Fact Checked

What Is Internet Art?

Angela Farrer
Angela Farrer

Internet art is a form of contemporary art that involves the creation and transmittal of various computer art online for any viewers anywhere in the world to experience. The main purpose of using the Internet as an art display platform is to overcome the barriers that come with displaying exhibits in traditional brick-and-mortar galleries. Many artists believe their work should be available to everyone, not just those who are able to visit art galleries mainly located only in major metropolitan areas. A common trait of Internet art is that many pieces lead to active dialogue between the artist and viewers. The types of media used for this digital artwork can include illustration, video, sound, and artist-generated software, or websites.

The practice of combining computer technology and traditional art principles is often known as tradigital art, and Internet art is an example of this trend. Artists who showcase their work exclusively online are sometimes called net artists, and critics who examine their work often point out these artists' various innovations. Many works of Internet art are considered to overlap the traditional lines between art and communication. This art form can also sometimes raise questions of how people precisely define concepts such as originality and intellectual property rights.

Woman painting
Woman painting

Early popular forms of Internet art include static web pages with images that artists periodically updated as they continued to create new examples of their digital art. Some scanned copies of their drawings or paintings and posted them in a website gallery. Others experimented with electronic illustration software and exhibited their finished creations online.

One of the main changes that took Internet art to the next level was interactivity. Artists began encouraging viewers to leave them feedback in guestbooks, forums, and blog comments. The resulting popularity of this early digital art soon lead to more elaborate experimentation with the Internet itself as an art medium.

Some net artists choose to create their digital artwork as avatars in virtual reality platforms and design their own virtual galleries to display their pieces. Other avatar members of the same virtual reality sites can log in and visit the galleries any time they wish. Net artists with backgrounds in computer programming also create experimental art forms such as self-replicating viruses or digital collections of pages displaying various error messages. Many of them report that their underlying purpose is often to demonstrate how the Internet can only be such an influential force due to the people behind it.

You might also Like

Discussion Comments


Are there any really famous internet artists? I would assume that their work is online so it seems like it would be cool to check it out. I use the internet all the time, I never thought of it being an art form.


I like to experiment with different kinds of internet art because it is so easy to get space on the internet. You can have hundreds of web pages at your disposal for little to no cost.

And on top of that you can expose your art to more people than you ever could if it was in a physical format. Anything I do on the internet can be seen by people all around the world. I have had websites get thousands of hits while I have made paintings that three people have seen.


Internet art has existed for almost as long as the internet. Like any formal medium, say clay or paint, the internet has a set of elements which can be manipulated by artists to create a personal expression of meaning. That is, after all, the goal of all art.

Some artists use the interactive structure to create a piece of work that is guided by the user. Others take some of the classic aesthetics of the internet like the blue link color or the original AOL logo to create visual elements. It is hard to point to any one perfect example of internet art because there are so many possible ways it can be interpreted and executed.

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • Woman painting
      Woman painting