Margaret Dolinsky

Digital Art and Research Scientist, School of Fine Arts

As the virtual world is littered with themes centered on male intrigue, Margaret Dolinsky, an associate professor of digital art and a research scientist at Indiana University, considered it a personal challenge when she entered the digital field.

“It’s important to get women involved in digital arts because they hold a different approach on life that will impact their work,” says Dolinsky.

She endeavors to capture personal, intimate moments that are frequently ignored in the bustle of day-to-day routines. Unlike traditional art forms, Dolinsky uses digital technology to produce her work. Digital art is typically viewed on a digital platform, such as a computer, tablet, or other electronic apparatus. Video art, video games, and virtual reality are subcategories of digital art.

While obtaining her master’s degree in fine arts from the University of Illinois in Chicago, Dolinsky was given the opportunity to work with the inventors of the cave automatic virtual environment (CAVE), an immersive virtual reality setting.

Since entering the visual arts field in 1995, Dolinsky’s work has been exhibited at SIGGRAPH, Ars Electronica, ICC in Tokyo, and the Walker Art Center. Currently, she is collaborating with the biology department at IU to imbed images of her artwork onto leaf structures by understanding the movement of chloroplast.

In her collaborative outreach, Dolinsky is a member of the Planetary Collegium at the University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom and co-chairs the IST & SPIE Engineering Reality of Virtual Reality conference through the international society for optics and photonics.

Even though digital art stands grounded in technology, Dolinsky views a computer only as a minor tool and creativity as the foundation of her work.

“I would like my students to be creative in their own art,” Dolinsky explains. “Computers allow you to manipulate images, but it’s also important that people discover their own vision and creativity.”

Her creative process consists of sketching immediately upon awakening with no specific intention in mind. In an effort to extend a dream state of mind she refuses to look at any technology while using her sketchpad. She then creates environments that use an optical tracking system, stereo visual display and audio, and a projection system to form compelling artwork such as Beat Box, Emotable Portraits, and I’m all about you.

Dolinsky advises female students interested in digital arts to not be afraid of the technology but rather to concentrate on the creative aspect of art. She recommends understanding the basics of computing and scripting languages, but mainly advises students to master the fundamentals of art to help comprehend visual art classes.

Dolinsky says, “Technology will not reach its maximum potential until it fully connects with creativity.”