Digital Art: David Hockney’s Fresh Flowers

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We had the pleasure last month of visiting the Royal Ontario Museum and took in David Hockney’s Fresh Flowers exhibit. Widely considered one of Britain’s most influential artists of the twentieth century, Fresh Flowers was his first major show held in Canada in over two decades. This cutting-edge exhibit at the Institute for Contemporary Culture (ICC) is unique in that all pieces were created using an iPhone or iPad. What made the show so compelling was that it featured several large screens that showed the creative process – from a blank iPad screen to the finished work of art. And to keep with the new technology theme, Fresh Flowers marked the ROM’s first WiFi accessible exhibition where visitors can share their experiences online, in real time. Very cool.


This new art medium is not without controversy. Some people feel that using technology like the iPad and creating finger-drawn images using the Brushes app and the various visual effects that come with it is not “real art”. At least not real art in a traditional or classic sense of the word. In my opinion, using modern technology should not diminish or take away from the perceived beauty or creativity of a piece of art. On the contrary, as a web design agency, we consider many of our online creations “works of art”. Whether you use InDesign and Photoshop or modelling clay and paint brushes as your tools, good art should elicit emotion in the viewer – regardless of the medium you use. Some of my favorite artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein used modern technology during their era to create iconic imagery. Is not an unconventional approach to artwork in and of itself an expression of creativity? And isn’t that the whole point?

Once again, the new Shades of Grey exhibit from David Hockney currently on display at the Royal Academy in London has created some conflicting opinions. Have a look at some of the pieces and you can decide for yourself. Personal design preferences aside – is it still art?