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NFTs storm the art world. But that's just the 'tip of the iceberg' – CNET

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Artist Ryan Maloney had planned a conventional launch for his latest project, a series of collector cards called Beastly Ballers that feature cartoon creatures decked out in football gear. The New Canaan, Connecticut-based illustrator was going to use a Chinese printer to package the cards; then he’d market them online and sell them at $4.99 for a pack of 10.

Instead, Maloney skipped the physical product all together. He listed the card images on the online marketplace OpenSea as NFTs, or nonfungible tokens, the digital assets that are upending the art world. Maloney had followed the rise of the technology and decided to give it a try.  

He began to rack up bids after a day or two. One card, with a drawing of a yeti named Yeta wearing a helmet and pads, sold for $85. In all, he’s tallied more than $700 in sales on 14 cards. For a working artist, it’s a meaningful haul, and more than he would’ve made going the traditional route.

“Artists are always looking for ways to make money off of their work,” Maloney says. “Once the word got out on crypto art, the gold rush really began.”

The gold rush for NFTs — essentially cryptological certificates of authenticity — is well underway. On Thursday, Christie’s, the 255-year-old British auction house, will close the sale of its first-ever digital-only art piece, a composite of 5,000 pieces created over as many days by the artist Beeple. The final price tag is sure to be eye-popping: As of this writing, bidding stands at $9.75 million. As Maloney’s story highlights, however, the implications of NFTs ripple far beyond the multimillion-dollar hammer prices set at fancy auction houses. 

NFTs bring to digital art a one-of-a-kind or limited-edition quality that’s been lost in the copy-paste, post-repost world of the internet. Each work of art is associated with a proof of ownership that’s recorded on a blockchain, the distributed ledgers most commonly associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The authentications, which can be applied to images, videos, music and other digital files, designate the original. Copies and copies of copies might abound on the web. But only one person can lay claim to the NFT behind it.

The technology is beginning to touch every corner of art, entertainment and media. In sports, a clip of Lebron James ruining a fast break sold for $100,000 on Top Shot, the NBA’s marketplace for highlight reels. In music, Kings of Leon last week became the first band to announce the release of an NFT album, with three types of tokens that include special artwork and perks. The pop star Shawn Mendez last month announced a line of digital goods in the form of NFTs. In the media world, the Associated Press is auctioning off an NFT electoral map of the 2020 US presidential contest, which uses data that was published on the blockchain. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is even selling the first tweet on the platform as an NFT.

Proponents say NFTs have the potential to revolutionize the way artists at every level can sell and distribute their work. In turn, NFTs could change the way people interact with and consume art in the digital era. 

The potential is huge, says Joe Saavedra, CEO of Infinite Objects, a company that makes frames for looping videos and other digital art so that the works can be displayed in homes and museums. His company collaborated with Beeple on an earlier NFT release, offering what he calls a “physical twin” frame to display the NFT, with a QR code on the frame that links to the token. 

“Across the board, everyone is going to have to reckon with how to navigate this space,” he says. “Art is the tip of the iceberg.”

‘A connection’

NFTs are powerful because they tackle deeply rooted issues in the digital realm: ownership and compensation. 

The internet grew into the place we know now because data could be easily replicated and user-generated content proliferated on the web. YouTubers and TikTok users have amassed huge followings by giving away content, which is sometimes professionally produced and expensive to make. Napster brought the music industry to its knees because it obliterated the business model when artists and labels never expected it. Facebook rants come free of charge, whether you like them or not. 

Sure, you can support online creators by donating to their Patreon accounts. But NFTs provide another avenue of connection between creator and fan. “NFTs give digital artists the agency to sell their work with the assurance of authenticity and rarity,” says Meghan Doyle, a specialist in the postwar and contemporary department at Christie’s. “They are creating a new way forward.” 

A piece by the artist Beeple being auctioned as an NFT at Christie’s.


Christie’s

In a way, NFTs restore a dynamic that’s sustained the art world for centuries. An art collector might covet an original Basquiat — instead of a print of a Basquiat — so they could have the version the artist stood over while creating it. An NFT buyer might feel closer to what the artist has deemed the “authentic” version, even though it can be identically reproduced. NFTs can also work like rare reprints, with only a finite amount of certified copies. You can listen to the Beatles’ White Album on Spotify, but owning an original pressing might transport you back to the recording session. 

“Humans put real meaning on the original,” says Coye Cheshire, a social psychologist at the UC Berkeley School of Information. “There’s a connection. It connects them to a time and place.”

NFTs are getting a lot of attention right now, but they aren’t new. The technology really took off in 2017, after the blockchain Ethereum introduced a new standard that supported the unique tokens. That year, a Canadian studio called Dapper Labs created a game called CryptoKitties that allowed people to buy, sell and collect virtual cats. The game was a hit and popularized NFTs. In 2020, the value of the NFT market was estimated at $315 million, according to a report by Cointelegraph.

Out of gas

There are downsides to NFTs. Artists complain of the sometimes steep fees that come with using the technology. 

The most popular blockchain for NFTs right now is Ethereum, and a “gas” fee is charged anytime a transaction is made on the network. The name comes from the cost of the computation needed to process transactions on the blockchain — akin to gas that fuels a car to make it run. Since the blockchain is decentralized, the price of gas fees is determined by several factors, including supply, demand and the value of Ethereum. 

Gas fees come at various points in the process. When artists join a marketplace, sometimes they’re charged a onetime gas fee on their first listing. Buyers, too, have to pay a fee when they purchase a work.  

“It suddenly becomes very difficult for new artists to come in and list a piece,” says Mateen Soudagar, an Australian investor who writes a blog about NFTs. It can hurt the market, too. He says fees have skyrocketed in the past to $200 or $300. “I’m not going to pay $200 for a piece of art selling for $50.” To ease the burden for artists, some marketplaces have introduced gas-free NFT creation. 

Soudagar has been involved with NFTs for years, first investing in virtual land in games. He believes video games will be the next frontier for NFTs. The technology will give people the ability to buy unique items, he says, like rare early skins, or armor or weapons for avatars. 

Maloney, the illustrator from Connecticut, says he’s willing to put up with high gas fees if it means getting more of his work out there and helping NFTs become more mainstream. He works with toy companies through the creative agency he founded, MediaLuv. He said he’s had conversations with clients interested in experimenting with NFTs.

“I feel like this is the way trading all goods and services will be in the future,” Maloney says. “It’s almost too good to be true.”

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Imaginations, creativity of Mountview students on display at Cariboo Art Beat

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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.”

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.


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

Source:– Williams Lake Tribune – Williams Lake Tribune

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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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