The art world is buzzing about NFT.
AMBER LOVE 24-MAR-2021 Coming to you from New Jersey and in particularly from Twitter, I am known on occasion to deliver to Op/Ed pieces about the world of comics, writing, and entertainment. This isn’t actually what people pay me for. They pay me for fiction and interviews which are my stronger areas.
First, here’s what the hell they are:
NFTs function as part of the Ethereum cryptocurrency network. Each NFT is a token with unique information stored in it. Even if an NFT is a digital image or a GIF, you can’t just download it from the internet and still think of it as an NFT. It will be nothing more than a digital file because the unique blockchain information will be missing from it. — jiji-blog
The crypto NFT thing came to my attention a couple of weeks after a huge sale at the famous Christie’s auction house when an artist, Beeple, sold a piece of digital art titled “EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS” for $69,346,250 on March 11, 2021. In Beeple’s collage, he seems to also use content created by other people that he’s digitally pasted together. How does this ease of technology and essentially stealing full pieces of art, shrinking them, and making a collage differ from the Fair Use of tearing sections of newspaper and magazines to make legitimate art collages? I had the pleasure of working in the Hunterdon Art Museum for a couple of years until quarantine killed our Yoga at the Museum program. There was an exhibit of collage art and it was invigorating and creative. Artists came up with unique approaches of conveying themes like Black Lives Matter and feminism. I never once thought the medium segments included went beyond Fair Use.
Do we blame Andy Warhol for normalizing the theft of IP because of the Campbell’s soup cans?
Huge celebrities are cashing in on this currency to auction off exclusive content.
Since NFTs are a brand new tech area for me, I had to see what I could learn about them that makes them controversial. It’s a can of worms if those worms were two thousand feet long with spiked barbs running down their backs which are made of poisonous toxic scales and also breathing fire.
It’s a nightmare. All someone has to do is “tokenize” your tweet and they somehow “own” it and can sell it. This makes no sense for a number of reasons and I, like others, are astonished that Twitter’s Jack Dorsey endorses this since technically anything on Twitter belongs to Twitter. People are suggesting blocking any account with the word “tokenize” in it, but let’s face it, this is a world of sock puppet accounts created by the thousands and strong enough to sway people how to vote for President. Blocking one account at a time is not a viable solution. Artists are also locking their accounts so that any perspective follower has to request access/connection. Even William Shatner has tweeted about the danger of tokenized tweets.
This whole NFT thing gave me flashbacks of the “photographer” Richard Prince, who didn’t actually take photos he sold in a huge art gallery showing. He enlarged other people’s Instagram posts and sold them for around $90,000 each! He did not get permission from anyone whose image he sold.
NFTs of tweets and other social media posts or literally any screengrab is causing the same problem.
Hmm. Matt Kindt is jumping on the NFT bandwagon. He has a Mind Mgmt – what do you call these things? Files? Books? Whatever, but it’s up for auction. Does that mean only one person is going to be able to read it?
— 🐈🧙♀️Amber Love Ofgus (@elizabethamber) March 22, 2021
Comic book IPs are continuously fighting legal battles about copyright, some several decades long like the fights for Superman characters or merely to give credit to Bill Finger who actually made Batman what we know and love with very little from the famous Bob Kane. Creators like Bill Finger can end up destitute. What they create and send out to the world should be able to garner them livelihood. Now, not everyone is going to create a legacy like Batman or Superman which have had hundreds of people working on them from pencilers to inkers to letterers to animators to writers and executive producers. Those are rare. But art is a product.
Are printed shirts of comics, Star Wars, and pop culture logos legal? I tried to print a single shirt for myself for a costume from Cafepress and they wouldn’t allow it. @etsy allows Mando and Spidey merch that’s not OOAK?https://t.co/k2EP1RCuCi
— 🐈🧙♀️Amber Love Ofgus (@elizabethamber) March 19, 2021
The mega geek company that used to bring us good magazines (feels like a hundred years ago) turned pop culture con shilling machine, Wizard World, is on the bandwagon for NFTs too.
There are some funny and vengeful ways to use NFTs to your advantage. If you get unsolicited nudes, you can just click this “tokenized” widget thing and BAM! You are now the “owner” of the digital property of that photo. ONLY THAT’S NOT HOW COPYRIGHT OF PHOTOGRAPHY WORKS!
Photographers own their original photos. Once they are uploaded to a platform, generally, the social media network owns the content (buried in the terms of service no one ever reads). For example, I tried to file takedown requests on a person who posted photos of my family but since she took the photos, Facebook refused my claim (also it did not include children which may have changed the outcome). What would happen now if I “tokenized” her photos?
As for comics, Matt Kindt has released a statement about offering the next installment of MIND MGMT as an NFT. Does that mean he condones tokenization of art? What does this mean for fans? Can more than one person purchase the access?
The Planet is at Stake
Not only that, but people have been condemning the destructive nature of NFTs on the planet’s resources.
The amount of energy required to generate and keep records of it is staggering, with Bitcoin mining alone generating around 37 million tonnes of CO₂ every year. Its carbon footprint is absolutely enormous, on par with that of entire countries. — mashable
And Mashable continues with this appropriate response:
And even setting aside the fact that NFTs are actively accelerating our already sound barrier-breaking race toward climate catastrophe, they are also completely and utterly meaningless.
What are you purchasing, really? This isn’t like comparing an original oil painting to a print, where the copies are very clearly different to the original. Your tokenised artwork is exactly the same as every copy ever made of it, and every copy yet to be made. You don’t have some unique version only you can enjoy.
Matt Kindt’s Acclaimed MIND MGMT Returns As An NFT
An All-new, Unique, One-of-A Kind Graphic Narrative
(March 22, 2021) Acclaimed cartoonist Matt Kindt is announcing an unusual and historic project: an all new, stand-alone MIND MGMT comic which will only be available as an NFT (Non-Fungible Token). For more than 20 years, Kindt has been writing and illustrating creator-owned comic books and graphic novels like BRZRKR (with Keanu Reeves), ENIAC, MIND MGMT, BANG! Dept H., Ether, Folklords, Revolver, 3 Story, Super Spy, and Pistolwhip, and he’s once again experimenting with comic book storytelling to create an all new MIND MGMT comic which will only be available as a one-of-a-kind NFT. “MIND MGMT: The Artifact” is the latest story in Kindt’s globe-trotting mystery series about espionage, super spies, and psychic abilities. The story will be available, via auction, at https://opensea.io/assets/0x495f947276749ce646f68ac8c248420045cb7b5e/3511643341375049533489502144308609956911379505039353382867712348867384049665.
“I wanted to create an original MIND MGMT comic book narrative that would explore the nature of belief and the value of ideas and their intangible nature as a way of exploring the idea of NFTs,” said Kindt. “The best way to explore this idea was for the actual story – the MIND MGMT narrative – to become what it is about. This story is written as a MIND MGMT espionage narrative – an agent sent on a mission to retrieve a priceless artifact. There are secret codes, monk-ninjas. LOTS of monk-ninjas and a teenage immortal intent on stealing this priceless artifact. It is both a real apple…and a drawing of an apple.”
In MIND MGMT, a young journalist reporting on a commercial flight where everyone aboard lost their memories stumbles onto a much bigger story: the top secret Mind Management program. Her ensuing journey involves weaponized psychics, hypnotic advertising, talking dolphins, and seemingly immortal pursuers, as she attempts to find the flight’s missing passenger, the man who was MIND MGMT’s greatest success―and its most devastating failure. But in a world where people can rewrite reality itself, can she trust anything she sees?
“I have no intention of ever publishing MIND MGMT: The Artifact in a traditional way,” said Kindt. “The highest bidder for the auction will determine what happens next. Will they share it online? Will they read it with family and friends? Will it be erased? Does the value of an idea come from the owning of it? Or the sharing of it? That’s up to the one who possesses it. I don’t entirely know what happens next, except that a percentage of the proceeds is going directly to an environmental agency to offset the impact that generating an NFT has on the environment. We’re going to leave this place better than we found it.”
The MIND MGMT NFT auction ends on March 31, 2021.
For updates, follow:
- The MIND MGMT Facebook page.
- Matt Kindt on Twitter and Instagram
- And subscribe to the COMICONART newsletter here: http://www.comiconart.com/template.asp
Praise for Matt Kindt’s MIND MGMT:
“Kindt breaks all preconceived notions of what comic books are.”—IGN
“Kindt is a storyteller so fully in control of his gifts that his graphic novels read like quietly compelling arguments for the comics medium’s narrative potential.”—NPR
“One of the most exciting and original talents in the business”—The Los Angeles Times
ABOUT MATT KINDT:
Matt Kindt is a New York Times bestselling, Harvey Award-winning writer and artist of comics and graphic novels. His work includes MIND MGMT, BRZRKR (with Keanu Reeves), Eniac, Revolver, 3 Story, Super Spy, 2 Sisters, and Pistolwhip. He has been nominated for four Eisner Awards and three Harvey Awards (and won once). His work has been published in French, Spanish, Italian, and German. The author lives in St. Louis, MO, with his wife and Dept H. collaborator, the colorist and artist Sharlene Kindt.
Launched in 2004, Comiconart is an all-in-one talent agency that proudly represents an incredibly talented roster of over 50 comic book artists for original art sales, commission requests, and work for hire with all major publishers, including both Marvel and DC Comics. Comiconart is also at the forefront of the new art revolution: Original art sales for digital artists.