On July 8, fine artist photographer Karen Jerzyk (@KJerzykPhoto Twitter, @karen.jerzyk.photo Instagram) went through a range of powerful emotions when her mother suffered from a stroke. This tragic moment came on the heels of the death of Karen’s dear friend earlier the same week. In 2011, Karen’s father had succumbed to a massive stroke which had a significant impact on Karen’s personal and professional lives. Karen is an only child and her craft has always been influenced and supported by her parents. Karen’s mom has been recovering in hospital, going through rehab, and is destined to return home in the coming days. Having a loved one come home after a stroke is a struggle. Knowing what health insurance will pay for, when they will pay for it, and when equipment can arrive is a disconcerting situation.
Still, Karen has the need to create as all true artists do. She commented on Thursday that she needed to get back out shooting photos. Looking at her work, one might think it is rendered or heavily Photoshopped. But Karen creates her scenes meticulously in a studio or uses real locations often with a model in an astronaut suit. But the photos are the photos. Her images are like a vision of the future trapped in a memory of the past.
Karen is a master at finding interesting locations to shoot photographs. A significant amount of research goes into finding these spots. For example, there is an area in Virginia with large statues of former US Presidents. In Karen’s artful eye, the vision is apocalyptic. In a collaboration with musician and video director Don Tyler (@yodontyler), this vision comes into full relief with the burning embers and haunting score.
The NFT Community is sometimes fractured — collectibles like cryptopunks, rats, apes, and mooncats vs fine artists vs photographers vs scammers vs collectors and so on. This community is as diverse as it is far-flung. Every walk of life from every corner of the world is represented. Yes, there are silos. Underrepresented people. Though sometimes the community can unify in a way not comparable to real life.
The NFT Community has set up many events and features so Karen can earn money to support her mother through sales of her art. Some movements are very public like Eddie Gangland and Stephanie Dillon are featuring Karen’s work in one of their CryptoVoxels galleries (see featured image). Art-Jedi held a two hour Clubhouse room last week to catch up with Karen and hear her story first hand. Behind the scenes, many have given or purchased silently with no fanfare.
While NFT artists continue to find their way in this newfound creative environment, there are many challenges: inequality, heated criticisms about form, invasions from celebrities seeking to make their mark, battles over platforms, gas fees. But more than most, the NFT community has room for everyone. Yes there are flaws. Bad actors. Theft. The digital world is not immune from the real world. But it seems a slightly higher form of community. One without a governance structure, and very little policing. It is almost a peaceful anarchy comprising Twitter, Clubhouse, Instagram, and the dozens of NFT platforms — and there is a sense of accountability that exists amongst artists and collectors. It isn’t perfect. Sexual harassment exists. Scams are prevalent. Incredible artists are being discovered. Not perfect, but a work in progress.
Artists supporting artists is a thing. And the NFT Community has that going for it.
Karen is scheduled to appear as a speaker at NFT.NYC November 1-3 in Times Square.
GoFundMe for Karen’s Mom
Karen Jerzyk Art
And now we're PROUDLY FEATURING KAREN at our newest metaverse social club – https://t.co/7RvkBaCOEx
Karen we think you're amazing — EVERYONE COME BY AND CHECK OUT KAREN! pic.twitter.com/7x1KNEpmkf
— Eddiegangland (@eddiegangland) July 25, 2021
Main featured image credit: ©karen jerzyk “Everybody Left” available on OpenSea