Transparency in Art / It's that hummingbird again, but me!

in Alien Art Hive11 months ago


A topic that comes up again and again regarding art on Hive and now also art on NFT Showroom is TRANSPARENCY.

I have long had the very basic rule in Alien Art Hive Be honest about your methods which I think very neatly sums up the content of this post, but I would like to expand on that a bit.

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As artists we currently live in a wonderful time, as the tools available to us are increasing and becoming more and more sophisticated and easily accessible. With our creativity we can use these tools in a complimentary way to make even more beautiful art and that's a blessing!

Examples of these tools could be deep dream generator, artbreeder, glitch apps, photomosh etc. We also have infinte methods of creating art which range from scratch to collage, remix and everything inbetween.

The cover image here is a collage I called: It's that hummingbird again, but me!

I used this name because the focal point of the collage is a free to use image with no attribution that has showed up in many artworks and I thought I would use it in my own style to create a cheeky point.

The hummingbird in question:


From a technical standpoint I can not fault anyone from using this image, as mentioned above it is free to use with no attribution necessary, but we have seen many instances of this bird barely being transformed, or just having a few additions and people selling it as art NFTs (on other platforms, not NFTSR yet!)

In my personal opinion this is allowed yes, but is it the best method for creating TRUST between the buyer and seller? If there is no information attached and buyers see it later pop up again will they feel deceived, or misinformed? The answer to that will vary by collector but I think for our own reputation as artists we should strive to be transparent!

What do I suggest?

If you are using deep dream to create your art, great! Mention that in the NFT description! If you have created something beautiful there are people who will want to buy it. Using AI to help give paint/texture/generate images? also great, just let your buyers know in some way. There is a lot of grey area here and I think in terms of significant transformation (such as my collage above) simply saying it is a collage is enough, I don't want anyone thinking this is a painting when it is a collage, do you see what I'm saying?. That is my decision alone on how to inform my buyers and each artist has to decide how they want to communicate with buyers. Since we all have different art styles and methods this is a very individual thing!

On variations of the same art

There is also a trend among artists to make multiple variations of art. This is quite normal and a fun process sometimes when we are finalizing a piece.

I often get asked if it's okay to tokenize all the versions.

Personal opinion: I would probably not buy RARE ART that is not rare! There are some exceptions of course. I have heard some other buyers with the same opinion, when they are looking to buy rare, they want rare.

If you do decide to follow this route, BE TRANSPARENT! Say you make a skull and tokenize 3 different color versions, if you are clear that it is a variation in the title and description, that is best practice. That way the buyer can decide if they are okay with spending money on that art. If the information is not clearly available they may feel deceived after coming across other versions and feel like they bought something that is not RARE.

We need to remember that in the world of NFTs RARITY is a very important aspect and this also includes variations being tokenized!

I think this is an interesting topic, if you have any questions or want to discuss this further let me know your opinion in the comments or in discord!


You can view the high quality version of this art on NFT Showroom, it's a 1/1 editon!

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Just be honest folks and everything is fine. The "Hummingbird special" session on NFTshowroom server was a lot of fun :))))

Totally agree. Rarity is important for a collectible art. I also thought about what's allowed and what isn't when making a variations and this article cleared this for me.

I'll try add better descriptions for my art.

The problem is that descriptions can't be changed so I have to avoid putting titles or things I think that might change in the future. The result is that my descriptions are very generic.

For example I have a website that features my webcomics, but I plan on changing the domain in the future after/if I migrated to another CMS. I can't put the current domain in a description.


Fair point.
Sounds like I need to make different dinosaurs ;<)

One of the reason I linger in my fractal art environs... uniqueness is guaranteed ... but, in one of my other lives I am a copyright consultant, and I also know that legally, if you don't transform something 20 percent in my home nation, you can be in trouble later because that's the threshold for creating a work of one's own from another's work...

Thats another good point you mention, the laws are quite a grey area in terms of transformation and not the same all over the world!

It's great that you worry about that; I also think that it is incredible that today all these things can be done and that there is material with which we can make use such as free authorship files, but I think that when a creator / artist makes use of this type of material it is almost an obligation to mention it out of respect and ethics.

Yeah for sure, I guess the tricky thing is how to attribute in the token description without making a mess! If I make a collage that pulls from 20 different sources my descritption will be really ugly haha, easier to do that in a hive post where we can use formatting and markdown!

Came here for the hummingbird mention, i believe this is a beautiful totem that shows a solution that could be mixed with transparency :polinization

Personal opinion: i tough that collages are like kareoke and the point You Made here it's really appreciated, with the NFT boom people are looking for wats to Made easy money, we're still not understanding where the art came from when set a money milestone to creation, the solution would be transparency as you said.

I would highlight your content on todays hummingbird curation column at @adiwathrive

This is valuable information, as I'm considering making something for the NFT Showroom.

Well put! Be honest about your methods. I hate if someone says that they drew something when the image looks like a photo that has went through an app that makes the photo look like a pencil drawing. Or that they painted it when the strokes clearly are too uniform to be made by human hand. It's not painted. It's a filter. Or a program. Or photomanipulation. Or digitally drawn. And then there are also those who don't say anything. They just publish it there and that's it. I'm not saying that I prefer one art method over another, I prefer art that pleases me somehow and an artist that has somehow told something about the process when creating the art.

These are all good points and any serious artist would know and adhere to that.
You mentioned Deep Dream, and I like to expand on this a bit. Buried and not easily seen on the Deep Dream website, under Subscription plans, is this FAQ:

Do I own the processed images?
Yes, you do. But if you plan to use the result images commercially, you have to make sure you own the rights on the input images (and style images in case of the Deep Style tool).
If you decide to make a result image public on the website, we keep the right to share it on different places on the website and on our social networks (e.g. Instagram or Facebook).

The operative words are:

you have to make sure you own the rights on the input images
(and style images in case of the Deep Style tool)

Many of those who are just tinkering around with it are not aware of it. But anyone that understands copyright would certainly know without having it pointed out to them.

You also talk about free images. Yes, there are certainly a lot of completely free images available, examples are Pixabay and Pexels. In fact, I am planning to post a video I made using short clips I gathered on Pixabay, as well as ambient music I used from there.
The important part is that you make something new out of that material.
While it says Attribution is not required, whenever I use these sources, I ALWAYS attribute the originating artist.