Folk Art and Digitization

Folk art has always been a means of cultural expression. Folk art reflects how groups, whether ethnic or regional, share their identity through authentic creative expression. Individuals typically create folk art with no formal education relating to their artistic talent but rather through participation (self-taught). The idea of folk art has changed as technologies (digitization) have influenced the creative process. Two prominent examples are photography and music.

Photography is a folk art, which has been used by individuals to capture moments and places that identify their community, family, friends, and reflection of self. The advent of Photoshop, filters, and the like has changed the way one enhances their photographs. Props and settings no longer are of much concern when considering how well the creator can alter them. Take for instance this photo. After spending the day with my daughter, I created this photo to reflect how I viewed her take on the world. This was accomplished by the use of multiple photos taken throughout our day.

tll collage

To express my view of her, as I at times call her my Mediterranean princess, I created the photograph below.

tll masterpiece copy

Of course, she is not actually a princess or Mediterranean at all, but I was able to capture in this creation my very own artistic expression using tools in Photoshop. This is my folk art. I was not trained in photograph or art, yet I was able to create and express my views through the use of digitization. To build an audience to share in this creative expression, platforms like: blogs, Facebook, Vine, and Snapchat come in handy.

Today, many people can create their own photographic folk art and many do so daily using apps like Instagram, which provides filters for creators. For those wishing to expand their audience in this way, Instagram is a great platform.

Music as folk art has taken on many forms. DJs for instance have taken music to a whole new level as they mix music. This is folk art that is representative of the culture today. No longer is folk art created by a person and their guitar, fiddle, or drums, but through the use of software that digitizes sounds and allows for the restructuration of bits and bytes. DJs and other amateur artists can distribute their mixes on platforms, such as, YouTube and MySpace. They can even have their mixes made available on iTunes to reach niche communities in the Long Tail.

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