Screens as Galleries: EQ Bank Explores the World of Digital Art
In a world where virtual get-togethers happen more than ever, EQ Bank is evolving our own definition of digital connection by continuing our exploration of art in its many forms. Brushes and canvas or pixels and bytes, our world is changing and experiencing art communally has become for many people a way to create community, express emotions, and find solace in these uncertain times.
This is one of the reasons we started the Digital Art Spotlight—an online “gallery” of sorts, sharing digital art through our Instagram channel. Through the Spotlight, we wanted to create an oasis, as an escape from relentless COVID-19 news, and create a thought-provoking corner of the internet.
Each week, we’re sharing the work of some incredible Canadian digital artists. Using Instagram Stories to connect viewers more deeply to each piece of art, we’ve been able to make the art available in different ways and to a wider audience. In times like these, the importance of art is undeniable; consuming art is a proven stress relief and can give us a window into a different world we might not normally be able to experience.
Digital art isn’t new to EQ Bank. We’ve had a longstanding commitment to the emerging digital art community in Canada since we began. This includes not only embracing opportunities to provide financial support to Canadian artists, but also finding ways to help elevate their careers. EQ Bank founded the Emerging Digital Artists Award (EDAA) in 2015 and partnered with Trinity Square Video in 2017 to expand outreach to the art community.
The Spotlight’s featured artists have included several EDAA winners and many artists who are creating work directly inspired by the current situation. They include Jordyn Stewart (Niagara Region), Ahreum Lee (Tiohtià:ke/Montréal), and Alyssa Bornn, an artist from Winnipeg, who is currently under quarantine in Buenos Aires.
Behind the art
2018 EDAA winner Anna Eyler’s captivating piece, M.A.N.N.A. (which stands for “mechanically-augmented neo-natural assemblage”), is a virtual environment that blurs the boundaries between natural and artificial bodies. Within this world, entities resembling power generators merge with the surrounding flora and fauna to form new cyborgian forms. Imagining our technological devices as animated entities rather than simply tools for our use, Eyler asks us to consider the limits of our empathy for the non-human parts of our world.
Mark Kasumovic was the 2016 EDAA finalist. In Pixel World, Kasumovic imagines a world where the more we photograph something, the less real it becomes, eventually transforming into a giant pixel in the landscape. As a larger body of work, it explores the ways in which digital photography has evolved from the analogue tradition, and how taking pictures has become one of the most practiced activities in the world.
In a moment when we’re physically unable to travel outside the country, this series offers a virtual escape to popular tourist destinations, but not without reminding us that the central attraction is merely a digital artifact.
More art ahead
As we find ourselves exploring more digital corners of the world, we’re interacting in new and creative ways. The Digital Art Spotlight provides a different kind of connection between our customers, business partners, and the community at large to share in something truly beautiful.
There’s been an outpouring of support and appreciation for the power of art in response to this project, and we’ll continue to share the Digital Art Spotlight over the next few months, highlighting a new piece every Wednesday.
Keeping in line with the digital theme, and with the promise of better days to come, the EDAA is now accepting digital art submissions for our 2020 award. We’re eager to see the inspiring pieces from Canada’s digital artists this year, and optimistic for a time where we can celebrate the Canadian art community away from our screens.
Want to check out the EQ Bank Digital Art Spotlight for yourself? Follow us on Instagram.