The Importance of Escape from Virtual Reality: Observational Drawing in the Digital Age
Early twenty-first century art students come of age in a flat world of still and kinetic digital images. Furthermore, the acceptability of digital appropriation traps young artists in a perceptual prison removed from the physical world. Flat digital sources are compelling but provide little incentive for the visual study of three-dimensional space. On the other hand, interaction with the world through direct observation increases visual, technical and stylistic flexibility and conceptual and critical understanding. Skills steeped in life drawing and visualization form a sound basis for all art, including digital media. This paper will discuss how the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Communication Arts developed a visual studies program that stresses observational drawing and critical theory as a means of reconnecting students to the aesthetic, creative and intellectual challenges of the physical world.
Keywords: Virtual, Reality, Observation, Drawing, Digital, Critical, Theory, Aesthetics
Jorge Miguel Benitez
Assistant Professor, Department of Communication Arts, Virginia Commonwealth University