Digital Art

Digital art is one of the more modern art form where it incorporates digital technology as part of the process in making art. Despite the name that suggests that it is a very modern area, digital art actually has been around since the 1970s where it has been associated with many different names and labels that include computer and multimedia art due to the media that has been used to produce such art work. The advancement of technology meant that digital art has become not only part of the creative industry but also in mainstream industries like comics and movies.

Digital art is commonly termed under the area of new media art where it deviates from the conventional and more traditional method of art making. This is where the artist incorporates a different approach to make their art where they adopt the use of technology and digital means in the process. The final outcome of the artwork would commonly be in print of full coloured images while some artists have been known to integrate both the new and conventional means which they will then produce ‘mixed media’ artwork where it could be a digital print which would then be overlapped with acrylic and such.

Is Digital Artist and Artist?

The constant argument against digital art is that its creators are seen as non-artists as they are not required to have a specific artistic skill set like painting, sculpting or even print-making mainly because digital artists are very much known to be very good with the use of software and computer devices. This means that the artist only need to be good with combining the effects provided by a certain application and then project the image or draws them with the use of a stylus or a mouse. On the other hand, the argument for digital art is that the idea is the gist of the body of work and it does not matter how the work was produced. Basically, digital artists believed that the most important factor about making art would be in the conceptualizing of the idea and the transferring of the idea onto the canvas regardless of whether it is printed or painted. Hence, digital art is often closely associated with printmaking like silk-screen art.

Most digital art are seen in mainstream media especially in advertisements and film and it has a strong relationship with the likes of graphic design which is very common in desktop publishing. One of the most illustrated digital artists in Malaysia would be Muid Latif whose works in this area has gained nationwide recognition and reputation. Muid’s work was widely inspired through the works in the corporate industry. Malaysian digital artists are less known as compared to their other counterparts as they are commonly involved with projects like Milx whose work has been used in the Silver Surfer of Marvel Comics, Tan Jin Ho and the likes of Fytullah Hamzah. Muid’s work is known to be very fluid where he combines a variety of elements and then integrate them with an excellent interplay of colours and background that offers an illusion-based image.

Digital Art Industry in Malaysia

The Malaysian art scene has always been vibrant and growing. Fine art has often been the preferred art form, not only within Malaysia but across the world as well. With technology and new mediums becoming a part of everyday life, so will art.

Enter the new art era

Digital art is not a new thing but it surely resembles a whole new dimension when it comes to the art scene. This is more evident in countries like Malaysia where art often assimilate with culture. The move towards digital art is slower as compared to other markets but this is a steadily-growing trend.

From Warhol to Kelantan

Much can be said about digital art and it has been claimed to have come through the Pop Art movement, made so popular by Andy Warhol himself. It was the end-product that people sat up and took notice.

Malaysia has its own share of history in digital art, dating back to the 80s by veteran artists like the late Ismail Zain. Since then, many has followed but the biggest hurdle is still acceptance.

Art buying market

A big portion of the Malaysian art scene is still very much into buying and keeping art. This is a big challenge because many perceive digital art as NOT UNIQUE. In other words, they can be easily reproduced, unlike a painting or a sculpture.

One phenomenon changed everything when Sabah-born artist Yee I-Lann’s digital art piece, the Huminodun received one of the highest bids at Christie’s art auction. This provided the platform and inspiration for many more digital artists in the ensuing years.

Malaysian digital artists

One thing for sure, collectors are now more appreciative and receptive to digital art. It might not be possible to shake off the notion that digital art can be easily reproduced, it surely is taking on value. Among some who have made their names include:

  • Vince Low – His works have already been published overseas like Huffington Post and The Daily Mail.
  • Katon Aqhari – Name etched into the Malaysian Book of Records.
  • Muid Latif – Whose work has been bought by the Penang State Art Gallery.
  • Tang Yau Hoong – A Mechanical Engineering graduate, he is a self-taught artist whose work includes Nike and The Harvard Business Review, among others.
  • Shaifuddin Mamat – Popularly known as Poodien, has exhibited both locally and regionally. He was the former Malaysian Emerging Artist Award winner.
  • Tan Eng Huat – Known for his work in comics where he previously worked DC and Marvel.


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