Art & Technology
Just when Kindle has been threatening me because I haven't published in a while (see, you can subscribe to this blog through Kindle, and they have standards I have neglected to meet, because, well, I blog when I want to)... anyway, just when they suggested it would be good for them to release me from my blogging responsibilities, I was contacted by Estelle Shumann, who requested a chance to guest blog.
This should keep me on Kindle's good side for at least 30 days or less.
So here's Estelle, on the issue of Art education. A topic dear to my heart...
Though it’s tempting to separate art from technology today, the two are actually closely related. The separation often comes into the classroom, where art teachers have little budget for new technology and technology teachers have little experience in the arts. But combining them can lead the way for imaginative art and innovative technology. For instance, with classes available though an online university.
Art is the more important starting point, argues Mark Tocchet, chair of the illustration department at Pennsylvania’s University of the Arts. He says, "If you teach students a program, in two years it’s probably obsolete, but if you teach them to draw or paint, they’re going to do well–whether it’s drawing with a pencil or drawing with technology." Drawing, painting, and tactile arts have been around for thousands of years. Digital technology, which is a recent innovation, is constantly changing. Though it is of course important for students to learn the newest technology, their starting point should be in the traditional forms of art.
The late Steve Jobs, in his well-known address to Stanford University graduates in 2005, says that most of his college classes were simply the ones that interested him. His calligraphy class, in particular, dramatically changed his understanding of line and form and influenced his designs for the first Mac computers. This came as a surprise to many listeners, since it was commonly thought that many great technological ideas come from the study of technology. Jobs showed us, however, that technological inventions can spring from a study of the arts.
Art education, though, does not have its head in the sand. Nowadays, an art class incorporates much more technology than it did twenty years ago, when personal computers were just coming into use and the World Wide Web did not yet exist. Art students today work with a variety of cameras, computers and software programs to create the pieces they want. Rather than sticking to traditional forms, art has come to encompass and, in some cases, rely on technology for its creativity. This merging of the two is permanent: in the future, we will see only more innovative and creative channels opening from the combination of art and technology.
According to Boston College statistics, enrollment in arts education is still dominated by female students while technology is typically a male-dominated field. The leveling in college enrollment, however, arises as ideas between the two fields are shared more and more.
No longer will one field attract innovators of one gender over another. And as the two expand to include each other, they will also attract more students overall. For example, an art graduate will not be limited to a career in the art field; he could go on to create the newest smartphone. Similarly, a graduate in technology could use her expertise to create an art display using the functions of several different machines. The idea is not to sacrifice the beauty of one for another but to bring the best pieces to influence both art and technology.