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Apr 16, 2017
Digital Art, yes, no or what? Comments

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 did 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 totally lost on that, and on top of it – that exact piece is out of print on 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 5/8. Had already the original, as the artist sent me a download link of 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 get a Certificate of Authenticity, the freedom given by the 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 backup 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 great, 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 make business out of copies, the digital file is the ONLY original.

What is then 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 form when it's a tool. 

As long as the artist, her- or himself defines what s/he does is painting, that is absolutely for the artist to define. 

You can define a painting as "oil painting", or "digital painting" - and the difference is that while an "oil painting" is based upon a canvas with colour pigments embedded in oil. Visible for anybody that's not blind.

The digital painting biggest 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 eight parts, then write with the same digital pen I used for the painting, the numbers 1/8 - 2/8 - 3/8 and so on up to the last, 8/8. Then sign each different numbered file, individually of course. This file is then made into one layer .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 nice 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 a value when I sell a digital painting.

When the buyer gets a print of this file, then s/he is creating an authorized 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.


I know how art can live its own life.
A tiny story of how one piece of art moved around in its own tiny world.


On my second exhibition, in 1984, none paintings were left with me after the show was over. This is actually the only photo I got from the works from this exhibition, and it's less than twenty years since it reached me in Cairo, attached to an email. The painting is a portrait black and white painting of Hanne, a friend, and colleague. We were some artists who shared a larger studio this time. But I can't remember at all who bought the paintings but believe this was sold to a private person. The exhibition was in a highly insider-popular illegal night club, with a more legal new-coffeeshop style during the daytime. 

Anyway, later I heard that this large painting had been the main art piece in the reception at the Hotel Savoy, a historic hotel located just across the street to the National Gallery and the Museum of Contemporary Art (Nasjonalmuseet) in Oslo. 

When the hotel changed owners after a bankruptcy, an art collector managed to get the painting (he and his wife had tried to buy it from the hotel before, with no luck then). I heard the story from the art collector himself, but it do tell the story about how a one of a kind painting on canvas, and how little you yourself as an artist, know about the lives of the paintings you did create yourself..

Let's try one different twist in this story?

Let's say the hotel didn't go bankrupt but had experienced a larger hotel fire. Hopefully, none hurt, but if it were in the reception and the famous bar, then the painting would most likely have burned as well, as an acrylic painting only got one life - and that's the first difference for those who bought a digital painting: you got BACKUP.


painting today

Above, the painting at today's owner place.

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:

* fine art or museum quality prints 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 boring process of being the only responsible for having to create it (-:

So to the readers here:

Should digital painting you sell or buy, just be as a good print from a digital file,


art painting digital digital art digital painting


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