Digital Art is Alllllright!by Stephen Adams
No way - digital is allllllright, its handy and easy to correct mistakes - but it does not compare to the real thing - it's good for cataloging online, for reference and as you say for creating reproduction prints, but to my eyes and I think to any real collector a printed digital image will be missing the original 'one-off-original' quality of a hand painted canvas. Any reproductions (from scans and high quality prints) will be just that, copies, good for cataloguing.
I've personally had the experience of walking into a (granted small) gallery and had the curator try to sell me a giclee printed image that was very obviously a photo of Venice with a shitty photoshop filter applied to it (I think it was stylize/water paper) --- very obvious...
cheap tactics and shortcuts are rife with digital art in ways that doesn't apply to 'analog' though I strongly hesitate to use such a puerile buzz-word - egad. A lot of digital paintings literally use layers of photos (quick skies/clouds) often painted right over or with filters applied.
The world of realist painting lost a lot of steam when photography rolled around, but it survived, in it's way, if only for those hard to describe unique and endearing visceral qualities, the joy of the illusionists hand represented in thick and thin brushstrokes. Digital
art is better than photography but falls short of real painting... at least partly BECAUSE it is so easy to copy, catalogue, print and generally store indefinitely. The real treasure will always be to own the finite and fragile hand-painted original.
Digital is legitimate, and fine, but there's no way I'd pay as much for a potentially mass-produced digital print, nomatter how nice, compared to the same as an original oil or watercolour, and no way I'd pay for a digital image to be emailed to me or anything like that.