayoi Kusama and Bruce Munro. Yayoi Kusama is most famous for her ‘Infinity Mirrored Room— The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away”. The piece was created by surrounding a room in mirrors and hanging colored LED lights from the ceiling. The effect produced a cosmic infinity that invited visitors to contemplate the past, present, and future.
While you’re probably wondering why lasers are not included above with light, this “new technology” is specifically laser cutting, rather than laser light installations. Laser cutting has become very prevalent in our society. It is most commonly used for manufacturing, but as the technology evolves — and ultimately becomes cheaper — more people have begun using it. It is even a popular hair removal treatment (as if you didn’t know!). Laser artists etch designs into paper, metal, wood, money, etc. A few famous artists are: Eric Standley and Scott Campbell.
Typically, when you think of powder coating, you think of its industrial application, or its use in playgrounds. But this blog suggests that powder coating has become a popular art form – especially when it comes to dealing with metal. Many sculptures that will be on display outside in harsh weather are powder coated. Powder coating is long lasting, forgiving, and vibrant. Famous powder coating artists are: Kevin Caron and Sally Jurgensmier.