Photo courtesy of The Atlantic Current Magazine
As some of you may have noticed I have taken the last week off from my daily posting. I have used this time to reflect and more importantly answer some important questions within myself on what this community is, why I want to be here, and what the future holds.
Why I started on Steemit in the first place.
I have been creative for as long as I can remember. I have spent my entire life trying to make a living from my art and creative passions. I have been lucky enough to bridge the gap between being creative and business, something a lot of creative people have a hard time accomplishing. Over the last 15 years I have built many creative focused businesses including an art gallery co-op/craft beer bar, a national music venue, and the revitalization of an entire arts district through gentrification of a small South Florida town. I am also devoted to helping other artists pursue their passions. Especially other artists with disabilities. However, None of that even comes close to the opportunity that Steemit brings. I have been a crypto enthusiast for the last year and found this platform through @JerryBanfield (more on that later). I was blown away from day one by the way this platform can (and will) revolutionize how creative people and content creators can make a living through their work. The true holy grail for every working artist. Is it about the money, yes, let’s all be honest here. But it’s the idea behind this platform and the thousands of like-minded individuals that support this community as a whole that is life-changing.
Photo from my documentary "Painting With One Finger"
Art Is My Life.
Long story short… I wanted to be able to post my art, and in return share a piece of me with all of you. In my opinion, as an artist, I feel it is my duty to share what I create with the world In order to invoke a certain connection, feeling, or experience, that is specifically unique to each of us. Is it slightly self-serving? I suppose in some sense. Furthermore, I think art is more about a connection with the viewer then the actual subject matter, so sharing it with the largest audience possible (on a social media platform in this case) has a huge impact. I could write an entire article on “what qualifies as art” but that is a different conversation for now.
All that being said, My art was brought into question last week (Article Here). Initially, I was pissed, as many people tried to find a way to paint me as a scammer or that I had a hidden agenda. I put up a wall and immediately got defensive, Writing it off as Internet drama. However, the more I thought about it and through many conversations, I realized that what I perceived as “attacks” was simply an opportunity for me to learn.
@nonameslefttouse expressed feeling very misled by my posts and creative process. Looking back on it now… He was 100% correct. My intent was never to mislead anyone, but I made some major mistakes being new to this platform, it’s ethics, and many other factors with my eagerness to be a part of the community. I took for granted that a lot of you would be familiar with digital art and how these pieces are created. Do I use reference photos? Yes, most artists do. Was I copying someone else’s work fraudulently, or trying to plagiarize work that was not my own? ABSOLUTELY NOT. Some of my Photoshop work was mistaken for actual photography and for that I apologize. I do not use any filters, even though some of my work appears that way. My biggest offense and the real reason my post was flagged was for misusing the tags and inappropriately categorizing. @nonameslefttouse said it perfectly “We are surrounded by scammers and It’s up to us to look BETTER than them”. That being said, you have to go above and beyond in your transparency, documenting everything you are doing in the most straightforward way possible. I never thought about it quite like this, but now I will strive to do so. I also had a great conversation with the @steemcleaners team on what I was doing wrong and how to better my content while following the best practices.
Bots… To use or not to use, that is the question.
The other elephant in the room was bot usage. Yes, I was using bots… A LOT. If I had to do it over again, I’m not sure I would change things, but I do understand the negative impact this has in a whole new light now that I have been educated. Do I regret using them? Yes. Will I be using them moving forward? Most likely not, but I’m not going to say “absolutely not” and have somebody write me months from now and say “look what you said, you lying bastard”. I think bots have their place but only for extremely important posts that need to reach the community on a grander scale. Looking back on it (especially in a bear market) I could have used that money to just buy more steempower but I would not have been able to grow my followers/views to nearly what it is, and for that I am grateful to be able to connect with all of you that I would not have been able to otherwise.
All of the most recently mentioned infractions came together in a perfect shit storm, hen I also garnered the attention of an infamous Steemit “enforcer” & his crew (he who shall not be named). He is now under the assumption I am a scammer because of all of the above-mentioned activities as well as my association with @JerryBanfield. I don’t think there’s anything I can do to change his mind at this point, but, if you are reading this… I am not the person you think I am. I actually think what you do for the community comes from the right place (the way you handle it is another story). I have done a bunch of research into your history and mission the majority of which I agree with, So I hope we can be civilized with each other, especially after making changes to what your issues were with me.
On that note, I do associate with @JerryBanfield and he has become one of my dearest friends over the last few months. I find it sad that I might be called into question, just based on who I call my friends, but that is the reality of the world we live in… online or offline. I have also met some incredible people because of Jerry (partner chat, you know you are) and for that I am grateful. Sure, Jerry is eccentric, but he has a heart of gold and has done way more good for this community then bad. Does he make some impulsive decisions, maybe, but at least he acts on his ideas bringing them to life. A lot of people can’t say that. He speaks his own truth and that is admirable. The exposure he provides alone, should have all of us thanking him. I will never apologize for, nor denounce my friendships. Plain and simple. We will be moving forward with our planned South Florida meetup (under a new name and direction) so keep an eye out for that along with an update. Again, being fully transparent.
Photo from my documentary "Painting With One Finger"
My future with all of you!
I don’t plan on going anywhere, nor do I want to. I hope I was able to clear the air a bit with this. More importantly I want everyone to know I am taking all the criticism as constructively as possible. I will be doing everything in my power to be as transparent as possible moving forward. I will be providing detailed descriptions of my process, providing reference photos when possible, updating my tutorials and I am happy to answer any specific questions in the comments moving forward. I will be suspending my bot usage immediately and I will make sure to explicitly discuss any usage in the future. That means it’s as important as ever to upvote the posts you feel are worthy. Again, this entire process has been a great learning experience and didn’t realize the impact my actions had with my followers. I want to do things the “right way” moving forward because I want to be a part of this platform and community for the long haul. Your support is what matters and I appreciate each and every one of you.