Howdy Humans (and other sentient beings)!
I’ve got a day off from the retail world, so I thought I’d take a few minutes and give you folks a quick “WHAT’S UP” of the goings-on around the Primitive Bunker:
1. In about four days, the family and I will be skipping town to go to southern California for a week. This will be the first time in the history of the world that we will not be home for Halloween! Instead, we will be in Disneyland—and yes, I KNOW that Disney is an evil mega-corporation that has a history of exploiting workers, indoctrinating children into believing dangerous (often racially insensitive) concepts, AND they are the epitome of excessive consumerism—but they ALSO have one of the best artificially constructed environments in the world. Guy Debord (the Situationist) suggested that the society of spectacle MUST allow for FREE PLAY, and the layout of Disneyland was developed specifically for PLAY. It’s ridiculously expensive, and I realize that I am privileged being able to afford to even GO to this playground—but my family started paying for this trip A YEAR AGO, so that we could go, and we’ll be suffering the effects of doing this for the next several months. (We’ve already cancelled Christmas—but we’ll be happy to celebrate Saturnalia with anyone who wants to dress up, drink grog, and cause chaos in the streets in December!)
One interesting fact you might enjoy hearing about this trip: my family didn’t TELL me they were planning this until AFTER they’d paid for a large chunk of it. I HATE HATE HATE flying, and they’re making me get on a plane. The last trip we took, about a year and a half ago, was to Las Vegas, so that my younger daughter could bowl in the USBC Nationals Tournament, and although my wife and daughter flew down, I DROVE and met them there. I hate flying. The whole thing terrifies me: airports, security, people everywhere, take-off, landing, turbulence… (I’m freaking myself out just typing this…) Anyway, they didn’t tell me until it was too late for me to vote against. I’m going to try not to freak out, but it won’t be easy.
2. In digital art news: I have COMPLETED my first series of CRYPTO-PRIMITIVE Trading Cards. There are 13 cards in series one, and there will be 5 copies of each card published. I’ve already shown you folks the first ten cards (in THIS POST,) but here are the final three from the first series:
I’ve been having a lot of fun experimenting and creating the cards, but I can’t remember if I’ve actually explained to you Primitives exactly what I’m DOING with these things. In the “notes” to the first card, I explained it this way:
“This is the first card in a series of Crypto-Primitive Trading Cards that I’ve decided to produce. I love the idea of a virtual trading card series (weird little art cards swirling around as freakish digital data in some electronic art nexus field! Exciting!) Personally, I grew up loving the old ‘bubble-gum’ cards, like Weird Wheels and Dinosaurs Attack and (of course) the various Star Wars sets, which my grandparents always used to buy for me. There were a TON of different trading card sets to collect when I was a kid, and the IDEA of opening those little packages and finding the hidden treasures inside still makes me feel all warm and happy today. Now, as a THING (I love THINGS) I’m making my own trading cards—one card at a time—and I’m loving the formatting and crafting of these little suckers. Hopefully, some-other-bodies out there will get as much of a kick out of them as I’m having in making them!!! If that person is YOU, then ENJOY!!!”
And then, with the thirteenth card, I wrote this:
“This is the final card in SERIES ONE of CRYPTO-PRIMITIVE Trading Cards. There are only going to be five editions of each of these cards EVER published, and—as these are the FIRST digital trading cards I’ve ever produced (and nobody realizes that they WANT them yet) they’ll probably end up being pretty rare. Actually, with only 65 ever going to exist, I’d say that’s SUPER rare. For my next series, I think I’m going to make 10 of each card, instead of 5 of each, just to make sure these early, experimental cards have the smallest “print runs.” It makes it like a GAME—a collecting game! I’ve always thought that art should be more GAMES-based! So here’s to changing the rules of art, AND thanks for playing along!!!”
If you’re interested in seeing the site where the cards are for sale, you can get there through THIS LINK!
The funny thing about crypto-art is that it has a lot of advantages for ARTISTS (but I’m not sure how much of an advantage it is for buyers—I suppose there are a few positives.) For one thing, artists will now have a way to make a little cash off of their memes and animated gifs and images that are posted online, which is something that doesn’t really happen that often. Another plus is that the artwork is TRACKED, through the blockchain, meaning that the purchaser gets VERIFIABLE PROOF that they own that image (or song or whatever,) as the history of the creation / purchase / resale / etc. are all recorded and become permanent elements of the blockchain network. And, as funny as it may sound, some of this digitally tracked artwork is actually GOING UP in value! (If you’ve never heard of CryptoPunks or CryptoKitties or Rare Pepe or “The Forever Rose,” then I suggest you look these things up. They’ve broken price records for digital sales and suggest an ACCEPTANCE of digital assets amongst collectors and speculators. There’s always the possibility that this is some kind of crypto-bubble, but as more and more people, across the globe, ditch physical objects (records and cds, dvds, video game cartridges or disks, printed photographs, etc.) for digital versions of these formerly everyday physical objects, I suspect that the idea of digital collectibles and digital artwork will easily slide into people’s phones and tablets and computer screens.
There is something kind of troubling (to me) that I see happening within the crypto-art world, though… (Again, there are a few exceptions to this trend, like with DADA.nyc, but it’s still pretty common…)
As I wrote in my journal yesterday:
“It’s funny… If you look at my notebook, you will see a number of stupid doodles or sketches, which seem like throw-away junk, but which ended up being ‘finished’ art on my website, once I’d photographed and colored them. The ‘old masters’ who perfected ‘photo-realism’ (before the invention of photography) wouldn’t consider what I do to be ‘art.’ MOST folks don’t think of my creations as ‘art’ (because, I think, most folks think ‘art’ = $.) (I wonder if the old cave / rock painters would get what I’m doing. I wonder if I [myself] am missing something, actually I KNOW that I am, when I look at THEIR work—I’m missing the CONTEXT…)
“So I’m all fired up about crypto-art at the moment, but I’m noticing that A LOT of the crypto-art I’m SEEING looks suspiciously like the popular commercial / gallery art from the physical world—even when it’s art this is digitally native. So the dominant styles from the physical world are just transferring—almost 1 for 1—into the digital domain. There are exceptions, of course (animated gifs, CryptoPunks, some of the more interesting, outlier sites,) but I still see a TON of standard, commercial looking work (stuff that LOOKS like advertising or like beach-boardwalk gallery art) on most of the blockchain art sites. And I get it. When people think of ART, they think of ‘GOOD’ art—but I’m more of a fan of INTERESTING than I am of ‘GOOD’—INTERESTING or FUNNY. Give me Basquiat or Ray Johnson or Miro or Gary Panter or Max Fleischer or Jean Dubuffet over Monet any day. Shit, I’d rather look at 1980’s punk concert posters than Norman Rockwell—by a LONG shot.
“I would hope that there would someday be a place for RAW, playful, spontaneous, funny art—free from traditional stylistic constraints… Someday…”
That’s what I was hoping the blockchain might allow: FOR PUNK ETHOS DIGITAL CREATIONS TO FIND AN AUDIENCE. (I’m talking about MY stuff here, by the way. Simple cartoony ironic primitive funny childish ART—but FUN, right?) So that’s where I’m at for crypto-art: I’m intrigued and willing to spend time on it, and I’ve found some great communities who are working on building themselves up…but I’m a bit worried that the traditional / commercial / gallery art world (which I’ve spent YEARS trying to stay away from) is sliding right into place in the digital domain, as well… (I used to be represented by a gallery in Olympia, Washington—but when a painting of mine sold for $300.00, I’d only get half of that and the rest went to the gallery owner. Now, because I’m selling mostly out of my front yard, I sell my stuff for closer to $10.00 or $20.00, but more people are BUYING the art AND I get 100 percent of what I sell! I’m not a huge CASH-HEAD, so I’m willing to sell a drawing for $5.00 to someone who is going to enjoy it, and I think the connections that are made out there in the yard are cooler than the “prestige” I had from being a LEGIT artist selling in a gallery!) End: sermon mode…
3. Unrelated to art or travel: It’s election season in the U.S., and I’m asking everyone to VOTE!!!! If you are a U.S. resident who can register to vote, then DO IT!!! Don’t let this chance to speak your mind go unutilized. Mariah and I got our ballets in the mail a few days ago, and we are going to MAKE SURE that we get them filled out before we leave town. It doesn’t matter what your political affiliations or religious beliefs or whatever are, it is essential for people to express themselves in order for the democratic process to work. I’ve made no secret of my ideological leanings: I’m pro LGBTQ rights, pro science, and staunchly against racism and discrimination based on religious beliefs (or LACK of religious belief)—but if you think differently than I do, that’s your prerogative, and you have just as much of a right to VOTE for your beliefs as I do for mine. Like I said, don’t let the opportunity to affect the directions that our legal institutions and governmental systems are moving slip by you. If YOU don’t vote, I guarantee someone else WILL, and they might not hold the same beliefs that you do. VOTE!
AND that’s all the junk I want to talk about today. Hopefully, I haven’t bored you folks too much with my nattering, but really, it doesn’t matter. (You can VOTE not to read this, and it won’t affect you OR me.) Yeah…I’m done here… Keep in touch! Nanoo nanoo!!!
—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Supreme Bunny Lord of The P.E.W.)
SUPPORT INDEPENDENT FOLKS WHO ARE JUST MAKING STUFF BECAUSE THEY LOVE IT!!!