Many years ago, when I was still in high school I vaguely remember taking a tour of a graphic design firm. I don’t remember specifics, but a conversation with the owner sticks out. He asked me what I wanted to study in college. I was already firmly decided on being an art major, but the area of concentration was very much up in the air. I said, “Painting or Art Education” since those were the area I was most familiar with. He encouraged me to get into graphic design, indicating that there would be a lot of opportunity in that field. I had only limited exposure to art on the computer, and it didn’t really interest me. My opinion didn’t change in college after taking intro to graphic design. After taking the required intro to printmaking, ceramics, photography, etc, I decided to focus on painting.
Fast-forward 20 years. Now I am a college professor teaching drawing and painting, and my view of the computer has made a 180 degree change. I now see it a necessary tool for most fine artists and craftsmen to be successful. At the very least, social media is necessary for communication. Most businesses aren’t even considered legitimate if they don’t have a website.
It has been quite a stretch for me to embrace the computer as creative tool, but I see the ubiquitiousness of technology. I also feel the need to equip my students with the tools needed for success in today’s market. The chance of any of them being represented by a prominent gallery or supported by a wealthy patron is slim. They will need to make their own way, and I want them to be as well prepared as possible.