In 1975, Gordon Moore, cofounder of Intel, postulated Moore's Law, which states that the power of computer chips is destined to double every 18 months. That rule has held true for the past 25 years and industry sources say it's likely to continue to dominate for at least the NEXT 25 years. Interesting, but what has this to do with art? Today, every artists that sits in front of a computer has been the happy beneficiary of this observation. But the implications of this go far beyond merely accessing the Internet, answering e-mail, or even creating art on the computer. It has to do with the way we DELIVER art to our buying public. Okay, so, in the future, we'll all sell our artwork exclusively in the Internet, right? Probably, but it goes even beyond THAT.
Recently a friend and I were discussing painting's place in the modern scheme of things. I was expounding, as I so often do, regarding painting's relative decline in importance in terms of other, more viable art forms. Her attitude was, "so what?" She made the comparison of horses to automobiles, saying that just because everyone drives a car doesn't mean than people don't still love horses. I had to admit, I'd never thought about it quite like that, but the comparison IS apt. Painting is very much an artistic holdover from the horse and buggy days, and like the horse it's quite pleasurable and satisfying, but also quaint and now largely irrelevant in the larger scheme of things. With the growing digitalization of art and the increase in TV/Monitor size and flatness, as well as a corresponding decrease in prices over the next few years (Moore's Law again), I predict that the situation still has a great deal of downhill space yet to cover. And ironically, every one of us who has a Web site is contributing to the gradual conversion from pigment to pixels in terms of the delivery system for our art.
Already, the beautiful and very clever screen savers we all use today have, in effect, become home and office art work, not yet hanging on walls of course, but given Moore's Law and the fact that solid-state wall monitors are merely giant conglomerations of computer chips, that cannot be far in the future. It makes me wonder why, in the future, someone would buy a single, static, painted image when they could display dozens, even HUNDREDS of works by classic or contemporary artists, or even dynamic, animated works of art for far less. Using a computer and a flat, 50" LCD monitor (soon to debut), for the cost of a single painting, they could display their favorites, or a random selection from a CD-ROM or an online distributor. Just as some of us now have a TV in nearly every room, if Moore's Law holds up, we might soon have a DADS (Digital Art Delivery System) hanging on a wall in every room in our house. When (not IF) that happens, the question arises, will we continue to paint with smelly, toxic, tempermental pigments from the horse and buggy days, or with pure, pristine, predictable pixels of the twenty-first century?