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Beatriz Helena Ramos, Founder, DADA.

I’m a wallflower. I’m the shy, sweet-looking woman who sits by herself at a party. Try small-talking me, you may think I’m uninteresting. That is, until I feel compelled to open my mouth.

I don’t care if social norms assume that I’m the poor woman who has no one to dance with. Dig deeper and you’ll be in for a ride. There is nothing conventional about me.

I’m an artist.

I’m most eloquent when I express myself visually, yet I’m judged by my ability to speak. I’m an introvert who has to put on a show. A collaborator in a competitive world.

My work is highly valuable but I’m nothing more than a commodity. Artists pay a price when we conform and we pay a price when we don’t.

We live in a world that expects artists to be their own “brand” and become ubiquitous in social media, where the measure of success is not quality but the amount of followers you have, where the more derivative your work is, the better off you are. This is not the best world for artists to live in.

So I said screw this, let’s do our own thing.

That’s how DADA was born.

I found a small but passionate team of collaborators. We started by tackling what I call the dictatorship of the word.

We created a place where people could speak to each other using only images. At DADA, you make a drawing and anyone around the world can reply with another drawing, and anyone else can join in.

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After searching far and wide for a name, we chose DADA to honor the spirit of provocation, innovation, and independence of the Dadaist movement. Our underlying inspiration is not a declaration of war but a promise of freedom. The result is truly beautiful.

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Creative collaboration at dada.nyc

What’s remarkable is that this art is created by different people in different countries who have never met each other, at different times and in a completely spontaneous way.

DADA fosters powerful social bonds that are far more profound than likes or shares, because drawing is an act of creation that takes time, concentration and imagination. When people draw, they put themselves on the line.

DADA is a new way of making art that wasn’t possible before.

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A Magical Pass

DADA is the place for the creative kid that later became an accountant. For the commercial artist who longs to do their own thing. For regular people who think creativity eludes them; for unapologetic non-conformists who live precariously as a result.

People have come to DADA to draw with each other and express themselves visually. But as our engaged community grows, we realize we have an opportunity to tackle a much bigger problem.

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Clockwise from top: Cromomaniaco, Otro Captore, Boris Toledo and Beatriz Ramos.

Meet Boris, Cromo and Otro Captore, three talented artists who created some of the drawings above. They all live in Chile, and didn’t know each other before DADA. I spent the New Years’ holiday with them. We had an amazing time just drawing everywhere with paper and pencils. It was magical, and it felt as if we were old friends.

I was happy living the bohemian life until I realized that we were only eating once a day because they didn’t have any money. It kills me that such talented people struggle to survive. Society does not value art or the people who make it.

At DADA, we envision a global community that takes full control of their own work and achieves economic independence through technology and creative collaboration. A self-sustaining community that encourages solidarity, where the artistic mind can thrive and there is no sense of otherness, where everyone creative belongs.

I believe that art deserves to be valued regardless of market forces or prevailing tastes. Artists should be able to create art even if nobody wants it. We want to give artists room to explore and create because making art has an intrinsic value.

We believe that every child is an artist. Art is a human impulse.

Artists should have a bigger impact on society. They create beauty, challenge the status quo, broaden our horizons and speak truth to power. Art has always been a force for progress and civilization.

This is where our mission aligns with Matter.

One of our early adopters has been covering the walls of Holland with art inspired by DADA.

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Alshamy Almoon. Art by Lorena Pinasco.

She does this with the help of Alshamy, a Syrian refugee.

Lorena helps Syrian kids cope with their memories of war through art. These are the people we want to empower, members of the global community we want to build.

Matter just unleashed a powerful force for good.