Monthly Archives: January 2018

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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