wrtitten by Maurice Cardinal … Part 2 of 2
Real art collectors are smart, and often wealthy, and they “usually” know when they are being manipulated and conned. Most didn’t get to where they are because they are naïve.
Consequently, the challenge for artists today, whether pro or amateur is to strike a careful balance between effective promotion, and reckless controversy.
It’s partially true that there is no bad publicity, but today, cancel culture will tear your heart out for inane reasons simply because it can.
Ageism is a popular theme in the NFT arena. Boomers beware!
conARTISTS try to convince collectors and artists alike that it’s now a crime to have experience.
Since when did FULL DISCLOSURE, TRANSPARENCY, and TRUST become dirty words? And wasn’t it just a year or so ago that the art community was singing the “Standing on the Shoulders of Past Art Greats” song? Today, experience is shamed, unless of course it serves your purpose in the moment.
Anonymity tacitly gives people self-administered permission to say things they would never say face to face, and inadvertently promotes cowardice. In some cases however, anonymity is a necessary and powerful tool, especially in activism when your life could be put in danger. For honest artists though, it’s counter-productive. If an artist acquiesces to anonymity, it gives conARTISTS cover to hide in plain sight.
Oh, and BTW, if you think you don’t need to promote yourself and your art, you’re living in the way back past. Amateurs also need to keep in mind that pro artists are going to go after you hard core if you recklessly undermine the art industry. You will never see it coming because they’ll do it privately at lunch with their collectors.
Legacy pro artists and collectors have money, and power. Your colleagues are the last enemy you need in this very difficult and small collector market, so think before you criticize an artist with three decades of experience. You might think you can hide in an exosuit and behind an avatar, but pros know exactly who you are and will quietly expose you to collectors, and now, also to the Securities Exchange Commission.
Also, don’t pretend to be a pro artist if you’re not. It’s the surest way to be ignored by collectors or commercial art buyers. Why? It’s because there are so many great artists today that most art buyers and collectors simply blow by anyone who they feel is being manipulative or deceitful. There are exceptions of course, and it’s always these anomalies that we hear fanciful stories about, but most collectors only purchase or license art from trustworthy artists, and they don’t put as much weight on your technical ability as you might think. Why? Because relatively speaking, technique is the easy part and is developed through practice. Substance and style however, take a lot longer to evolve. One-up artists are a dime a dozen. In order to attract the attention of serious art collectors, artists need to be in the game for more than a meme and a moment. Almost anyone can get lucky once, but today, you need to prove yourself creatively over and over to be respected, and remembered.
Collectors buy your art, but they invest in your creativity.
Art collectors today, and more than ever because of anonymity and exosuits, want artists to share their personalities and backstories, which ironically, in NFT land are now purposely hidden.
Wow, there’s a trick. If you wear a mask, how do you Tell an Art Collector Who You Are, without telling them who you are?
And if you keep changing your mask, how do art collectors remember who you were yesterday? Galleries and curators used to dig out backstories and leverage them to negotiate prices up, but now collectors do it personally, or hire independent curators.
conARTISTS are trying to convince amateur artists that it is only the art that matters, and that the artist attached to it is largely immaterial. Again though, it’s not what equality means. There is good art and bad art, just as there are good artists and conARTISTS. In reality, it’s not the art that matters, it’s the creativity behind the art that makes it collectible–a subtle difference, but critical.
Make it easy for collectors to not only find you, but to also find out ABOUT YOU. Never force an art collector to rummage through a generic link tree that screams UNCOMMITTED and LAZY! If you want to be respected as a pro artist, build an online presence that reflects your unique creative personality, and make it super easy for art collectors to find you with ONE CLICK! Your online presence has to look at least as good as your art. Serious art collectors notice this stuff, and base their purchases on reasons they arrive at holistically.
Art collectors buy unique creativity, while NFT collectors make investment purchases.
The reality is that there is now a glut of great amateur artists already doing exactly what a million+ other amateur artists are also trying to do. The key word here is “great” in a world of really bad art and artists. Yes, art is subjective, so who is to say what is good or bad? The litmus test for serious collectors is based on whether anyone buys your art, fine, commercial or whatever, and how much they pay. Artists don’t decide what is valuable or not, collectors do. If you can’t sell your art, you’ll have to pull a double shift at McD, so spare everyone the suffering artist diatribe. It’s your choice to be anonymous and hide behind an avatar where everyone appears the same.
Serious art collectors want to see your face. NFT investors, not so much because they are in flip mode and they could care less who you are as long as you generate profit for their short term pump and dump.
The biggest lie NFT conARTISTS perpetrate, is to tell artists that all art is the same and that all art is good. conARTISTS COVERTLY work for NFT Host, blockchain and crypto MINING companies, and get paid based on results.
A conARTIST’s goal is to get artists to register and mint, not sell.
A conARTIST’s goal is to get artists to register and mint, not sell.
A conARTIST’s goal is to get artists to register and mint, not sell.
The truth is that money talks and bad art stays hidden in the closet. Shill all you want, but art is only as valuable as what a collector will pay.
It’s a simple formula of supply, demand, and promotion.
conARTISTS, who are often secretly paid by NFT Host companies or blockchain and crypto developers, also use an old process called SHILL BIDDING.
Shill Bidding is the illegal process developed on auction sites like eBAY to secretly make it appear that a legitimate art collector is bidding against you. The reality, is that it could be the artist doing it covertly through a stealth IP, or a third party who is being paid to artificially drive up the bid. It’s a bit more technically complicated than that, but you get the point. Shill Bidding is a second cousin to the old Sock Puppet scam.
Another TELL, and this is an easy one, are predators who SHITPOST, and especially manipulators who self-identify as SHITPOSTERS. It allows them to passive-aggressively spread misinformation pretending that they are always in JUST KIDDING sarcasm mode. They love playing Machiavellian games that force you to figure them out, quite often using Knock-Knock humor to seduce you. If you follow and listen to these hiding in plain sight manipulators, you deserve to be ripped off. Shitposters are also often paid by NFT HOST companies, or blockchain and crypto mining networks to create confusion.
If you’re an artist, keep in mind that if you follow, and especially if you interact with these predators, legitimate ART COLLECTORS can see you.
Have you ever wondered why NFT HOSTS, or blockchain and crypto networking companies rarely call these predators out? Now you know.
conARTISTS also want the world to believe that NFTs sell themselves, and the deception works because amateur artists are desperate, and frustrated, and hopeful. Trusting artists have always been an easy mark for conARTISTS. It started in the 50s on matchbooks and the back covers of comic books.
“Like To Draw? Take this test to find out if you have valuable talent?”
Today, movie producers like Harvey Weinstein are the most infamous conARTIST predators. Weinstein’s manipulative process proliferates across all art genres because it’s based on the same psychology and power dynamic. Everyone knows it, but still, artists of all types ignore the signs because they think that maybe they are the chosen one with real RED PILL matrix talent. This age-old deception also works in the NFT world in part, especially since the pandemic tipped everyone into panic mode.
Another lie and manipulation is that if artists buy work from other artists, we can save our industry. It’s a truly nice thought, but targeted at amateurs who think the PUNK/APE and the rest of the generative avatar market, is about art. It’s not.
Generative art is art, It’s just not the art you might think.
It’s easier to understand if you relate it to music. Not all music acts share the wealth equally. How does a Jazz artist end up with a million dollars? They start with two. NFT at this point is like Jazz, and that’s why it’s so Beatnik Cool Daddio. Make sure you now the difference between Jazz, POP, Rap, and Country, because they all deliver different returns.
It would be fantastic if the concept of ARTISTS SUPPORTING ARTISTS works. Unfortunately, without education and financial support, which so far has not arrived, it’s still just an ideological dream.
It’s only been a few months and already this false premise is collapsing with artists at each other’s throats. The only constant movement today is in the avatar trade, and strictly speaking, it’s not the fine art market in its current iteration, at least not yet, if ever, but it is inching closer. In July of 2021 the generative avatar frenzy is imploding for some collections like a Ponzi Scheme and looking for a second wind that might never arrive. There are so many conARTISTS in this arena that it’s impossible to tell who is real or fake. The SEC is already circling though, and over the next year or so NFT will be a more regulated and safer environment. Already however, we’re hearing conARTISTS yelling at the top of their lungs that regulation will kill the NFT vibe! It won’t.
Yes, it’s great for artists to lend each other moral support, but it’s an economic merry-go-round that runs in circles with only the ride operator making money on the movement of your money in “make-work” MINTING fees.
Would I like to see a secondary NFT art-card avatar-flip market work, and for artists to genuinely became more compassionate toward each other? Of course. However, artists compete like everyone else, and sometimes it is brutal. Plus, this fad is mostly driven by anonymous tech geeks, not artists.
I wish I could say that NFT will cure this aggression, but it won’t because some artists will always give their work away for free.
FREE is the Fly …
in the NFT Ointment
Giving your art away for free is a common way to get noticed, and I support it in some cases. Almost everyone in the beginning does it with family and friends, and also on free gallery sites for a while. The longstanding problem however, is that artists who are already established, still give their work away for free, or undercut it drastically hoping for future consideration. Even the very biggest players do it for public recognition. Until there is some sort of universal artist code, or horrors, a union, FREE ART will always exist because commercial purchasers of art, leverage the opportunity mercilessly. The game industry is brutal in this regard and burns and discards artists at a phenomenal rate. You have to be smart, creative and tough to thrive as an artist in this environment.
conARTISTS also want amateur artists to believe that pro artists are their enemy.
All you have to do is look at all the SAVE THE ARTIST communities popping up, and look at their rosters. They are often headed up by ONE struggling semi-pro artist, maybe, and have legions of amateur artists as dutiful followers acting as volunteers. Even artists sometimes prey on artists. Do due diligence on your DAO and don’t believe everything you see on the internet 😉
Artists don’t need to be saved.
Most can swim.
Emerging artists need collectors,
not a life ring or a hug.
ARTISTS NEED COLLECTORS
COLLECTORS NEED ARTISTS
That’s it. Simple, but not to conARTISTS who create chaos to create division.
Art buyers now very clearly know, whether fine art or commercial, that artists have no solidarity code, except within their own small cliques, and even then, it is tenuous. It’s always every artist for their self. If you believe that visual artists have a universal buddy code, you watch too much TV and you probably also believe that there is honor among thieves. There isn’t. In fact, gangsters actually kill each other, but still, that hurtful honor-myth endures even when you see it point-blank.
A NFT artist was recently caught stealing work from other artists, AGAIN, and selling the purloined work. A surprising number of amateur artists naively defended him. Pros on the other hand are calling for an investigation, and for a penalty to deter others.
Healing artists (see Part 1 of this 2 part series) are without doubt the friendliest group of artists who authentically support each other. This group is predominantly women, and if you think about it, no surprise, right? To start, women are usually better aural communicators than men–lovers not fighters, unless pushed to the wall of course. It’s not that they can’t or won’t fight, they often prefer to talk it out and use emotional intelligence over bluster. As the Man’s Man mansplained, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Yes, we know Mike, that’s the problem.
Healing artists are also the largest group of artists by far, and most of them still use paint and canvas. Everyone today is an artist because snapshot photography, group painting, and drawing provide emotional relief. This group also creates some very deeply introspective work, but they have little interest in selling it, and prefer to give it away to friends and family. So far, NFT conARTISTS have mostly ignored this group even though it is the largest group of artists in the world.
Instead, conARTISTS focus on pre-emerging amateur artists because they are highly motivated and struggling. Motivated people are the easiest to manipulate–Compliance Sales 101.
Social media, Twitter especially, is rife with manipulative conARTISTS.
Here’s how to spot them.
If ANYONE speaks in the absolute about NFT–they are likely a conARTIST.
No one knows where NFT is going, including geeks who build blockchain ecosystems. I’ve been an artist my entire adult life, but I’m also a pseudo geek, so I recognize easily what unscrupulous colleagues are doing to artists. I spent several years developing cryptocurrency exchanges, ICOs, and very disruptive DeFi / FinTech projects as a tech writer and project director. I was fired from a lucrative writing position because I objected to how our geeks were treating clients, and I was replaced in a nanosecond.
Here’s how to recognize a fake art collector who is actually a tech sales geek in disguise.
They use blockchain buzzwords to impress you, and they rarely explain what they say. Sarcasm is their second language and passive aggressive is their dialect. Interestingly, some of them want to impress you so much that they use buzzwords that even they don’t understand. If you ask, they gaslight you.
For example, if someone uses the word “immutable” in reference to blockchain or NFT, and they force you, an artist to look it up–it’s a red flag that they might be a conARTIST.
In these early stages of NFT, the goal should have been to educate artists so they can make up their own minds. Instead, conARTISTS bamboozled everyone hoping artist and art collector alike will gloss over the real meaning and jump onboard without doing due diligence. The promise of riches does that to many people. It’s a psychological compliance tactic that high pressure sales agents employ.
Immutable means “unchanging over time, or unable to be changed.”
Immutable is one of the most important aspects of an ART NFT next to provenance, yet conARTISTS rarely if ever mention it. Why? It’s because the smarter an artist or art collector is, the harder it is to fool them. conARTISTS treat artists like mushrooms–keep you in the dark and feed you manure. They also sell you only the sizzle, and never deliver the steak.
Immutable means that you can safely put your NFT image online, and that no one can hack the Smart Contract attached to it. It cannot be changed or sold without your permission or knowledge because it resides on a decentralized web, which means that the code resides on servers all over the world that make up the blockchain. Unfortunately, you can still right click and copy most NFT files, but some NFT Host companies are slowly changing and not offering up the Hi-Res NFT unless you buy it.
A workaround for artists regarding the Hi-Res dilemma, is to mint two NFT files of the same image. One is the entire image at web resolution, the second is a Hi-Res version of just a small portion of the entire image so the prospective art collector can see the detail. When you make the purchase, the Smart Contract delivers the FULL IMAGE HI-RES NFT to you.
Some NFT HOSTS actually protect artists, but others, not so much.
NFT doesn’t prevent another type of conARTIST from stealing your image and putting their name on it to illegally re-sell. Thankfully though, this type of art fraud makes it relatively quick and easy to track compared to pre-NFT.
conARTISTS mix apples and oranges and manipulate the naïve into thinking that all artists hang out as one big happy family and share their secrets. Most pros don’t. It’s nice to collaborate occasionally, but pro artists know the importance of launching a work, as opposed to dribbling it out into the market. Musicians throw extravagant launch parties for a reason.
Damien Hirst didn’t dribble out his inaugural NFT piece. He launched it with incredible fanfare, like a seasoned pro.
Pro artists usually keep secrets to themselves until the big reveal. Works-in-progress are designed as teasers by pros, and not throw-away training lessons or to be boastful.
Another way to spot a conARTIST is that they will make a true statement, but the statement will apply to another segment of the NFT market, or type of artist. For example they BARK that You should mint as much as you can while gas is low. It’s only good advice if you already have a promotional strategy in place, and if you can afford to have your money tied up for maybe months, or years. It’s good advice for pros in some cases, but for amateurs it’s irresponsible and manipulative. It’s a clever deception because new artists think that the same rules that apply to working pros, apply to them–they don’t. It’s a misleading statement that leads to overextended and false expectations.
conARTISTS know that most experienced artists won’t fall for it, but amateurs who can’t afford mistakes, probably will.
FOMO signaling is predatory.
Fear of Missing Out is a clever psychological manipulation.
If you’re an artist of any type, please be smart and educate yourself.
The more you learn the better you’ll be able to get your art in front of the right type of collector for you, and the easier it will to spot tech conARTISTS who have now taken over the Liars Podium from used car salespeople.
NFT is still a boon for artists and the art industry, but unfortunately, not in the way it’s been initially presented. We need to flip the pyramid so the dog wags the tail. Pay more attention to what pro artists are doing, and BURN the conARTISTS.
If you’re trying to figure it out on your own, and you’re confused, contact me. We can help.