By Camila Casas
Reading Time: 4 minutes and 29 seconds.
- Being an artist has always meant keeping up with the currents of the art world, it is necessary to be able to create. But what happens when there is a leap in the language of the medium?
- Since the 80s, personal computers have given us access to information, methods of communication and artistic creation.
- Digital artists have their work at risk. They are not accepted as “real” artists and lose the authorship of their work. As it was with Matt Furie
- The protection of encryption in digital files gives some peace of mind to artists who can now share their work without being erased from the new history of art.
Artists have always been plagued by the constant threat of change. Because of the present pressure to survive within the medium, creators have had to befriend technologies that, as enemies, would be the end of their careers.
Not so long ago, though, these digital artists were considered inferior for working only in digitality. They have been the main characters of the revolution both the market and the aesthetics of art coming together, finding ways to legitimize their creations.
The connection between digital art and the crypto market bears fruit with the recent Boom of NFT’s However, this is not something new. Digital art has been moving through cyberspace since before the 2000s.
Before the BOOM.
This positioning has roots in the 1980s with the creation of personal computers, which changes not only artistic models but transforms how we consume information for the rest of time. From that moment on we were given access to an endless universe of possibilities within digitality. Even with digital art far from sight, these machines were changing human coexistence with chat rooms that brought people’s communication closer. While at home computers served as entertainment and possible means of creation.
Now it is very common to see technology and artistic creation hand in hand. As a result, we have a community detached from the norms of the market, moving by its own rules built by its community. In such a way that the current is not pigeonholed to only one type of production, a digital artist can be photographers, designers, video creators, artists or sculptors who work with informative programs instead of artistic material. There is no limit to the possibility of creation for digital artists, they are masters of this digital universe.
Deceptive in its own way, the current did not show potential to be what it is now, as it was surrounded by difficulties and criticisms that separated it from achieving total legitimacy within the market. The main one lies in its digital nature, when using a software or a digital tool many remarked that it is not a legitimate work because “there was no human process involved”. Of course, over time this was forgotten to recognize the work done by artists who are also programmers or digital architects.
Who does it belong to?
Another problem afflicting artists was the lack of an identifier that could safeguard their authorship. There was no way to identify to whom a piece belonged after it was published since, with the ease of reproduction of the work, the creator runs the risk of losing his piece. Artists have been creating for years resigned to the fact that their authorship was not of much interest, when you put a piece on the Web it belongs to the Web and can be used for external purposes.
Such was the case of Matt Furie, a US digital artist, with his piece Boy’s Club that illustrates the daily lives of friends Andy, Brett, Landwlof and Pepe, who were inspired by his own friends.
Pepe’s image was appropriated by the internet and completely deformed. The character was created to pay homage to a close friend, he was irreverent, funny and apathetic. A typical young adult trying to grow up and become an adult. The internet took it upon itself to create “Rare Pepes” and warp the entire image of the character without the artist’s permission.
In the 2020 documentary Feels Good Man, Matt struggles to reappropriate his beloved character while the internet pokes fun. At that moment Matt has to reconcile with the power of the internet and understands that without any protection his product is not his alone. Subsequently, this character was bought on the Counterparty site.
Recovering your artwork should not be such a common fight for these artists. We know that when we give the internet a user’s file they can use it in any way they want, but the discussion about the ownership of the pieces has been going on for a long time. So far an option has been developed that can protect the creative product.
Alongside the growth of digital art, a movement in digital economy platforms was strengthening. With the emergence of different cryptocurrencies, the digital market was growing looking for a way to exponentiate its presence in the real market. And it all starts in 2012 with colorful crypto coins on the blockchain that soon spread all over the market. These Color Coins gave the beginning for the future possibility of tokenizing the blockchain.
No one could have imagined a more incredible future for cryptocurrencies. Starting as a decentralized of the market, opting to create a more accessible system for investing in the financing of the future. This system, created without a leader or any market consent, was meant to eliminate the Wall Street giants and share the opportunity of entry to anyone with a computer.
A medium that no one bet on and distrusted at the beginning of the decade became the most valuable investment in many people’s lives. Crypto-nauts saw the opportunity in exploiting this digital universe to unimaginable places. They now have the entire market at their fingertips in their crypto wallets.
Tokenization of art becomes the next step. Not only does it give digital artists the return of their authorship of the piece, it also becomes a more accessible way to collect art. Young adults have had the opportunity to profit from works that previously would have gone straight to Devianart with the risk of being reproduced millions of times without their consent. Now their works have the same legitimacy as pieces hanging on the walls of museums or galleries.
Creating NFT’s and encrypting the artwork does give a kind of credibility to the market, but it completely protects the product. It is an option we can bet on right now. It may fail us, it may be worse, but the resilience of the artists has such strength that it can create a more secure future.