When I first started making art on my iPhone, I wasn’t quite sure how to describe what I was doing. Even though I considered myself a painter, when people asked me what kind of art I made, I began to reply, ‘phone art’, as it was quickly becoming my main obsession. It seemed like an appropriate term, as the works were made exclusively on a smartphone, and it had a catchiness, too, that made people curious and want to know more.
But as I contemplated the term more deeply, there was something about ‘phone art’ that I found inadequate, as it didn’t account for works made on iPad Minis or other tablets, for example, which I saw as tools in the same category. This led me to settle on the term ‘mobile art’, as it includes other portable devices beyond phones, while still holding the connotations of art made on mobile devices, which is at the root of its definition.
However, the category is about more than portability. The camera, the capacity to take screenshots, as well as ever-changing apps for painting, drawing and editing images, are also fundamental components of this new genre. So ‘mobile art’ is about art made with mobile computers, and, as such, seems to be the most appropriate name for the category, as it captures its essential characteristics, while not limiting it to a particular class, or brand, of portable device.