The Katharsisdrill project

Today I have three years anniversary here on Steemit, so I have decided to make a post that I have been planning for a while. It is a (very) long and thorough introduction for anyone who is interested in the history of the Katharsisdrill project and how it emerged.

All art on this page is made by me – Katharsisdrill.

A drawing from spring 2019.

The Katharsisdrill project has just had its 5 years anniversary. It is an art venture that began without any plan, almost distractedly, to support and entertain people on the free, federated network of Diaspora, and organically it evolved into what it is today.

The principles behind the project is as follows:

  1. Everything is made under the pseudonym: Katharsisdrill. There are no references to my other work.
  2. The circulation of the works takes place only on decentralized networks without surveillance. No Facebook, no Instagram.
  3. All works are made with free and open technology (Open source software).
  4. All works are Creative Commons. They can be used, sampled and sold without permission.

The name, the logo, the identity

First I will need to present myself: I am Katharsisdrill.

The name I choose for the project was already there. It was one of the many names I have been using back in the days when anonymity was allowed on the mainstream internet. I picked it among many others because it sounded a bit like it had something to do with art. Catharsis is a concept used by Aristotle in his Poetics to characterise the uplifting effect art can have on people. It means purification.

The current Katharsisdrill logo

The next thing I made was a logo. I used a Golden mask from the pre-Spanish South American cultures and a metaldrill with golden titanium coating (to refer to the name). It was made as casually as the rest of the concept. Later the logo evolved into a hand drawn version (see above) and it also became the face of the Katharsisdrill avatar (mentioned later in this text).

The first Katharsisdrill logo from 2013.

So this was what it was: a pseudonym name, a logo, and an idea about a place to distribute all the art that I wouldn't be able to sell or use in any other context. Who was I before? Well, anonymity demands that I only speak of this in the most general terms, but in short:

I am a Danish fine artist who worked with painting, graphic print, installation, objects, film, text, books, websites and many other media. After the finance crisis in 2007-8, I was tired of the art community, the art business and the social control of the art world. I began creating other kinds of art, novels, films, music, applied arts. All of it very uncompromisingly uncommercial. Having skills in other crafts like graphic and web design, 3d modelling, and still selling art, I was in the privileged position that I could maintain this way of living. But then I tumbled into a new artistic career.

(If you follow my Steemit blog you will know that I also post about my life in Copenhagen, my interests and opinions on all kinds of things. My main objective is not to mix up my otherart career with this one.)

The beginning

I have always been interested in technology and already in 1999 I installed my first Linux system. So when Edward Snowden revealed the enormity of the commercial and governmental surveillance I took the consequence and left Facebook. That was back in 2013. I looked around for another social network where I could force my family to join and found Diaspora one of the oldest decentralised social networks.

The indignation that characterised me at the time should be quite obvious in this piece from 2013.

After some years on this network, where I both had a closed family profile and a public, anonymous profile I decided to help out with this voluntary project. I wouldn't have been able to run my own instance, so I decided to share some of my art for free. I found the Creative Common license and choose the one CC attribution, meaning that everybody can share, rework, sell and copy the art without asking permission. The only thing demanded of the user is that they point back to artist.

I made a new profile with my weird name and logo and the first thing I posted was two illustration proposals for a Danish classical music periodical (The illustrations that eventually featured in the magazine was not the ones I public under the Katharsisdrill profile).

The first drawing published under the Katharsisdrill pseudonym: C.P.E. Bach standing below his father Johan Sebastian and Mozart.


Today I have three years anniversary here on Steemit. It was a crypto enthusiast who was part of the Diaspora federation who told me that I might be able to earn some money on a new site called Steemit. When I was utterly confused by the concept, didn't have a Facebook profile to use as a ticket for an account he gave me the link to @someguy123's anonymous profile creator and gave me the bitcoins needed to purchase the profile (0.01711 BTC - just looked it up).

The Cuppa from 2017

Since then I have been building my SP from earnings, and in 2018 I was able to work the whole year from bitcoin donations (mainly from Diaspora) and SPD-donations from Steemit (plus a grant from the Danish Art Foundation).

Phill from GCHQ and other comics

Already when I was still making painting I had plans on doing a comic. I was never a person to put much emphasis on the distinction between fine arts and not-so-fine arts, so I didn't see it as undermining my art. I made quite a few attempts.

An early comic page that was later published as a Kathrasisdrill art work. I think it is from about 2010.

In 2016 just at the time I joined Steemit I published three comic pages that I had made and later decided to discontinue. The comic was called, Phill from GCHQ, and the idea was to make a satire over the modern surveillance regime that had so angered me back in 2013. People on the Diaspora network asked for more and I reluctantly made a few more pages, every time writing: Licensed CC-by so anybody who likes can continue the story if they like. No one did of course, and while working I kind of got caught up in the work. Suddenly I was actually making a comic just like I had planned.

The first page of Phill from GCHQ

This comic has been my main project these last three years. (You can read it all here on its own website: Right now it is at page 87, and there will be many more before I get to bring the complicated story to its conclusion.

The neurotic and introvert hero, Phill, and his love interest, Gwen - high Priestess of a (very) small cult of pagan weirdos.

The story is centered around Phill Philby, a classic antihero in the tradition of some of my old heroes. First an foremost Gilbert Shelton, Robert Crumb and the Danish cartoonist Claus Deleuran, all more or less (in their own very idiosyncratic way), part of the counter-culture movement of the late sixties and the seventies. It combines spy story with political satire and Celtic Gods.

A spy and a Celtic god fighting.

While making the comic about Phill and what ever artworks I fancy I have been working on other comic projects too. One is still a secret, made with some friends, other have already been published here on Steemit and on Diaspora. Some of them even feature myself and for that I had to invent an avatar.

The Katharsisdrill avatar

The first image of the Katharsisdrill avatar was made in August 2017. You can see it below.

There was a lot of question about the box on the table so I made a Steemit post about it.

If you look at this post:Katharsisdrill drawing himself, you can see many of the drawings where the avatar is included.

Music, 3D and other media

When I initiated the project I had little idea or interest in upholding a certain style or quality threshold. I was actually just intoxicated with the freedom that a pseudonym can give you. So I have made other things that lie slightly outside of my professional area of expertise. Here are a couple of examples of music I made:

I’m emotionally choked up - My first session of computer music. Might be a little disturbing at times.

Adagio in fifths - Synthesiser woodwind and some percussion, played directly on my computer keyboard.

Outlet Choir - No synthesiser sounds. All recordings. Put together in the open source program Audacity.

Olette - Synthesiser piece played directly on the writing keyboard.

I have also published files for 3d print and I'm planning to make both gif-art and film.

Dark Katharsisdrill

The last addition to the Katharsisdrill project is the Dark Katharsisdrill venture. Especially on the Diaspora network I have been having (all too) many discussions about what to post and what not to post with the nsfw tag, so I eventually invented this sub-project to root out the social pressure of self censoring and to maybe examine what comes from dividing my creations into two morally different spheres. I am not sure that it artistically makes any difference, but at least I know where to put it if it is too naughty or too revolting.

The Dark Katharsisdrill logo

I haven't made that many work yet, but it is on my todo list.


You can find all the high resolution artworks on my Diaspora profile:

The comic about Phill from GCHQ is on its own site:

The Dark Katharsisdrill artworks are here:

Comments 35

Quite the tour of your career! Happy anniversary!

08.09.2019 23:18

Thanks, mate! When it is your birthday you can cry if you want to, and if you feel like writing a post that is obscenely, obsessively, overall all too long, you can do that too.

09.09.2019 19:50

Sounds like my daily writing schedule!! :0D

09.09.2019 21:22

He :)

10.09.2019 13:17

Congrats on your anniversary! And thanks for all the fun, inspiration and talk. You’re definitely the main reason, I‘m still around here. Keep it up!

08.09.2019 23:29


09.09.2019 10:53

This post was shared in the Curation Collective Discord community for curators, and upvoted and resteemed by the @c-squared community account after manual review.
@c-squared runs a community witness. Please consider using one of your witness votes on us here

08.09.2019 23:47


This post has been manually curated, resteemed
and gifted with some virtually delicious cake
from the @helpiecake curation team!

Much love to you from all of us at @helpie!
Keep up the great work!


Manually curated by @blewitt.

@helpie is a Community Witness.
For more information about our project,
please visit this month’s UPDATE post.

09.09.2019 02:33

Great style! I like it a lot like this - spiced with satira.

Posted using Partiko Android

09.09.2019 05:17

Thanks, mate :)

09.09.2019 10:52

It hardly feels like 3 years, but you have put out a lot of work in that time. I'm so glad you came to Steem so I can enjoy your work. I have a Diaspora account, but don't go there too often.

Steem is changing a bit more and maybe becoming a better place for artists with things like #creativecoin. I hope others can benefit from it.

09.09.2019 08:02

Yes, I only notice when I see how many pages there are on the Phill-site :)

I bought some creative coins and It is funny to see that posts that are almost getting nothing in Steem can have high rewards on the Creative coins page. I have powered up everything so I at least can give some rewards on that site.

09.09.2019 10:52

I've no idea if these various coins will have much value, but having sites where good content can trend is good for Steem.

Have a !BEER

09.09.2019 12:04

To view or trade BEER go to steem-engine.

Hey @katharsisdrill, here is your BEER token. Enjoy it!

09.09.2019 12:04

I always thought this looks much like the old Freakbrothers comics, that I loved in the 70s. But were not easy to get in Germany at the time.

09.09.2019 12:45

I am a big fan of Gilbert Shelton who made the Freak Brothers. I wrote about it back when I was a young Steemian.

Edit: I even found it:

09.09.2019 19:35

Yeah, I loved the Freak Brothers, as well as some other adult comics like Heavy Metal ect.
But they were like gold dust back then, only available per mail order (if they hadn't sold out already) and really expensive.
Back in the days, comics were regarded as junk in Germany. Even stuff like Superman or Batman were frowned upon, may be Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck was barely accepted for the kids.
But a comic that shows some hippies smoking pot and having sex, and cops that are dumbass pigs, that was totally out of the question then. Even though I knew some people who lived exactly like that, and the cops wouldn't recognise a hemp plant if they stood right in front of it. It was all kinda cute...
Well, thing have changed since. A lot.

09.09.2019 21:47

Things have changed indeed. Denmark was always quite liberal even though we also had the comic-hysteria. But in the late seventies both Crumb, Shelton and others was published in Danish so we really had our little brains work overtime!

10.09.2019 13:19

Yes, also in Germany we had translated versions of those comics. They were made by the then "underground" publisher Zweitausendeins, who started off entirely with mail order sale. I guess a "normal" bookshop would have never put this stuff on the shelves. May be in Berlin or Frankfurt you could find small Comic shops who would sell that, and other imported stuff. But for the people elsewhere it was rather difficult to get hold of such comics.
And they were expensive, too. I remember, I was always skinned in those days anyway, because the little money I had mostly went into dope and my moped. A Freak Brothers comic book cost then 15 DM or so - wich would be something like €50 today. So most of the stuff I read when I visited other people who had them.

10.09.2019 13:48

paintings are very beautiful upvoted you but thee are little nudity which is not good i hope you will improve it.

09.09.2019 16:39

I come from a place where you have nudity on the frontpage of conservative newspapers. I often do not think about it really. I hope you can live with this post being there, and I will try to remember using nsfw tag.

Will you then consider not using bidbot? I can see you have paid ramta and tommyhansen in your last posts. These profiles are destroying the platform. Organic voting would also bring more value to your posts.

10.09.2019 14:51

i stopped using them

12.09.2019 15:35

This is the coolest project. Love the ethos behind every bit of it. When I first encountered your screen-name I didn't see that a portion of the avatar was an actual drill bit, and I read the name as "katharsis drill" like "fire drill", with "drill" meaning exercise or practice. I think that works as well. Resteemed - much love - Carl

09.09.2019 16:58

Never thought of it that way, but essentially all art are a drill for catharsis! Thanks for a great comment!

09.09.2019 19:25

Sup Dork?!? Enjoy the Upvote!!! Keep up with the dorky content for more love!!!

09.09.2019 17:25

Three years is a like a decade in Internet time, congratz! Great to have you here and contribute to a healthier ecosystem.

09.09.2019 20:05

Thanks, mate! (And congrats with the trending post. That wouldn't have happened before the fork!) The thing is that what it takes is just a matter of ordinary people with close to ordinary morals to have a healthier Steem. The downvotes simply made me go look for something worth downvoting and boy are there a lot out there. Steemit is a can of scoundrel worms.

10.09.2019 12:05

(And congrats with the trending post. That wouldn't have happened before the fork!)

The fork has been a very positive experience for me :D

The downvotes simply made me go look for something worth downvoting and boy are there a lot out there. Steemit is a can of scoundrel worms.

When there's an economic system tied to a social media that is also decentralized (cannot just ban people), it is bound to be a platform for abuse attempts and quick money grabs. It took a while to figure that the system needs free downvotes, but I think that once we figured it out, we will recover – the positive change is and will weed out the negative that was able to grow during the past couple years. You know, what has been taking place here, is really remarkable: complete shift in culture and shutting down big abusers, big stake holders starting to curate, new stake is being spread increasingly to good actors – which makes the chain much more robust for long term. And now that the base layer is equipped with tools to make it healthier, we are setting up nicely for SMTs. Interesting times ahead :)

10.09.2019 13:23

I am flappergasted about what is happening. I more or less had decide to leave two weeks ago. Now suddenly there is something to fight for.

10.09.2019 14:46

Haha, the Hard Fork came just in time!

10.09.2019 16:43

Me gusta tu trabajo @katharsisdrill
Es un gran proyecto. Suerte

10.09.2019 11:07

Thanks a lot!

10.09.2019 13:51

First time using and i came across your post. Most interesting.. and you're very talented...

10.09.2019 15:41