Lumen turns 5

By Carla Rapoport January 6, 2017

It’s been 5 years since Lumen was founded and in April, we’ll be launching our 6th call for entries. In between, we’ve been around the world 4 times, given out more than $40,000 in prize money, and staged more than 35 events, seminars and shows.

It’s been quite a ride and one which only becomes more and more interesting as the technology artists employ continues to develop and more artists become comfortable with adding digital tools to their practice.

People often ask me why I founded the prize and the honest answer is, simply, because I could. The contemporary art world is not interested in work it can’t price and selling digital art remains a challenge. It’s easy enough to set a price for an eager buyer but until a secondary market develops, digital art will remain a tough sell.

But sales are being achieved and we’re pleased to see this developing. The early adapters, interestingly enough, are a growing number of museums who want to add the best digital work to their collections.

When I founded Lumen I was merely curious – not driven by any financial considerations – to see what was out there. My curiousity was stimulated by the Royal Academy’s 2012 Hockney exhibition, The Bigger Picture, which I went to 3 times with different friends each time. While staring at the works in a room of iPads, I caught the energy in the room and thought to myself that it couldn’t just be Hockney who was using digital tools.

Turns out it wasn’t just Hockney. And aren’t we lucky that so many artists all over the world are as inspired by today’s digital tools. It’s only a matter of time before the contemporary art world catches up with these artists.

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