If you still don’t quite understand NFTs, you aren’t alone. (Neither did I until I was contacted by SaatchiArt) But if their recent popularity is any indication, I believe you won’t stop hearing about them any time soon. As they’ve exploded in popularity, NFTs have entered the public conversation and positioned concepts like digital ownership and scarcity as veritable philosophical questions.
Buying an NFT provides usage rights and ownership over specific digital assets. While NFTs can be copied and downloaded, an NFT provides true ownership of the work (although the artist still retains the copyright and reproduction rights as in the physical art world). In the context of the LeBron James NFT, the general public can still go to YouTube and watch a clip of the play. But there’s only one true owner of the play. And for many consumers, that’s exactly the point.
NFTs are what happens when digital artists, blockchain, and crypto fans collide. It’s the start of a new revolution in art and content ownership that has seen the NBA, Taco Bell, and McDonald’s jump on the bandwagon. With Ethereum-backed digital art that provides true ownership and tradeability to consumers, NFTs might be an exciting new world for enthusiast brands.
Digital marketing guru Neil Patel breaks it down this way: “While they’ve been around for a couple of years, NFTs have recently become a hot topic (and even hotter investment). What are they, and how do they work? To understand non-fungible tokens (NFTs), we must first define the word ‘fungible’. If something is fungible, it can be exchanged for something of equal or similar value. A typical example would be fiat currency (and even cryptocurrency). It’s fungible because you can trade it for goods of an equal value. You can also trade it for another currency if need be. On the other hand, something that’s non-fungible is unique and therefore can’t be exchanged at equivalency. For example, a diamond is non-fungible as no two diamonds in the world are alike, and thus each has its unique value. You can’t trade one for another at equivalency. A non-fungible token is a cryptographic asset created using blockchain technology. What sets NFTs apart from cryptocurrencies (which are fungible tokens as they are identical to each other) is that they have unique identification codes and metadata to distinguish one NFT from another. Because each NFT is unique, it cannot be traded or exchanged at equivalency with another NFT. The result is that each NFT is a digital collectible, a one-of-a-kind asset that can’t be replicated. That’s where the craze for NFTs started. In 2017, CryptoKitties, a blend between Tamagotchi and trading cards, exploded onto the scene. Each kitten is unique and can be raised, reproduced, be traded—some for as much as $140,000. NFT mania was born, and today, the interest in NFTs is only increasing.” Thanks wearescs.com for helping explain that!
So as a unique piece of art on the Ethereum blockchain, with a code only one person can own in a digital wallet, NFTs have created an entirely new ecosystem for digital art. And the implications for brands are enormous. Now for the first time, IP owners have a way to encode individual digital assets, make them available for sale, and trade them on an open market. Like art, scarcity and uniqueness drive value, making NFTs a home run for entertainment and enthusiast IP brands. It’s the reason why artists, entertainment studios, music artists, athletes, and meme owners are flocking to NFTs and creating new value in their IP by releasing NFTs to exchanges for sale. Iconic photos. Memes. Collectible cards. Animated 3D digital art. Album art. Any unique creative visual that has a fan base can make for unique and interesting NFTs.
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Summer is coming to a fast close, any fun we had outdoors was tempered by the onging Covid surges. We are all waiting, some better than others until there is a time when we can say this is behind us. Until then, we continue to be aware, be safe and make the best of the situation we continue to live in. So, where do we go from here? I for one, continue to keep my "new normal" routines. I walk into my amazing studio space, close the doors and look for things to challenge my creativity. Sometimes is from companies reaching out for my services in graphic design, branding or a commission on a new mosaic piece. I focus, much like I imagine most everyone else does, on moving forward, making the days count towards a goal. I continue to make art that has begun to pile up around me and I keep reacing out there into cyberspace-dom.... looking for that opportunity to share some of my mosaic artwork with that part of the world that does venture out looking for small pieces of normality. I am thinking about the fall and what I intend to be doing during the cooler days, what I have not explored creatively. We move forward with the best efforts and we take the small moments and enjoy them as they are. The future is not dark and our hopes will remain lit brighter with each day. I guess, I could have said all this in a shorter sentence, but sometimes writing this down helps clear your thoughts, sharpens your focus a little more and making art is what I love to do. I some new ideas, things to try and perhaps share with you all along the way. Peace out.
Starting out as an art collector, it can seem like there is insurmountable and uncertain terrain to navigate ahead of you. You see those who have found success, and you wonder, “How can I ever reach that level?” Just remember that all established collectors had to start somewhere. The key is to invest in learning, preparing, and developing your skills and relationships along the way.
YOU DON'T HAVE TO HAVE A BILLION DOLLARS TO BE AN ART COLLECTOR!
Here are a few tips to help you prepar for your first steps in becoming a real art collector:
1. Know what you like, what your preferred tastes are.
Visit art fairs, art museums or galleries. Scour art online and determine what styles, mediums, sizes and subjects speak to you. Art should make you feel good, so begin to understand what you like and don't like.
2. Know the market.
Start building relationships with galleries or perhaps getting to know artists. Building your art network will help expose you to artists. Don't be afraid to reach out to artists, send them an email. Having a dialogue with the art community will help you understand more about the art you may be interested in and eventually collecting.
3. Know what you can afford and set a budget.
This is essential and where and when to buy art which may also include other factors beyond the price of the art, such as insurance, shipping and framing. Also, there are two main areas to acquire art, through galleries or from other collectors and buying directly from the artist. Of course, buying directly is typically less expensive than going through the secondary market of galleries and other sources where the art has been previously owned. Other factors may also be how rare the art is, the medium or what period of the artist's career was created that can influence the price. You may also consider attending local art fairs to become more acquainted with art and artists. This may also be the most budget friendly.
4. Know what an art advisor is and if it would be worth investing in.
Art advisors can be very helpful in building your collection. They will have industry knowledge, relationships and experience to offer you. Of course there is a price for this service and budgeting that cost and structure into your budget will be important to understand in your journey to becoming an art collector.
5. Know where to get your feet wet.
Art auctions can be intimidating of course. You may want to attend an auction just to see what goes on and to help you get comfortable with the process. If art auctions still hold interest for you and once you feel confident, then you may be ready to buy your first piece of art!
6. Know what you are buying.
While feeling an attraction to a piece of art is important, there are a few things to check out before you buy. First make sure you see the art in person, up close. If you have found it online, make sure you see multiple images of the art from different angles. Also, is this piece just an infatuation or something you will enjoy over time. If yes, will this piece be a good fit for you overall collection.
7. Know the provenance.
Before you buy a piece of art, especially from a gallery or other art collector, ownership history all the way back to the artist will be crucial to proving authenticity, value and collectable significance to the piece through the story it tells. If you purchase directly from the artist, ask for a certificate of authenticity.
Building your dream collection can be very rewarding and enjoyable. Developing your personal tastes, expanding your knowledge and building amazing relationships in the art world is a wonderful journey and you can do this with the purchase of one piece of art. And speaking as an artist, it is so rewarding to meet collectors and learn from them as well as sharing my own experiences.
For over a year now, we have all experienced dramatic changes. Each of us have adapted in various ways, found paths to keep our sanity intact as much as possible. For artists, and for me specifically, I was able to reconnect with my art, my passion and my way of exploring what I feel. Sometimes, what we feel, what we see and what we experience is reflected in art. This has been the outcome from my time during the global pandemic. It isn't bad, it isn't a burden to spend time with yourself. This time, much like my early years growing up and in my early years of my career, where I would spend alot of time with myself wondering what to do, how to do art, would it be good, what would people say. So, here I am again, making art, wondering what to do, how would people react. What is different, is the experiences I now have to draw from, the energy to do more, to do better, to take more chances and if I fail, so what, I will learn from that.
I have created over 100 pieces of art so far during this time, along with various graphic design projects. More than I have ever been able to do. With the support of my loving wife, my new home studio and this redirection of sorts, I have taken chances I might not have done in the "before times". So I am grateful for this time to explore, make art, share it online. Sometimes I create art just for myself. This is a time to take more chances, risk failure and make myself better as a person and as a creative person. I have, over time, created a schedule of doing something, creating something everyday. I make lists and while I may not complete everything on that list, that's ok. Sometimes my only art for the day are the doodles I make on that list. That's ok too. Regardless, working with this time, is time to think, time to explore and time to make art. I will take this time as a period to learn about myself and the woman I spend my days with and maybe, how to be a better artist.
Having the space to create, free from anyone’s constrains, is a dream. It is a
safe space that allows you to fail, learn and fail again. In that sense, it is a
creative laboratory where experiments are performed until the art “scientist” experiences success. It is a place that you can control, be organized or not organized to the level your art needs it to be. It can be the platform for influencing how your art comes to life. It is a place where you feel relaxed, inspired, protected. Sometimes I feel like artists are like performers who want to be in the spotlight,
but standing behind their art. Bringing your art to life where it can sometimes
take a life of its own. Hopefully it will move someone enough to want to see it on display in their home, office or
a public space.
My studio space is a combination of digital workstation, shop table with glue, blades, color sticks and a wood and paint shop. I am a solitary person and enjoy time with myself, being alone to create ideas, test them to a point
I think it should be brought to life. It really is a space to make what I choose. Sure, sometimes I can create a turd-like Frankenstein, but it is still mine. Here, in my art studio is a separation from anything out there, anything beyond
my doors. My art studio allows me to focus my brain to be creative. I can switch gears quickly on my art. I can
sit at my computer or stand in front of my chop saw, both give me freedom to create. Within all of this creative freedom, I need order as well. I want to have a sense of accomplishment each day with a list of things I want to do. Not all are done, but as long as I can see progress, I will bring order and progress within my art studio. I have
spent a great deal of time in my art studio during this pandemic and it has been a wonderful experience for me.
I have been allowed to create many new pieces. I have even had to create storage carts for the artwork. I have expanded my style to adapt to a variety of sizes, some large and now some very small. I have bee fortunate
enough to create art for friends and their families. I have been able to share art online through social media,
my website and a few galleries. I also made a connection through an online gallery (singulart.com) that exposed
me to a collector in the UAE and now I have a piece of art hanging in the Dubai World Trade Center. Certainly a highlight for me during this time. So, this space, my art studio will continue to help me create, thrive and share
art with other. I hope, like other artists, to have a time where we can open our studio doors and share our personal space with other creatives, friends and collectors.
So, why is an art studio important? It is important to facilitate, focus, balance, fail, succeed, build confidence,
organize a creative mind and most importantly, it gives my wife a place for me to be, out of her way
while she works and this makes us both very happy.
I also have to thank her for all she has done to support me in this effort and allowing me this wonderful,
sometimes messy, sometimes loud, occasionally smelly space.
This is why my art studio is important to me.
Creating, making art is something like therapy for some of us. We get on to an idea and want to explore all aspects in hopes of finding better results, better technique and better solutions for a wide audience. Assuming I had any of the latter to speak of. Nonetheless, we charge on, testing or trying things until it breaks, doesn't look right or it just sucks.
In talkig to a friend who wanted me to do a smaller version of the mosaic technique, of course I scoffed and said it couldn't be done. We don't have the technology, it would not look right and of course, the whole "worlds would collide" aspect. After saying it, I now had to make sure all the bullshit I had claimed was correct and of course it was not. So I was able to try doing simple color solutions with paint chips, crap, this thing could work! Maybe layering in some imagery would be cool too... yep, it was. What if I tried doing a simlified composition, double-f-knuckles... that was working too. So I says to myself, what if you could make several of these crazy, micro mosaics and group them together on the wall, or wait.... on a credenza... this is crazy, but it seemed to work for me. (Your results may vary as your opinion on art is unique and my stuff may not hit your awesome button). Now I'm full tilt into this voyage to where no mosaic has gone before. Beam me up Batman.
I doodle a lot. I mean a-lot. I have books full of them. I doodled in meetings and while it may have seemed I wasn't paying attention, it was in fact, helping me focus more. In these cases, it's more of a thinking process than a drawing process. Often these scribbles mean nothing to someone else, but it seems like a code to me. Sometimes it can inspire me to come up with a solution, whether it be for a design project or a piece of fine art. Thinking is. hard, thinking of ideas can be harder, but if your brain is engaged, it can free up ideas that may be something you think should be pursued to a point of execution.
Making a mark with a pen on paper is the beginning of that idea, that thought and transferring it into a real, physical shape is the beginning. An artist has to be vulnerable in order to create something that connects visually, emotionally and physically. Dealing with things you might feel afraid of sharing are sometimes an inspirational start. Afterall, when you create a piece of art, you are revealing something of yourself. There is something in the experience of creating this art that you are sharing in a very public way. You can not always avoid the things you fear or feel insecure about. I have become more secure in taking risks, attempting to create something that I find interesting, something fresh and visually stimulating. Even if the eventual reaction to that art is one of dislike. I want a reaction, good or bad because the worst reaction for a creative person is one of indifference. I want you to love it, to think it is great or you hate it and want to destroy it. These are the emotional connections we look for as an artist.
So, where do ideas come from? They come from inside us. They come from our experiences and how we feel about them. We are inspired by other creative people and the creative risks they have taken. This is where I landed on the mosaic idea. I have always drawn and painted, since I was eight years old. This new style or technique is something I came up with that challenged my mentally, graphically and creatively. I had no idea if this was really art or if it was going to be accepted on the same plane as I had visualized it. What I like about this technique is the opportunity to say something in a multitude of layers. Abstract thoughts and vivid colors interacting with images and misaligned squares. The application of paint and glue that appears to have just happened are really thought out and somehow planned strokes and globs.
So, keep doodling.
I like to ride my bicycle. So, riding enough will eventually lead you to adopt those oh so tight, spandex like riding gear. During those warm weather months, I ride with several other like minded riders on Saturday morning for a few hours of enjoyable riding, chatting and most importantly, the breakfast stop. This, overtime has turned into a great club of sorts where I have enjoyed meeting many great people from many different walks of life. The longer we did this, we eventually decided to design and identify ourselves at the "FatBoyz" cyclists. It was a very short sided thought for a name as we have several women who ride with us, regardless, we have continued on with it. Using the Owayo 3D jersey kit design model, it is very easy and fun to create custom jerseys. So, while designing my "El Jefe" jersey you see below, I wondered what they might look like with my mosaic artwork. Not too bad for that artsy biker look. So taking art that I created for fun, I expanded to applying it to a garment. This may lead to some more ideas later on, but for now, enjoy the art show. Thanks.