I have been to this place so many times before:
1987-designing a course to teach computer animation and computer music with a music ed. colleague. Others in the art department argued that it should not be in the department, it was not art, and animation was not either. Even digital paintings were not. . . art. Fade to 1995 and you get the same argument, that high resolution digital paintings were not art, and therefore should not be accepted as such in the local juried show. Step forward to 2010, and 3D printed work was not acceptable.
Personally, I look at the computer as a way of creating by hand, even though multiples of the same item can be printed, but 3D is crossing into industrial product/design. A digital painting is very often with a multitude of strokes, brushes, colors with extreme value manipulation. Layers of underpainting can go into the production of the work until completely finished. The digital tools allow for easier visualization that meets the artist's expectations. Like a traditional painter though, it is the knowledge and the skill of manipulating the tools that allows the work to happen. Problematic is that all too often a digital camera image is used as a starting point and manipulated with the tools to a final image. Is the one completed as a painting stroke by stroke, less or more than the camera image manipulate in the photoshop type program? Didn't we have this argument at the turn of the 20th century?
So here we are today, where yarn is most time purchased already spun, clay already mixed, paints already prepped, glazes already mixed, jewelry bits to choose from and so much else available. Does the definition of handmade mean that the item starts from raw to finished, only the purest of the purists would say so. Does it start with a base material of some refinement and go to a finished piece? Most would agree it does. However, does that same footing yield commercial cast products, hand painted and fired as being the same? Most of us would think not, I believe.
I think in the long run, when the essence of the creation is hand created by the craftsperson/artist, then the piece is hand made. When either the form and the surface is created already, one cannot consider the piece. . . man-made.
- Pugaboo likes this