What is a “digital artist”? – FrenchWeb.fr

by bold-lichterman

Bertrand Flour is a “digital artist”, an unrecognized status whose outlines remain undefined. Trained at the Beaux-Arts in Paris and Nantes, Bertrand Flour was part of the first generation of digital artists in the 1990s. Passed through the creation studio created at the time within Apple France and which closed in 1993 , he traces for FrenchWeb the technological developments that have marked his work over the past twenty years.

FrenchWeb: How do you define your work and your art?


Bertrand Flour, digital artist and vice-president of the international board, creativity, technology, 21st century society *: It is digital art, that is to say virtual works produced entirely by computer using an electronic pen and a graphics tablet. What is more, I use the graphics palette of Adobe Photoshop software to create multifaceted computer works.

You worked as an artist at Apple France in the early 1990s. What were your missions?

At that time, I tested the graphics performance of the Macintosh among a small number of visual artists all chosen according to their artistic skills. The graphics studio of the company Apple Computer France was a unique place, intended only for digital images. A great freedom of expression was also at the origin of new visual sensations that took root in the bowels of technology.

How do you see this time, what were your tools?

At that time, it was necessary to anticipate an emerging technology which could only offer limited possibilities because of the poor performance of the Macintosh and obsolete printing means. The artists had to systematically project themselves through digital works whose materialization was still unthinkable. These images represent today the virtual memory of computerized contemporary art, always subject to an infinite technological evolution.

credit: Bertrand Flour

The Macintosh was still considered the benchmark before the arrival of the Quadra, which boosted images from 256 colors to 16 million magnificent colors. A scanner, a thermal sublimation printer as well as a Slide writer, a darkroom intended for the ektachrome, remained graciously at the disposal of the artists in addition to the last Apple computers.

Which ones are you using today?

I have remained loyal to the Apple brand because of its graphic qualities, assigned specifically to virtual images. A simple iMac, connected to an Epson plotter, allows me to print images with exceptional rendering due in part to the strong pigmentation of the inks.

What are the big changes that you have observed?

Three major changes have punctuated my creative approach since the beginning of the nineties:

  • The 16 million colored shades offering subtle gradations.

  • The electronic stylus with its finesse of execution.

  • Plotters, printers, inkjet.

Without these three parameters, my work as a digital artist would have been largely cut off from an incredible invoice that gives additional credibility to computerized works.

How do you see technological innovations and their design? Who are the masters of the genre?

credit: Bertand Flour

Technological innovations are astonishing, because they can guide the plastic artist through his own imagination, despite the creative thought which is the backbone of all computerized graphic works. Apple with its particular style remains undoubtedly one of the flagships of virtual imagery, while the Epson brand competes with photography thanks to fluid inks with exemplary durability over time. Some paper manufacturers also offer specific supports for digital works of very attractive quality: Hahnemühle, Canson Digital Fine Art, etc.

Do you like the current period artistically and technologically speaking?

I rushed into the technological world by immediately switching from the Ecole des Beaux-arts in Paris to the Apple company, because my vision of contemporary art is surprisingly reflected in the sciences of my time. The often unexpected novelty of my images is akin to an artistic approach in correlation with digital arts, although these computerized works are the beginnings of an artistic current that is still embryonic: creation is a fortiori the reflection of our imagination that only fantasy leads beyond appearances.

Who are you working for today?

I claim the status of digital artist by soliciting galleries and contemporary art centers focused primarily on new technologies. Corresponding member of the European Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters and Vice-President of the International Council, Creativity, Technology, 21st Century Society, my role is to educate elites on the incredible characteristics of computer images. I am also mandated to the regional and consultative conference of the culture of Pays de la Loire to share my opinions with elected officials.

Is there a “French touch” in technological art?

credit: Bertrand Flour

French artists who touch new technologies have artistic knowledge that comes directly from our fascinating Western culture. I myself am imbued with classicism, having extensively dissected the main pictorial works which appear in the greatest museums in the world. My fascination for computerized graphic arts is therefore the result of an iconographic vision whose honey is diluted in contact with the computer.

Where do you think the center of technological art is?

I don’t think there is one city more than another that is the bastion of computer art. The stronghold of computer art is largely found on the Net because of the frivolity of the art market which places little importance on so-called reproducible digital works. Some artists nevertheless exhibit in museums, but their works are most often random.

What are the major trends to come in your sector?

The purpose of technology will always be to support artistic thought which is the very essence of creativity; only no major player can claim today to hold the monopoly of computerized graphic arts, since this mode of expression remains unknown to the general public: the notoriety of the artist passes above all by the recognition of his talent, which he must show up in order to change mentalities. A possible artistic current linked to new technologies will thus be the fruit of human genius that computer images will enrich with a salutary aura.


Bertand Flour graduated from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Nantes. His work was rewarded in 1992 by the creation and computer graphics prize of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Bertrand Flour is Vice-President of the International Council, Creativity, Technology, 21st Century Society, and Corresponding Member * of the European Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters. He is also a substitute for the Regional Consultation Conference on the cultures of the Pays de la Loire.

Personal exhibitions

2013: Art In Properties – Domaine de Cureghem – Brussels – Belgium
2007: Gallery twenty-four – New York City – DUMBO Brooklyn – USA: The White Images – Psychosis
2006: Gallery-X – Istanbul – Turkey: Psychosis
2005: Gallery-X – Istanbul -Turkey: Computer Images
2004: Ivana de Gavardie Gallery – Paris – France: Computer Images
2003: Gallery-X – Istanbul – Turkey: Computer Drawings
2002: Gallery-X – New York City – Harlem – USA: Computer Drawings – Computer Images
1999: Ivana de Gavardie Gallery – Paris – France: Computer Images
1994: The Multimedia Gallery – Paris – France: Computer Images

front page image credit: Bertrand Flour