Today I have three years anniversary here on Steemit, so I have decided to make a post that I have been planning for a while. It is a (very) long and thorough introduction for anyone who is interested in the history of the Katharsisdrill project and how it emerged.
All art on this page is made by me – Katharsisdrill.
The Katharsisdrill project has just had its 5 years anniversary. It is an art venture that began without any plan, almost distractedly, to support and entertain people on the free, federated network of Diaspora, and organically it evolved into what it is today.
The principles behind the project is as follows:
- Everything is made under the pseudonym: Katharsisdrill. There are no references to my other work.
- The circulation of the works takes place only on decentralized networks without surveillance. No Facebook, no Instagram.
- All works are made with free and open technology (Open source software).
- All works are Creative Commons. They can be used, sampled and sold without permission.
The name, the logo, the identity
First I will need to present myself: I am Katharsisdrill.
The name I choose for the project was already there. It was one of the many names I have been using back in the days when anonymity was allowed on the mainstream internet. I picked it among many others because it sounded a bit like it had something to do with art. Catharsis is a concept used by Aristotle in his Poetics to characterise the uplifting effect art can have on people. It means purification.
The next thing I made was a logo. I used a Golden mask from the pre-Spanish South American cultures and a metaldrill with golden titanium coating (to refer to the name). It was made as casually as the rest of the concept. Later the logo evolved into a hand drawn version (see above) and it also became the face of the Katharsisdrill avatar (mentioned later in this text).
So this was what it was: a pseudonym name, a logo, and an idea about a place to distribute all the art that I wouldn't be able to sell or use in any other context. Who was I before? Well, anonymity demands that I only speak of this in the most general terms, but in short:
I am a Danish fine artist who worked with painting, graphic print, installation, objects, film, text, books, websites and many other media. After the finance crisis in 2007-8, I was tired of the art community, the art business and the social control of the art world. I began creating other kinds of art, novels, films, music, applied arts. All of it very uncompromisingly uncommercial. Having skills in other crafts like graphic and web design, 3d modelling, and still selling art, I was in the privileged position that I could maintain this way of living. But then I tumbled into a new artistic career.
(If you follow my Steemit blog you will know that I also post about my life in Copenhagen, my interests and opinions on all kinds of things. My main objective is not to mix up my otherart career with this one.)
I have always been interested in technology and already in 1999 I installed my first Linux system. So when Edward Snowden revealed the enormity of the commercial and governmental surveillance I took the consequence and left Facebook. That was back in 2013. I looked around for another social network where I could force my family to join and found Diaspora one of the oldest decentralised social networks.
After some years on this network, where I both had a closed family profile and a public, anonymous profile I decided to help out with this voluntary project. I wouldn't have been able to run my own instance, so I decided to share some of my art for free. I found the Creative Common license and choose the one CC attribution, meaning that everybody can share, rework, sell and copy the art without asking permission. The only thing demanded of the user is that they point back to artist.
I made a new profile with my weird name and logo and the first thing I posted was two illustration proposals for a Danish classical music periodical (The illustrations that eventually featured in the magazine was not the ones I public under the Katharsisdrill profile).
Today I have three years anniversary here on Steemit. It was a crypto enthusiast who was part of the Diaspora federation who told me that I might be able to earn some money on a new site called Steemit. When I was utterly confused by the concept, didn't have a Facebook profile to use as a ticket for an account he gave me the link to @someguy123's anonymous profile creator and gave me the bitcoins needed to purchase the profile (0.01711 BTC - just looked it up).
Since then I have been building my SP from earnings, and in 2018 I was able to work the whole year from bitcoin donations (mainly from Diaspora) and SPD-donations from Steemit (plus a grant from the Danish Art Foundation).
Phill from GCHQ and other comics
Already when I was still making painting I had plans on doing a comic. I was never a person to put much emphasis on the distinction between fine arts and not-so-fine arts, so I didn't see it as undermining my art. I made quite a few attempts.
In 2016 just at the time I joined Steemit I published three comic pages that I had made and later decided to discontinue. The comic was called, Phill from GCHQ, and the idea was to make a satire over the modern surveillance regime that had so angered me back in 2013. People on the Diaspora network asked for more and I reluctantly made a few more pages, every time writing: Licensed CC-by so anybody who likes can continue the story if they like. No one did of course, and while working I kind of got caught up in the work. Suddenly I was actually making a comic just like I had planned.
This comic has been my main project these last three years. (You can read it all here on its own website: phillfromgchq.co.uk) Right now it is at page 87, and there will be many more before I get to bring the complicated story to its conclusion.
The story is centered around Phill Philby, a classic antihero in the tradition of some of my old heroes. First an foremost Gilbert Shelton, Robert Crumb and the Danish cartoonist Claus Deleuran, all more or less (in their own very idiosyncratic way), part of the counter-culture movement of the late sixties and the seventies. It combines spy story with political satire and Celtic Gods.
While making the comic about Phill and what ever artworks I fancy I have been working on other comic projects too. One is still a secret, made with some friends, other have already been published here on Steemit and on Diaspora. Some of them even feature myself and for that I had to invent an avatar.
The Katharsisdrill avatar
The first image of the Katharsisdrill avatar was made in August 2017. You can see it below.
If you look at this post:Katharsisdrill drawing himself, you can see many of the drawings where the avatar is included.
Music, 3D and other media
When I initiated the project I had little idea or interest in upholding a certain style or quality threshold. I was actually just intoxicated with the freedom that a pseudonym can give you. So I have made other things that lie slightly outside of my professional area of expertise. Here are a couple of examples of music I made:
I’m emotionally choked up - My first session of computer music. Might be a little disturbing at times.
Adagio in fifths - Synthesiser woodwind and some percussion, played directly on my computer keyboard.
Outlet Choir - No synthesiser sounds. All recordings. Put together in the open source program Audacity.
Olette - Synthesiser piece played directly on the writing keyboard.
I have also published files for 3d print and I'm planning to make both gif-art and film.
The last addition to the Katharsisdrill project is the Dark Katharsisdrill venture. Especially on the Diaspora network I have been having (all too) many discussions about what to post and what not to post with the nsfw tag, so I eventually invented this sub-project to root out the social pressure of self censoring and to maybe examine what comes from dividing my creations into two morally different spheres. I am not sure that it artistically makes any difference, but at least I know where to put it if it is too naughty or too revolting.
I haven't made that many work yet, but it is on my todo list.
You can find all the high resolution artworks on my Diaspora profile:
The comic about Phill from GCHQ is on its own site:
The Dark Katharsisdrill artworks are here: