By Arelys Morales Conty/campus editor
Rows of desks are stacked with canvases and sketchbooks. Pencils scratch against paper as fresh ink is rolled onto a stamp. The smell of paint fills the air as students discuss ideas and critique artwork. And then, it is scanned into a computer.
The NE Campus digital art class is the fine art department’s latest course combining digital art and traditional art.
Digital art made using a computer and technology as the main part of the creative process such as: digitally produced drawings, photography and video.
Traditional art includes sculptures, paintings, drawings and ceramics, which art instructors nicknamed the “dirty arts,” NE adjunct art instructor Janet Morrow said.
“This class is a hybrid of traditional art-making with digital techniques, primarily Photoshop, so that the students can produce mixed media works,” Morrow said.
The two mediums were taught separately in the past because digital art is seen as different than traditional art. Digital art is thought to be simply using software to slap on filters and that “anybody can do it,” but that doesn’t mean it’s not art, Morrow said.
Art students at TCC are embracing digital art and the advantages it provides, she said.
“What I see happening is artists who are interested in using all the tools at their disposal starting to blur those boundaries themselves,” Morrow said.
These hybrid classes have been popular in the past with students who like both traditional and digital art.
NE student Juan Aquilar got into digital art after taking a class in high school. He enjoyed it so much he decided to pursue it in college.
“Digital art is all around us. All the visual communication that you see, that is digital art. I feel like digital art is a language of its own,” he said.
Aquilar hopes to become a graphic designer and have a design agency of his own. He is taking the class as an elective for his degree.
“This class has helped me find new mediums that I enjoy and has made me push myself to do things I’m not really used to,” Aquilar said.
For one project students had to create a solar print, also known as a cyanotype, where a photo negative of a subject is soaked in chemicals, placed on top of a blank paper and left in the sun. The UV light from the sun activates the chemicals and prints the image onto the blank paper, creating a blue-tinted copy of the image.
This classroom of students are a community of artists and they all have the capacity to be creative and to share that with each other, Morrow said.
NE student Galaxy Gathright said that factor sets the class apart from others that are solely about independent work.
“I can get feedback from other people, not just on my Photoshop skills but like the artistic side of it,” she said.
Gathright enrolled in the class to combine her love of digital art and traditional art.
“It’s a good class for anyone interested in art or graphic design, I’ve been waiting for a class like this where it takes Photoshop and allows me to be more creative with it,” Gathright said.
She thinks this class will be more useful to her because they need more people who know how to do art with traditional media but also digital media, Gathright said.
“It’s like half an art class and half a computer class, normally the graphic design classes allow some creativity but they focus a lot more on learning the programs,” she said.
NE student Cassidy Page appreciates that her artwork isn’t stifled or in a box.
“She’s not very picky when it comes to what you’re supposed to make. It’s a lot more creative freedom,” Page said.
Page prefers digital art to traditional. After taking a graphic design class in high school, she knew what she wanted as a career.
“Digital art has changed my life. Without it, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing right now without it,” Page said.
Page is a freelance artist who designs apparel for the company, Electronic Gamers’ League who make clothes for eSports teams. She also takes art commissions over Twitter.
“Things wouldn’t be what they are now without art. Someone designed this building, that’s art. I think people tend to under appreciate that,” Page said.
But for NE student Miranda Reese, art can also just be for the artist’s sake.
“It’s a good form of self-expression,” she said. “It’s kind of a way to share yourself with other people that you normally wouldn’t be able to do just through conversation.”
If an art student wants to work more with digital art or a graphic design student wants to work more with traditional art, this class would be perfect for them, Reese said.
Morrow wants her students to fulfill their artistic potential and to always be ambitious.
“I feel like every art student has a voice, a thesis, an argument. I hope students keep making this type of art and leave with confidence that they can create a mixed media piece with Photoshop,” Morrow said.