Art in An Automated World


Audtra has removed its art feature, which offered illustrations and acrylics based on user submissions. The intended job creation for under-resourced youth served by a NYC nonprofit began with a Manhattanville event visit to meet the program director, then three month-long, agency-wide search for talent among youth served by the nonprofit. After a Bronx event visit to identify talent among 5-24 year olds based on the art prompt, "I dream that everyone could work from home, because there was a universal, deodorant shortage," which provided hilarious mementos based on other odor sources (I learned to be hyper-specific with reference images), I was finally matched with a 21 year-old, program participant, who had dollar-bill art as past work.

Due diligence included visiting Queens Criminal Court to analyze the files of an active Supreme Court case, and including the statement, "the artist hereby agrees to never engage in any illegal activity hereon" in the information release clause of the assignment agreement, signed with an affidavit of witness. I tried to mentor the talented, young artist, but couldn't ask him to spend more than an hour on each illustration at the 50% profit share, which was $10 of an accessible $20 commission. Overcoming the challenges of working with youth takes time, which I didn't have at Q1, so I ended up drawing the illustrations and giving 50% of the proceeds directly to the nonprofit, while keeping the door open should he wish to revisit the opportunity.

I regret that I wasn't in the condition to attend his first trial hearing (the day after July 4th at an early hour, all the way in Queens), where inadequate legal representation advised him to take a 3.5-year prison deal for $10K theft in valuables while in a homeless shelter (recoverable in five months on minimum wage), despite his change under the nonprofit, signed statement, and my offered character witness. I'm confident that Audtra's forthcoming initiative, created as free advertising and a revenue stream, will better fund job creation and resources for the under-resourced. This and the multi-variables with employing a non-engineering human, time inefficiency of self-drawing, and plan of 95% self-sustaining automation made it a logical, executive decision to remove the feature.

Update: I will be recording a prison podcast of our communication on Audtra with an announcement forthcoming.