Craving Handmade: Digital Art Meets the Maker Movement
Why is it that the mention of something being handmade today tugs so hard on our heart strings? It could be because the machine-made has lessoned the idea of craft to the extent that we crave the authentic touch of the human hand. Mass marketing and factory produced has become expected. There is certainly no wabi-sabi in sight. This Japanese appreciation for the imperfections in art and in life is absent from the sleek shiny existence we are sold on t.v. The handmade is harkening back to a more authentic sense of being and perhaps holds promises that with the touch of a hand all will be right again?
Now I don't know if wearing a handmade scarf or hanging an original work of art on my wall will make all my problems melt away but let us for a moment contemplate the aura given off by these objects. I'd like to think this aura of a human experience will radiate through to me in some small way and make me feel something real.
On the flip side of this nostalgic point of view there is also the idea of wanting what we can't have as well. Hand crafted today at times can take on an elitist quality with a price tag many of us cannot afford. High end and hand crafted go together and suddenly we have taken the need for the authentic to a whole new market driven level. If we can settle somewhere in between, where we value the hand crafted but don't over play it to the point of making it a hot trend or recent marketing strategy then we could come back to appreciating the little things in life, which would be a very good thing.
The Maker Movement has played a huge role in coining the term Digital Handmade. These seemingly strange bed fellows have married as we look back and dream of pre-industrial days. This movement brings together traditionally separate areas and encourages collaboration and intersections, exploring new territory with a truly artisan spirit. High-tech meets low-tech and suddenly you have works of art that are crafted with the aid of new technology.
Digital Art has to be seen from the standpoint of the maker rather than the tools being used to make it. That's right - tools. Just like a wood worker uses his chisel to carve something intricate of out a chunk of wood the digital artist can use the computer to manipulate pixels in such a way that the hand of the maker is clear and strong within the final work of art. The stamp of the machine is only visible when the "artist" is dependent upon it to create. If an amateur wood worker picked up his or her tools and set to work I have a feeling their tools would be visible in the end as well. The heart and hands of the maker are crucial no matter what tools you use.
Push all the stereotypes and preconceived notions of what Digital Art is aside and Handmade in all it's forms can be a truly beautiful thing to crave.