Art Term

Digital art

Digital art is a term used to describe art that is made or presented using digital technology

Harold Cohen, ‘Untitled Computer Drawing’ 1982
Harold Cohen
Untitled Computer Drawing 1982
Tate
© Harold Cohen

The first use of the term digital art was in the early 1980s when computer engineers devised a paint program which was used by the pioneering digital artist Harold Cohen. This became known as AARON, a robotic machine designed to make large drawings on sheets of paper placed on the floor. Since this early foray into artificial intelligence, Cohen has continued to fine-tune the AARON program as technology becomes more sophisticated.

Digital art can be computer generated, scanned or drawn using a tablet and a mouse. In the 1990s, thanks to improvements in digital technology, it was possible to download video onto computers, allowing artists to manipulate the images they had filmed with a video camera. This gave artists a creative freedom never experienced before with film, allowing them to cut and paste within moving images to create visual collages.

In recent times some digital art has become interactive, allowing the audience a certain amount of control over the final image.

related terms and concepts

selected artists in the collection

Artist

Harold Cohen

1928–2016
Artist

David Hockney

born 1937
Artist

Richard Hamilton

1922–2011
Artist

Jeff Wall

born 1946

selected artworks in the collection