Those who appreciate Art usually consider the combination Applied Art a bad thing.
In the common sense of the term, rightly created by the abuses of this discipline, applied art is a debasement of the Fine Arts, an improper application of the inspiration that is obtained by reproducing a valuable Artwork or its surrogate on objects of common use, often in large circulation and of limited value. In the passage from the original Artwork to its reproduction fundamental values are lost, such as originality, technique, materials and, above all, uniqueness.

The distinction makes perfect sense when we refer to the Classical Arts, painting in primis, where the direct contribution of the Artist is an irreproachable added value. But if we approach the topic in the field of Digital Figurative Arts, the discourse takes a slightly different turn.

How can the symbolic meaning and visual impact of the Picasso's Guernica (almost eight meters long) be compared to its reproduction on a coffee cup?

Digital figuration, beyond any artistic whimsy, has developed mainly to meet professional sectors much more "practical" than Fine Arts.

Photo retouching and illustration software were born for visual communication, i.e. advertising, one of the most widespread, profitable and invasive phenomena of our time.
Painting and 3D modeling have created a new type of cinema in terms of scenography and special effects, slightly detaching themselves from the even more pragmatic CAD systems, while sharing the same engines of rendering.
. In material terms, digital printing has grown to meet the needs of advertising and publishing, until it has largely replaced the techniques of decoration on objects of all kinds, first for marketing ones and then for more common uses.

The main digital painting programs compared. As you can see, the terms of comparison often fall on the simulation functions of "real" techniques.

But digital graphics technologies offer much more than the use of templates and burst replication. The strengths of digital are automation, speed and precision, but also versatility and ease in diversification.

Understanding the true power of digital diversification, both in creation and in printing, is essential to avoid the mistakes of the greatest experiment in Applied Art in history, the Bauhaus. In that German furnace of the early twentieth century artists were pushed to create "artistic objects" of common use; but soon they ended up simply decorating generic products, disguising them as works of art.

This trend has remained, and is applied by most of the print-on-demand sites: you take a neutral base (a t-shirt, a mug, an upholstery...) and apply an image.
This is easy yes, I do it too, as you can see in the Gadgets section.
Not Art, but Gadgets. There are also them: they are cute, nice, maybe even useful. They are part of applied art, but with a lowercase "a".

On the Web you can find several services to print your ideas on an infinity of products, from those useful as clothes and furnishing accessories to those simply funny as key rings or cell phone covers.

But what I believe in, the Applied Art in the 21st century, is something else.
Diversification, or rather, personalization, with the complicity of digital, is another thing.
You can create any type of image.
. You can print on any material.
. You can create something unique for every recipient, with much less energy, time and money than was needed a century ago.
We can conceive to have original artworks, relying on computers to diversify projects, relying on the versatility of printers to adapt the works to every aesthetic and practical need.

We can make the difference.

The accessory processes used for visual communication, combined with digital printing, allow to create more and more personalized objects.

Some examples of applied art for interior design

Laser/LED print lampshade on opaline paper. In collaboration with OKI

Wallpaper in hypoallergenic latex print, private home.

Artistic panels for atrium and entrance of the University of Insubria (Como)

On these principles works my line of Applied Art Ch'Art Design, born from a research on the printability of the most unusual materials but which has turned out to be a combination of symbolism, aesthetics and versatility.

The Ch'Art are custom designed in color, size, printing technique and materials, mostly in unique pieces on commission.

For more information: The Ch'Art style