While there are obvious differences between digital art and more traditional mediums, like painting, the fact is they’re both part of the long lineage of human creativity that stretches back over 30,000 years. It’s high time we stopped thinking of digital art as separate or counter to more traditional formats, but rather as a logical part of the contemporary art continuum—art that’s been shaped by and has its roots firmly grounded in avant-garde movements of the 20th century like Fluxus, Dada, and Constructivism, along with the disciplines of performance art, film, photography and video art.
In fact it seems that much of the distinctions between traditional and digital art lie in formalistic qualities and the tools of creation, which themselves are part of a continuously developing thread of technological advancement (paint and paintbrushes, if we’re going to get technical, are also a form of technology). As such, it would negate any claims of either school being more “legitimate” than the other—one is merely a continuation of the same tendencies towards experimentation and self-expression, but using contemporary tools and practices. And it’s with this in mind that it’s interesting to see Shkelzen Kernaja animate Alexander Calder‘s paintings in his video ’Calder’ Paintings in 3D, set to Boards of Canada’s “An Eagle Has The Right To Children.”
Calder was an American sculptor and painter who pretty much invented the mobile sculpture with his floating, abstract kinetic pieces made from wire and metal. These mobile sculptures, embedded as they are with motion, are an obvious inspiration for a motion-based animated work, but Kernaja instead chose to animate Calder’s more static work: his paintings, effectively turning them into virtual versions of the artist’s mobiles. By doing this, Kernaja’s shown how the two forms of painting and digital animation can interplay and complement each other while adhering to different sets of rules, and how today’s artists can establish a dialogue with their predecessors that feels like a natural progression of their ideas.
Kernaja doesn’t list which paintings he used, but after a quick Google image search it looks like some of the below were the inspiration.