written by Maurice Cardinal … Part 1 of 2
There are now four types of artists on my radar.
At the top of the list are professionals who create full time and support themselves and their families entirely through art. They could be Fine Art or Commercial artists, and possibly both, but not necessarily. They live and breathe art, and create pieces the whole world follows. Pro artists are rarely only regional anymore. Art is now 3602. Pros are also masters of the business of art, and all the technology required to create and connect.
Pro artists like Damien Hirst, Lawrence Lee, Gabriel Dean Roberts, and Justin Aversano, aren’t just leveraging new opportunities like NFT, they’re inventing it in real time and changing how collectors interpret and interact with fine art.
Next in line are emerging amateur artists who are sometimes just as creatively skilled and respected as pros, but who usually have regular jobs, sometimes two at once. They create art in their spare time solely because they love it, and often have aspirations to turn pro, but, not necessarily. They sell their work sporadically and often do not have any type of promotion or marketing strategy beyond maybe being on FB, or IG, and increasingly also Twitter. Painters like Doriz Anderson, who is emerging at light speed are also changing the fine art scene and reinventing NFT out of the gate.
Like pros, amateur artists are also addicted to the dopamine rush of being a creator.
Third in line, and the largest group of artists are healing artists who create art because it is a calming and meditative endeavor that helps them cope with an increasingly frustrating world (not to be confused with certified Art Therapists who sometimes act as intermediaries for this group).
Healing artists create art because they love the community of support it provides. It opens windows to deeper insights about themselves that they might not be able to access alone. The majority are female, and they often paint or draw in groups. By far, it is the largest community of artists in the world. If you’re not one, you probably know one. Many are also photographers!
This group also includes a subset of PARTY ARTISTS! They also benefit from the healing affect of creating art, except party artists do it in festive places like night clubs, as opposed to traditional healing artists who are often part of a more serious art club sponsored by the community. Before the pandemic in my little town, once a month about thirty party artists, mostly women, used to get together in a local pub under the watchful eye of a professional artist who taught them about art materials and technique. They drank wine, had fun, and painted with acrylics on canvas as the art instructor walked around helping them individually. It happens like this all over the world and is a great night out!
Artists in any of these three groups have potential as fine artists depending on their motivations. Very occasionally, the most obscure artists eventually create fine art that impacts viewers beyond a superficial level, and elevate it into a more complex archetypal emotional realm. Again though, the will to be a fine artist has to be present to the point of obsession. Some artists think about and work at fine art daily, while others are in their element creating commercial art. All are artists, and all create in sometimes radically different manners.
Individualism has been the core of western art from the very beginning. Not so today however. Auto-art, commonly known as generative art, is created by a computer algorithm, and is desperately seeking to be validated in the art investment sector. This highly technological process of gamification is about trading card investment, and not art per se. Traditional artists liken it to jamming a square peg into a round hole. Eventually it might fit, but for now many legacy art collectors consider computer created PUNK similar in some ways to a cult.
Although there are disturbing elements of deception and manipulation at play, cult or Ponzi might be a stretch though, and the jury is still out. Also, the cult comparison isn’t necessarily a bad thing to collectors driven by profit.
Don’t confuse PUNKs and all the offshoots like APES, with NBA Top Shots though, which is also based on gamification principles. The difference is that Top Shots is tied to a physical game, basketball. They create officially licensed NFT sports moment collectibles. This version of gamification is exciting, and better organized. It’s also rapidly expanding to other sports.
I mentioned that there are four different types of artists today. The fourth spot goes to conARTISTS who purposely and cunningly MASH different artist types together in an effort to create confusion, and to divide and conquer. Everyone now knows what polarization looks like after four years of political insanity and riots in the U.S. We also now know polarization is an effective propaganda tool.
Professional artists are often regarded as adversaries by conARTISTS because pros recognize a scam when they see it. The reality is that way too many artists are unfairly manipulated and cheated every day, and have been since time immemorial. It’s mostly because of our giving personalities. It’s not a secret that artists posses elevated levels of empathy, and that our default position is often one of trust.
Empathy is part of the reason most artists are so welcomed and loved.
conARTISTS use this trait to fool and manipulate artists. Sometimes conARTISTS are also artists, but it’s rare. In the past, conARTISTS were associated mostly with unscrupulous galleries and curators. Today, conARTISTS are tech-shillers who pump their snake oil exclusively online.
Today, conARTISTS in exosuits, and hidden pseudonymously behind avatars, pose as artists, or collectors, or both. conARTISTS operate primarily, but not exclusively in the NFT community using similar psychological tactics seen in the 60’s on matchbook covers and comic books. It’s the same scam, different day.
NFT conARTISTS mostly come from tech.
They don’t educate, they grandstand.
They also purposefully confuse race with culture in an effort to artificially increase the rate of technological adoption, which basically is the hurtful PUMP & DUMP at the expense of young and fragile artists.
conARTISTS exploit culture
conARTISTS also make wild investment predictions just like swindlers did in the heady ICO days before the SEC or ICSCO stepped in. NFT is currently in a similar space where anyone can say anything without fear of arrest or retribution mostly because we don’t know who they are behind the mask. It’s that simple and based primarily on anonymity.
are wide for a reason.
It’s the same politics that pays for public art and provides billions in grants to artists worldwide. Unfortunately, art and culture grants reflect the community from a politician’s perspective, not the arts. Art is not a perfect adjunct for culture, but both are integral parts of society that deliver tangible benefits.
The misappropriation of art, or culture is one in the same.
conARTISTS want us to believe that the entire system needs to be scrapped, and they do so because it weakens the ecosystem and creates a cult-like following. They work hard to undermine individualism and create culture chaos.
The reality though is that the largest economic volume of contemporary art is of the western persuasion and inherent cultures. It needs to be preserved just like French Wine, Canadian Maple Syrup, and American Ingenuity. It’s not only historic, western culture carries value for societies through democracy.
It’s not to say that new cultures can’t enter and play in the western art space. You can’t stop evolution and progress any more than you can stop wars, or should you. It’s what equality is all about. What you can do though, is evolve culture and find a safe place where it will be protected from exploitation.
Western art, Fine or Commercial, is recognized and revered as a corner post of democracy and freedom of speech. Western political satire has weight that eastern cultures recognize, at least according to two Tamil Indians who bought BEEPLE for $69 million USD. They openly admit it was primarily a political purchase more than it was about collecting art.
Even though western culture is incredibly valuable, post-BEEPLE culture is now being sold off by conARTISTS to the highest bidder, one pixel at a time in cult-like and manipulative fashion.
PUNK NFTs that look almost the same for thousands of images, are purposely designed to remove individualism from the western art scene.
PUNKS promote conformity, the opposite of western creativity.
The University of Delaware, established in 1743 describes culture differences like this; “Compared to the West, Chinese culture places more value on unity and conformity. Chinese choose to reflect the views of their leaders and ancient traditions rather than their own personal views. Americans on the other hand seek independence, pursuing personal goals above the goals of society. As such, China can be described as a collectivist society, while the U.S. is more individualist.”
Communist rule has a long history of muzzling artists.
Democracy is designed to give individuals a voice.
The reality is, and regardless of what conARTISTS preach;
All artists are valuable to society, and all artists are revered.
As you can see though, value and reverence are different for everyone.
conARTISTS want you to believe all artists are the same. We’re not.
conARTISTS also want you to believe computer generated icons are fine art. They’re not. They fooled desperate amateur artists scared by the pandemic for a few months, and even a few pros, but the charade is already bottoming out. It’s painful to watch a mark who paid $100K USD for an icon writhe in pain because they can’t sell it.
Panic and generative buyer’s remorse are rising rapidly.
conARTISTS want you to believe that the art of NFT gambling is investment.
It’s not. It’s unregulated gambling.
I have no problems with gambling by responsible adults.
I do object though when anonymous conARTISTS SHILL NFTs and pretend they are promoting art, and artists. It’s unfair to prey upon artists, a sector of society emotionally weakened even more by a global pandemic.
conARTISTS know that artists are naturally emphatic people. Empathy is often the reason why art has impact and is memorable.
It’s important to differentiate the four types of artists because conARTISTS are aggressively creating gas lighting campaigns to manufacture division so they can promote false equality. Their goal is to weaken the art community, especially professionals in the western art market. Amateurs love the concept because they think that when the pros crap out, they will fill the empty space. Amateurs wearing exosuits and hiding behind anonymous masks, champion this fake equality over real democracy.
conARTISTS recognize their desperation, and leverage it for their own gain.
Being the same on every level is not what equality is about.
Individualism is about democracy.
conARTISTS are easy to recognize because they make bold statements without offering even a smidgen of supporting evidence. Plus, they speak with false authority in the absolute, as in, “I’m an NFT expert and I know where NFT is going, but you don’t, my desperate, tortured, and starving little artist.”
They pass off opinion, conjecture, and guessing as fact, and if you question them, they spout tech buzzwords to make artists and real collectors feel intimidated.
They are experts at using compliance and aggression to belittle their followers, and when they get caught deceiving and manipulating the NFT art community, they offer insipid mea culpas, instead of genuine apologies–all behind exosuits and anonymous avatars. When they get caught, some simply put on another mask and continue to wreak havoc on artists struggling to survive.
The best way for artists and art collectors to navigate what is becoming an incredibly Byzantine fractured art world, is to educate yourself so you can easily identify the REAL DEAL from all the FAKES!
Legacy contemporary western art is not going away.
It is however under attack from a faceless foe.
So far, it is primarily professional artists who are now exposing conARTIST SHILLERS and PUMPERS, and it makes sense because they have the most to lose, like their homes, cars, and families. Amateurs are usually too intimidated to speak up for fear of losing an opportunity. They forgive conARTISTS who mislead them because they fear being kicked out of the clique. It’s creating a huge divide, and sending a message of caution to the pros.
As expected, pro artists are also the most professional when it comes to effective communication. Long gone are the days when all you had to do was throw paint like Pollock to get famous and rich. Now, you have to create stainless steel balloon dogs to get noticed–considerably more expensive.
Artists, more than ever, have to be effective communicators. You need to reach your audience on all levels. Musicians probably know this best because they stand on stage and talk to their fans, while visual artists are often introverted and hide in their studios. It’s not a coincidence that successful visual artists usually aren’t shy–see Hirst, Lee, Roberts, and Aversano above.
Professional artists very rarely make irresponsible statements though because they know it can negatively impact a career. Instead, they usually offer up ideas that have REALISTIC MERIT. It’s not to say that pros don’t make controversial statements, it’s just that they don’t self-sabotage our multi-billion-dollar industry like conARTISTS who literally and foolishly try to pit amateurs against professionals. Pros have caught on though and are starting to call out deceptive and manipulative behavior. Not everyone hiding behind a mask is a conARTIST of course, but anytime there is uncertainty, pros especially, are calling manipulators out. Amateurs also need to step up.
Allegations about @Beanimaxi and @DigitalArtChick being deceptive and manipulative have been levelled against the two in an effort to determine who pays them. Beanie, in a tweet below admitted they covertly work for the same company, and does it in a way that makes it seem inconsequential. It’s not.
Full disclosure has to be made BEFORE you get busted.
Amateur artists trying to build a career are not as careful about what they say or do politically because they perceive that they have nothing to lose and everything to gain. We all get it, but remember that the internet has a memory, and if you make wild careless statements, you will be ostracized by the same art buyers and collectors you’re trying to reach, because they’re watching too.
In part two I’ll show you how conARTISTS run their game.