When I was studying to become an artist there was only one way to do it and it was to under study with a master after university. So after learning classical techniques on the university level I then took off to find out what a university can not teach you, which is true creativity. While studying abroad I was inspired and awed by the dedication and perseverance involved in creating a true work of art. After all it took 4 four years for Michael Angelo to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling while laying on his back suspended above the floor. That is commitment. I have spent my whole life as a classically trained artist creating paintings, and in particular, sculptures, by hand. Each new project is always a challenge and an adventure but with the advent of the computer age there is an emerging group of digital artists that skip the traditional studio phase and create their art work on the computer instead. To digitally create a sculpture you have to be adept at computer generating 3D images from either photographs or images and avatars off the computer. The programs image is then milled out in foam and the artist then smears on clay over the foam and delivers it to the foundry and the foundry then makes a mold and pours a bronze sculpture from the original computer generate foam replica. Also, a 3D printed model can be made which doesn’t even require a mold or any clay addition and can be cast directly into bronze. So the artist does not have to know anything about classical proportions or be able to create a hand drawn sketch. Everything is perfectly done by the computer.

Creating art with the use of digital applications and computer software has been around now for a while and is used by many artists today but when it comes to acceptance of fine-art there are many artists and art advocates that disapprove of its usage as it comes down to true creative talent. The problem is that most artists that use the computer to create their sculptures do not disclose the use of the computer in their process thus leading the consumer to assume that they made the sculpture or painting the traditional way. I have met artist that have never taken an art degree but instead studied computer programming.

So why would you choose to hire an artist that creates his works of art the classical way by hand as opposed to on the computer? One reason I have noticed is that, especially when it comes to portraits or figurative works, the subject that is computer generated can often times look stiff or lifeless when computer generated. Part of the job of the artist is to bring forth the personality of the subject. A good sculptor will often try to find that certain je ne sais qua that defines a persons personality and bring that to life. A computer can not do this. The problem is that most artists that use the computer as the major component in creating their art work do not openly disclose this to the public.

When looking for an artist to hire you should find an artist with a solid foundation who is trained in classical techniques so that they understand the fundamental requirements for spacial expression and developing compositions. I have seen clients looking at a finished sculpture and wondering what was “ wrong” with it but not being able to put their finger on it. Often this can be found in the expression which is mannequin like and stiff when designed by a computer. The artist did not have the training to understand where the computer went wrong. There are many artists today using the computer in one way or the other in their art work and it is always a good idea if you are looking to hire an artist to ask them what part the computer process takes in the creation of their art work so that if you do hit a snag along the way you can be assured that they have the training necessary to correct it.

One last thought I would like to add and that is about our idea of “perfection”. The computer is great at reproducing something perfectly from a photograph but what I find most appealing about an original work of art is often not how perfectly it matches the photo but about how it is artistically interprated by the artist. The true job of the artist is to help us to see life in a new way. As Edgar Degas said “ Art is not what you see but what you make others see”.

This photo is a memorial of “Jacob” I created for his family. Jacob lived his life in a wheel chair and I never met him but his family told me that he was a joy and inspiration to everyone who knew him. My goal was to capture his wonderful spirit and commemorate his short life.

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