Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Art, Schmart...!

Hello once again, my fellow prisoners... it's been quite a few months since my last post, so it now looks like it's time to fall off the literary wagon once again. For, you know, I can't really think of anything besides "viral online marketing" and/or "readily available (and/or accessible) information online" that this 20th century contraption called the "internets" was designed for... other than what I'm doing here (i.e. posting like a whiny lil' bitch about my next to non-existent art career). But hey, this post has been a long time coming, and I find that sometimes the best way to vent my frustrations out on the world is to write an overly critical outlook on such a crackpot idea like say... "the art world" in general.

But before I begin, I'd like to give you a little back story here, as to how I came to this jaded skewed view of a conclusion... (or current perception in this rather dismal point in time of my life) just so you can all really dig where I'm coming from. A few months back, I had a job. It wasn't exactly the most worthwhile job... in fact, it was kind of like the consolation prize for a prisoner on death row. What's that you said? A last minute pardon from the governor? Well, maybe... but not via telephone mind you; it was more like a piss poor Skype connection! Let's just say I've never had the privilege to work in an environment where on any given day, at least two to five co-workers with roving criminal records (you know... as opposed to the open and shut expunged type of records?) would make a rather promising career in a field (which shall remain nameless) into a death match tournament, somewhere along the lines of Darwin's survival of the fittest.

Another Year in Hell Image

I've never once held a position where quite an excessive amount of responsibility was thrown my way, only to see it turn into something that wasn't exactly expressed and/or hinted at during my initial job interview. As a matter of fact, I believe that the job title should have been listed as "de facto babysitter to company psychopaths" but maybe I'm just exaggerating... maybe this is the way things are nowadays, when you have to put up your co-workers antics (some of which may involve temporary harm to one of my five senses... i.e. blown ear drum due to a illegal firework being set off on the premises). I can't count the number of times I was pushed to my limits, without being reminded by the folks that worked there: "We're just a big family... and we like to pull pranks on each other every once in a while!" So basically put, I was in grin and bear it mode... which I've always likened to having my testicles being puréed in some top of the line stainless steel fruit mixing blender of some sort... you know, the one with the chainsaw setting?

Anyways, I'd say that my tenure at this lovely little derriere of a hole must have been longer than I expected. Let's put it this way, my foot was already out the door after the firecracker incident, but the straw that broke the camel's back was an altercation I had on a glorious Monday morning with a bipolar fat fuck of a co-worker... and mind you, I'm not criticizing the overweight contingent of the US population, for I'm a bit on the chunky side myself; instead, I'm referring specifically to fuckers that use their weight as an advantage designed to intimidate others. Yes, it was that bad! I got this fat fuck to stand in fighting position... and without even trying! Basically, the argument was over the lovely selection of air pollution he was listening to at the time, to which I politely said, sorry... I just can't get into this. For I'm from the old school of music, you know? The kind of school that listens to music to do one of two things, either a) relax or b) dance. Anything after that era is usually designed to c) kill, usually via means of violent confrontation.

Chain of Command Image

And far be it from me to be perched upon a moral high horse or anything... as he so eloquently stated like the fat grease monkey he is, but considering my official position was assistant to the store manager, I was probably looking out for the store's best interest, or image, or whatever it is. I mean, we already had a meeting with the store owner concerning the noise levels being at a certain inaudible level to any of the potential customers that frequented the establishment. And since my immediate store manager, who recently had a cancer scare (the kind that comes back after remission) wasn't on the premises, that only added some more fuel to this spectacle of a fire. So I did what any a foolish (and slightly middle aged) young man would do in this position (you know, at the crossroads of one's life, when one finds themselves in the corner of "fuck you" and "I don't give a shit!") would do. I just got up and left, and drove home to that all too familiar reality of "what am I going to do now?"

Well, if it's something that I've learned from attempting to hold down a job such as this one, where I'm given the trustee treatment from my fellow co-workers on account of my store owner's decision to police their activities... and that's for every amount of high blood pressure acquired (especially the ones that bring a lovely little twitch to my eye) there has to be an outlet, or release... some sort of hobby, you know? And that hobby for me has long been my art. I've always been working at it, for as long as I could remember, but only recently got very serious about it (since 2005, to be exact). And after quite a few setbacks, I set out to make my best effort to present my rather large body of work (most of which is still sitting in the basement) on my other website. Not because I felt the immediate need for some type of gratification coming in the form of a sale or two (or three hundred) but because I felt it was time I got my proverbial shit together and did something about my rather incomplete looking website. So at the start of the year, I had scanned most of my work, and went through the whole lengthy process of cataloging it and putting it together for easy online display purposes and what have you. But still, the one thing that eluded me was how to get people's interest. And to this very day, it still does!

So here were some mistakes I made during this period... which would probably classify as my third or fourth wilderness period, mind you... so you'd think I'd learn a thing or two by now. But alas, here's what you SHOULDN'T do, if you're the kind of fellow artist that likes some free advice. Do not pay for any package that involves more Twitter followers and/or Facebook likes. The only type of actual likage (is that even a word?) is the kind that you can garner from actually paying Facebook for advertisement purposes and/or followage (yet another trendy bullshit word) is the kind you find yourself actually engaging in with your Twitter followers... which again is hard for me to do, since I'm not the kind of person that likes to send out mindless tweets every two seconds about everyday things like that strange itching sensation in my crotch and/or the staying power of the flatulence I might have expelled whilst I was writing this here blog piece. No wait... that was actually a weather advisory. Anyways, for those of you that were so bold (and naive, to say the least) to attempt to garner a fake followership (yet another bogus word that Google's auto correct feature likes to point out to me in the form of a red wavy underscore) online to help boost your online presence... there's still a way to remove those fake followers.

I had about 15,000 of these fake zombie follower accounts, thanks to this bargain of a deal (which sadly did not have a money back guarantee)... and four of them actually got suspended. And for some reason Twitter still counts them as followers, so I'll always have an uneven/imperfect ratio. That is... until Twitter's developers get off their lazy asses and do something about it! Thank you very much! But getting off that tangent, I had to actually get rid of these fake followers by blocking each and every one of them (it's really the only way you can do it) because it's not so much tweeting about the latest work of art you have up for sale on eBay and hoping to get at least 15,000 hits to your listing, but tweeting to your 15,000 followers only to get 34 hits to those real followers that were actually listening! So, I had searched online and came across this handy little javascript developer code that would plow through your followers list and get rid of the fake followers. And that website was http://followersbegone.com which is good, but it's not great. (The site is no longer in service, either). The code sometimes locks up, especially if you leave the javascript console open. So what I would do is copy the code, click on the followers tab, open up that aforementioned tool menu on that followers, pasting the code, and getting it to run... at which point a clickable button would appear on the page itself, which I learned by trial and error had a better chance of running without any problems if I closed the developer window... but it only worked up until a thousand to maybe two thousand fake followers were scanned. And honestly, this is not that great a tool to be using to identify fake zombie accounts, but it is a rather convenient automated bot.

And that's when I found out about http://unfollowers.com which is better. Of course, I can't really afford a paid subscription for the time being, but at any rate, this website has it all as far as fake follower analysis is concerned, and it can do quite a few other things as well. So what I wound up doing day by day was using both of these methods together and managed to slim down my account to make sure I wasn't tweeting to a wall. Anyways, that being said... another thing I had to revamp was my YouTube art rendering videos, which I had principally shot about a year ago (2013). I didn't realize that there was actually a way to speed up the video length more by using a thing called a velocity filter, but once I came across that handy little technique, courtesy of a how to YouTube video out there, I successfully managed to trim down my fifteen to eighteen minute bores of slightly sped up videos to meth fueled speed pictures. And this time around, I even added links to my social networks. And that too, is just a matter of using URL redirection to point towards one's pages, just to make it easier for the general public at large to find your stuff online. And yet... I still can't manage to garner enough attention to my would-be art career...

So, just to get back to the gist of what this blog post originally set out to be, before I got into the whole helpful suggestion bit that no one ever bothers to listen to... the fact is, that despite all the work I'm doing, I'm still managing to get nowhere fast. And add to that, that up until a few weeks ago, I was doing a search for art that sells on eBay (yet another thing you shouldn't do unless you really want to torture yourself as an artist) and I came across this hideous looking thing that I couldn't make out at all that sold for a whopping $50,000... or so it seemed. Of course, I took one look at it and thought nothing at the time. But I just had to save it because I was literally dumbfounded as to why anybody would like to pay that much money for such an ugly looking thing that I just couldn't make out. So then I did another search a few days later, still looking at the top sold listings and noticed there was another piece that looked just like it. And then I said to myself... wait a minute, what's going on here? So then I noticed that the pieces all bore the same title, and so I decided to do a more specific search to include the words FLAPPY BIRD ART in the title and was lucky to have not found myself being committed to a mental asylum. Just take a look at some examples of this here lunacy...

Flappy Bird Sold Listings Example 1     Flappy Bird Sold Listings Example 2

Flappy Bird Sold Listings Example 3     Flappy Bird Sold Listings Example 4

So then, I did a bit of online research and realized that this whole craze was a bi product of the developer's decision to take down this multi-million dollar app off of the Android market, mostly due to the negative wave of feedback he got for developing this game in the first place. One can only put up with so much flack coming from very angry parents whose kids were breaking phones that they had bought for them, solely due to the alluring nature of the game itself... you see, it's one of THOSE games, you dig? The kind that looks so simple to play, but is as hard as a bitch, and you always find yourself coming back for more abuse, simply because it looks so easy to master, and yet after a few more tries you just want to chuck your phone against the wall and whatnot. I mean, let's face it... the popularity of the game really caught on after a rather anti-Flappy Bird tweet that read "FUCK FLAPPY BIRD!" for crying out loud. So it's one of those strange destinies written in the stars and all that jazz. The kind that only exists for a brief moment in a capsule of history and thus anything related to it has to be gold, too, you see? Hence all this artwork... But speaking of doomed destinies; here I am, probably destined to forever venture out on this road to financial ruin, unable to pursue my dreams successfully and live off them, and maybe even venting out my creative frustrations over the nuance of a petty little blog post. C'est la vie... Of course, as we all know, appearances can always be deceiving and as I took a second look into the nature of these exorbitant final auction amount eBay listings, I started noticing that the bids placed came from buyers that had no feedback scores; which is a sure sign that these listings were faked somehow. Basically the majority of them were just bids that were falsely racked up so that some actual rich douchebag could put a final whopping bid amount and then promptly proceed to kick himself in the ass the morning after, like some kind of bad hangover. Most of the time, I would come across a duplicate listing, or better put... the relisted item. Chances are that the bidder that put in such a ludicrous amount didn't cough up the money, and so... the poor seller (who may or may have not been involved in the scam) had no choice but to relist the item after they had to file a complaint against the other eBay member that bid such a ludicrous amount in the first place! I could only imagine the horror having to cough up a percentage of the final auction price if that bastard of a buyer refuses to pay!

My Art Listings

And so it's at times like these that I actually feel blessed to be such a failure as an artist... (click the image above). So many listings at such an affordable price... and still: NADA! ZIP! ZILCH! ZERO! Maybe, just maybe; my audience hasn't been born yet. Maybe I'm one of those artists that are destined to be legends after they die, I mean after all... that sort of notoriety goes with this here territory, and not too many artists are that world renowned when they're alive, right? Well, maybe about 99.9% of them are. So I guess I must be that rare .1% since just about everything I do to direct some attention towards my art just goes unnoticed. Oh yeah... one more thing I forgot to mention. I've even branded my images to include links to related social media, which is yet another DIY tip if you're an struggling artist that would probably like to get his or her shit together!

My Flappy Bird Art

And yes... it's true. I even stooped to the level of rendering an original take on the infamous Flappy Bird nose dive, and still have yet to see one red cent for it on eBay! Well, actually I did get an offer of $5.00 as a best offer when I set the asking price at just $50.00... which doesn't leave room for much of a profit now, does it... considering that the lowest price on shipping for such a small item is $5.80. Go figure! Perhaps the whole art scene in general is as rigged as it is on that Art episode (AKA: Season 2, Episode 3) of Dilbert, in which the whole world of art is controlled by five families, all headed by Leonardo da Vinci, whom oddly enough was also on an episode of Futurama. But that's another story... right now, I'm thinking about trying a whole different approach to my art. Perhaps I should video tape a live art execution, as opposed to the whole live rendering thing, you dig? Nothing major... maybe just put some finished works of art through a paper shredder, or dump an oil painting in a vat of paint thinner, or a tub of water if the medium is acrylic. Hell, I can even turn it into a pay-per-view event... which of my works of art would you care for me to destroy next? Or maybe, I can just sum it all up in a way to make it all as catchy as this aforementioned discontinued game phenomenon that has taken this country by a one month storm (or at least two and a half weeks tops!). Yes, that'll definitely do the trick! So, ladies and gentlemen...


This has been the illustrious P.S. Elliott (AKA: Dr. Gonzo XXVII) reporting for the disassociated press, that is... The Gnoyze Guitar Mods & More Web Blog.

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