This Digital Artist Explains How The Art Industry is Evolving With Technology

This Digital Artist Explains How The Art Industry is Evolving With Technology

The digital art industry has been going through polarising changes recently. With social media companies like Meta and X (formerly known as Twitter) changing their discover features, directly impacting artists’ reach, in addition to scraping artworks on their platforms to feed into their own generative AI models, artists are looking for alternatives to get their work in front of people.

We partnered with Samsung to host an exciting art competition to use their Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE Series, where we picked out three Aussie artists who have a unique approach to creativity. Dune Haggar was one of our winners from the competition, whose work will appear on our website alongside two other fantastic artists.

Dune has had over 20 years in the field as an independent graphic designer and has built up a steep resume working with huge companies like Steel Series, Fortress and PAX. His unique style of artwork features creatively dense levels of detail, which he draws onto skateboards, gaming controllers, mousepads and even graphics cards.

We asked him about using his long career as a full-time artist, what he thinks about the future of digital art as a career, and what advice he’d offer to new artists breaking into the field.

Could you describe the piece you submitted to the competition?

This piece is my usual chaotic floating citadel construct thingos. These pieces start as random drawings with fine liners or even borrowing from hand-painted skateboards I’ve made in the past.

They are all drawn freestyle and are always a balance of weird buildings, stairs, arrows, doorways and funny little creatures. I then use the magic of computers and recreate them as vector artwork. This means I can recolour, duplicate and play around with scale. It also means it’s super easy to go from vector art to printed designs, apparel, animation and 3D. Vector is cool as you can set it up for print super easily and scale to your heart’s content as there are no pixels to pixelate and no low-res blurriness. 

What do you like about being an artist?

I feel like I am being ‘me’. I used to worry about mixing business with pleasure as art was my zone-out happy place. I have learnt over the years that working with others and collaborating with companies didn’t end up ruining the artistic process. It usually gave me more opportunities, mediums to work with, avenues to go down and ways to express myself and show my odd art to a wider gamut of legends.

How do you plan out a piece with multiple levels involved?

These weird things are freestyle. When I draw or paint I don’t usually pencil out first, I just start drawing and trust the process.

Kinda like when you are a musician and you have practised some licks, scales and chords and you can jam with a band, it might not be perfect but it’s flowing and unique. Once I have the main shape and things done I play on the negative space and work out shapes and bits to the scene. Some are crafted to make it look connected and orderly and some bits are just chaos.

I have an idea of colours at the start but I leave this until last. Especially if I am making it into vector artwork. It’s super easy to change colours then and tweak stuff to the desired outcome. I found if I planned stuff out, I would become a perfectionist and the imposter syndrome would hit. It would never be up to my standards or what I really wanted to portray. When I moved to freestyle artwork and paint markers, I had to forgo some level of detail, embrace mistakes, and relax and it almost became more childlike — much easier to touch up mistakes or leave them and be ok with this, just getting it done instead of another unfinished thing.

The medium I am using also dictates the shape, silhouette etc so making a skateboard artwork might be all about vertical towers, stairs, windmills and things. The skate deck would necessitate using thicker makers and brushes, and say a hand-painted video game controller might necessitate single colour thinner lines for example. The general idea is usually for people to get lost in the details, like a Where’s Wally poster. Someone might feel anxious when they see this headache of detail and colour and think “WTF is this thing?!” and then they look at all the platforms and characters and maybe get a little lost in it and forget about that job deadline or the fact they need to write some answers for an article.

In your 20 years of being a professional artist, what are some of the biggest
lessons you’ve learned?

  • If you are not just creating your own artwork, but collaborating with clients they usually need more than what they say.
  • You are going to have to get a thick skin and sometimes be your best friend and not your biggest critic.
  • Get out of the studio, bedroom, art gimp hole. Grab a pen and paper, tablet (even a Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE cough cough) or laptop and change up your workplace.
  • When working with businesses you will learn that most people don’t visualise like you do and you can take it for granted. If you want to sell an idea, a way of using your artwork, or a clever collaboration – mock it up, and show them a proof of concept.
  • Don’t be precious about changes and feedback – It’s not personal, and it’s not pre-wrestling match smackdown talk.
  • Efficiency – this job is full of time-consuming side quests. Make yourself as efficient as you can (then you can have more time playing and being creative).
  • Don’t be afraid to pitch, ask, suggest collaborations or ideas to big companies.
  • Have a side passion or hobby to bounce between when you are not feeling the creative flow. Whatever it is, you would be amazed how your brain, when not stressed, will whir away problem-solving while you are having fun doing your thing.

What are your thoughts on the future of digital art?

There’s more and more amazing talent for sure. It’s great seeing young artists with original ideas and creativity coming up. The looming threat of AI and people thinking the pretty picture is the whole part of the creative process and what ‘art’ can be is a little daunting. I am in the ‘robots and computers should be doing all my shitty chores so I can have even more time, energy and brainpower to do creative stuff’ mindset at the moment.

Since digital art became more “OK” in the art world and hand-drawn, more cartoony artwork has become more cool, I have seen a positive uptake in companies wanting to do collaborations. Seeing clients comprehend the value of attaching an artist’s IP and personal brand to their products and marketing is a great step.

Even with all the negative news on economics, the rising costs of living, particularly cloud-based software services going fully 1984 in their T&Cs… I have an optimistic outlook. They won’t let us all starve right? (awkward silence, shuffling feet, cricket sounds… a small dog howls at the moon…) 

You can check out more of Dune’s work on our website, alongside our other winners.

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