a student draws on ipad

Art Meets Technology Essay Contest Winner

Art and technology have long shared a connection, but now more than ever, technology is shaping the way artists and designers view and affect the world.

We recently asked our RMCAD social media community to weigh in on the discussion and share how technology has influenced their own art or design work. We received many great responses, and selected Jesse Tarlton as our winner for his submission Yellow Monster. Tarlton will receive an iPad for his submission. Yellow Monster and the other top submissions are included below. We hope these stories spark your own discussions about the way that technology is shaping today’s art.

Yellow Monster 
“Fifteen years ago, in a classroom full of other ten-year-olds, I was trying to draw a yellow monster. I wanted it to look like something I’d seen in a cartoon but it looked remarkably like a ten-year-old had drawn it. Disappointing. Now ten-year-old me is finally placated; I can create something digitally and fill it with one solid color. I’m even able to draw a moderately better monster. I’m reluctant to admit it, but I need instant gratification. Technology has provided me with a much more fruitful and satisfying delivery mechanism for a making-something-fix than young me could find. Though I’m satisfied that I’ve switched to Graphic Design (there weren’t any schools with a monster drawing major) my younger self would be depressed to know that I’m no longer “that kid who can draw” but one of millions who have the same competency level with the same tools. Millions whose digital stomping-grounds are increasingly overlapping. For every piece of work I make, there’s likely someone someplace who’s made something similar but better. Maybe that pushes me to make my work different, but ten-year-old me still just wants to make the best monster in existence, and I can’t help but sympathize.”
– J. Tarlton

Technology is Sunshine
“My initial thought was that technology has not affected my art; that my inspirations come from nature and other artists. And although I make some art on my computer, I prefer painting with a real paintbrush. The feeling of the brush gliding along a canvas, the contours of the texture that remains, and the juxtapositions of color mixtures all create a utopian explosion of everything good in life: stars, moonlight and crisp breezes. But after some contemplation, it was revealed that my influences, my experiences, and my techniques, have not solely been learnt by drawing or watching from real life, but they’ve been achieved through the screen of a portable machine that displays images, knowledge and lessons. Technology has made it possible for my pencil and I to explore the jungles of India, snorkel the Great Barrier Reef and experience the despair of hiding in an attic like Harriet Jacobs. Technology allows me to spend my winter indoors, but still appreciating the outdoors. Technology allows sunshine when in reality there is none. Technology is sunshine. And I depend on Sunshine.”
-L. Smith

The Technology of Connection
“As a younger artist, hiding from the influence of other creators, I held a misbegotten belief in the singular importance of my voice. I believed it should grow quietly in the dark, devoid of outside manipulation, a voice of profundity and newness – an island. Insane! Art is the great facilitator, ambassador and translator, opening doors to secret worlds and communities. Art transcends technique and creation, it is a life-process of perception. Elements of my studio practice exist outside-of-the-studio, connected through tertiary lines of understanding. Hosting The Untitled Art Show, I spend hours in conversation with Artists, delving into process, reason, motivation. Our audience, connected through technology, is in 100+ countries. I recently launched OneWall, a program for globally crowd-sourcing Art, which monumentally-exhibits in high-profile-locations, nationally. Changing how we access Public Art, unifying the Creator experience, freeing artists from physical constraints, and manifesting digital into real-world expression, our web-based software platform uses social-media and crowd-source technology inexistent until recently. My practice is not Art alone, but the development of Art-for-all. My process is only possible through technology. My hands are a tool, as are my brushes, but my greatest asset is my community, joined through technology.”
-M. Keen

The Forge of an Illustrator
“As I start to create I fire up the computer bent on walking through the reference files of what I’m trying to emulate and design. I gather them such as precious metals rather raw in their state. I push them into the crucible that is my imagination after tempering them into my rough sketches infused with the Cintiq pen upon the screen. I begin to refine my drawing such as any fine craftsman would do as the pen skirts across the screen as I too see my will come to life. When the painting starts to come out of the broiler that is my mind I begin to polish it such as a fine gem. For me I use the computer everyday from interacting with other artists to forging my pieces. It has become an indispensable tool that is used and infused with my work. Technology from start to finish is one of many talents and one of constant learning and understanding how it works. For me as an illustrator it helps me define and to create and build my worlds with the use of my imagination. I will continue to grow and define myself with the help of technology.”
-C. Shumate

Digital Whirl
“Technology has greatly enhanced my art. I am able to research, communicate and share quality work with the addition of the Internet and social media. Storage applications allow me to save files on virtual drives so I may work on the go without the worry of carrying extra hard drives. As a new art student, my digital camera has become an addition to my sketchbook as I chronicle gigabytes of inspiration and stages of creation. My camera serves as a video camera when utilizing the interval shooting menu settings. I am able to document my creative process from start to finish creating yet another form of art. As I am completely dedicated to my education, I appreciate keeping up with classmates during snowstorms, in between class, or late night studying in real time through Facebook. Social media also keeps me posted on who may need my assistance with photography or inspirational exhibits I should attend. The most useful technology I have used since relocating to Colorado from Maryland is smart phone navigation applications. With them, I can stay connected with the artist community and exhibits by downloading step by step directions to galleries and museums.”
T. Anthony

Thanks to all who submitted an essay, and congratulations to Jesse Tarlton, our contest winner!


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