TORONTO — The recent auction of an artwork has created a stir in the art and tech worlds, and not just because of the US$69.4-million final bid it fetched.
“Everydays: The First 5,000 Days,” a digital collage by artist Beeple was the first non-fungible token (NFT) item to be auctioned at Christie’s. NFTs — which are essentially a tool that uses blockchain technology to provide proof of ownership of a digital asset such as an image, audio clip or a tweet — have gained traction in the art world due to the benefits they offer to creators, such as authenticity guarantees and prompt payment. However, potential applications for NFTs go far beyond the creative class.
While NFTs operate on the same blockchain ledger technology as cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, there are major differences between them. While one bitcoin is interchangeable with another (or fungible), each NFT represents a unique asset.
One aspect that makes NFTs so valuable is the sign-off from the artists themselves, says Vandana Taxali, co-founder and chief executive of startup Artcryption in Toronto.
An NFT allows an artist to create an official registry for the “first” version of a work they release, Taxali says. In theory, no matter how many times a song is streamed online, the owner of the song’s NFT has the original, digital authentication. Like any collectible, the story is key: A dress worn by a celebrity in a movie can be auctioned off for thousands, while the same dress off the rack cannot. Similarly, artists can also register their earlier sketches or notes that give the backstory of their art as NFTs.
Taxali gives the example of her brother, who is an artist. His original work is likely to be the most expensive, because only one exists. Then, he might do a limited edition of 100 prints, but the original work remains the most valuable, just like a poster of Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night is incomparable to the original canvas.
Canadian artists have not missed out on the excitement. Musician Grimes sold NFT projects for US$6 million earlier this year. Rock band Arkells tweeted encouragement to a photographer to turn an image of their performance into an NFT.
Taxali says the blockchain system that underlies NFTs can also be used to create “smart” contracts that automatically pay royalties to artists.
NFTs are part of a blockchain ledger that cannot be altered, says Taxali, who is a lawyer by training. That means that if NFTs are adopted widely as a way to register ownership rights, the blockchain ledger could fill in holes that currently exist in government intellectual property registries, which can be expensive and difficult to navigate, she says.
NFTs also have potential uses beyond art, but many are still experimental, says Chetan Phull, a lawyer at Deloitte Legal Canada LLP in the national data privacy and cybersecurity group. However, he says there are also some significant hurdles to their widespread adoption.
While the blockchain leger itself is designed to be immutable, Phull says the systems that allow access to NFTs must also have good cybersecurity. There are also questions about how laws will treat NFTs when it comes to taxes, securities rules and even concepts like “squatters’ rights,” he says.
Toronto-based digital artist Krista Kim recently released an NFT light sculpture artwork called “Mars House”, which includes digital files for a “house” designed by Kim, meant to be viewed as an augmented reality experience with music. An NFT was a fitting choice to auction the work, says Kim, because both augmented reality and NFTs reflect the changing ideas around assets in a digital world.
The NFT process is also a practical one for Kim to make a living as an artist, after being fleeced by middlemen and galleries in years past. Kim says the NFT auction was “simple” and resulted in immediate payment that will kick in automatically each time “Mars House” is bought or sold in the future.
“The intermediaries in the market would take 50 per cent of a sale of an artist’s work. Therefore there’s very little capital left to actually give back to society and for the community to benefit from the artists’ creative work,” says Kim.
“In this case, the artist is given 90 per cent of the proceeds. The collector is also directly connected to the artists. So, you can actually become collaborators.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 25, 2021.
— With a file from The Associated Press
Anita Balakrishnan, The Canadian Press
Imaginations, creativity of Mountview students on display at Cariboo Art Beat
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.
Source:– Williams Lake Tribune – Williams Lake Tribune
Launching the conversation on Newfoundland and Labrador art history
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.
Parrott Art Gallery goes virtual to help flatten the curve – The Kingston Whig-Standard
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wendy Rayson-Kerr is the Acting Curator at the John M. Parrott Art Gallery.
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