Girl with streaked hair
This was the first artwork I minted for 0.1 tezos in an edition size of 20. It only took me about 20 minutes to make this one and I worked on it one night just for practice so I wasn’t too attached to it.
Gust of Wind
This second one was something I started at the beginning of the semester in-between assignments but then forgot about. Although it’s unfinished, I ended up liking this one a lot more and put it up on Hic et Nunc for 1 tezos in an edition of 20 as well.
Initially, I felt a lot of disdain for the much more popular NFT marketplaces we looked at. A lot of the artwork felt dishonest, and I felt like the “most successful” artworks were all made to follow popular trends on the sites with the goal of much a ton of profit. I felt much better posting on Hic et Nunc, and the community felt much more humble and unassuming, which aligned with how I personally view how art should be.
I think there is something to say about sort of playing the system here… If there is a way for marginalized groups, and people that actually want to make a difference, to leverage this current exploitive system in their favor to gain the upper hand in one of the only possible ways they can, they should maybe take that opportunity. In our current society, money is power. Artists and marginalized groups do not have either. We have protests, social media movements, and activism from grassroots orgs/”the people” but it feels like we’re just shouting back at ourselves right now. Like we are screaming and demanding all these things but no one is listening except the people that believe in the same shit. It’s because all the people making the decisions and with the power/money have their own agendas and do not want to dismantle the system because it works in their favor. It is only until the marginalized hold these positions of power that real change will be made – but in our current methods – that does not seem to be happening anytime soon. If this is one of the only ways to even the playing field and monetarily gain that upper hand in a short-term way… maybe it will be worth it in the longterm. I think it is naive to think that we can “beat” these oppressors with representation and speaking out… unfortunately our current society requires far, far more than that to actually make any real change. There are definitely caveats to this though, how do we know these people who are “good” now will stay good if they become powerful? Will this just create the same system we are trying to fight? By the time this power shift happens, will it be too late for our environment? These are all questions I do not have the answer to. I simply do not know what to think of NFT’s right now. I think it is still too new to me and I want to reframe from participating in a reactionary way – so I would like to wait and see how things develop more before I make any decisions. I don’t usually make decisions when I’m not sure about something… so I’m holding off for now.
I also do not know if this NFT world will be a long-term thing. I feel like technology develops and shifts so fast that there will be much better ways of making a more equitable digital art world/marketplace in the future. So why start investing in this thing that is really harmful and is definitely not the best that we can do?
I am very against the NFT marketplace. This is not to say that I despise the artists participating in it to sell their work, especially if they are in financial trouble. What I despise is the people who created this marketplace, and are encouraging capitalistic structures so that they and their friends can become more wealthy. It is difficult to attain a sustainable and ethical job and live this way in the United States, especially for those affected by systemic racism, people who were born into poverty or are experiencing homelessness, etc. More capitalistic marketplaces mean that these people are even less able to support themselves, let alone think of how to address pollution (which primarily impacts the poor and poor countries that the US dumps our waste on). It means that the rich white men in a male-dominated industry (that is, 91 fucking percent) are continuing to profit off of deeply rooted sexism and systemic racism. It means these people are cowards and narcissists who cannot bear to face that the world sucks for most people. Instead, they retreat into their own privilege, which has catastrophic effects on the people that have been suffering.
I have elected to not participate in contributing to cryptocurrency trading, as I feel that the only moral justification for doing so is being financially helpless. Every acquaintance I’ve spoken with about cryptocurrency (which are all financially stable males) have never once mentioned the disastrous effects of it (because they are not affected by it, and don’t care). I know that they would definitely do this, so I will do the opposite of what they would do. 🙂
I don’t have anything against anyone in this class if they participate in this because I know that you people and most artists care about things <3.
NFTs: good? NFTs: bad? NFTs: not inherently bad but still crappy overall in my opinion. Like, were they created to be environmentally awful? Nah. But they are, and that’s something that needs to be addressed by bigger players in the NFT game, which isn’t happening because of course they stand to lose something should they admit that what they’re doing isn’t sustainable. Pipkin mentions in their article that the Ethereum currency has yet to fully transfer over to Proof of Stake despite stating their intent to since the currency’s conception–this, to me, seems to be proof of their lack of stake in addressing the many issues with cryptocurrency at hand.
There’s a lot about NFTs and their impact that I’m not at the mental capacity to understand at this moment, but like, my general take-away is that the bulk of NFTs seem to be the embodiments of capitalist greed in a digital age. With that said, sure, NFTs present artists with an opportunity to market their work on their own terms, but can one claim to have dedication or passion in a field such as art without knowing everything they can about it, both good and bad? In my opinion, if one engages in unethical practices to support their livelihood without caring for it, it represents that one only possesses the knowledge of said livelihood within the context of whatever good it serves for that person alone, which is, like, not totally great. TL;DR, if you’re doing something that’s inadvertently bad at a very large scale so that you can do something you enjoy, you only have knowledge of that activity re: how it benefits you, which is a pretty douchebag move, if you ask me. Like, the artists who are making chump change off NFTs, I’ll cut them some slack. But if you’re making TechBro-level money off your art regularly, then like, you’re kind of a part of the problem?
This movement towards NFT’s by new media artists starts to feel more and more like a byproduct of a broken art market, and it’s more than understandable why some artists sell NFT’s, despite the environmental costs. I was honestly shocked by the statistics listed in the Flash Art article about the demographics of today’s most successful artists in the auction market. Chances are, if you’re not a white male from an extremely wealthy and privileged background, your chances of success in the traditional art market is incomparable. Thus, I can’t help but be sympathetic and supportive of these artists.
However, it is impossible to ignore how unstainable the market is, and to what degree it can harm the environment. This problem is at the fault of how the value of proof of work cryptocurrency is determined to begin with, and its energy consumption is increasing with no end in sight. I can’t imagine a successful and sustainable future with a cryptocurrency-based market for art, especially with a proof-of-work model.
Lastly, I’m skeptical of the current NFT market, especially in regards to art theft and frequent themes in the art being sold. As stated in a couple of the articles, transparency is a major issue in this virtual market. A lack of accountability in art theft and a rise in sales in NFT’s such as tokenized tweets raise questions about the future of this market. Additionally, the disconnect from the rest of the contemporary art world and these NFT’s, with a large number of NFT’s focusing on brightly-colored 3D animations of sci-fi environments strangely enough, also make it unclear how they are in relation to contemporary art now and in the future.
When we were first introduced to the topic of crypto art and NFT’s, I was amazed by how many artists were on the platform and variations of art are being produced every day. I was really interested how the system worked and the benefits as well as the disadvantages the world of crypto art had. After reading the following readings explaining the process of crypto art and how negative the ecological and environmental factors play into it.
The platform itself seems like a really great community for small artists as well as for people of color who have a smaller voice to put out their art to the public and make a name for themselves. It removes a lot of the negative factors that top tier art galleries have against smaller artists such as racism, sexism, etc. After viewing many of the NFT sites myself, it is almost overwhelming seeing the amount of art pieces within only one type of platform. Behind these websites, I would never expect how negative the impacts are in this kind of art processing, which really shows how many people are not informed on impact this has on several different issues.
Personally, I don’t know if I would necessarily take part in the NFT phenomenon. I feel that I don’t know enough yet to actually purchase or sell art on that platform as well as the guilt built up after reading the articles on how bad this art world affects the environment and community. But also, the NFT community seems like such an effective way for small artists like myself to really put their work out there in hopes of someone finding it and enjoying it. However, I definitely don’t know how others can do this so often without realizing the cynical and horrible effects of crypto art.
Position: I find NFTs ethically deplorable, but that doesn’t mean I’m not intrigued by them. I want there to be equitable and engaging marketplaces for all kinds of creators, but I just don’t think this is it. The issues with theft, traditional fine art snobbery, environmental destruction, homogeneity, etc. are already presenting themselves in the largest marketplaces. I can’t get behind it, not right now. I look forward to, and hope to see the efforts to reduce NFT carbon footprints actually succeed.
Pros: With proper regulation and a cultural shift towards more eco-friendly currencies, I could see this being a great thing for artists who want new markets to sell their work. In addition, I think this has interesting potential as new mediums are able to be introduced to these platforms–for instance, I could imagine this being a really fun way to sell limited time zines, especially with the edition function. Fully techy and digital art has some interesting potential as a medium as well, like how paper creases can become its own artwork, how something moves along a blockchain could as well.
Cons: This piece from the Flash Art article really stuck out to me, “If profit is going to be the primary motivation for growth and research, then one of our strategies must be to make it more profitable for businesses to act responsibly.” This has been the case with every rampant capitalist structure, business, and culture since the industrial age came into being. That unfortunately includes the fine art world. As things stand, there is an incentive to make as much money as possible, damn the consequences. However, there’s no use for that money if our planet dies! I’m not being hyperbolic. There’s potentially already huge issues with the gulfstream (it’s broke thanks to climate change), the Amazon Rainforest (which has reportedly reached its capacity for carbon intake and is now, in combination with the logging industry, releasing more carbon than it absorbs), and our whole worlds ecosystems. We have incredibly limited time, and I for one would rather we focus on getting a true respect into our culture for digital marketplaces and artists without having to resort to such an extreme cost. We all know here that digital art didn’t poof into existence with crypto, there are and have been artists making a living (to varying degrees), online for decades. There is already a cost to making art online, lets not raise that bar to include our whole world. (this does not get into all of my critiques of crypto-art, I just wanted to focus on this for the purpose of what I engaged with in the reading.)
The NFT phenomenon is as fast moving as it is possibly destructive. We can’t talk about NFT’s without realizing it’s stem from the old fine art world. An art world filled with statements like “oh I could do that” with the only thing stopping people being the fact that they could never get a gallery to sponsor their work. NFTs eliminate the monolithic ideal that art world presence makes art valuable. If a random person’s work was placed in a museum with a completely unfounded artist statement hangs by the piece will be seen and critiqued and sold, subsequently giving the artist success. NFTs eliminate the middle man and is where my middle class concern comes in. Yes, there will be droves of people who will begin to make money for whom this will be the first taste of them making any sort of money from their art. Many artists stand to gain from this. However in the depths of the internet millions will be buried. Not every NFT will be bought, and many artists will use their last 100,200,300 dollars on gas fees. Small artists will blow up and be used as a tool for people with millions to spare to have protected assets. We are also seeing the apathy expressed in the NFT community regarding the environmental concerns surrounding more unsustainable currencies like Etherium and Bitcoin. For pretty much everyone, money now is better than money later. Not enough people are waiting for Proof of Stake to become fully viable and just as the purpose of crypto began, get in while NFTs are still “small”. This all doesn’t even approach the possibility of the NFT bubble bursting.
When I was first introduced to the topic during class, I was very excited because it seemed like a reliable route for future digital artists to take. However, when I read the articles and looked more into the environmental impacts, I realized the extent of the situation and changed my mind after much thought.
I understand why artists would pursue this opportunity, and I don’t want to blame them for doing so, especially if they didn’t know the ecological impacts or if they are making a living off of it. When it comes to topics about socio-economic issues, I always have to remind myself how privileged I am to have parents who provide me shelter, food, etc. for free. After I promised myself that I would never attempt to “immorally” earn money, my parents responded by saying that once I enter the job market and end up providing for my own family, there’s no other way but to become a little selfish. This topic reminded me of that encounter and made me look at the topic in a different light, so I don’t think people should try to ‘cancel’ these artists.
I think another problem with NFTs is that everyday citizens are so disconnected from the reality of the situation. We don’t see or experience the ecological impacts, which makes it difficult for us to make environmentally conscious decisions. Therefore, I understand why so many people are quick to jump on the train.
For me, until something about the way NFTs are mined changes, I don’t want to feel responsible for possibly tons of CO2 emissions, especially because I don’t need to rely on it to put food on the table. Overall, the solution for the ecological impacts of NFts remains unclear, but it should be addressed. AND we shouldn’t blame everyday artists for using it, but billionaires and celebrities who have invested in NFTs who clearly know the ecological impacts that they are making should stop investing when they already have more than enough money (**cough, cough Logan Paul, Mark Cuban, etc.).
This honestly feels like a really accessible and friendly movement in the ways that it removes the rich and exclusive environment of art galleries. Anybody can access and see NFTs, anybody can sell NFTs (a massive improvement from galleries) because of that sort of “unlimited space” of the internet and the anonymity that prevents racism, ageism, sexism, and other prejudices that could make it difficult for someone to emerge as an artist in more traditional ways. It takes back the power of the individual artist, especially minority artists. Despite the inclusivity I feel exists with sellers and viewers, I have definitely noticed that the exclusivity and upper-class feel of buying art has persisted- if not increased- in this format. I also don’t think that’d ever be remediable; buying art has always been a “I have so much income that all my needs have been met and I also have a bunch left to spend on not-so-necessary things” thing to me. But, I think it’s an improvement in every other category of class.
I also do understand the environmental implications of the more traditional cryptocurrencies and NFT marketplaces. In all honesty, it has been a really hard concept for me to grasp because the internet and cyberspace and all of that has always felt like an intangible, “in the air and everywhere but also not taking up any physical space” kind of thing. I know that’s not true, especially now, but it is something I am having a hard time picturing. I see how NFTs cause this harm, but I also think that the proof-of-stake basis of the crypto we’ll be using is a really great step that will hopefully take off and replace more harmful forms. Everest Pipkin’s take on them though, I noticed, is not good either. They assert that no matter what you do, crypto “almost universally grant[s] power to the already powerful.” I also thought what they said about cryptocurrency being a pyramid scheme was really interesting. The idea of “you make money from the people who join after you” wasn’t one I had considered before, and it definitely got me thinking.
Again, despite all of this reading and discussion, my brain really hurts trying to wrap my head around these concepts, but I really feel like there is the potential for a lot of good to come out of this if it was implemented in a more secure, exact, and environmentally-friendly way. Though I wouldn’t really consider myself an artist the way that people selling NFTs would, I, as a POC, have a lot of sympathy for minorities who have been sidelined who now have a chance to make a life out of their passion.
I have a lot of trust in this class and am definitely more than open to trying this out this week. But, I don’t see myself ever exploring these marketplaces as a seller or buyer again, just because it’s not really my area of interest.