5 Insights from a Digital Artist in today’s tech world

Spark Magazine in an interview with Ghanaian digital artist Slimm, (born Tracy Arthur) sat to discuss the fun, excitement and complexities of her craft. 

Despite her lifelong interest in art, the lockdown was ultimately the pivot in Slimm’s decision to pursue a career as a digital artist. For Slimm, having creative fun with pencil art and doodling is enjoyable, but digital art is best suited for what she does. As important as art is to Slimm, let’s explore these insights from her journey so far. 

01. Digital Art is Dynamic

Being a digital artist today offers an opportunity to leverage technology in your craft. There are a variety of digital tools and software that provide endless possibilities for artistic experimentation. Unlike with traditional media where I have to spend on paintbrushes, gouache, acrylic paints, pencils, canvases and whatever tools I want to explore and use, digital art provides a less expensive route. With a swipe of my fingers, I can use brushes that have water colour effects, crayon, charcoal and even 6B pencil textures without having to spend every single time. There is a vast array of digital art programs, applications, and resources available to expand your artistic horizons, refine your skills, and push the boundaries of creativity.

The marriage of Anansewa

02. Community is Closer than Ever

It’s also been easy to find and connect with fellow digital artists, both locally and internationally, through online platforms, social media, and art communities. Through a hashtag or keyword search, I have access to people and works I wouldn’t otherwise find thanks to the internet. Engaging with other artists has provided opportunities for collaboration, learning, and exposure to different perspectives. I’ve been able to connect with a network of like-minded individuals who also provide support and inspiration throughout my artistic journey. 

03. Monetization made Simple

Technology has made it possible and much easier to turn my art into a side business. I’m in the final year of pursuing my bachelor’s degree in the University of Ghana Business School, and we can all attest to how expensive campus life is, especially in Accra. Being a digital artist has helped me curb that broke student life (occasionally) in more ways than I can explain. Apart from being sought out for commissions through my social media, making art online has exposed me to a very wide audience, and most of my clients have been overseas. Digital art has cut so many costs that would have been involved in delivering finished work; all the shipping fees and logistics, and risks are out of the way, and I’m able to send art which my clients receive in less than a minute.

Check: Art Commissions

04. Digital Art tramps AI “Art”

Addressing the elephant in the room, AI ‘art’ is also becoming a big concern in the art world, especially to digital artists, who had to fight stylus and drawing tab that digital art is real art. (It is, we actually draw and don’t just write prompts… there’s a whole process). As a digital artist, I am aware of the increasing presence of AI-generated images and their potential impact on the industry. While these advancements offer exciting possibilities, there is also a fear of AI replacing human artists and devaluing the uniqueness of handmade art. However, I believe that there will always be a place for human creativity and the personal touch that artists bring to their work. One of the best things about making art, the humanity of it all, is the interactions artists have with people. The whole process of them excitedly telling you about their vision, to updating them during drawing to get their thoughts, to getting to know their characters, and help bring them to life. It’s a very fun creative process, and is non-existent in writing prompts for AI generated images. Human art wins, in my opinion.

05. Digital Art is my Social Identity 

Finally, my identity as a digital artist is virtually just an extension of my identity as a black Ghanaian. woman. It’s very, very evident with only a glance at my works. I recognize the importance of advocating for diversity and representation within the tech world and the digital art industry. This involves using my platform to amplify underrepresented voices, challenging stereotypes, and promoting inclusivity. By creating and sharing art that reflects diverse experiences and cultures, I aim to inspire other artists from marginalized backgrounds and contribute to a more inclusive and equitable art community. Also, I might just really love drawing beautiful people.

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