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Crypto art is gaining traction and one of its biggest stars is an artist from Thunder Bay

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Artist Michah Dowbak was born and raised in Thunder Bay.

Mad Dog Jones

Last year at this time, Michah Dowbak had never heard of crypto art. Last week, his latest drop grossed more than US$4.3-million – the bulk of that in the space of five minutes. This has cemented the Thunder Bay-born and raised artist – who goes by the name Mad Dog Jones – as a crypto-art sensation, with the most successful primary drop to date on the Nifty Gateway platform.

“How do you describe making $4-million in five minutes?” Dowbak said a few days afterward. “My hands were numb, for one. I couldn’t feel my fingertips. My whole body was shaking.”

Crypto art is digital art with an attached unique identifier, in the form of a non-fungible token (NFT), on the blockchain. NFTs can’t be replicated and only the holder of the NFT can own that piece of crypto art.

The work is offered in “drops” – online sales that generally happen in two ways. Buyers can purchase an open edition (think of it as a numbered print, in traditional art terms). Each edition is sold at a set price, but purchasers have only five minutes to buy. The other part of a drop is the auction of a 1/1 edition, a single unique work. Bids for those are taken for 23 hours.

Broadwalk by Dowbak, also known as Mad Dog Jones.

Mad Dog Jones

The sales are held on platforms such as SuperRare and Nifty Gateway, which is the site Dowbak uses. Nifty Gateway, which launched its platform last March, is owned by Gemini – the company founded and controlled by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the twins perhaps best known for their Facebook history.

The crypto-art market has grown steadily, building to a buzz now audible in the mainstream, in large part because of the artist known as Beeple (real name Mike Winkelmann). Beeple’s opus is currently for sale at Christie’s – the first time the storied auction house is selling a purely digital work. Bids are being taken over two weeks.

Separately, on Wednesday, a work of Beeple’s sold on the secondary market through Nifty Gateway for US$6.6-million.

Beeple made US$660,000 from that. Unlike traditional sales of art, artists in the digital space earn a percentage of secondary sales; 10 per cent is standard. This is a major departure from the fine art world, where an artist is paid only for the original sale.

The platform also takes a cut – on both primary sales and secondary sales.

Buyers often come from the crypto space, says Tommy Kimmelman, head of artist relations at Nifty Gateway. “It’s largely technical-minded people who inherently understand how this stuff works. But we are starting to expand into other demographics.” He says the platform did about US$8.5-million in sales in January and, in a staggering jump, more than US$50-million in February.

Owners might display the art through their online profile – their website, social-media accounts, etc. It can also be cast to a screen, such as a TV or a tablet to show in a physical setting.

A common question, as people try to wrap their heads around this, is: Couldn’t somebody just screengrab the art and display it without actually owning it?

“Well, sure,” Dowbak says. “Somebody could also take a picture of the Mona Lisa. But they don’t own the Mona Lisa.”

Dowbak, 35, grew up around art; his father, Damon, is a glass artist and the family business involves stained glass windows. Michah and his brother Josh were sometimes used as models. “There’s a Last Supper window where I’m one of the disciples and my brother is Jesus,” says Dowbak during a phone interview, while out walking his dog Diablo in the rural community of Kaministiquia, outside of Thunder Bay, where he lives.

You can detect a stylistic influence from those early stained glass windows on Dowbak’s crypto art: the bright colours, the line work. The subject matter, however, is another thing. His work, as described by Nifty Gateway, is “a cyberpunk rendition of metropolitan lifestyle rooted in nature.” A black cat lounges in a laundromat as laundry spins in one of the machines and breaking news scrolls by on the television above. Or a taxi is stuck in a storm, its doors flung open as its hazard lights flash, along with lightning in a purple sky.

Music was his first career. A classically trained violinist, high-school turntablist and keyboardist, Dowbak played with Coleman Hell, who had a breakout hit 2 Heads, in 2015. Dowbak was also making art for bands – such as posters and album covers.

He started his Mad Dog Jones Instagram page in 2017. The account gained traction and Dowbak’s design career took off. He did work for Diesel, the Snowpiercer TV series, the Conor McGregor Reebok campaign, Maroon 5′s Super Bowl halftime show. With the art career momentum, Dowbak stepped away from music.

He heard about crypto art last summer and was immediately intrigued. He did his first drop on Nifty Gateway in November: 100 pieces that he sold for one dollar each.

He did more drops and charged more. There was some income from secondary sales, too. One piece that originally sold for US$3,500 was purchased by a secondary collector for US$18,000. It was steady and encouraging.

Dowbak’s manager Jonathan Simkin, who runs 604 Records.

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In a deal he put together by his manager Jonathan Simkin – who runs 604 Records, Coleman Hell’s label – Dowbak collaborated with musician Deadmau5 for his next drop. (Digital art can also have a soundtrack.)

That drop grossed more than US$404,000. “Just total flabbergasted pandemonium of the mind,” is how Dowbak felt. “It was really a turning point.”

Still, it wasn’t clear how much of that success was due to the involvement of star musician Deadmau5.

Another drop was planned for February 18. They called it Crash + Burn.

“There were a lot of eyes on this drop, in that world, to really get a sense of where the value is,” notes Simkin. “Did we gross [that amount] with Deadmau5 because of his name, because of Michah’s fan base, or a little of both?”

Why would I care I’m just a cat? by Mad Dog Jones priced at US$2,500.

Mad Dog Jones

There were two open collections: Why would I care I’m just a cat? priced at US$2,500 each and Déjà Vu, priced at US$5,000 each. The first sold 909 works; the second, 328. The 1/1 auction for Boardwalk sold for US$388,888. The total was more than US$4.3-million. Of that, US$3.9-million was raised in those first five minutes.

“You have to understand how insane it is,” says Simkin, who was watching from Vancouver. “I’m sitting there on Thursday when the timer starts: and I’m refreshing my screen … in disbelief, watching Michah becoming a multimillionaire in five minutes.”

Another part of Crash + Burn involved those pieces Dowbak sold for one dollar each, way back in November when he was a crypto-art rookie. He released seven new 1/1 artworks. But they couldn’t be purchased with money. The only way to get those pieces was to collect five of those US$1 works from his first drop and trade them for one of the new ones. Once the old works are sent to Dowbak, he destroys them (“burn” is the crypto term).

Déjà Vu by Mad Dog Jones.

Mad Dog Jones

That pushed up the secondary-market price of those works that originally sold for US$1 – benefiting Dowbak, sure, as the strategy drove up his prices, but mostly rewarding the people who had invested in him.

“Holy crud,” he said at one point as we spoke late Wednesday night. One of those original US$1 pieces had just sold for more than US$47,000 and another for US$49,000, as a buyer attempted to collect five to trade them in for one of Crash + Burn’s new pieces.

Dowbak plans to pay off his parents’ mortgage, contribute to care for his nephew, who has autism; and give to charity. And continue to make art.

“What’s crazy, too – I don’t want to sound cocky, but the year is not done. There’s still more that we can do here,” he says. “And that’s what’s breaking my brain about this.”

Source: – The Globe and Mail

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Imaginations, creativity of Mountview students on display at Cariboo Art Beat – Williams Lake Tribune – Williams Lake Tribune

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Creative, imaginative artwork of students from Mountview Elementary School will be on public display at the gallery of Cariboo Art Beat until April 9.

“The students of Mountview elementary were all invited to participate in an art contest,” Tiffany Jorgensen said, an artist at Cariboo Art Beat.

Each class was separately judged by three professional artists at Cariboo Art Beat, Jorgensen said, based on the students’ creativity, techniques, use of space and originality.

“It was extremely difficult to select pieces from the abundance of beautiful art presented,” she said. “There is so much talent and fantastic imaginations.”

READ MORE: Cariboo Art Beat gives sneak peek of Paradise Cinemas new mural

The artist of each selected piece was given formal invitations to their art show to distribute to whomever they choose, and Jorgensen said anyone is free to view the beautiful artwork throughout until April 9.

Honoured at the show were works from local artists Ryker Hagen, Annika Nilsson, Rylie Trampleasure, Angus Shoults, Izabella Telford, Isabella Buchner, Kai Pare and more.

“Come view their wonderful pieces to get a glimpse into the minds of our creative youth,” Jorgensen said.

“It’s been so fun. The kids have come in and seen their work on display with their grandparents, parents, and they’re all so excited.”

Following up on the success of the Mountview art show, Jorgensen said more elementary schools have been invited to participate.

April will feature the works of Nesika and Big Lake, followed by Marie Sharpe and Chilcotin Road next month.

Cariboo Art Beat is located at 19 First Ave., under Caribou Ski Source for Sports’ entrance on Oliver Street.


 


greg.sabatino@wltribune.com

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Rylie Trampleasure, Grade 2, has her work on display at Cariboo Art Beat. (Photo submitted)

Rylie Trampleasure, Grade 2, has her work on display at Cariboo Art Beat. (Photo submitted)

Angus Shoults, Grade 4. (Photo submitted)

Angus Shoults, Grade 4. (Photo submitted)

Grade 3 student Izabella Telford. (Photo submitted)

Grade 3 student Izabella Telford. (Photo submitted)

Grade 6 student Kai Pare shows off her artwork. (Photo submitted)

Grade 6 student Kai Pare shows off her artwork. (Photo submitted)

Isabella Buchner

Isabella Buchner

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Launching the conversation on Newfoundland and Labrador art history

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ST. JOHN’S, N.L. —

“Future Possible: An Art History of Newfoundland and Labrador” is a book that has been a long time coming, Mireille Eagan says.

While working at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery in Prince Edward Island, Eagan curated an exhibition marking the 60th anniversary of Newfoundland and Labrador joining Confederation with Canada.

“As I was researching, I noticed that there was very little that existed in terms of the art history of this province,” she said. “There wasn’t even a Wikipedia article.”

Noticing this large gap, “Future Possible” was a book that needed to exist, she said.

As the 70th anniversary approached in 2019, Eagan, now living in St. John’s and working as curator of contemporary art at The Rooms, envisioned filling that gap.

Over two summers, The Rooms held a two-part exhibition. The first looked at the visual culture and visual narratives before the province joined Confederation and the second focused on 1949 onward, Eagan said.

“At its core, it was asking, what are the stories we tell ourselves as a province? It was looking at iconic artworks, it was looking at texts that have been written about this place, and it put these works in conversation with contemporary artworks,” Eagan said.

In the foreword to the book, chief executive officer of The Rooms Anne Chafe described it as a complement to the exhibition and a project that “does not seek to be the final say. It seeks, instead, to launch the conversation.”

History and identity

One example of that conversation between the past and the present mentioned by Eagan is the work of artist Bushra Junaid, who moved to St. John’s from Montreal as a baby. The daughter of a Jamaican mother and Nigerian father, Junaid said her experience growing up in the province in the 1970s, where she always the only Black child in the room, was not like most.

“All of my formative years, my schooling and everything, took place in St. John’s,” she said. “It’s very much shaped my current preoccupation.”

Her interest in history, identity and representation led her to making “Two Pretty Girls…,” which used an archival photograph of Caribbean sugarcane workers from 1903 with text from advertisements for sugar, molasses and rum from archived copies of The Evening Telegram collaged over the women’s clothing.

In her essay “Of Saltfish and Molasses” published in “Future Possible,” she described the work as “(allowing) me to place these women and their labour within the broader historical context of the international trade in commodities that underpinned Caribbean slavery and its afterlife.”

It’s a direct connection between Newfoundland and people in the Caribbean, a historical line not often drawn through the context of the transatlantic slave trade, but one she knows personally through the stories told by her mother, Adassa, about their ancestor, Sisa, who “as a teenager, survived the horrors of the Middle Passage, enduring the voyage from West Africa to Jamaica in the hold of a slave ship (Junaid).”

A book like “Future Possible” allows people to interpret themselves and their past, present and future, Junaid says.

“I appreciate the ways in which they really worked to make it as broad and diverse as possible,” she said. “It’s also striving to tell the Indigenous history of the place, the European settler history … and then also looking for … non-Western backgrounds such as myself. It’s enriching.”

What shapes us

St. John’s writer Lisa Moore contributed an essay called “Five Specimens from Another Time” that weaves together moments from her own life, the province’s history and current realities and the art that has inspired her over the years.

“It’s really interesting to me to see all this work of people that I’ve written about in the past and whose work influenced me, even in my writing of fiction, and then newer artists,” Moore said. “I just think that the book is a total gift.”

With such a rich cultural history ready to be written, she imagines “Future Possible” is just the first of what could be many books about art in the province now that the “ice is cracked.”

“The writers that (Eagan) has chosen to write here are also really exciting critics from all over the province, talking about all kind of different periods in art history,” she said.

As time passes, the meaning of the works in the book becomes richer, she said.

Mary Pratt’s 1974 “Cod Fillets on Tin Foil” and Scott Goudie’s 1991 “Muskrat Falls,” for instance, are two images with seemingly straightforward and simple subject matter. But any viewer looking now, who is aware of the cod moratorium and the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam, would find it difficult to see and interpret these images outside of those contexts.

“Artists, writers, filmmakers … they’re keen observers of culture and the moment that we live in,” Moore said. “They present things that are intangible like the feeling of a moment, or the culmination of social, political and esthetic powers that come together at a given time and shape us.”

“Future Possible: An Art History of Newfoundland and Labrador” is available online and in stores.

Andrew Waterman reports on East Coast culture.
[email protected]
Twitter: @andrewlwaterman

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Source:- TheChronicleHerald.ca

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Parrott Art Gallery goes virtual to help flatten the curve – The Kingston Whig-Standard

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WENDY RAYSON-KERR

Feeling stir crazy because of COVID and the latest lock-down? Take a virtual trip to Morocco!

On Wednesday, April 14 at 2:30 p.m., the Parrott Gallery will host Lola Reid Allin’s Armchair Traveler online presentation: “Morocco: Sea, Sand and Summit”. Allin is an accomplished photographer, pilot, writer and speaker. Travel with her through the land of dramatic contrast and hidden jewels, busy markets and medieval cities, and enjoy some virtual sun.

For more information and to register for this free online event, please visit bellevillelibrary.ca/armchair-traveller.php. The Armchair Traveller Morocco photography exhibit is also available to view through the Parrott Gallery website until mid-May.

Even though our gallery is currently closed to the public, our exhibitions are all available to view online. Sam Sakr’s show “The Housing Project” is certain to bring a smile to your face. His collection of mixed media artwork will take you to a playful land of fantastical creatures that inhabit imaginary, stylized cityscapes. If your spirit needs uplifting, you need to see to see this show. I hope that everyone will be able to view Sakr’s work both online and then in our gallery after the lock-down ends in May. Without a doubt, it will be worth the wait to see it again in-person when we re-open.

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Another exhibition that you can currently visit on the Parrott Gallery website is the group show “Spring Sentiments: a Reflection of Art in Isolation”. This was a collaborative effort by the 39 artists who submitted their work, our staff who put the show together in the gallery and online, and our guest curator Jessica Turner. We are thrilled that Jessica was able to transcribe her experience with this show into a final paper for her Curatorial Studies BFA degree at OCADU.

The fact that we have had to close our doors just as this show was opening is a sad reflection of the theme as the audience must now reflect on this artwork at home, in isolation. The up-side to viewing this exhibition online is that one can read the artist statements that accompany the work and get a more in depth view of the artists’ perspectives. We encourage viewers to support our artists by sending in their comments and to vote for their favourites in the show by following the appropriate link on the webpage.

When you can’t come in to our building, the Parrott Gallery will bring the artwork to you. And then when the sun and flowers come out in May, and when it is safe to return to our gallery on the third floor of the Belleville Public Library, we hope to see you all again.

For questions about our online talk, our shows, or to purchase any of the artwork please call us at 613-968-6731 x 2040 or email us at gallery@bellevillelibrary.ca.

Wendy Rayson-Kerr is the Acting Curator at the John M. Parrott Art Gallery.

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