Anonymity in the Digital Age
In this interview with 5 artists—0xdgb, C4RDINAL, kingxerox, socmplxd, and tkzs—we delve into the realm of anonymity in art, exploring its implications and impact it has on the creative process. Each artist provides a unique perspective on the notion of anonymity and its intersection with their artistic practice. We posed two questions to these artists: "What does the notion of anonymity in art mean to you and your practice?" and "How does your artwork within this curation speak to this?" Their thoughtful responses unveil a spectrum of experiences, from the separation of personal identity and artwork to foster a more universal connection, to the deliberate choice of remaining anonymous for the liberation it affords. Through their words, we navigate the depths of identity, privacy, liberation, and the transformative power of art, discovering how the concept of anonymity serves as a catalyst for introspection and universal connection in the art world.
Fast forward to the digital era, where the Web 3 space presents a new frontier for artistic expression. Here, anonymity takes on a new significance, echoing the ideals of the Renaissance while diverging in its manifestation. Artists, particularly in digital realms, have the opportunity to suppress their identity intentionally, allowing the work to speak for itself without the overshadowing presence of the creator. The digital community becomes a canvas for artists to explore their craft without the constraints of persona. This intentional anonymity generates excitement, mystique, and an environment conducive to uninhibited expression. The act of concealing identity becomes a form of protection, allowing artists to create without external interference.
- Paloma Rodriguez
0xdgb: I've always struggled with the work/life balance, so having an artistic persona is supposed to help me switch off, be myself when I'm not working, then get into the zone and be creative when I need to be, it helps from time to time, but it's not always that easy. I've come to realise it's just another part of me, one that can take over whenever it likes.
This piece depicts my mind constantly running. The artist inside me is always there, watching and waiting to spark up an idea without warning, an idea I then can't drop until I've executed it. It's as if my artistic persona has control over me, and can put pressure on me at any moment. That includes the pressures of when work starts to sell for considerable amounts, is collected by notable collectors and you have a lot of eyes on you. You feel like there’s no room for error, everything you produce has to be better than the last.
C4RDINAL: For this curation, I crafted a piece I'm calling OPEN WATER. The ocean has always fascinated and terrified me. It's deep, dark, and full of unknown. Few are willing to go beyond the surface, for fear of what they might discover. Many people carry the same feelings about themselves, and their relationships with others.
OPEN WATER represents opportunity, fear, suffering and challenge as we navigate our own identities and true authentic selves. The majority of the piece was created in Cinema 4D, and finished in photoshop. Every component, from the sea to the sky is built in 3D, mirroring our own three-dimensional selves and personalities. This has been my first time using C4D, but it felt fitting to introduce something new given this theme. We are only scratching the surface. There is so much more to discover.
Pseudonymity has a long history in art - from writers like Voltaire and Mark Twain, to artists like Hokusai and Banksy. They are leveraged to create equal opportunity, protect from political backlash, privacy, or even for cultural reasons. For example, in Japan, writers and artists often adopt a 'gō', especially in the fields of poetry and painting. It's a fascinating topic of discussion.
kingxerox: The concept of anonymity in art holds profound significance for both my identity and artistic practice. By choosing to remain anonymous, I intentionally detach my personal identity from my work, allowing the focus to shift entirely onto the art itself. This deliberate separation fosters a sense of mystery and universality, encouraging viewers to engage with the art on a more personal and introspective level.
Anonymity serves as a powerful tool for liberation, enabling me to navigate the art world without the constraints of preconceived notions tied to my name or background. It allows the audience to interpret and connect with the artwork without the influence of the artist's identity, fostering a more egalitarian and open dialogue.
In the current stage of my artistic journey, I draw much inspiration from the similarities between Web3 and biblical narratives. I believe that an artist remaining anonymous transcends many barriers between the artwork and the audience and establishes a purer connection. If one believes in the healing power of art, an anonymous artist, much like Jesus, possesses a stronger ability for profound healing.
socmplxd: Anonymity provides me a fresh start for creative freedom. I appreciate the idea of the artwork itself encouraging authentic evaluation, free from past judgments, accolades, and expectations associated with previous personal identity.
The artwork is a reflection of the fluid nature of identities, particularly in the online realm. It explores the play of personas shaped by profile pictures, the ease of creating new accounts, and the emergence of varied identities—ranging from those closely aligned with one's true self to entirely new and distinct personas.
The Wanderer Path by tkzs
tkzs: Anonymity is the cornerstone of my artistic practice. It grants me the freedom to express myself without the constraints of societal expectations or norms. This liberation is not just a part of my process; it’s essential to it. I cannot imagine creating art in any other way. In my work, the concept of a virtual persona transcends the role of a mere tool; it becomes the art itself. This persona, Tù.úk’z, embodies both the artist and the artwork. It’s a singular entity, representing the fusion of creator and creation. There is no separate ‘creator’ behind Tù.úk’z; it is the entirety of the artistic existence.
In this artwork, the figure walking through a serene, pastel landscape exudes a sense of mystery and tranquility. The figure's back is turned to us, shielding their identity and thus becoming a universal symbol of anonymity. This directly speaks to the theme of anonymity, suggesting that the journey through the landscape is personal and introspective, not influenced by the gaze or judgment of others. The figure could be anyone, emphasizing that anonymity allows for a pure, unfiltered experience of the art itself. The soft, dream-like quality of the environment further implies a detachment from reality, a space where Tù.úk’z exists unfettered by the constraints of a physical creator.