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Blockchain & Art

Blockchain is the lover artists have been waiting for, but didn’t know it.

2 of 2 in the Cryptocurrency Blockchain & Art series

by Maurice Cardinal

Blockchain supports cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and many others, and offers artists a solution for the longstanding argument that the internet is an unsafe space, for copyright reasons, to put original works of art online. It’s an argument many artists still make because for the most part they don’t understand how the internet works.  

Artists like to create art, but hate the selling factor so they take lesson after lesson about esoteric elements  like light, composition, color, contrast, texture this, that, and the other thing and still their art sits on the floor of their basement or a closet. Technically they are excellent executioners, but no one knows of them in the real world … where it counts.

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Today, thanks to innovations like cryptocurrency, blockchain, Bitcoin, Ethereum and all that goes with it, art dabblers and real artists have equal access to buyers. Blockchain removes all the excuses artists use to avoid rejection. Artists are now standing bare for all of us to see. We still don’t know what you’re thinking, but we do know how you’re thinking.

Blockchain removes the middleperson and decentralizes the internet so no one person has power over you. It’s a pretty big deal when you consider that the traditional art world works very hard to keep artists subservient. In some cases the relationship is healthy, but mostly it’s designed to control the emotional disposition of the artist as well as the buyer. It’s not rocket science. It’s compliance based on elitism.

 

Blockchain uses strong cryptography and decentralized distribution to change how we sell everything, including and especially art of all types like paintings, photos, sculptures, music, and more.

Decentralization is the overlooked magic elixir. Decentralized distribution creates an inherent safety net. With blockchain, artists are no longer dependent on galleries, agents, third party art ecommerce sites, art auction houses, or any of the other middleman that drove and manipulated the art market for decades.

All you need is your art, an Instagram account, a blog, and an e-wallet, and you can connect with prospects and sell your works for whatever price the market will bear. The rule of thumb is to price it accurately so it reflects your time and talent. If you choose, you can now charge realistically higher prices with less fear of losing buyers because blockchain allows a buyer with meager funds to purchase just a “share” of your art as an investment even if you value the piece in the tens of thousands. Your art can now reflect the true value of the artist, not the middleman gallery. Today, more than one buyer can own the same piece just like owning stocks of IBM. Not only can they buy a part, or all of your work, buyers can display and show their friends too, even when they only own a share of your art. If buyers think you’re hot and that you have the potential to get hotter they can now be part of the discovery excitement, and not only support you today, they can also reap value from their investment as your organic value increases over time.

Most artists miss the point that galleries purposely keep the number of artists they represent low in order to artificially elevate the perceived value of their artist roster. It’s not real value. Instead it’s based on artificial exclusivity, as in “there are no other artists like this artist”, but we now know it’s not true and that there is more great talent out there than we can possibly follow. The perception of value is based on what a shrewd gallery owner can elicit from a buyer during a compliance sales pitch.

Frost300LLong-02Have you ever wondered why most galleries don’t list the price of a work? It’s because when a prospect shows interest the gallery sales agent literally sizes the potential buyer up as they walk towards the them to begin a negotiation. They look at how the buyer is dressed, their demeanor, how intelligent they seem, and most of all, their level of interest. Just like poker players, buyers have “tells.” Gallery agents are experts at reading body language in exactly the same way a used car sales person operates. The value isn’t based on the organic value of the art. It’s based on what the buyer will pay. Compliance selling is a skill used to create a fake elite market. Galleries sometimes work harder to keep artists “out” of the buying community than they do to include them in the sales network. Too much competition is not good for their stable of artists.

Blockchain also makes it feasible for an artist to sell a work for pennies if they choose, which isn’t something a gallery can tolerate because they make their fee based on a commission. The higher the price of the work, the more profit a gallery will make. Blockchain however allows artists to put an organic value on their art that is reasonable for both the buyer and seller, and not have it dictated by a middleman.

Part of the reason blockchain works is because there are no transaction or agent fees. You don’t have to pay brick and mortar gallery owners, PayPal or Visa charges, or online gallery ecommerce fees, plus, if your art is digital you won’t even have shipping fees. You get to keep almost every penny, which makes art affordable and easier for buyers to snap up when they see something they like. All of a sudden the piece a buyer spontaneously falls in love with is attainable because the gallery hasn’t tacked a sixty percent markup on it.

Frost600-02Blockchain is transparent, and everything you do is tracked, so overinflating the price of your work like galleries have done for eons isn’t recommended. You need to be realistic because everyone can trace your steps, which is a good thing and in part how the ownership of your art is protected online. Digital and digitized art now has intrinsic value that can be easily protected and monitored.

Exclusivity is the key to commanding a higher price so the goal is to position the value of your art as an original piece or a limited edition.

Artists no longer have to deal with a middleman who charges exorbitant fees.

Blockchain is a win/win for artist and buyer.

Read the first post in this series …

Contact the author, Maurice Cardinal for more info regarding Blockchain Art

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Cryptocurrency & Art

Blockchain Art – Preamble – 1 of 2 in the series

By Maurice Cardinal

If you don’t know what a blockchain is and how it impacts art, you’re not alone.

It’s hard to understand, but once you do, a brand new world opens up immediately.

Almost everyone has some type of artistic talent. With substantial practice, making art is relatively easy, and fun. It’s why so many people do it.

Selling art however is the hard part.

With all the information at our fingers, almost anyone today can be a “successful” artist if they also learn a few basic sales skills, but creative types usually don’t have that type of interest or drive.

Success as an artist means selling your work to support yourself. If you have to keep a day job, or a spouse supports you, you’re more of a dabbler, and that’s fine too, but if you’re serious about being an artist, you have to get serious about the full cycle from creation to selling.

This article is for devoted artists, those committed to creating art fulltime and having their work hang on the walls of others beyond family, friends, and therapy tea klatches.

The definition of a true artist is easier to understand when you compare it to other aspects of life, for example a teaching profession. If you are paid by a certified institution to teach a curriculum, you’re a teacher. If you teach your kid to toss a baseball or cook, well, you’re a parent. Same thing with art.

Statistically, most people today practice art for fun and meditative therapy, and for the calm or stimulation it brings.  A very few occasionally produce something a stranger would pay to display on their large screen TV or wall. Some also pick up a brush or a camera to satisfy a creative addiction. It’s all good, but it doesn’t define or qualify you as an artist.

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Consider for a moment that a contemporary art gallery is the prototypical middleman, and similar in some respects to a dating site for lonely artists and skeptical buyers. In reality, one usually doesn’t get married after the first date, just as aspiring artists rarely grace gallery walls. It takes time to form a relationship. Space is reserved for the fulltime and elite artist who already sells his or her work.

Not all galleries are alike. Friendly, and transparent artist-owned studio galleries where artists collaboratively manage the space, and where they work and sell pieces in creative environments is a more welcoming experience for art buyers. 

Artists-owned studio galleries are great places to connect with artists and form long and productive relationships.

We can also buy art at fairs and auction houses, but again these spaces are exclusively reserved for fulltime elite artists in the here and now, or, who have long passed. The cost to buy in is exorbitantly high, however, the quality of art seen in these spaces isn’t always high, as is sometimes demonstrated by art that lacks soul and still sells for mega millions. Perception of beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and especially the beholder who looks at art as an investment.

As the internet blossomed websites presented artists with an opportunity to spin away from the murky manipulation of galleries and auctions, and instead create one-on-one relationships with buyers similar to the dynamic experienced at artist-owned studio galleries. Progressive artists, especially millennials, embrace the internet and have tremendous success, but in true art therapy style, most still struggle in obscurity and shyly hide their works in their closets.

Social media popped up relatively recently and once again redefined the marketing landscape for artists. Once more, a small group capitalized on it and had incredible success, but most artists missed the opportunity, often incessantly complaining the market had gone flat. It hadn’t though. The art market moved and most artists failed to move with it.

Well here we are one more time; the cosmos, in less than a twenty year span, is offering up yet another incredible opportunity for artists. It’s a second bona fide paradigm shift in less than two decades greater than anything we’ve ever seen that helps artists not only sell their work, but also protect and make it even more readily available and accessible.

Want to learn about Blockchain & Art … scroll down or click here to keep reading

Contact the author, Maurice Cardinal for more info regarding Blockchain Art

Art Fairs in Vancouver

Art fairs are all the rage around the world, and growing rapidly.

As galleries continue to struggle to maintain their presence and evolve in an ever frenzied social media world, art fairs everywhere fill the growing hole left behind.

For some emerging artists art fairs offer the most effective way to have their work seen in public. Having a great web and social media presence is still critically important, but there is significant value in displaying your work in a space where art buyers can view it up close. Your work  also lives on in the art fairs catalog.

Art! Vancouver is a young and growing fair that gets better every year. It’s still not in the same league as other larger cities that have been doing it for a lot longer, but this year the fair had a great selection of artists and galleries. The diversity in types of art was impressive. The only criticism I heard from a few artists is that they had hoped for more traffic. Some sold work, but they felt they would have sold considerably more with higher traffic, and I have to agree. When I attended it was fairly sparse.

Art fair strategies need to be carefully planned when you consider a booth is in the $2,000 range, and you also need to invest in a substantial portfolio to display, plus there are several miscellaneous costs. At the end of the day a four day show could be amount to $5,000 investment, so it’s important to have a heavy flow of visitors walking by your booth in order to justify the expense.

I had a chance to speak with a few artists who displayed at Art! Vancouver.

Some sold work, like iRMA immediately below, while others were not so fortunate.

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I Write, Therefore I Am

People choose to write for all kinds of reasons.

They are naturally drawn to words and to putting their thoughts
on paper in a creative way that flows naturally.

Like any other art form it is a release, a coping mechanism, a dream, a vision, or if you are like me, a calling you can’t give up even if you tried.

As an Expressive Arts Therapist I have seen how engaging in the arts can be transformative in both small and huge ways. Allowing yourself to flow into your imagination and just be wherever you need to go within the arts opens up avenues for self-assessment, which we sometimes can’t discover through other means. The beauty of this is you don’t have to be an artist or writer to do this kind of work.

But what if you are a writer? How does your writing change your life? What purpose in the greater scheme of things does your work have on the world around you? For some people writing is very personal. They write for themselves and it informs them of where they are now or acts as a kind of release, a coping mechanism in hard times. It can be therapeutic. For others it is a vehicle to make political statements, or to try to change the world. For some it is a means to help others to understand a personal situation that they might be going through themselves, such as mental illness, loss, identity crisis and to make a connection. For several it is the pure joy of just being able to express true love and beauty in the world, while for others it is all of these, a form of contemplation, explanation, examination and discovery. It is joy and heartache, revision and work and dedication. No matter where you are coming from, writing has the potential to take a difficult or horrific situation and to find transformative beauty.

For me, my writing is the driving force of my being. I started to write when I was 13. I began writing poetry, and short stories partly, although I did not know it at the time, to survive living with a mother who had mental illness. As I got older I continued to write poetry, but the reasons shifted. I could tell stories in a poetic way using narrative. I loved doing the research and seeing my characters come alive on the page. Like so many starting out their careers I believed I needed to write big – to tell the huge story that would change the world.

Now my poetry means something else to me. I live it every moment. I look at the world around me as a poetic playground. I see everything in metaphor. I get antsy when I can’t write for a while. I no longer look to write those huge themes, to capture the world with overwritten statements or clichés that signify nothing to anyone other than myself. I look instead for the simple important moments. I look to taking the mundane and make them unique. I look at ordinary people and places and always find the poetic in them. For me poetry is everywhere. I search for the beauty in an exchange, the heartache in a word, the wonderment in a story and I see how each of these moments have merit, and need to be shared. My poetry is with me all the time.

When I am writing a particular piece it will be with me long before I ever put pen to page. It is living inside of me taking up space, creating a life of its own, and when it is ready to be born I put these thoughts down on the page. Sometimes they come out complete. Other times I edit, I change, I leave it and come back later, but always it is something that I have lived with for some time in some way, thus I live poetically every moment. I can’t help it. It is how I think, how I breath, and likely will be how I die.

James Hillman describes in his book, ‘The Souls Code, In Search of Character and Calling” – Random House, 1996, that people who create share inexplicable innate drive.

Writing is also my calling, and what I was meant to do. It is what I will do, and engage in, and work on for the rest of my life. It took me years before I would tell people I was a writer. Now I never doubt it. It took years for me to go beyond saying it was “just” poetry. Now I know this is my world, my art, my being. It isn’t just poetry, it is how I breath, it is where I exist. It is my way of looking at the world and understanding the world. It is how I let others know my worldview and maybe help them see the world slightly differently.

Wherever you are in your creative journey is fine. You may do it for the love; you may do it as therapy, but whatever the reason, know why you do it.

Know the kind of dedication it takes to make it your life’s work, your passion, and if you discover you have that kind of drive, keep it alive. It might be enough for you to be a hobby artist, someone who writes for yourself and just for the fun of it. You may use it for therapy to help you get through some difficult times, or, you may dream of publishing one day.

Whatever your reason, you will find the time you need
to fit your way of life. It is how it works.

Dedication is more than saying you are a writer, it is the time and energy and life you choose to lead. It doesn’t work any other way. It just can’t.

__________________ . . . _______________________

Bonnie Nish is Executive Director of Pandora’s Collective Outreach Society.

Bonnie is widely published in places like The Ottawa Arts Review, The Danforth Review, Haunted Waters Press, Illness Crisis & Loss Journal Volume 24 and The Blue Print Review.

Bonnie’s first book of poetry “Love and Bones” was released by Karma Press in 2013.

Bonnie has a Masters in Arts Education from Simon Fraser University and is currently pursuing a PhD in Language and Literacy Education at UBC.

Her most recent book “Concussion and Mild TBI: Not Just Another Headline” is an anthology of concussion related stories, and was published by Lash and Associates in August 2016.

Bonnie is a certified Expressive Arts Therapist with a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies from the Vancouver Expressive Arts Therapy School. She has worked extensively with youth and adults in high-risk situations. Bonnie has conducted writing and expressive arts workshops for over 20 years across North America.

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For her contribution to the Vancouver literary community Bonnie was nominated for the 2015 YWCA Women of Distinction Award in Arts, Culture and Design.

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Thank you Bonnie for contributing this Guest Blog!
We are always looking for interesting perspectives
from artists, so if you have something to share
please click here to learn how … 

The 2017 War … of Art

The 2017 War … of Art

6 Part Art Series … by Maurice Cardinal … Part 1

Visual artists and their agents have more power today than they have ever had simply because they can now communicate directly with buyers and collectors, and bypass contemporary galleries completely, although in most cases that’s probably not recommended, at least yet.

Buyers and collectors also now have more power for exactly the same reasons.

Contemporary art galleries, which are feverishly scrambling to reinvent their business models, represent an outdated system that is quickly falling out of favor with artists and buyers.

It’s no longer accurate to talk about the art world in generalities, especially in the world of contemporary art where the norm is to move at light speed. If you make a claim that galleries are struggling, it’s important to differentiate between the types of galleries, for example, there is a big difference between legacy galleries that only manage the masters in a blue chip market, and contemporary galleries that promote emerging midline artists. Not all galleries are in trouble. In fact some don’t consider it a struggle at all – more like a blip until they see where the market is going, at which point they adjust.

High end art galleries are experts at controlling art prices by carefully manipulating artists and buyers, but don’t confuse these investment houses with small urban galleries because there is a big difference.

. . . . . .

High end galleries resist social media because it is inherently transparent and exposes too many secrets. The last place you want to be seen when you’re price fixing is on Twitter.

The luxury market strategy works much differently than the common art market, and it’s critical to know the difference.

. . . . . .

It’s also important to realize that a wide range of art viewers are watching online, from experts to neophytes, which means if you want to evolve and expand your market you have to be patient with newcomers and not talk over their heads in art-speak only a person with a degree would understand. In today’s contemporary art world, philosophy and art degrees fall under the “good to have” not need to know category. If your goal is to be a curator of a museum or large gallery a degree is mandatory because that investor-driven group is primarily influenced by provenance and pedigree as opposed to the aesthetics and emotion of art.

In our new world of contemporary art, everyone in the social media sphere is not only watching and asking, but also demanding, including consumers who might not know anything about art, but they know what they like. All of a sudden everyone is an expert and critic, and everyone in our fractured niche world now matters simply because they have a voice. Go ahead, ignore or insult them and see what happens on Facebook and Twitter. You probably won’t like it.

Galleries that promote primarily contemporary artists struggle to reinvent themselves as disruptive strategists circle tighter and tighter. What you thought you knew about promoting, selling, and buying art is rapidly changing.

Emerging artists, especially millennials, embrace technology and social media, while old guard artists struggle to continue to cultivate and manage the traditional networks they created over many decades. They are also obsessively preoccupied with protecting their markets and hesitant to change what has worked for them in the past – transitions are always difficult.

Mature artists have access to the same technology, but are reluctant to use it for a variety of reasons, mostly because it can be confusing, but also because they are concerned about alienating contemporary gallery owners who have also been reluctant to change how they do business. Many mature artists feel intimidated by technology so they do only the bare minimum and hope for the best while they wait for the market to return to its old dynamic. The reality though is that the art market will never return to its hierarchical, gallery-influenced past no matter how much you wish it.

For insight about how the contemporary visual art industry will evolve over the next couple of years a good place to start is the music industry and to look at what happened when MP3 came on the scene over two decades ago. Technical aspects and product format are different for visual art than for music, but the delivery and promotion model share many similarities. Promotion, thankfully, is relatively similar across all art genres, and what works for independent musicians often also works for visual artists.

Art took on an unexpectedly strong political undertone in 2016 when Donald Trump was elected president. Opportunities in this arena grew explosively and seem to be endless.

Asians1000-0550Many artists however resist being politically oriented fearing it will impact corporate sponsorship, commissions, and grants.

For that type of more traditional artist there is no obvious political upside like there is for artists creating work on the fringe with pieces designed to raise consciousness and awareness.

Art plays a key role in what we know of ourselves as a society and is one of the mirrors we peer into every day. It’s not an understatement to say that if it weren’t for artists, we would all be much less informed and poorer for it.

It was almost fifty years ago in the late sixties when artists banded together to promote a collective political ethos, and they did it quite aggressively. Think John Lennon vs. “The Man.” The Peace Movement was driven by musicians, writers, and protest posters.

Artists changed the world in that era until hippies grew up to become bean counters.

In the decades since, governments and corporations have decimated art funding.

When you take art away … all you have left is a blank canvass.

Read Part 2 …

 

Read  the entire series – The 2017 War … of Art
Part 1     Part 2     Part 3     Part 4     Part 5     Part 6

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