David Cowell

A Tradigital Painter

David has been at the forefront of digital art technology for over 30 years and his work is a symbiosis of modern technology and years of puritan traditional painting skills. David’s work never ceases to arouse conversations and questions. His unique “Chorratinta” pictures blend a highly original force of the artist’s freehand and the benefits of a computer, resulting in masterful composition and sensual colour.

In 1983, at the start of a government initiative to introduce computers into education, David was seconded from his post as a Deputy Head teacher at Kingsteignton, to develop the skills of teachers in the use of new technologies. David has a life-long interest in painting and visual arts and naturally started to explore the possibilities of making marks on a computer screen, well before other well-known artists. In those early days the options offered the artist a choice of any four colours from a total of eight, today we can select from sixteen million. 

 By focusing his artistic creativity on the digital medium David is attempting to maintain the human element in technological progress

Why use a Computer to create Art?

Maybe the answer to that question is, Why not? The first’ artist’ who discovered that a partially burnt stick had mark making capabilities was using a new technology Mixing pigments from natural substances to decorate the body or dwelling was an exploitation of a new technology. Artists have always taken the opportunity to exploited new technologies.

The visual artist has always made marks of some description. Those marks are made with a variety of tools or implement onto various surfaces. Making marks on a computer screen is not so very different. The artistic process in digital art  is very much the same as making other kinds of paintings. The artist chooses the appropriate tools, chooses the colours  and chooses the type of surface the marks will be made on. In the digital world these are virtual marks.

No one seems to question how an artist can produce a series of limited edition prints, probably created through a digital process. The digital photograph of the original piece of art can be loaded into a computer, any adjustments made to colour or format, and a series of prints run off through a digital printer. No one challenges the writing of a poet, novelist or a factual document created through the use of a word processor. Digital tools have become an essential element in the creation of many forms of “art culture.” Digitally controlled lighting in theatres, musicians who create fantastic compositions can refine their thinking before the presentation of the piece. Fine art photographers, film editors, television producers, mathematicians and artists can now sit down with the same tool and create and develop their ideas.

The artist chooses the media and the goal of the artist is to become fluent enough to transcend its limitations. The aim being to navigate through the frustrations and limitations of the tools, to create the ideas in the mind and convey those thoughts to the reader, listener or viewer.

David Cowell will be exhibiting in the Artizan Main Gallery from 22nd May - 3rd June

This is a fully stewarded exhibition and David will be available during normal opening times to discuss his work.