TBS: What changes have technology brought, as far as Fine Art careers are concerned, in the global landscape?
MM: If you think about the scenario in the past, we see painters/artists working only for the affluent segment of the population. When monarchy ruled or when there's a dominance of landlords over common people, we observed that it was a part of their lavish lifestyle to buy paintings or portraits from an artist.
Indeed, art back then was out of the reach of people. Fortunately, after technological breakthroughs, we can see that artists around the world have successfully removed the barriers through the increasing numbers of opportunities created by online platforms.
It is helping artists broaden their audience, which eventually helps an artist be more enthusiastic towards producing creative artworks. Even if someone lives in Bangladesh, due to rapid technological development, he can make himself visible to the world. We now see individuals living in our country working for US-based animation companies or advertising agencies, and because of technology, this huge shift took place.
TBS: What prospects has technology created for Fine Art graduates in Bangladesh?
MM: If I have to describe my personal experience, I would say, as a student of graphic designing, I was bound to learn about the latest technologies. But for students of other departments of the Fine Arts it was difficult to learn about the latest technologies, as their work didn't always involve the use of gadgets and advanced software.
However, now we see Fine Arts graduates from different sectors spreading the essence of their artwork throughout the world because of the ease of using the internet. Selling, auctioning and exhibiting artworks has become easier than ever. Hence, it's encouraging our fresh graduates to use their potential in an adequate manner and also comprehending the value of technological evolution. By dint of this evolution of technology, many doors of opportunities are opening up for fine art graduates.
TBS: Are Fine Art graduates in Bangladesh using the best of the potential of technology? If yes or no, why?
MM: I think one of the most common problems in our country is that we can't utilise technology or can't handle the change happening around us. As a former student of Fine Arts, we had to face lots of difficulties because of the lack of awareness of technology among people. A graphic designer's work requires a computer and we didn't have a well organised lab. Back then, we had to travel to Nilkhet to finish our projects. It was sad that we were not acquainted with the technology, and our teachers did not show any concern.
Although now there is a lab, still a lot more effort has to be put in to make the students familiar with the latest technology. The latest tools like drawing tablets and pens, training on using the latest software and many things associated with this should be a part of the curriculum. If the changes are not brought about officially, it'll be difficult for the Fine Arts students to survive in the newfangled system.
Thus, to make the best use of the potential of technology, it is essential to change the curriculum of Fine Arts with respect to the changes we're witnessing in this complex world. Once that happens, a graduate won't have to be worried about learning the basic skills like Photoshop, Lightroom, and Illustrator after their graduation.
Nonetheless, this generation is very curious and the advancement of technology has made learning efficient and easy. Personally speaking, I have seen people in my sector using different tools and software both on mobile and computer.
The important fact here is, a significant portion of that population doesn't have a background in Fine Arts. They are able to acquire these skills due to the availability of sources to learn. So at one hand, technology is creating scope for people to develop themselves, but it is also creating more competition for the students of fine arts. Hence, the learning stage of the Fine Arts students needs to be more enriched. Advanced learning in their educational life can help them stand out in the market.
TBS: How should the graduates prepare to make the best use of technology?
MM: Graduates should not depend only on their conventional knowledge gained throughout their undergraduate life. They must gain knowledge and skills based on market demand. Although our works require us to show more concern towards artistic value, still, with a view to survive, we can't ignore the fact that art and technology needs to be intertwined. It is needless to say that by leveraging advanced technology and tools, artists will allow themselves to develop more and also have more influence on society with their creativity.
TBS: Your advice: The DOs and DON'Ts.
MM: My advice for this generation is to use their passion for art to create whatever they wish to create, whether with technological assistance or with pencil and paper. However, you have to be more curious and creative with your work. Your creative ability, your talent and extraordinary thoughts needs to be exercised more. That way, you can reflect your unique ideas through your work and reach out to more people.
Another important advice would be that even if we see artists with great talent, the creativity level is not increasing over time. We are more into copying other artists than creating unique content. Yes, you can get influenced by artworks, but you need to show some sort of creativity of your own if you want to feel a sense of ownership. Moving forward from this phase is necessary if you want to succeed in your career, stay relevant and want appreciation. You don't need to forget your roots, culture, language and your exclusive artistic sense to create something wonderful. Merge your ideas and technology when you are about to work on a project.