Written by Russell Shaw
Published on March 20, 2013
Last Edited on June 05, 2014
We live in a very interesting time when it comes to the process of creating art. We have designed and engineered technologies which allow us to implement corrective measures in order to “perfect” our creations after our human efforts have taken them as far as we are able.
In music, we can loop, tune, sample, and mix until the final product is “perfect.” In film, we capture what we ourselves are capable of shooting without concern for inconsistencies along the way because we know that we can “fix it in post.” In illustration, we work in rougher sketches because we know that the final vector will have clean lines and perfect curves because we can adjust every form with mathematical precision.
We mix and master until the dirty artistic pursuits have given way entirely to “perfection.” The music track is now “perfect.” The edit and color of the film is now “perfect.” The illustration or design is now “perfect.”
But have we killed the craft?
“Craft” is more than just making something by hand to plug into a larger piece of design. “Craft” is the skill, the talent, the heart of working on any artistic endeavor. It is the work, the ability, the art, the trade – a calling placed within a few to practice and refine from within, in order to create something beautiful when taken out and put on display for others. It is the creation of something that carries the fingerprint of a tradesperson who has poured his or her time and energy into the work.
Now, digital is obviously a part of my process. But I say all of this due to the proliferation of the "I can fix it later" mentality: that others think about the digital correction before they dive into what they could create on their own. That mindset plans the post-work first, rather than honing the real talent. It is so dependent on digital to create rather than dependent on bettering our own skill sets. When that happens, you get a factory-like effect of art; the technology dictated the idea, rather than letting the idea breathe and be assisted by technology later.
Technology is an amazing tool, for which I am grateful. I use it every day to do what I do. But it should remain seen as just that: a tool. The idea, the work, the time, the energy, and the skill should all still show through in everything that we make. In so doing, we separate ourselves from the others entering the industry only by way of a computer. Instead, we are set apart from the noise because we create with authenticity.
“The idea, the work, the time, the energy, and the skill should all still show through in everything that we make.”