A Dilemma: Artists Using NFT's & Vetting

Art Waring

Redlined Ratrod
So I am in the trenches making an rpg, and this year we have hired an excellent freelance artist at the rates they asked for, and the artist was absolutely our top pick. However, having found an artist, I like to be careful, so I went looking around for a backup artist and found some disturbing trends a few months back.

----> Some freelance artists, including artists that work on RPG's, are minting NFT's. [Note: I have absolutely no problem with artists earning a living, I myself am a freelance artist]. I am posing a question, not any definitive statement about artists making a living or their individual choices.`

Linked at the bottom is the most informative video on why NFT's are destructive, both for the environment and for society, the video has a complete rundown on NFT's if you have not seen it yet.

EDIT: Ok, it seems like I have mistakingly posed my original my question in a way that was interpreted as a statement, which it absolutely was not intended to be. I apologize for any misunderstanding.

The question was: am I, an indie creator, responsible for what artists produce beyond what I have hired them for?

Should I have to be accountable for an artist that I hire, and ensure that they aren't involved in NFT's?

I know it's a sensitive subject, but if we could please have a polite conversation on the subject it is very much appreciated.

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Yora

Legend
Ultimately you have two options: Commission the art or do not commission the art.
If you go with the later, you could send the artists a message that you would have commissioned art from them if they weren't dealing in NFTs, but that's really about it.
 


Art Waring

Redlined Ratrod
Ultimately you have two options: Commission the art or do not commission the art.
If you go with the later, you could send the artists a message that you would have commissioned art from them if they weren't dealing in NFTs, but that's really about it.
While I agree with you, I still think it is adding more work for people who hire freelance artists, forcing them to thoroughly vet an individual, not just on social media, but now also on NFT sites, because artists don't always pair the two together.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
We cannot police everyone we work with for every small misdeed. You are going to have to pick your battles, and I'm not sure issuing a few NFTs of their own work is a hill to die on.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
We cannot police everyone we work with for every small misdeed. You are going to have to pick your battles, and I'm not sure issuing a few NFTs of their own work is a hill to die on.
But, to the OP, it's your hill and you are free to pick the battles you want to and have the time/effort to fight. I do think nobody here is going to judge you harshly if that particular issue isn't one you feel you can reliably pursue, no matter how grifty NFTs are.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
But, to the OP, it's your hill and you are free to pick the battles you want to and have the time/effort to fight.

Yep. If you are a tiny publisher, but feel you want to do the research on each individual artist, knock yourself out.

But, before we note how grifty NFTs are, we need to recognize the level we are dealing with - we aren't considering a larger company, whose due diligence on a project to issue NFTs should reveal the griftiness. When talking about engaging a freelance artist, we should not count on the same level of understanding of the technology and economics involved, nor hold the artist accountable for it.
 

Art Waring

Redlined Ratrod
When talking about engaging a freelance artist, we should not count on the same level of understanding of the technology and economics involved, nor hold the artist accountable for it.
That's absolutely why I think this is an important issue.

It's not that I think this is the a battle to be fought, it's just a possible growing concern in the future.

I am concerned that this could impact small indie creators who may not understand the implications of the subject. Large companies also seem to get less scrutiny than smaller ones in many regards, and to me sometimes it feels like the social pressure is heavier on the smaller companies.

I guess an important question would be:

Should I have to be accountable for an artist that I hire, and ensure that they aren't involved in NFT's?
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I am concerned that this could impact small indie creators who may not understand the implications of the subject. Large companies also seem to get less scrutiny than smaller ones in many regards, and to me sometimes it feels like the social pressure is heavier on the smaller companies.

When Kickstarter started talking about blockchain, there was quite a discussion about it, apparently enough for them to walk it back to silence. What other "large companies" in the gaming sphere do you feel haven't been scrutinized?
 

Mezuka

Hero
Are we going to need an App for 'Ethical Purity Level' (ePure?) to check on every people we deal with. Reminds me of a Black Mirror episode..

If the freelance artist wants to make side money with his creations that is up to them. Why should he starve?

If you ask me I would not answer such questions. BTW did you hire a Sensitivity Editor for your game? You might be promoting hurtful things without knowing it. It goes both ways. I could ask that of you as a freelance artist. What's your ePure level? Should he dig into the past of your social accounts and forum post?
 
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overgeeked

B/X Known World
How do you deal with artists that still insist on using NFT's?
Don't. Simple as. Same with companies that use NFTs. To the point where I dropped several Kickstarters because the companies were dabbling in NFTs, like Chaosium. They have since "walked back" their position, but in such a non-committal way that I don't trust them to not proceed anyway. So, that's me never buying Chaosium stuff again. Anyone who's willing to intentionally trash the environment to make a few bucks isn't worth working with. There are other, more ethical artists and companies.

It's a personal choice. If you feel that strongly about NFTs, don't work with people doing NFTs. You'll get crap from people no matter what you do, so might as well be able to look at yourself in the mirror.
 


Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
If you don't want to support creators that do other work with NFTs, don't. Considering how payout to payout many creative types are, it is not surprising that many welcome the additional income.

But your "How do you deal with artists that still insist on using NFT's?" comes across as ridiculously presumptuous though. To the point I would not want to purchase what you produce. It comes across as "I have made a moral judgement about part of what you do that does not impact what I would like to hire you for, but I feel that since I paying you I can make demands outside the scope of our contract, and then feel outraged when you 'insist' on not obeying."

Look, you don't have to hire them. But nothing gives you the right to inflict your beliefs on them and then be outraged when then don't comply. That's just massive entitlement on your side.
 

Art Waring

Redlined Ratrod
Edit: Thank you Blue for giving me the chance to apologize, It was my mistake and I really appreciate you giving me the chance to clear things up.

As an artist, I respect every individual artists choice to earn a living as they choose.

I myself have had to face difficult choices as an artist, and making a living as an artist, part or full time is truly challenging and stressful at times.

I am sorry that we got off on the wrong foot, thank you for your patience and understanding.
 
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Should I have to be accountable for an artist that I hire, and ensure that they aren't involved in NFT's?
No, not in the least.

You hire a professional for a job, they do it, you pay them, you receive the work product. Done.

Now, if I was in your shoes, I would think about what rights I would want for the art. If I was getting sole rights, then the artist agrees to not make an NFT of the art. If not, hey, that's their business.
 


Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Had a good chat with @Art Waring. Some of the original language of the post seemed to me to be rather entitled and demanding and I called that out. But on talking with Art that was simply a miscommunication, and they are just looking for advice. It looks like the language in the first post has been radically cleaned up to avoid the misunderstanding.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Don't. Simple as. Same with companies that use NFTs. To the point where I dropped several Kickstarters because the companies were dabbling in NFTs, like Chaosium. They have since "walked back" their position, but in such a non-committal way that I don't trust them to not proceed anyway. So, that's me never buying Chaosium stuff again. Anyone who's willing to intentionally trash the environment to make a few bucks isn't worth working with. There are other, more ethical artists and companies.
The linked video in the OP is well over two hours long; way longer than I'm going to slog through just to answer my one simple question:

What is it about NFTs that trashes the environment?

So, is there a short-form answer? :)
 

Galandris

Foggy Bottom Campaign Setting Fan
The question was: am I, an indie creator, responsible for what artists produce beyond what I have hired them for?

No. You're buying from them. Sure, you could make ethical decisions when purchasing, but I find "mints NFTs" a very low bar for influencing your buying pattern, akin to boycotting one for not having a strong and public stance on pineapple pizzas.


lanefan said:
So, is there a short-form answer? :)

The video is 2 hours long because half of it is discussing the mortgage speculation and 2008 banking crisis, then going on to crypto-currency and how NFTs are a gateway drug to make one's buy crypto-currencies. The chapter about NFTs starts around the 1h33min mark, where he reveals that NFTs as access passes will turn the Internet into a dystopia, where people whose account has NFT for giving to a charity supporting a specific group would be denied selling products by companies (because probably in the meantime all consumers and privacy laws will be revoked, so companies could check the blockchain to identify you as supportive of product A so they can deny you access to their product B, or charge more than if you hadn't bought product A in the first place). Even if there is something related to thrashing the environment, I'd take it with a grain of salt. I guess the strongest point would be that crypto-currency mining requires electricty and energy that could be put to better use, but I am not convinced NFTs transactions are on par with crypto mining as an industry. They could, at some point, though (and, to be honest, even a modicum of energy wasted is still wasted).

At no points he seems to address the use of NFTs to create numbered copies of an original artwork and how it might be inherently evil. Which artists have been selling, as hand-signed lithographs, for centuries. And which caused speculation (copy numbered #7 is often less expansive than #1 and more expansive than #473) for centuries without anyone batting an eye. And which might be the exact behaviour of the RPG artist creating NFTs for his drawing. Sure, it might encourage speculation, and scams that appeared around NFTs, but we didn't stop making new houses after the housing bubble.
 
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