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What is grey area art in the NFT space?

“Grey Matter” — by Coraline

Obviously, art is not just black and white. That would be quite dull. Not to say that black and white images aren’t worthwhile art, I’m just saying that’s not all there is. Unfortunately, like many social media sites, NFT Art sites often enforce a restrictive set of rules that the larger art world doesn’t always comply with. Right now this art can only exist in niche galleries in real life. Therefore, is the need for a ‘grey area art’ space for works that might not be allowed on certain platforms due to copyright issues, vulgarity, nudity/eroticism, violence, and more.

We have created Grey Area Fine Art as the solution to this issue. Our website offers something that no other online NFT art platform does: full anonymity. While you have the option for self-attribution or to use a handle/pseudonym, you can also be listed as fully anonymous, with no handle. That means that art can be judged purely for art’s sake, rather than being judged for the identity and reputation of the artist (as we establish in our first article on our founding philosophy).

A simple visual example of this fact of subjective human perceptions goes as follows:

Lookalikes! (Clipped from our about page on our site.)

Blah blah. Anyways I think you get the point: things are not always what they appear at first and our personal experience is what shapes our reaction to art and the very definition of it. Because of this, we react as much to the artist as we do to the art. That’s why anonymity is important.

The following is a great example of NSFW art that would not be allowed on many platforms, but could easily be accepted by a niche art gallery or larger community:

Love this NFT!?!

However, there is also one more factor that determines what we call art: the audience. For the same reason, the room, gallery, or online marketplace is as important in shaping art as the art itself. So, when we broaden the audience — or at least allow it to be viewed by as many people as possible we can affect the meaning of the art or at least its thematic interpretation. The more stuffy the room (or epistemic bubble), the more narrow or skewed the interpretation and place of the work within a given movement. (See our first article for more analysis on this.)

What’s important is that we have the power to adapt this ideological system into a more evolved state by using the same internet sharing strategies that inherently categorize us to broaden our base and with that our ideology and art. And the more we bridge social media tools, the more we can break the same bubbles that encapsulated those bridges in the first place. Join us on Reddit to continue the discourse. Or utilize social media to interact with us and others in diverse ways; InstagramFacebookPinterestTelegramDiscord, and even Medium can all be used to bridge gaps or widen them.

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All art, even controversial or NSFW pieces, deserves to have an audience!

“Coral Reefer” — Coraline

What defines art, as opposed to simply globs of colored matter attached to a canvas, is its audience. It’s a cliche that art holds up a mirror to society, but in reality, it is society itself that has created the mirror. Indulge me making a cliche even more cliche for a second:

The only difference between some naked person running around a park flashing everyone in sight and a picture of him doing so is the picture can be viewed by those who define art, whereas the person will run off into the night never to be seen again (except maybe in a mug shot). I’m not making a moral argument as to the ethics of flashing people, but rather the functionality of how we view art. And I say view because that’s really all that matters — our view. Without divulging into subjectivism or subjectivity or arguing that our perception is warped in a certain way, I wish to simply acknowledge the fact that everything we see, particularly art, because its sole purpose is to be viewed as music is to be heard, is purely a reflection of whoever made the piece. And given that so many have come before us, it’s often a reaction to the most immediately previous movement which was, in turn, a reaction to its ideological predecessor.

carefree woman sitting on skateboard
Photo by Los Muertos Crew on

Now, that doesn’t mean all art is derivative or that the only truly original work was a chicken or an egg, but it does mean (at least in a purely mechanical way) that if art were to be interpreted by a much wider audience than it generally is, it would be viewed differently — in the same way, that the result of an experiment or poll changes when you broaden the sample size. However, with an experiment, the goal is to identify the trend line or mean that emerges from the noise. With art, however, there is no such predefined goal or hypothesis. Perhaps there never will be a discrete purpose or unit of measurement for art, but because we now live in a world proliferated by social media that links things you like with other people who like those things thus created contaminated epistemic bubbles the very proof of which you need not look further than this LED-illuminated word… we must at least attempt to look further. Given that you have had to audacity to read a few more words allow me to explain how one might go about breaking bubbles.

Our goal is to give art that is restricted on other platforms the voice they deserve and to properly accredit and compensate the artists who venture into the grey area of acceptability in our society. There are emotions as well as physical states we all express at times, but never discuss in public or consider as art. Much of what differentiates art from randomness is the artist themself or their bizarre and innovative process. Art should be judged for its merit as art alone and therefore our new platform: Grey Area Fine Art works to give each artist the opportunity to use a pseudonym or remain fully anonymous — a feature no other NFT platform offers. While it is not possible to view art through every lens, with the implementation of the same social media strategies and mechanisms, used to drive us into herds we can forge an ultimate criterion for Grey Area Fine Art as one to give all art the opportunity to be seen and heard.

For example, much of what does determine art has to do with the artist. Their particular style, personal choices, and timing within a movement all come into play. We tend to categorize. Usually, generalization is helpful to us (or evolution would probably have gotten rid of it by now), but in the case of art where being different itself can cause a paradigm shift, and by that, I denote a new movement, the new movement will inherently be viewed through the lens of the old until enough momentum is generated to turn perception. Therefore, we ought acknowledge our own perception and read the room the art is placed in before deciding if it is, in fact, art.

With the Grey Area Fine Art project, we hope to give art its fullest possible audience and eliminate any sample bias from judging the art as the artist. Join the discourse and disagree with me to help prove my point. You can comment below or join our Reddit community at r/GreyAreaFineArt.

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