Digital Art, yes, no or what?

Article by Arnvid Aakre, 2018
never trust a grinning cat

Ever bought digital art
Did you?
"I bought digital art two months ago."

So what did you get?
"Got a museum quality print on outstanding paper (90x70cm), signed and numbered. Got it framed and put it on the wall. It looked great, and it just made the garden room."
That sounds great, so you're happy now?
"No, there was a small fire in the garden room, the fire department put out the fire pretty fast. One of the problems after this was that the new digital artwork is gone. It was damaged, so nothing to do. So I lost on that, and on top of it – that exact artwork is not available any longer in the limited edition."

Let’s try another ending here?
... happy now?
"Apart from the fire in the garden room, and all the hassle after that. For my new artwork, the piece I had was a limited edition, numbered 5/16. Had already the original, as the artist sent me a download link to the painting, numbered and individually signed just a few days after I bought it."

When I sell a digital painting or drawing, the new owner of that numbered painting gets a Certificate of Authenticity, the freedom given by a Creative Commons license, and of course the signed digital art file in both .tif and .jpg formats.
The numbering and signing are done directly on the digital file, on the same drawing board where the paintings are made.

"Yes, all I had to do was to send the file to a great printing house in the city I live. I picked it up yesterday, framed. Looking better than ever ..."

That's a pretty good BACKUP solution I guess?

"Can't be much better, as long as I make a backup of my digital files."

Look at it all from even another angle?
If I say that the digital file, signed and numbered, is the real piece of art, why is that so?

                            The digital file is in itself invisible.
You can’t see a digital artwork without a somehow similar environment to when creating them.
  So as an invisible artwork is excellent, but it will feel a bit like the Emperor's New Artworks I guess, so a printed edition would be the first step for most. But if I have purchased an artwork that I am the only person who got this with the limited number – number 5 of total 8 – why should I not use it as long as it within the few given limitations of creative commons.

  Digital works sold in a limited edition have only one commandment: "Thou shalt not make unto thee business from copies, only the original digital image file." Meaning: don't do business out of copies, the digital file is the ONLY original.

What is Digital Art?
First, can we use the phrase 'Digital Art'? Wouldn't that be the same as calling oil paintings for Oil Art or acrylic paintings for Acrylic Art?
  We can't name a tool as oil, acrylic or digital a phrase that indicates that it's an 'art style when it's a tool.
  As long as the artist, her- or himself defines what s/he does is painting, that is entirely for the artist to determine. What tool s/he use is a totally different story.

You can define a painting as "oil painting", or "digital painting" - and the difference is that while an "oil painting" is based upon canvas with colour pigments embedded in oil. Visible to anybody that's not blind.
The digital painting greatest difference compared to an oil painting is that the digital painting doesn't exist visually as the file itself.

  BUT when I as the artist divide the original file in let's say sixteen parts, then write with the same digital pen I used for the painting, the numbers 1/16 - 2/16 - 3/16 and so on up to the last, 16/16. Then sign each different numbered file, individually of course. This file is then made into one .tif-file and one 'lighter' .jpg-file, both in original pixel size. What does this mean, especially for the buyer?
Here I can only speak for myself and how I do it, and last but not least, my arguments for doing so (and yes, the buyers said yeah or something cute like that).

It means that the buyer of the digital file #5/8 of a limited edition digital painting, is given this file (with signature, the serial #5/8 and certificate) - and this is the part that has value when I sell a digital painting.
When the buyer gets a print of this file, then s/he is creating an authorised transferred process from the invisible file to a form that is visible to the naked eye. Be it print on paper, metal print, wallpaper, ceramic tiles, or whatever idea the owner of the digital painting can come up with to make the digital painting visual.
  What can the buyer do with a Digital Painting?
Hang it up where s/she wants, considering the size maybe. A secure place of course, and with humidity on an ok level. That's great; I know at least some of my old paintings in that size are living a good life with their owners - but what if ..?

What if you as an owner of a digital painting could use that digital artwork as:
* prints in fine art or museum quality on top level paper for print - only you decide how many of your number x/x of a limited edition.
* wallpaper of your artwork
* ceramic tiles for indoors or outdoor mosaic of your digital artwork. Any size, hint, hint.
* mini items - how small can you get a digital painting?
* in short, the ball is now in the buyer's court.
  USE ART, trust me - USING art is for me far more fun than the sometimes dull process of being the only responsible for having to create it (-:

So to the readers:
Should digital painting you buy, just be a good print from a digital file,

See all Artwork sections at