The Case for Funding “Public Artists”
This is an introduction to “Sovereignty Generating Organizations”—which ensure that artists feel financially secure enough to create the best art possible for the public good.
Introduction: A Love Letter to Public Artists
This essay is a love letter to public artists, the people whose contributions to society are often overlooked and whose creative processes are wildly constrained by how they are paid and who they are paid by.
These artists have spent their lives developing a taste, a spirit, and an intuition that enables them to produce the remarkable work we admire.
They understand societal problems and trends deeply, seeing patterns invisible to most, and feel a profound calling to help others see the world through their eyes.
In this piece, I introduce a way to ensure that artists are properly valued for their contributions to society, and achieve the sovereignty that allows them to fulfill their life’s work.
The True Value of Creative Work
Public artists' creative work is much more valuable than the time it takes to create it. For example:
A tweet can take 30 seconds to draft and post, but it takes years of being an internet citizen and thousands of tweets of practice to develop the intuition and skillset to tweet something that people want to reshare.
A photograph literally only takes a second to snap, but it can take dozens of photoshoots and extensive training to take photos that touch the soul of the viewer.
A new network of people can take just days if not hours to get off the ground, but it takes thousands of hours of forming relationships to build enough trust.
An event may only last a few hours, but it takes a lifetime to become the person who has the ability to know who to invite and what vibe to create.
The Creative Sovereignty of Public Artists
Companies hiring artists are right to create clear working agreements with project deliverables and timelines.
However, only working for companies or people that commission art for anything beyond the absolute public good can kill the spirit of the public artist.
Public artists must be empowered to create art that speaks authentically to their soul and is intended entirely for the public good.
This includes art that communicates truths not being communicated or not being communicated in a way that sufficiently stirs people's hearts and agitates their minds
It also includes art that is genuinely healing during times of deep chaos and systemic oppression.
A Novel Way to Fund Public Artists: Sovereignty Generating Organizations (SGOs)
To ensure artists' creative sovereignty and direct their energy towards the public good, we propose an on-chain structure called "Sovereignty Generating Organizations (SGOs)." In this model, benefactors stream payments "optimistically" to the artist or artist collective, trusting they will use the money to create for the public good. This approach provides artists with economic security, allowing them to focus on their work without financial constraints.
Artists release mintable art pieces that benefactors can choose to collect. However, the primary focus remains on creating art for the public good rather than a traditional quid pro quo. Benefactors receive no art "for them" in return, although they may gain insights into the artist's creative process or early access to mint art.
In addition to being a vehicle for artists to receive unconditional payment and payment for their art, the SGO model dedicates a portion of the money streamed to the artist to support more artists. This creates an ecosystem of sovereign artists, all creating art for the public good and choosing to create rather than being forced to do so to get by.
The SGO vision comprises three components:
Artists reclaiming sovereignty by participating in this new structure.
Impactful public art that creates ripple effects.
Streams to not-yet-activated artists that introduce them to the concept of sovereignty.
The generation of artist sovereignty will spark an upward spiral that ultimately lifts us to a new Golden Age for humanity.
By supporting the sovereignty of the people who can best illuminate how we are all being oppressed, we help everyone unshackle themselves and find new ways to express and experience the world.
SGOs will encourage collaboration, innovation, and a deep sense of purpose in the artistic community, as creators unite under the banner of public good.
Let’s Help Create A Million Sovereign Artists By 2025
With the implementation of SGOs, we hope to create a thriving ecosystem of artists who can focus on their craft without worrying about financial constraints.
As more artists join the movement, we envision a global network of creative individuals whose contributions inspire change, provoke thought, and heal wounds caused by societal challenges.
In this new Golden Age, artists will be free to create from the depths of their hearts and souls, producing work that resonates with the public on a profound level. This era of artistic freedom will not only enrich our culture but also foster a deeper understanding of the human experience.
As Pablo Picasso once said, "The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls." By supporting artists' sovereignty and fostering a future where creative energy is channeled towards the public good, we can ensure that art continues to cleanse our souls and elevate our collective consciousness.
How AI Artists Can Liberate Human Artists From A Prison Of Commercial Work
Where does AI fit into all of this?
The rise of AI-generated art can revolutionize the creative industry by taking on commercial projects, freeing human artists to focus on deeply personal and expressive work.
With AI taking on the role of performing Fiverr-esque services, human artists can dedicate themselves to the pursuit of artistic expression that resonates deeply with their own experiences and emotions.
This shift in focus enables artists to channel their creative energy into projects that hold personal significance, without the pressure of conforming to commercial expectations.
By integrating AI artists into the creative ecosystem and supporting the sovereignty of human artists through org structures like SGOs, we can usher in a new era of authentic human expression that enriches our understanding of the human experience.
With SGOs, AI is not a new destroyer of humanity; it liberates us to double down on what we humans are most called to do.
Conclusion: The Importance of Artist Sovereignty
In conclusion, the importance of artist sovereignty cannot be overstated.
The funding model of Sovereignty Generating Organizations holds the potential to unleash the full creative power of public artists, directing their talents towards the betterment of society.
As Vincent van Gogh profoundly stated,
"Art is to console those who are broken by life."
By embracing and supporting the sovereignty of artists, we can help them create works that console, inspire, and elevate us all, fostering a brighter and more compassionate future for humanity.
America 2.0 (by Gary Sheng) is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Thank you Lani Trock for the inspiration for this piece and to all public artists who dedicate their lives to the pursuit of truth, beauty, and the public good. Together, we can usher in a new era of artistic sovereignty and unlock the full potential of art to transform our world.