The State of Art at the Cusp of the Millennium
At Stock Illustration Source (SIS), we work with more than 1,400 illustrators, and I'd guess that only a third have embraced the computer—or are in the process of doing so—to create their illustrations. It's a phenomenon that's turning the illustration community on its head.
Young, hip, computer-literate illustrators, like Teofilo Olivieri, David Weisman, Otto Steininger, and others, are trailblazing new styles and approaches, while successful established artists like Dave Cutler, James Yang and José Ortega are reinventing themselves digitally, with much of their new computer-generated work indistinguishable from their traditional counterparts.
But there will always be a number of artists who, I'm sure, will be happy to let computers pass them by. James Endicott, whose exquisitely crafted illustrations would be difficult to digitally improve upon, is one. Another is Guy Billout, one of the world's most gifted illustrators. Guy told me that he purchased a computer several years ago and has yet to open the box.
This more traditional approach to creating illustrations should continue to counterbalance the techno look of much of today's digital work.
Over the long term, after the infatuation with the computer has run its course, the pendulum will swing back to the creativity and concepts of individual images, no matter what is used to produce them.
In the short term, there is the "democracy meets art" phenomenon, whereby computer-literate people don't necessarily possess artistic talent but are able to produce passably crafted images using sophisticated illustration software. This trend, I believe, is merely a bump in the road; professional communications will continue to demand professional talent.
Presently, there are 160 million people logged on to the Internet; by 2003, there will be 500 million. And the $50 billion sales racked up on the Internet in 1998 will zoom to $1.6 trillion by 2003. Another statistic: 10,000 new sites are added to the Internet each day!