As I’ve stated time and again on this site, I love being surrounded by creativity. It makes me happy and more productive and provides inspiration for my work. Recently, while putting together my dream iMac desk setup, I stumbled across some digital art frames (which I ended up incorporated into my setup). And now I’m hooked on digital art and digital art frames.
For me, there are two main reasons to be excited about digital art frames. First, the art that you can display is (easily) changeable. One frame can display nearly unlimited amounts of art — whereas previously a person would have needed to physically remove and replace a framed piece of art, now it’s just a tap of an app away.
Second, the art that can be displayed on a digital art frame is movable; it’s not limited to being stationary and static like art has been for so many thousands of years. That means that living, looping gifs, movies and cinemagraphs can come to life on your walls. After having owned my digital art frames for a several weeks at this point, I do enjoy displaying certain excellent photographs or older “real world” artworks from time to time, but far and away my favorite art to display moves. Waterfalls that cascade endlessly, animations, a photorealistic dog that moves so subtly that you almost wouldn’t notice…
There’s actually another really cool aspect to digital art frames: the price of the art. For the frames I’ve listed here, much of the artwork is free or highly affordable (think less than $20). That’s incredible when you think about the price of art from a gallery which ranges from hundreds to the thousands of dollars depending on the artist. So potentially, for the price of one original artwork from your local gallery you could get a digital art frame on which you could display unlimited artwork. Still, I’m not putting down traditional physical art; it’s awesome and will always have a place in our society, homes and offices. It’s just that there’s an awesome new option that has a serious “wow” factor.
Electric Objects EO1
The EO1 digital art frame is certainly the most affordable digital art frame in existence, but that by no means makes it a bad one. I recently purchased two EO1 frames from Electric Objects and they’ve quickly become some of my favorite gadgets of all time. I’ve literally spent hours upon hours sifting through the available artwork and I’m constantly blown away by the cool art, animations and movies I can quickly and easily display on my frames.
There are several things you should know about the EO1. It comes in two colors (white or black options), Electric Objects commissions new digital-first artwork every week, the frames can be hung on the wall or displayed on a desk or table using the included stand and these frames (and the art created for them) are meant to be viewed/displayed vertically.
Some things I like about the EO1 include the matte screen that does a great job of shrugging off reflections and glare, the community and social aspect of the experience which lets you follow other people and the art they display (for discovering and curating art) and the pricing (the art itself is free to display and since these frames are comparatively inexpensive I was able to purchase two).
The EO1 also lets you upload your own art or photos and even has a Chrome browser extension that will let you grab your favorite gifs straight off of sites like Tumblr.
The app is pretty easy to use (and includes the ability to create art playlists which automatically rate the art on display) and there’s also a browser interface in case you find that more convenient.
If the EO1 is the affordable, entry-level option when it comes to digital art frames, the Frame from Depict is on the opposite end of the spectrum. This frame is a luxury, top-of-the-line digital art frame created to be a true show-stopper.
What makes it so stunning, for starters, is the 50″ 4K display. As you may know, 4K resolution is four times better than 1080p HD (which happens to be the resolution of both of the other frames mentioned on this list). Accentuating this amazing screen is a frame made of Maple — or, if you prefer, you can get either white or black frame colors instead.
To take full advantage of this 4K display, you will of course need some 4K art. At the moment, Depict has already made available hundreds of 4K artworks and more are on the way. Browsing through the selection I can already tell you that this frame and the art is can display is truly stunning. While the art that can be displayed on the Frame is not free (like it is on the EO1), it also isn’t super expensive. Many of the awesome artworks I browsed through cost around $10-15 a piece. So sure, the frame itself is quite expensive, but think about how expensive custom canvas art is at your local gallery — in that light, this frame is actually a great all-around deal for the serious art collector and/or lover.
The Meural is a bit more expensive than the EO1 but it’s also a bit larger at 27″ (diagonally). This frame also has a pretty unique look in comparison to the other frames listed here thanks to the larger margin (or matting) between the actual screen and the frame which provides some nice white space and perhaps helps the art itself to pop more against colored backgrounds. There’s even a limited edition lightbox design which looks amazing!
This frame also has a fun and unique trick up it’s sleeve: motion control. Whereas other digital art frames must be controlled using apps, this frame allows a person to swipe right or left in front the screen to change the art on display which is very cool.
If you’re looking for classical art to display the Meural has a great selection for you to choose from including artists like da Vinci, Michelangelo, Degas, Monet and Van Gogh. And whether you’re looking for Renaissance, Impressionism, Cubism, Contemporary, Abstract or Emerging styles, you’ll find them here. Additionally, there is a solid selection of photography (including architecture, landscape and modern categories) and cool motion art to choose from.
Recommendations and Conclusion
- Art Connaisseur/Collector: If you’re serious about art, there’s no question you want to go with the Frame from Depict. The quality, the size and the selection are lavish.
- Enthusiast: If you’re low on cash but want to display cool art or gifs on your wall, there’s no doubt that you’ll be happy with the comparatively more affordable EO1 frame from Electric Objects.
- Techie: If you’re really into gadgets and want something more than just a framed screen, you’ll love the Meural’s more advanced motion control technology.
The digital art revolution has been underway for decades and yet until very recently digital art hasn’t been all that accessible. If you want to properly mount and display the best digital art (including stills, photography, illustrations, movies, gifs, cinemagraphs and more) any one of the frames I’ve mentioned here will do the job well.