The Great Debate | Will Traditional Art Survive In Our Ever-Evolving Digital World?
Art5 Minutes Read

The Great Debate | Will Traditional Art Survive In Our Ever-Evolving Digital World?

November 19, 2021 Share

The greatness of art, in general, is that there is such a diverse and varied spectrum of works. But some people in the art community see technology as a threat to originality and are concerned that it will replace traditional artmaking. 

This idea can certainly be worrisome for some artists and art institutions like museums and galleries who rely heavily on traditional works.

People are so passionate about creating art that it’s no surprise original pieces by some of the worlds iconic masters have been sold at auctions for astronomical prices.

Although there are pieces like Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa that is ultimately considered priceless and will never be put on sale, through the years many high profile works of art have exchanged hands in the auction room for more money than you could ever imagine. 

The original Mona Lisa is on permanent display at the the Musee du Louvre in Paris.

It’s an idea that has kept many a creative type up at night, worrying about their livelihood. Think pieces, editorials, and opinion articles have all been dedicated to the topic. But the question remains: can traditional art survive in a digital world?

We often ask ourselves whether it’s hard to measure how much art is worth nowadays. 

Why? For many, the value of art is measured in the eye of the beholder. One piece of art could be worth a lot to one person and nothing to another

We all know that art is subjective but with our ever-changing technology, the big debate on whether we as a heavily digital dependant age, will say goodbye to this form of art is still at the forefront.

Ask yourself this. Will traditional art survive?

Most definitions for traditional arts explain it as a creative skill (drawing, dancing, etc.) that is passed down through a community, from masters to newcomers. 


It’s this broader definition that keeps traditional arts alive. To most, crafts like painting and sculpting are the true traditional arts. But with the rise of tablets and 3D printers, what’s the point in investing time in honing these skills? 

It’s a valid concern, yes, but it also pigeonholes traditional art to exclusively “art museum” style talents, as it were. By broadening what “traditional art” encompasses, it’s easier to see it’s thriving in a modern environment.

It is true that while the traditional commercial industry medium is a physical art, a large part of it has turned to digital media. Still, galleries, museums and auctions houses still see a lot of value and profit in traditional works.

Many people want a “real” painting on their walls. And it is in fact, a different experience than digital art can’t quite recreate yet.


Just like traditional artists, digital artists employ the same kind of skills but just with different tools. 

Using a computer to draw does not lessen the effort involved in creating art; it is simply done in a different manner from what many are used to.

However, when it comes to the way our digital world is currently working, the cost of art pieces online has turned the essence of art into something astronomical.

For example, earlier this year a digital work of art had sold at auction for nearly $70 million and become the first-ever sale by a major auction house of a work that doesn’t physically exist.

The work, entitled “Every day’s – the First 5000 Days”, was made by the relatively unknown American artist known as Beeple.

Its starting price was just $100 but a record 22 million people watched online as it reached its astonishing selling price, making Beeple’s work among the most valuable among living artists. 

A non-fungible token (NFT) is unique and can represent any digital asset on the Ethereum blockchain, thus making it scarce, provable, and valuable. 

The Verge

The advent of NFTs has created a new medium for artists and creators to showcase their creations or collections. 

In turn, a revolution is paving the way for artists to create and monetize their work while collectors have full transparency into the authenticity and provenance of their purchases.

Interchangeable connections between tradition and digital art still exist, however.

Let’s explore the pros with regards to both forms of universal art:

Traditional Art Pros


It’s not just for traditional artmaking that you need a good set of skills. But it’s where it all starts. You need to understand and gain the fundamental knowledge of art in order to succeed in any art form you need to learn the basis of art-making. For example composition, drawing styles, textures, brushes, pencils and so on.


Traditional art’s uniqueness is one of its most cherished benefits. Imperfections and unintended strokes are what makes traditional art so beautiful and individualistic – they give each piece a sense of exclusivity almost.


Simply put if you don’t have a connection or internet access, you can keep working on your specific art piece.


Traditional artwork is touchable, it has textures and unique colour mixing that we can’t enjoy as much over a computer screen.

Digital Art Pros


Digital art does not have any limitations in what your finished work can look like. You could use a regular brush, or even watercolour brushes inside of an art program, and still be able to go back and change things from the original drawing.

Flexible Resources and Tools

You can flip a canvas, resize it, rotate it, shape elements, copy and paste things, smudge, adjust colours, and so much more.

Cheaper and Flexible

Although it may seem that traditional art supplies are cheaper, they aren’t in the long run. Whenever you purchase an art supply that runs out quickly, you will have to keep making more purchases. 

Now with today’s 24-hour NFT art space where any work of art can be bought, sold or invested with a click of a button, really makes for a flexible way of dealing with art. 


There are many ways to protect your digital files on a computer, including copying them to an external hard drive, sending the file by email, and storing it in an online hosting site like Dropbox. 

However you choose to store and protect your digital works, remember that anything can happen: rain, dirt or greasy fingers can ruin the project you poured hours into.

Ultimately, we need to look at the work that artists are trying to convey and how they executed it rather than whether it was drawn digitally or traditionally. 

However, our world is falling into a life online from virtual reality to cryptocurrencies. Eventually, it will be favoured in one way or another.

SEE MORE:  Art Basel Miami 2021 | Meet The NFT Artists Who Are Taking Their Exhibits Online