December 20, 2022 Getting technical about art Our digital specialist learns about combining art and tech Angèle Bleackley How often do people associate any form of art with technology? This is a question I have been asking myself for years. For some people, technology plays a major role in creating art, and for others, technology isn’t part of their process. For me, the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about blending technology and art is computer graphics in movies. Artists use technology to create amazing images for us to enjoy and cherish for generations to come. Artists also make their visual effects seem so realistic the viewer is transported into a world very different from our own. I see this as a digital visual art footprint for the world. In the short time I have been part of the Calgary Arts Development team, my experiences have led me to a few other realizations about the arts, especially after working in the technology field for many years. I had always wondered how much influence the arts have on technology. Now I’m more aware of how the merging of arts and technology has opened a whole new world to artists who are local and worldwide — including audience members like me. Thank you, live-streaming! But how does technology help artists at different points in their careers, from emerging to experienced? Here are some thoughts on what I have learned. For individuals, technology can help artists connect with other artists, virtually or in person, and provide opportunities to artists wanting to showcase their work to a wider audience. We’ve seen this during the pandemic, as visual and performing artists embraced new ways of bringing their work to audiences online. Artists have the ability to choose what platform best suits their needs, whether it’s a website to showcase artwork, in-person exhibitions, or virtual experiences. Technology gives many non-profit arts organizations the ability to share educational content, exciting art and performances locally or worldwide, through live-streaming, or custom online performances, or even interactive digital experiences. This feeds into conversations between diverse communities, helping people develop a greater understanding of the arts and (hopefully!) results in a lifelong appreciation. Non-profit organizations can also use technology to receive donations for arts projects or programs, which in turn helps to build the economy. Taking it a step further, some artists are using technology to create different types of art, as outlined in this article from the Smithsonian about how technology is changing the way art is made. Finally, technology has practical applications for artists and organization. They can monitor traffic to their website to see which demographics their work is appealing to, and in turn figure out how to create more traffic to sell more art. Venues use technology to help sell tickets to arts events while also promoting their own venue, etc. As people learn more about how art and technology work together, the opportunities for growth and success in the arts are endless. And being a part of this community? Priceless. Angèle Bleackley | Photo by Aaron Chatha Angèle Bleackley (she/her/hers) is the digital specialist for Calgary Arts Development. She is happy to help staff members with their digital needs as well as being liaison for technical needs. Previously she specialized in software quality assurance testing in a global digital transformation company. When not working, she enjoys spending time with family creating memories that last a lifetime, as well as reading, walking, and playing board games and console games.