In 2017, technology is making a permanent place in our lives. What was once optional, tech has now become almost as important to our everyday lives as water, food, and sleep. Leaving house without your smart phone is unthinkable. Airport check-in kiosks have replaced clerks, Email and text messaging are the preferred mode of communication, and instead of purchasing a physical magazine or newspaper, a periodical can simply be downloaded. In other words, technology has changed our lives forever.
With tech being nearly irreplaceable, it is only logical that art and technology would intersect. Painters are utilizing digital canvases instead of the standard paper ones, bringing life to their pieces. Takashi Murakami, the Japanese artist behind many of the eye popping floats in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and illustrator of Kanye West’s Graduation album cover (and a favorite artist of mine), takes full advantage of technology when creating his works. Young film makers are creating full length movies with DSLR cameras. Tangerine, the indie sensation about a young Black transgender woman was shot with an IPhone.
The marriage of art and technology has also benefited the African diaspora greatly. In the past, our talents and stories have either been ignored or told through a white lens. However, with tech being more accessible, Black artists have been able to not only represent us truthfully, but push our talents to the forefront of the art world. NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism, a collective of Black women artists, held an exhibit at SXSW that focused exclusively on the hair and skin of a Black woman. Through showing images of braided hair and Aloe Vera cream, this piece represented the daily beauty regime of Black women. Xaviera Simmons, a photographer and sculptor in New York, blends various mediums to create innovative works that focus on the African experience world-wide. Hank Willis Thomas, a photo conceptual artist, recently had an installation at the Baltimore Museum of Art that took a look at Black masculinity. Jepchumba, a digital artist out of Chicago created the website “African Digital Art” a site she says is a “celebration of African culture and art, design, and technology.” Described as a collection of different artist’s works around the world, African Digital Art is an amazing display of photographs, painting, and illustrations that span time, cultures, and viewpoints that show how art and technology have seamlessly become one.
Today, artists of all mediums continue to redefine art is with technology at their disposal. With the advancements made in tech every day, it is exciting to see what illustrators, painters, sculptors, film makers, and photographers are able to create. It is a sensational time to be alive.