Is Virtual Art the Future of Creation?

That’s very much possible, but it depends on a number of factors, including the technological, social, economic, and political climate.

The biggest factor would be technology, specifically the development of software and parts, which will be available to artists. So far, technology has laid the foundation of virtual art and is continually improving, but it still has a long way to go before it can provide a platform for virtual art to become a fully immersive and engaging substitute for reality.

Nevertheless, virtual art has a bright and promising future, thanks to the exponential pace at which technology keeps on advancing. Virtual art has the potential to transform art and our experience of it.  You could even have your own virtual art party via Zoom!

What is considered virtual art?

Virtual art can be considered a post-convergent art form based on the bringing together of art and technology, thus containing all previous media as subsets.

Here are the ways in which virtual art might develop:

Virtual Art Can Facilitate the Full Virtual Museum Experience

Although there have been some early versions or attempts to make traditional art accessible virtually for more people, the rollout has had its limitations, namely scanning and viewing headsets that haven’t yet reached the level of visual quality that matches the real thing. But, with the continuous improvement of technology, full virtual museum visits won’t be too far in the future. If and when this happens, traveling won’t be necessary and the cost to visit will become considerably lower. In short, more and more people will be able to visit and enjoy all the beautiful exhibits at museums from across the country from the comfort of their home and at a time convenient to them.

Virtual Art Can Provide Easier and Flexible Access to Artworks

Right now, VR artwork can be installed in your home in as small a space as 3 x 3 meters. But those in the VR field are envisioning a day when patrons can “buy it, turn it on, and experience it” and perhaps even enjoy a Netflix-like subscription model. Who knows?

Virtual Art Can Transport Us to a Fully Simulated World

In a word – well, two words – virtual reality. Virtual art created using VR technology can range from traditional still or moving artworks to a completely intricate made-up world that defies the laws of the real world. Whatever they imagine, virtual artists can create in virtual reality.

And because this is VR, artworks are not meant to be looked at only. Virtual art of a scale that’s possible in virtual reality is meant to be explored, engaged in and experienced. So, patrons are no longer mere viewers but active explorers of the artwork, undergoing experiences the artist intended for them to try, feel, and see. And all of this without the risk of any danger or damage to the project or themselves.

Virtual Art Could Become a Deep Storytelling Medium

Virtual art, including virtual reality and augmented reality, could offer gamers a more immersive and interactive experience from a character’s point of view. Imagine a hyper-realistic game where you’re transported to an artistic realm that comes alive through 3D holograms, VR and so on. Everything you’ll see, hear and feel are part of the deep storytelling experience.

Or imagine a 360-degree sensory experience in a museum where you could put on a jumpsuit that you can touch, smell, taste and hear.

Virtual Art Might No Longer Become Obsolete

When it comes to virtual art, obsolescence becomes interesting. Because the artwork is tied to the technology upon which it is built, it becomes a living historical piece that showcases the evolution of technology and the art that came out of it. Similar to the video art pieces of the 1970s and 80s, which aren’t considered outdated but rather as parts of VR art history.

Ownership of Virtual Art Could Be Different

Virtual art will challenge and possibly change the concept of art ownership, i.e., from that of a collector to a patron. Some people believe that visual art tends toward openness and access and is meant to be shared and distributed. And virtual art collectors will function more as patrons, infusing their investments into the artists’ avant-garde experiments with art and technology that have a new potential for visual creation and/or a new artistic tool.

Does digital art replace traditional art?

Even though it is clear that digital art is on the rise, it will never completely replace traditional art. It is true that digital art is used today in many fields and creative processes, but the need for original and unique traditional art will never be entirely abandoned or replaced.

Virtual Art Conservation Revolves Around Conversations

Unlike traditional art which has established protocols for conservation, the conservation of visual artwork is one that’s open to multiple and ongoing conversations. Primarily, visual art collectors should talk to the artist and inquire how they would want you to maintain and preserve their artwork as a collector.

One thing is for certain though: Because virtual art is based on technology, its conservationists will most probably be more like hackers and technologists than the conservationists of yesteryears. There’s the issue of software and degradable hardware. One expert recommends a check-up yearly of virtual art so that any problems which may crop up are more manageable than, say, checking the artwork every 5 years as you would for traditional art.

Some experts favor what they call a “living edition,” where an artwork is updated over time as software and hardware improve. This living edition is made available to all collectors – past and present – so they can continue to enjoy their piece of virtual art. 

Is Virtual Art the Future?

The future of creation, in general, and of virtual art, in particular, isn’t set in stone. Rather, art’s future is fluid and depends on how artists, their audience, and society continually shape it.

Art is rooted in reality and influenced by economic, social, political and technological factors. Plus, every generation will have its own viewpoint on art and how to create it. Aside from these factors, the only other limit of artists are the materials available to them and their imagination.

So who knows what the future of art will bring? Perhaps virtual art is the future of creation – perhaps not. But one thing is for certain: Artists will continue to create fantastic and stunning artworks – whether that’s through the traditional methods, virtual or digital, or some other medium – which will speak to us about stories and issues relevant to our societies in our time.

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