Living in a digital world along with the rise of technology within the 21st century, completely transformed the public behaviour, expectation or consumption towards different aspects in life. Considering digital art as one,it provided more creativity and variety in the field of arts. Nowadays, art world became far away from being sheltered inside the walls of galleries and institutions have been undergoing a change of its own.
So, What is Digital art? It could be called a New Media Art which is a modern term used for artworks that are created by using different technology methods or tools than the traditional one. It is now a unique kind of arts. It occupies an area in the modern culture that involves the vision, message or emotion of the artist to become a new technique of promoting and selling art.
Let’s explore the creativity and flexibility of those talented visual artists who share their work online and involve a kind of social change in their creations that will inspire you.
Nada Salah Amer:
“Digital art was a whole different level to me” said the 26 year old pediatrician Nada Salah Amer who is the founder of “Songraffiti”and a part time digital artist who has been an artist since childhood but digital art made its way to her life 6 years ago.
“The idea of the project came from my passion for music and songs, I have always liked drawing and wondered what should I be doing with my passion for singing if I don’t have a good voice to sing? ”
Nada said that in January 2015, when she was casually drawing she related the drawing to a song playing in the background in her headphones and that’s how she started the page “Songraffiti” of mixing art with music in February 2015. Amer remarked that the page’s main goal is to create a new art style that is based on music and song lyrics, “I just wanted people to know that we as humans we all share the same feelings, that it’s not shameful to speak about how you feel and that’s my all time message through my art, to let people know that it’s OK to speak about the way you feel, and there was no better way than music and art to express that” she added.
Nada concluded that when she first started digital art most of the people did not get what it was all about, it was well known abroad but in Egypt most people would ask Is this drawing? Is it a graphic design? Are you using pencil and paper? Are you an artist? but with time she noticed the appearance of many eminent digital artists in Egypt that are even way better and that made her really proud and happy because digital art is very well known style of art in most countries so it had to take its place in Egypt too.
“I believe digital art is nothing but the art we all know, just a modernized one maybe, you use a Tablet with an electronic pencil instead of the old ones but it’s still the same hand of yours that draws, it’s still the same brain that gives you the inspiration, nothing has actually changed. And in Egypt I think it might be a great move that we are seeing many digital art platforms making their way on the social media because it will make a very creative environment ” Amer summed up.
Mostafa Zohdy an architect and illustrator who portrays old buildings in Cairo which often marginalized and viewed as old and ugly ones that aren't very proportional to be lived in. But Mostafa decided to display this stereotype by showing that there’s a hidden beauty in Cairo’s old towns and buildings than being seen as informal settlements.
“The idea of the project came from the mix of being an architect speciali
zed in Urban development and the love I have for graphic designing” Mostafa said, and he continued “For many, informal settlements, or ‘slums’, are deemed ugly and chaotic with their high density and ‘unfinished’ structures. They are often built as a result of rapid population growth coupled with a lack of urban planning. In Cairo, informal areas represent more than 60% of the urban environment, and as a result, I decided to create these illustrations, inspired by different pockets of the city, to emphasize these neglected neighborhoods.”
“Digital art in Egypt is growing rapidly, everyday I discover a new artist on social media and the majority are young ones. And for the differences between digital art and ordinary he mentioned that digital art is much easier to be documented, to reuse, to edit and print ,it’s much more handy but of course it is not accessible to everyone. But in my point of view hand writing is irreplaceable as digital art is still a quite recent technology and no one knows where it will reach with that kind of development as the idea of drawing with the classical way is beginners should start with it as the field is different ” Zohdy stated.
“For me, winning the award opened so many doors and opportunities , it allowed me to publish my book and find an agent abroad and travel to art conventions. ” Deena stated.
Can you imagine Cairo where wishes are granted and can be purchasable in cans or bottles at the booth on your corner?! Deena Mohamed a 26 Comic artist, illustrator, graphic designer, graphic novelist you name it. She is best known for her graphic novel Shubeik Lubeik and it won her the Grand Prize at Cairo Comics Festival in 2017.
Deena started drawing when she was about four years old and now, she works mainly in illustration and comics. Then she decided to study graphic design because it was the closest thing to an "art" that she could think about which might be able to work with later.
“For my senior thesis, I decided to study the history of comics in Egypt and that inspired me to create my own graphic novel. I was already doing my web-comic ‘Qahera’ on my own, but it made me want to publish something longer and more relevant to our culture.” she said.
Deena think that digital art is great because it's more accessible to a lot of artists than traditional art and it encourage people to share and learn more, They each have their advantages and disadvantages. She continued that there are now free programs and free tutorials that give Egyptian artists the opportunity to create art and share it with the world immediately.
She stated that digital art is a way of recognizing artist’s work in different fields and it takes equal skill and she hope it can make people feel like art is important and that kids can learn it easily. Mohamed added that digital art can also encourage people to see the art in everything they consume, not just in paintings and sculptures but can be also in online posts,street murals,book covers,info-graphics and animated cartoons.
“I hope I can open doors for other Egyptian artists, so that in a few years we have an industry that can support people who would like to become artists, and people who like to read comics. I would love it if someday we had a community center in every neighbourhood where kids can learn art and theatre and read books for free. I think Egyptian children deserve better entertainment.” Mohamed added.
"The Google Doodle of January 20, illustrated by Deena Mohamed celebrated the 106th birthday of Egyptian lawyer Mufidah Abdul Rahman"
“My inspiration is theme of women’s issues like: sisterhood, empowerment, independence and rights. It is the biggest inspiration for me when I see women or girls around, show me how strong they are and being able to handle the load and responsibilities that the society isn’t feeling how hard is it, they work,care and raise ”. Mona stated.
Mona Elkateb a 25 years Egyptian artist who graduated from Political Science and has passion for art. Her work explores themes of sisterhood, solidarity and women’s issues. She uses a variety of mediums but last she has been exploring digital art.
Mona said “ I have always loved art since childhood but I didn’t draw digitally since a year ago, before that I was drawing with oil or acrylic” she continued “Since I started drawing digitally I felt that a large area of experiment has been opened and I started trying new techniques, because digital makes everything easier and allows me to work from anywhere”.
In addition to digital art in Egypt, Mona explained : “In my point of view, Digital art makes art more accessible for most of the people and especially young one who are now able to discover artists from all over the world and due to the existence of social media platforms like: Instagram make us see and share new kind of art, because of course traditional art need to explore galleries but digital art makes it shared easily and as a way of spreading message faster ”.