digital art, contemporary art in which computer technology is used in a wide variety of ways to make distinctive works. Digital art was pioneered in the 1970s but only came into its own as a viable art form with the widespread availability of computers, appropriate software, video equipment, sound mixers, and digital cameras toward the end of the 20th cent. and the subsequent development of increasingly sophisticated digital tools. A boundary-shattering style, digital art can combine and transform such elements as painting, filmmaking, photography, digital design, video, installation art, sculpture, animation, and sound.
Presented on video screens, digital works may be created of abstract or figurative forms in the artists' choice of millions of shades of color, and may be manipulated so that the images appear, combine, morph, and/or disappear. Digital art also includes works, many of them interactive, made to be viewed on the World Wide Web. Sculpture, too, can be a digital art as a result of rapid prototyping, a technique that "prints out" three-dimensional forms from computer-designed models. Contemporary digital works range from the shimmering and transforming video paintings of Jeremy Blake to the computer-modified imagery of Carl Fudge's screenprints, the shifting geometric panels of John F. Simon, Jr., and the participatory audiovisual worlds of Janet Cardiff. Among the many other artists involved in the movement, each with his or her own approach to the seemingly infinite possibilities of digital art, are Jim Campbell, Leah Gilliam, Robert Lazzarini, Jim O'Rourke, Paul Pfeiffer, Marina Rosenfeld, Elliott Sharp, Diana Thater, Inez van Lamsweerde, and Adrianne Wortzel.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.