Digital vs. Tactile–Where to Draw the Line?

In perusing my online bookmarks for something to share today, I stumbled upon several writings and images that, at first, seemed moving, therefore appropriate for a blog of this nature.

But the more intensely I searched, the less this content seemed worthy of a discerning audience. And the more content I consumed (in a creative context), the more apparent the problem became. Every click rendered the screen figuratively duller; every word, less meaningful; and every new image, less intense. It was as if the very vehicle that delivered said information was diluting its properties, cheapening its value so that works from even the finest artists, photographers, and thinkers seemed not quite as poignant.

Which makes me wonder: Are we, as creatives, consuming too much information, rather than focusing on a digestible amount of inspiration and doing what is within our physical and innovative reach?

paint palette

Is the digitization of such content desensitizing us from some of the most indescribably beautiful, yet tactile experiences we feel as creatives?

Studying a renowned 3D artist via the interwebs is one thing; feeling clay between our fingers is another. Watching a violinist perform via YouTube may be impressive, but it cannot match the unearthly sensation of hearing the concerto resound within our ears. And even the late Bob Ross, as great an instructor the puffy-haired painter may have been, could not teach fledgling artists the magic of the brush in motion, had they not experienced it themselves. Since when did serendipitous Internet learning improve a painter’s ability to paint? A painter learns by painting.

I admit, I work with digital media all day, nearly every day. These channels afford artists all over the world exciting opportunities to share their work with others via the Internet. But no matter the reach, however large the audience, the creation of the work–that happens in a studio, away from watching eyes of online observers–will always be more important. Above all, the purity of working with one’s hands simply cannot be matched.

Oh, and FYI: While you’re reading this via your computer, I’ll be in my kitchen, sinking my hands into some papier-mâché.

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