[I originally posted this on my Steemit.com blog on the 10th of July, 2019. [Editor’s note!! Steemit.com was purchased by a dictator, so I use HIVE now. It’s a decentralized blockchain controlled by the users!] It was the initial SEED from which this project has sprouted. The concept came from the relatively recent invention of TOKENS and COMMUNITIES based on the Steem Engine, a THING that let’s people create new crypto-currency tokens on the STEEM blockchain. (I really don’t know how this stuff works. I’m new to the crypto world, but I’m intrigued by the possibilities!) With these tokens, various communities have been built around specific interests, like art or nerd culture or investing or marijuana, and the members of these communities use various tags to signal that a post is intended for that specific community, and they can recognize fellow members of their communities and use their group’s tokens to reward content that fits within the group’s parameters. It’s interesting. Like I mentioned above, I’m not in any way clear on HOW this stuff works (in a programming sense), but I think I get WHY people are doing it. They can share their interests and support good content with crypto-currency. THIS blog, the NON-COM-ARTS blog, is one doorway, one touch-point, where this kind of community might form and grow. (I have hopes and dreams… We’ll see how they pan out.) Here are my original thoughts for the type of community that I’m envisioning!]:
I’ve seen a ton of “communities” popping up lately, complete with their own tokens and Discord chats and hashtags for posts—and I would like to hypothesize the NEED for the existence of ANOTHER one:
I’m suggesting the need for a place where people who are creating punky, personal, raw/rough, not-necessarily-commercially motivated, experimental, creative works, whether cartoons, zines, collages, music, poetry, performance, digital/crypto art, weirdo memes, or any other stuff that you wouldn’t necessarily find in a gallery or museum or for sale in a sea-side beach shop, can “get together” and discuss making NON-COM-ART.
I wish I knew how to make a token and start a chat thing and gather like-minded persons together—because I would love to start a coin (for supporting artists of all stripes…and plaids) and a Discord chat and to have meet-ups in Portland, Oregon, every three months or so where we discuss zines and insurrection and cartooning and screen printing techniques and culture jamming and graffiti (followed by drinks at a nightclub that plays GOOD 80’s music, like Cabaret Voltaire and The Human League and Eurythmics and The Cure, but NOT Bruce Springsteen or Bon Jovi…)
Communities are GREAT when people are sharing ideas, bouncing off each other’s work, responding, inspiring, cross-pollinating, maybe competing a bit and trying to out-do each other (in a non-threatening way…)
My favorite art movements have always been outrageous and (initially) less focused on commercial interests: Dada, Fluxus, Situationists, Mail Art, Beats, Punk, Underground Comics, Subgeniuses, Discordians, early Hip-Hop, Bizarro Lit, and early Zine culture… AND, I could arguably add early BLOG and MEME creators to this list and not feel too self-conscious about it.
These groups integrated a variety of media: literature and maga/zines, music, performance, fashion, philosophy… and they frequently had multiple (sometimes clashing) personalities doing individualistic / iconoclastic work—which sometimes lead to schisms (Surrealism slimed its way out of Dada, and punk splintered into hardcore, new wave, post-punk, ska, and retro-rock styles.) But the ENERGY AND EXCITEMENT that came from these transgressive movements inspired a ton of interesting, culturally significant, massively influential works of art (before being re-absorbed into the commercial machine.)
I’m not against people making money from art or creative work—I’m VERY pro that—but I’m also painfully aware of the fact that SOME people create art and write words that aren’t going to be sellable in a traditional marketplace. THESE folks need a place to talk tactics, share idiosyncratic work, and support one another—plus, I’d love having an easy way to FIND weirdo art that has a subversive, punky, outsider, indie, raw, scratchy, disturbing flavor to it!
The NON-COM-ART! All in one place! Am I the only one who thinks this would be nifty???
If not, let me know! Maybe “we” could use #noncomarts as a tag to make it easier to find cool stuff… If someone knows how to make a chat thing, I’d also be interested in sharing influences and personal creations and seeing other folks’ work in that format, too.
[With the three images I included in this piece, I’m tracing the evolution of this drawing, originally ink on paper—a page from my notebook—which I photographed and cropped a bit. The middle image is from after I applied a filter to the drawing, called “cartoon,” that pumps up the thicker lines and bleaches out a lot of the color from the image. The top drawing is the finished work, after I’d messed with it a bit and added colors using a free app on my phone called “Sketch.” I like using this process because it creates a “fuzzy,” “noisy,” almost dirty finished product, but with bright colors and odd textures. I’m not a big fan of clean, “commercial” art that looks like it could be used to sell some kind of product or kids’ books. I want an image that has a feel similar to the old Punk Rock Concert posters that I loved when I was a kid. They always looked like they’d been quickly thrown together, photocopied, with maybe a bit of collage added, and a few snotty words—just a solid, unpleasant, grimy looking work! I think my ink to digital process gives me a similar aesthetic to (what I remember of) those great, old, ’80’s creations.]
If you have any ideas or strategies or theories that might help spread the Non-Com-Arts concept, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or send me a message. I’d love to hear your thoughts! (Yes, YOURS! Specifically YOU! Quit looking over your shoulder and face facts. This is YOUR revolution, which you can choose to jump in on or ignore. Remember the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and make the right choice!!!)
—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Holy Fool)
SUPPORT INDEPENDENT FOLKS WHO ARE JUST MAKING STUFF BECAUSE THEY LOVE IT!!!