Monthly Archives: January 2018

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 mainly, 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 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 so totally dependent on others to promote their work.

All you need is your art, an Instagram account, a blog, and an e-wallet, and you can connect with prospects and sell your work 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. 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 don’t understand that galleries purposely keep the number of artists they represent low in order to elevate the perceived value of their roster. It’s based on artificial exclusivity and scarcity, as in “there are no other artists like this artist”. The perception of value is based on what a smart gallery owner can elicit from a buyer during a sales cycle.

Frost300LLong-02Have you ever wondered why many 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 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 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 an elite market. 

Blockchain also makes it feasible for an artist to sell a work for pennies if they choose, which isn’t something a gallery can do 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 works for both the buyer and seller.

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.

Frost600-02Blockchain is transparent, and everything you do is tracked, so over-inflating the price of your work  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.

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

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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Giant Joshua Mojave

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 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 and galleries. 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