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The advancement of and access to technology has allowed digital arts education to become more prevalent in schools. Although it continues to be a new medium for art teachers and students, it’s been around the art world for quite some time. In fact, one of the first significant computer art exhibitions took place in 1965.
Because technology continues to advance, digital art has taken many forms over the years. However, one constant has been artists’ exploration of digital media as a form of expression. This is true of your students as well. Why not bring digital art into your classroom? It’s a medium your students naturally gravitate toward anyway!
David McLeod, an Australian native, is a digital artist specializing in CGI (computer-generated imagery). CGI is what filmmakers use to create lifelike special effects in movies, but can be used in still imagery as well. Mcleod’s work curiously explores the world of CGI. His animations are mesmerizing. Check them out on his Instagram page.
Stephen Mcmennamy splices together photographs of wildly unrelated objects to form new, exciting images. Mcmennamy calls these creations “combophotos.” These perfect images go far beyond just using Photoshop. He meticulously photographs each part of the image before slicing them together. For a look behind the scenes, he even posts his combophoto failures.
You’ve undoubtedly seen the work of Alberto Seveso with his famous high-speed photography series, A Due Colori, Medicina Rossa, and Disastro Ecologico. These underwater photos capture colored clouds of ink for an astonishing result. You can even try it out with your students!
Animator, Sean Charmatz, is no stranger to fantasy as he spent several years as a writer, artist, and storyboard director for the Spongebob Squarepants television show. He’s also shared his digital art talents with companies like Dreamworks and Disney. You might recognize Charmatz’s personal work from his animations bringing everyday or found objects to life. You can even find instructions here to create animations inspired by Charmatz with your students. Make sure to check out his Instagram page for more of his designs.
UK Digital Illustrator, Nik Ainley, is used to working with big-name clients like Nike, Starbucks, and National Geographic. Ainley first became interested in digital art while studying physics. Many of his illustrations and graphics take influence from the world of science.
Jason Naylor’s work is characterized by his use of bright colors against rich blacks. His work focuses on spreading positivity and kindness. Naylor’s work can be seen in both traditional and digital mediums with typography as the central element in his work. In a recent Instagram post, he expressed how technology, in particular, the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, has transformed his workflow and ability to create.
Berlin-based artist, Aiste Stancikaite, combines her love for pencil drawing with digital media. Using software like Photoshop, she transforms her drawings into animations or adds visual interest to still images in other ways.
The work by Sara Ludy comes in the form of sculptures, websites, videos, animations, and audio-visual experiences. Her works seek to find the relationship between the virtual and physical world. In some of her most recent work, she explores the world of virtual reality.
Erik Johansson is a photographer who depicts surreal imagery. With the camera as his main tool, he strives to capture the impossible. None of the finished photos he creates use computer-generated imagery; they are all a combination of photos he has taken himself. Because it takes a great deal of time to create one photo, he might only complete six to eight finished pieces a year. Take a behind the scenes look at his process here.
Hal Lasko is known as “The Pixel Painter.” On his 85th birthday, he was given a PC loaded with Microsoft Paint. Lasko was a lifelong artist, however, in his older age, his vision began to fail. Creating on the computer allowed him to make art for the rest of his life.
Computers and technology allow artists to create fascinating works. As technology advances, the possibilities are truly endless. Introduce these digital artists to your students to inspire a new generation of creators.
Do you have a favorite digital artist?
Do you create digitally? What resources do you use?
Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.