As some of you may have read in my last post I am currently working with a team to launch an NFT art market on Hive where artists can tokenize and sell limited editions of their artwork. I have been part of the cryptoart community since about 2018 which at the moment is largely based on Ethereum. There has been a huge explosion in the collecting of these artworks and I and many others have been asking, why not do this on Hive?
That dream is finally coming to fruition and I will tell you all about it in a future post because today I am here to express my concerns about our expectations in the art community.
I am hoping to onboard many new artists with this service, all those people will be getting a hive account, and some of them may be tempted to blog, YAY!
But... I have some concerns.
As you already know @hivewatchers takes reports for a wide range of abuse on the hive blockchain, such as comment farming, spamming, identity theft, copy/paste, plagiarism, etc. and they have done a lot of good work. We do have a lot of abuse since this is a monetized platform, it comes with the territory and I applaud them for taking care of this the best they can.
I understand that fighting abuse is thankless and difficult and not the funnest job. Even with the best of intentions abusers slip through and sometimes non-abusers can get caught in a wide net.
The art world is full of debates, what is good art and what is shitty? What methods are considered skilled and what methods are considered cheating. How do we find the line of fair use of iconic images in personal art that we create, what is considered tasteful vs. pornographic.
All of these questions on the face of them have clear answers at ends of the spectrum but also clearly have a lot of grey area in the middle. It is difficult to know where to draw the line.
My worries about this have been happening for a long time but what prompted me to write this was an artist who flagged and banned by @hivewatchers yesterday for not citing a source they used. The comment looks like this:
it does indeed appear that the artist used a reference but IMO they created a new work by transforming the original art. Also to be noted the image was from Pexels which does not require attribution.
DO I THINK ARTISTS SHOULD CITE REFERNCES?
YES. And I will continue making posts and reminding people that this is considered best practice.
However I do not think the terms, plagiarism, copy/paste, fraud etc. are applicable in this case.
In another post the user was accused of using an auto art generating app when that does not appear to be correct either.
I see in the comments that they appear to have been unbanned which is great, because multiple people kicked up a fuss about it, but I do believe there is a big disconnect in what we perceive to be the correct methods of creating and presenting art on HIVE vs. the rest of the broader art community.
Allow me to give you a few examples:
Rembrant and many renaissance painters used camera obscuras to project scenes onto a canvas so they would have accurate proportions to begin their painting.
OMG Rembrant was a tracer!
Would Rembrant be downvoted on Hive? 😂
Oh no, Vermeer too? FAINTS
Pinhole cameras, camera obscura ,projections are essentially old school versions of tracing, but they created beautiful art that people enjoyed!
Collage is an extremely popular medium these days, especially in a digital age where we have access to so many images! There are thousands of pieces of digital art trading on https://superrare.co/, https://knownorigin.io/gallery, https://makersplace.com/discover/ and other popular art markets that use unsourced images!
They didn't even draw this they just cut and pasted images in a pleasing manner!
NO SOURCES CITED, and these are selling for a lot of money!
Based on an MMA fight scene:
Oh no a baby yoda with no source!
None of these have a link to a source that was used as inspiration. Again, I'm not saying in a blog you shouldn't cite sources, but in the rest of the art world this isn't really a norm!
Pop art is a great example of this:
Famous artist Ron English does recreations of famous people and iconic characters. He does them with his own style and flair but I can guarantee you he looks at the originals as references.
Would Andy Warhol be downvoted for not citing the Marilyn Monroe pics he used to create his iconic prints?
I think you get my point here, art has many elements and methods and there is no one correct way to do art, sometimes it involves references, inspirations, remixing, fair use of images etc.
So what would I like @hivewatchers to do?
There is no clear answer here but I would implore them to look outside of Hive and see what is happening in the broader art community. Hive has quite a small user base, we struggle to onboard and retain users! I don't want actual thieves to get away with anything, stealing art and being deceptive is not cool!!!!
I do however think we have had the same criteria for calling artists plagiarist for many years and maybe that criteria needs to be re-evaluated as it is far too narrow. If any of the above artists came here and posted their amazing art and got called a FRAUD I assure you they would leave and consider the art community here to be a joke and I wouldn't blame them!
I've been here for three years and I care deeply about this community, now that we have actual communities* I finally see a golden opportunity to onboard users like never before and I am afraid that could be jeopardized by over-zealous flagging and black listing, it really only takes one accusation to hurt someones reputation.