LET’S TALK ABOUT CRYPTO ART (WHAT IS IT?):
Some of you may be new to all this stuff (like me), so here is my quick attempt at explaining what Crypto-Art is all about. Crypto-Art is a neat new thing where artists can put their initials on a piece of digital art and make certifiably rare digital works that are provably theirs and provably unique, thanks to blockchain technology. Have you ever seen a hilarious meme and said to yourself, “This is brilliant! I wonder who made it?” With Crypto-Art, each work is “signed” by the artist, and the person who makes that piece of digital art not only gets credit for what they’re created, they can also make a bit of cryptocurrency for their work as well (if it sells—and so far, a lot of Crypto-Art has been selling to some forward thinking digital art collectors! Some pieces have even sold for OUTRAGEOUS amounts of money, including “The Forever Rose” by Kevin Abosch, which sold at auction in 2018 for a million bucks!) Crypto-Art protects a creator’s rights to their work, allows collectors to verify the authenticity of their collections, and let’s weirdos like me make strange things and get them in front of sympathetic audiences, even though that potential audience might be on the other side of the globe. (It IS a globe, by the way, not a goddam disk…) Yeah, Crypto-Art is great!
LET’S TALK ABOUT AESTHETICS (WHAT THE HELL IS THAT???):
Aesthetics is the philosophy of beauty (or, probably a more useful definition, the discussion around what makes one thing beautiful and appealing and some other thing ugly and unappealing or even repulsive.) My PERSONAL aesthetic has been influenced by my life experiences (as well as some of that predetermined, genetically programmed, mental bullshit—go read Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate for more information on this stuff. It’s thought-provoking and definitely worth a read.) I grew up liking monster movies and The Twilight Zone and comic books and video games and New Wave music videos and skateboarding magazines and punk rock art, and later on I got into Dada and Situationism and Fluxus and comparative religion studies and anthropology and magic and Postal Art and collage and zine culture, and I think ALL of these influences are reflected in the art that I make.
When you look at what I’ve created, it might seem ugly and cluttered and simplistic and child-like—because it IS all of those things—but that’s also intentional. I’m exploring the liminal realm between immediate production and deep concept—dream and memory and time and imagination and death. I’m collapsing my literary and artist urges together into these weird STORY / ART SKETCHES. (Think Dada Poetry meets Surrealist Automatic Drawing. Or, if you’ve never heard of these things, go look them up and read about them—they’re fascinating and weird and funny topics to discover—once you’ve got the gist of those concepts under your hat, THEN think about them while looking at my junk.)
I’m not precious about any of my individual works—they’re all momentary impulses, quick creations that reflect strange thoughts at the moment my hand produces those particular lines. Flash hypotheses. It’s all experiment. (Some are more pleasing than others, but they are ALL just explorations—a “thinking through” of a particular concept, sometimes a concept that’s half formed, but exploded once I put the WORDS with the IMAGES. Each piece (however bad or wonderful) is just another step on the journey through my headspace.)
Hopefully, that makes at least SOME sense!
Each of the works exhibited below is being made available in a single edition of ONE. First come. First served. Over and done and no reprints! Unless you love battling crazy collectors on the secondary market (who always charge a million times the original asking price), it would be in your best interest to snatch these pieces up while they’re still cheap! (I won’t live forever, and once I keel over, the prices are going to go into overdrive, perhaps even “Interstellar Overdrive”—you never know…) I have a great many (far too many to calculate—like over 50, I think—I lost count after ten when I ran out of fingers) pieces of crypto art for YOUR viewing—and perhaps COLLECTING—pleasure at MY MAKERSPLACE STORE (and, yes, I have sold several pieces already, including one design that is complete gone, SOLD OUT, and no longer available for purchase, unless you can sweet talk a collector!) Don’t be the only kid on the block without the hottest new toys! RARE DIGITAL ARTWORKS! (Cooler than a Yo-Yo!)
Below are my four most recent crypto-art crimes, along with some words of “explanation,” which are meant to enhance the viewer’s enjoyment of each piece. (That’s the plan, at least…)
“tEChNiQuE” by Richard F. Yates
Do you recall our little wisdom seeker, Orion, who we met a few weeks ago attempting to acquire a bit of personal enlightenment on a busy mountain top? Well, he’s back, and this time, he’s decided that “SELF KNOWLEDGE” and enlightenment might come through artistic practice.
He’s attempted to FIND HIMSELF in his work—but his work is messy and confused and a bit ugly… Rather than think of HIMSELF as messy and confused and a bit ugly, Orion has made a classic blunder and chosen, instead, to believe that ART may be a dead end. (The fool… The poor deluded fool…)
(For a wisdom seeker, he sure can’t seem to find much wisdom, mostly because he can’t RECOGNIZE it when he finds it. Wisdom rarely looks like we EXPECT it to look.)
Luckily, Orion has managed to attract the attention of a Winged Serpent, who will hopefully be able to PUSH the intrepid internal traveler towards a rewarding technique to calm his internal turmoil.
I appreciate Orion’s distress. We seem to be living in a potentially EMPTY age, but as with all ages, there are worthwhile thoughts to be thunk (both born in the modern era and those remaining from antiquity) if he can just be persuaded to engage with them. If he’ll listen to the Winged One, he may come to understand that the goal he is pursuing isn’t an END in and of itself, a magic phrase or chunk of esoteric knowledge that once learned grants the possessor access to some COSMIC SECRET, but is instead a PROCESS—a PERSPECTIVE—which allows the traveler to enjoy the JOURNEY. (Winged Serpents are brilliant—but people tend to ignore wisdom if it doesn’t match their expectations, even when those expectations are flawed and incomplete.)
MORAL TO THE STORY: Always listen to the snake, and make art even if it’s ugly! You’ll be better off in the end…
—Richard F. Yates (Holy Fool—And Fan of the Fang)
Oh, Notebook Ghost, don’t look so distressed. You’re DEAD! What could you possibly have to worry about? I mean, time, sure… Time is a tricky bitch. That’s absolutely for certain—and I’m willing to bet it’s even weirder once you’re spectral—but don’t be glum, chum! It may be July, still, in your drawing, but it won’t be July FOREVER. (In fact, for me, this is the LAST DAY of July. The FINAL day of July 2019… Probably, for many OTHER FOLKS, July is already long gone…)
But I suppose that isn’t true for you, is it… I suppose, FOR YOU, it will always be XX July, since you’re stuck on that page, stuck in that piece of dated artwork, perpetually, until the Sun gets mean and goes mad and turns SUPERNOVA and obliterates this entire section of the solar system… Then it won’t be July for ANYONE anymore (even if there’s still a few ANYONES left alive—or adead—floating away from the fiery cataclysm that was our home planet in whatever tin vehicles they’ve scraped together to flee the destruction…)
But, until then, I guess, it WILL always be July for you. Sorry. I’ve doomed you to FOREVER SUMMER… That means no Halloween… (Damn…) A ghost who never gets to experience Halloween ever again. GAWD… I’m an evil bastard—wielding my powers of creation in arbitrary slashes, like a kid with a samurai sword, without even considering the possible consequences… Heartless… Heartless… If I had any compassion at all, I’d tear your page out of my notebook and burn it, so as to release you from your imprisonment—but I’m a cruel creator. I’ve finished your page—I’ve written on the other side, already—and I NEVER (willingly or intentionally) throw away words or artwork. (However BAD or pointless they may be. You never know when some little bit of nonsense might come in handy!)
I’m sorry Notebook Ghost. I truly am. But you’re stuck in July for the rest of my life—perhaps for the rest of the solar system’s existence. But YOU’RE DEAD! Try to enjoy your spirithood. There are lots of other ghosts and monsters to chat with in my notebook, so you won’t be lonely… And, believe it or not, you’re even going to be put up onto the internet as a piece of crypto-art, (I’ll tell you what that means later), so maybe you can haunt your way around the entire world by creeping through the phone lines and cellular emanations, if you feel like it. It’s up to you, really. (Us creator types like to give our little creations a few obstacles to overcome. Makes you stronger, in the end!) Okay, little ghost, it’s up to you to sink or swim on your own from here, so—GO BE SPOOKY!
—Richard F. Yates (Holy Fool—and Heartless Bastard)
“The Mists of Time… (Or Weird, Spiraling Tunnel of Time…)”
[From the image itself]:
“The mists of time can’t be used to freshen the leaves of plants in the greenhouse of life…” [Whatever the hell that might mean…]
[The “sales pitch” from my MakesPlace store]:
Greetings Citizens! This here piece was originally drawn with ink on a piece of reclaimed cardboard. After a few nanoseconds of contemplation, the drawing was digitized, tweaked, and modified, then colored using standard electronic magic. The final version feels, to me (although who am I to interpret this—creators are usually woefully naive about their own works), …feels, to me, like a representation of the intersection of time and memory.
Time might be a spiral—or it might be a straight line that SEEMS like a spiral to most of us because we are spinning and tumbling down its infinite depths. Memory, which far too many folks believe works like a video tape that we can pause and rewind and play back at our leisure, is more like looking into a blender full of photographs. The bigger, more important images will float at the top, but they are constantly being chipped away at by the blades of time at the bottom of the mental mixing machine, which eventually makes a slurry out of all the bits and pieces of the experiences we’ve lived through. We can TRY to recreate individual memories from the torn and tattered remains of the images in our heads, but we’re probably going to get bits wrong and conflate, combine, and confuse shit, but CONVINCE ourselves that we’re remembering right.
I keep journals—journals going all the way back to the 1970s—and many of the things that I REMEMBER aren’t always supported by my written notes or the few photographs from my past that I still have. We don’t REMEMBER the past, so much as we RETELL it—we CREATE a new STORY of the past based on fragments and guesses and interpretations, often exaggerated, conflated, and sometimes just wrong—but we convince ourselves that these MEMORIES are true.
In my drawing, I have repetitions and fragments and creatures merging and splintering. This is time at work. I also have a “professor” (who believes he is somehow OUTSIDE OF TIME, but isn’t) telling us some funky piece of pseudo-wisdom (confused and corrupted) that almost seems to make sense, but also doesn’t—but that’s fine. We just need to know enough to keep moving forward….
Time is cruel. (Actually, worse than cruel: Time is INDIFFERENT.) Memory is incomplete and crumbles, quickly and irretrievably. ART, on the other hand, lets us MAKE FUN of our inadequacies, and it sometimes even has pretty colors and MONSTERS in it, which are cool. (Hopefully, I’ve depressed you in an entertaining way with this piece! To me, it’s pretty funny…or I think I remember it being funny… Now, I’m not so sure that I’m recalling that correctly… Oh well…)
—Richard F. Yates (Holy Fool—and confessed possessor of a terrible memory, hence his need for notebooks and journals!)
“Lounging Fire Spirit (Menaced by Metal Skewers)”
It’s pretty rare to get photographic evidence of fire spirits (there were two in our fire pit when I grabbed my phone, but the second one saw what I was up to and disapparated just as I was snapping my pic—notice the very end of her tail above the other spirits’ head), but in this photo, we can clearly see a little fellow astride a flaming hunk of wood. He doesn’t seem overly keen on my daughter’s metal skewers poking at his guts—but I can understand that.
Always remember, when camping or enjoying a bit of the old bar-b-cue, to drop a bit of food INTO the fire for the hungry little fire spirits. (I don’t know if they can actually EAT human food, but they seem to appreciate the sacrifice, nonetheless. And, believe me, it pays to have an elemental or two on your side!)
This has been another Shamanistic moment with your host, Richard F. Yates (a Level SIX Holy Fool…) Thanks for stopping by!
Okay kiddies, that’s all we have time for THIS WEEK! (Besides, my back is getting sore from sitting in this chair and typing. I need to take a break!) Don’t forget to visit my MakersPlace store to check out these pieces as well as the BUNCHES of other artwork and weird words I have plastered all over that piece of digital real estate! And make sure to check out all the OTHER artists who have artwork up on the site, as well. (Some of them are REAL artists and not just punk-rock-philosophers with too much time on their hands and not enough shame for their own good!) Right? Sure. Now get the hell out of here! (Ha!)
—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Holy Fool)
SUPPORT INDEPENDENT FOLKS WHO ARE JUST MAKING STUFF BECAUSE THEY LOVE IT!!!