Digital Art Is
New Concentration at UNCP
John Antoine Labadie's students don't get paint on their clothes anymore.
For this UNC Pembroke art professor's students, a computer screen is
their new canvas and a mouse is their paint brush.
The computer, Dr.
Labadie says, is the first radically new technology since photography
for making two-dimensional art. Although trained in more traditional
art forms such as painting and photography, this artist's enthusiasm
for digital art is growing as fast as digital technology itself.
During his five
years at UNCP, Dr. Labadie's impact is evident. A typical senior art
show now routinely includes digital art works. And, in the 1998-99 academic
year, the Art Department is offering digital art as a concentration
alongside painting, ceramics, sculpture, printmaking and art education.
Art Department Chair
Paul Van Zandt said the recently added concentration gives students
valuable exposure to new technology while giving them new outlets for
us in a new ball game," Mr. Van Zandt said. "The new program
gives the students the opportunity to be exposed to current and future
technology to further their artistic expression."
Both Mr. Van Zandt
and Dr. Labadie say student response to the new art concentration has
"It's the hottest
thing going," Mr. Van Zandt said. "The computer is the late
20th century brush and color palate."
students have been very enthusiastic," Dr. Labadie said of the
interest in the program. "If the student numbers hold up, digital
art may soon be the largest concentration in the Art Department."
As the program develops,
there is no shortage of new directions, he said, including animation,
multimedia, computer assisted design (CAD) and 3D digital art. Like
the art itself, the field is wide open and changing quickly.
Both Mr. Van Zandt
and Dr. Labadie caution tht computers don't create art, people do, they
must still have a picture in his head," Dr. Labadie said.
Digital art is a
new form that appears to be limited only by the imagination and talent
of its users. However ethereal it may seem, digital art may be the most
accessible art forms ever created. A virtual gallery of Dr. Labadie's
works can be seen at WNCP-TV's Internet site at http://wncp.uncp.edu/ArtGal.html
To display his work
in a more conventional setting, Dr. Labadie has shown his work at Campbell
University, the Toledo Museum of Art and several art galleries in the
region. To sell digital art presents another set of questions. "I
believe digital art may be sold as limited edition prints," he
said. "Each collector would receive a written and notarized affidavit
saying that only a certain number of prints were produced before the
digital file is destroyed."
This fall, with
the new digital art concentration added to the UNCP Art Department,
with several wins in juried art shows and with stacks of newly framed
work lining his office, Dr. Labadie is more confident than ever that
the future is looking bright for this new art form.
Perhaps it was only
a matter of time that such a pervasive technology as computers invaded
the world of art. It has come to UNCP's Art Department as well.
a lot of very good things going on here at the university," he
said. "We have a great art department here with an atmosphere that
is alive with creativity."
Dr. Labadie believes
these technologies provide a necessary link to the future for UNC Pembroke
students. "In my view, we need to work in new art forms using the
very edge that high technology can provide us," he said. Dr. Labadie
emphasizes that the work done by students to prepare personally expressive
works is virtually identical to that needed to work for a commercial
image maker such as an advertising agency. Graphic design is one of
the fastest growing job fields in the nation.
"With the way
we are working with our students here, it is possible for them to make
personal statements through the employment of digital technologies while
at the same time developing skills that will serve them well in the
potentially lucrative graphic design industry," he said.
to University Newswire