Jeff Schwachter’s 5-year-old daughter taught him everything he knows when it comes to being a digital artist.
Well, she more or less introduced him to the field.
After Schwachter bought a Samsung Galaxy Note 5 smartphone, his daughter showed him ways to doodle pictures with the stylus on the phone.
Those lessons helped Schwachter create digital artwork that will be shown Friday at a Digital Art Exhibition at the Riverfront Renaissance Center for the Arts in Millville.
The exhibit, which will run through March 12, will feature work by close to 20 artists.
The parameters for art considered “digital” include photography digitally altered in Adobe Photoshop and drawings created on smartphones, tablets or other computers.
Diane Roberts was working with her team on a Tuesday, the final day for artists to submit their pieces.
Roberts said the exhibition committee decided to hold a digital art gallery when she and others saw a growing number of artists working in digital media.
“It’s becoming a popular tool for artists,” Roberts said.
Framed pictures rested against the wall of the Millville gallery, waiting to be hung before Friday’s show.
Dave Woeller’s work, a red sunburst daisy, was one of those images.
Woeller, a 70-year-old retiree, had photographed the flower last summer and digitally altered it with Photoshop and other plug-ins. Now the flower almost looks like a loading screen for a Windows computer.
After Woeller took the photo on that summer day, the digital applications he used helped him evolve the photograph into the final product — something traditional photography can’t do.
“You have this vision in your head, and you work to have that vision work,” Woeller said. “It’s a concept piece, and you work to get to what you want it to be.”
The digital format is productive, too.
Woeller said he created his piece, titled “Red,” in about a day.
And it’s convenient.
When Jeff Schwachter wants to work with oil paints or pastels, he has to “stink up the whole house” for three days of paint-drenched clothes and hands.
That’s not the case when he’s sitting on his couch and drawing a picture of Bob Dylan on his phone. He’s excited Riverfront Renaissance is showcasing this style of art, which he’s more interested in exploring.
But he sill wonders whether a digitally manipulated photo is as much an artistic piece as something he draws with his own hands.
“I don’t know. Certainly if you go into it with an artist’s perspective, then it depends what your intentions are,” he said.