On his website, he describes himself as “A traditional artist turned (best selling) cryptoartist, and an advocate for psychedelics.” But I think he is much more than that.
Let me give you a quick backstory about him.
He’s a law school dropout turned entrepreneur turned full-time artist. He left law school because it was very “vampiristic” and felt if he was successful enough, he could hire lawyers to do the shit that they do.
He decided to take his talents elsewhere and started studying SEO (Search engine optimization). This eventually led him to become affiliated with companies like Verizon Fios, HDR photography software, and WordPress.
He traveled the world and partied it up. In 2018, he eventually found his way to the cryptoart scene and has since been banned by multiple platforms for his art.
Here is my discussion I had with him about his art and the cryptoart scene:
What got you into cryptoart and the DEFI space, and how did you discover it? My friend Jacob (DrFUN) showed me the ICO / blockchain space in 2017, and I got super fascinated. So I dove deep and learned as much as I could about crypto for like three months, trying to wrap my head around it. Then in August 2018, I learned about Superare, KnownOrigin, and Art labs, and I just knew I had to be in this game. Intuitively I knew this was the future of everything. Jacob sent me $10 worth of Ethereum to get started. And at that time, that was more than enough to set up profiles and tokenize a bunch of art.
What was your experience in the early days of cryptoart? It was a lot more experimental, and there wasn’t anywhere near as much focus on money (as compared to now). So, artists gave away art to other artists, didn’t produce as much. It was a freer scene, in a way. It felt a lot more punk and wasn’t as influenced by headlines.
What are your thoughts about how much the scene has evolved? I think the saddest but inescapable thing is watching the media / old-world bullshit moving in and corrupting the space just like every other part of it. My hope is that people resist that and focus on what moves them.
Basically, Hollywood and existing power structures will try to make this into the same old bullshit, and they have a lot of firepower, so that will happen. But I think the spirit of what made this interesting and exciting will survive but will probably be the purview of people who are able to discern the hype from the art long term, I hope at least. I’m not trying to be big. I wanna be appreciated by people who see past the trendy hype shit.
It’s a formidable force to reckon with. I have to cut away all that shit (but I’ve always had to do that honestly) and refocus on what stimulates me as an artist. The siren calls of popularity are formidable tho. My OG status hopefully makes me a bit more impervious to that. Because I stood by my principles, even when the scene was small and there was a lot to lose (like the first time I got banned from SR for disagreeing with their policies). In a way I feel like the OG’s hold down a certain respect from where this came from and have dealt with more things that the younger audiences are just now starting to experience or will be experiencing as some powerful players try to control the market or steer the space in their own interests.
What would you like the scene to turn to? Direct heart to NFT, the truest reflection of a person’s creative manifestation of what they feel and are thinking about.
The scene is so huge now that I hope there’s plenty of space for every type of expression. And people keep supporting each other, an antifragile network of creators supporting creators, cutting out not just the middleman, but the sort of vampires that used to dominate the old-world galleries and music scenes who would screw over everyone and take huge cuts because they achieved some sort of market control. A true democratization of expression and the ability to create something that doesn’t curtail the trendy shit.
There’s an electric Renaissance happening, a true revolution that rewards the best aspects of human expression and not just acquiescence to dominance by a larger force meant to control your creative output for the benefit of a corporation or whatever. At Crypto Art Show 2019, I felt that what we were doing was so much bigger than anything we even knew or thought about. This is even bigger yet hard to put into words.
What was Crypto Art Show 2019, and what was the whole idea around it? We were all experimenting with this thing that was hard to explain to people but felt was important. I wanted an IRL show that bridged the gap between the world as we know it and what was brewing in this online space.
I wanted to legitimize this movement in a way. To have a dope gallery, one that was respected and had an edge in one of the most respected cities in the world-famous for its ability to bring out the next best... do this thing. I printed out the art on canvas and on museum-quality Pima cotton archival prints. I wanted to memorialize and pay homage to the moment, to who was making the scene what it was. Xcopy, Jivinci, Coldie, myself, Brandi Kyle, just the pioneers in the space. It was awkward superimposing digital art into printed out still, but I knew that whoever got one of these pieces, they were going loom as sharp and fresh (even if pixelated) over a hundred years from now. It was a way to create a decentralized time capsule for people who would hopefully preserve the legacy of what we were all experiencing by saving this in a way that we’ve all known - archival prints.
What are your thoughts on being banned from art platforms? I make art. I’m not the Pier 1 of crypto art. Good art fucks shit up, and if we are mature enough to have a conversation about it, then we progress as a species. And if not, then obvious aspects of the thing get hidden, and the powers that be get to still control shit. The foundation invite piece that got me banned is a perfect example of something that just be virtue of making art about it, I got published for exposing the truth.
How would you describe your art to other people and what would you want to be said about your art? Everything is politics, and we’re collectively unwilling to look at the truth of what’s happening. My art is hopefully a knife that cuts through that. To me, all good art scoops something from the unconscious and makes you look at it
Max is an OG of the cryptoart scene, and his insight on the scene shows he makes NFTs for the right reason. He pushes boundaries and is one of the reasons why he keeps on getting banned from platforms. It's always been proven that art goes faster than what the curators can accept as art. His art is an expression of himself, and we at the gazette really respect that. Make sure to check out his art; you won't be disappointed.