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Laura Sherman- paper 3


There are artists, and there are designers. Most artists create works of art to sell and make a living. Designers on the other hand are hired because of their skills and abilities and they are paid for their time and hard work. So then what about when a designer creates a digital work of art and is looking to sell it. When something can be copied many times over because the printing plate still exists, or a digital file on a computer still exists, unfortunately the actual worth of that art is less then that of the singular painting that a fine artists creates. With this in mind, at what point do digital works of art become just as valuable as a singular painting by a fine artist?

A modern artist that is still alive and not popular can begin selling their pieces for a hundred dollars, the prices of the artist’s works can go up from there, given their popularity and/or how well the economy is doing. Once an artist paints a picture that is it. It is understood that each painting is different and the differences makes it valuable, and easy to put a price on. However, when a designer makes a digital piece that can be printed multiple times or can be downloaded, copied, and shared the value begins to diminish and it is no longer seen as unique or one of a kind, and it becomes significantly harder to put a cash price value on a digital work of art. So how can a digital artists sell their art work if society sees it as being less valuable because they can easily get there hands on it. Well, if that digital artist decides to make that digital file harder to obtain, or only allow the file a certain number of downloads then it reaches a point where it is significantly more valuable because once the maximum number of downloads is reached people will have a harder time obtaining it, so it then becomes an original; a one of a kind. This could be seen as extra work just to create price value, but because of the society we live in and when art is viewed as being precious only if it is hard to obtain.

In the case of social value, however, people can take something like a website, say tumblr, and post their digital artwork and be seen by millions. Those people who view your work, share it and like it, can also easily take a screen shot or save your work and then they have your work and can use it without consent from you as the artist. This is obviously a careless way to go about sharing artwork, but a common way nonetheless. Understand that people will share work that they like and based on who shares it you could gain more followers and become well known in that matter, but that is the difference between price value and social value. Digital artist are credited for their work on that website, but as soon as you take the artwork from the website and place it somewhere else, the only way people will know it was yours is if your copyright is on it or the person sharing your work credited you somehow other wise it is just another picture floating out in cyber space. This is the harsh truth that a digital artist is faced with. Unfortunately, when dealing with social value, there are steps that must be taken so the artist gets the credit where credit is due. Creating a watermark to put over the work or copywriting it are just a few ways a digital artist can go about making sure they get the credit they deserve.

With these ideas in mind, the differences between price value and social value can be the difference between wealth and popularity. Social value is important because with out that, people do not know of you, therefore are not looking to by your art work, but if an artist is not able to put a price on their work, do to the fact that there are too many copies or it is not an original could lead to be a bigger problem. Price value is, unfortunately, the only way that most people measure the actual success of an artist.

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One comment

  1. Sherman,
    Very good thinking overall. Value is a funny thing – very subjective. We measure everything this way. Good writing and good transitioning from thought to thought. The concept of value supports the worth of the design/art. Cultural wealth motivates the soul of the society. Sometimes we need it, sometimes we use it to go forward.
    Good stuff overall.


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