Maximillian- Late night humans https://opensea.io/assets/0x677d8fe828fd7143ff3cee5883b7fc81e7c2de60/142
This article sets out the reasons the art world needs blockchain art and NFT’s(non-fungible tokens). As well as covering some things that I believe as an industry we need to watch out for and work to solve.
Blockchain has long been a clear fit for digital art and art in general, the first time this idea was brought up really was in 2014 with a project called monograph(https://monegraph.com/) which is still a working platform. This video is well worth a watch as it shows a lot of the issues that had to be solved for blockchain art to work https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXVy3HUI5zM it is 38 minutes long though so the very short version is we need to work out a registry, storage and a front end to interact with.
There have been many art projects all with different goals in mind, provenance(https://allpublicart.io/)( https://codexprotocol.com/), fractional ownership(https://www.maecenas.co/) and NFT’s like us, Known Origin(https://knownorigin.io/), Superrare(https://superrare.co/) or dada nyc (https://dada.nyc/home). But even though we all sell digital art we all do it totally differently for example known origin allows editions we do not, there are many other differences but that’s not what this article is about but do take the time to check out these projects.
When first thinking about how we wanted to enter this market, we knew that it is key to provide a B2B as well as a B2C so we thought that the best way to approach this was to create what we call an archive token.
What is an archive token? And how does art connect to blockchain
You’ve got security, utility, exchange, stable, non-fungible and basic(currency) tokens. Well allow me to make this even more complex The BAE has created what we call archive tokens. Why do we call them this? Simple standard NFT’s on ERC-721 work in a few ways but the standard way of inputting images into them is to use what is called a tokenURI. This is a link to a web address that returns the metadata, image description etc. A lot of projects do store more on chain, but the move seems to be increasingly to put as little as possible on the blockchain.
We decided early on that the best use of blockchain is to get as much information on there as possible. So, our tokens contain a lot of information.
what is in our tokens?
- the title of the work
- name of the artist
- the thumbnail URL
- the high resolution or hidden file URL
- a notes section (this is so that anyone can use the archiving system with their current one)
- overall grade
- base price
- current price
- number of total prints
- number of prints remaining
- date created
that’s a pretty full token in fact our smart contract is the maxim size for the Ethereum network. The BAE isn’t just creating digital art we are archiving it and preserving it the best way we possibly can. We call the archive tokens as that is what they are, a record of an archive that you can also trade and exchange.
I will go into what some of more abstract inputs mean in another article.
Catering for digital art
Katerina Samoilis – a monstrously fluffy family https://opensea.io/assets/0x677d8fe828fd7143ff3cee5883b7fc81e7c2de60/127
One of the major issues in the artworld is the massive number of artists practising styles that have no clear medium for sale. There are a lot of these one easy example is video art, video artists have a hard time selling their work they have a few options; they can simply put it onto a disk sign it and sell that, they can put it onto a usb stick and sell that finally they can create custom hardware for it. All these options have different issues disks while possibly more secure than a usd stick degrade over time relatively fast https://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub121/sec4/. For USB sticks the issue is pretty obvious and applies to DVD’s too the copying of the file. The third solution of creating custom hardward solves both these issues and arguably is the best Solution But alas, the cost of such a thing is huge and most emerging artists do not have the capital to fund the creation of such a device.
The over arching issue with video art and digital art of all kinds is the resale, its not the fact that someone may have burned another disk or copied the usb file. The issue is buyer confidence how can they know for sure they are getting the original?
When we start to connect these kinds of art to tokens, we realise that copying is no longer an issue. Using blockchain the only way that a video can hold a value is if it is sold to you as a token that then connects to the file this way unlike a disc the buyer knows they are getting the original.
Video art is but one small part of the picture next let’s have a look a concept art and artists and why it isn’t considered part of the mainstream art world.
An underappreciated art form
Ghost lady by Zyrlaynn https://opensea.io/assets/0x677d8fe828fd7143ff3cee5883b7fc81e7c2de60/83
A sad fact about video game concept art is that the artists in most cases work for a company which they gain all the rights of their creation. It seems odd that the art market is split into this duality on one had we have artist who create a unique work of art sell it and own the rights forever but struggle with the inconsistent pay. Even a fairly successful artist can go broke if they don’t have regular exhibitions or an avid collector. While on the other hand with have those, who work for comic books, video game companies and movies who earn a good wage will never have the option of having that art be exhibited in a mainstream art gallery.
The distinction decided by the people at the top of the fine art industry (critics, dealer and gallerists) to exclude concept style art from the idea of “art” is baffling. It was the same with photography it took until the 2000’s for photos to be truly considered an art from by the establishment.
What makes art “Art” and why this distinction?
the artworld has one huge gaping hole in their idea that this kind of art doesn’t belong in a gallery Roy Lichtenstein. For those of you that don’t know Lichtenstein was an artist that became big around the 70s everyone has seen a work by him he blows up old comic book cells. But Lichtenstein’s work was totally copied from old comic books about the US army. He simply made the same cells but larger and sometimes changed the colours. His message and reason for doing this he claims was to point out the fact that comic book artists do not retain any rights to their artwork.
Whether his reasoning is true or just a way to justify what he did is a matter of debate. Either way Lichtenstein’s work raise’s some interesting questions about the nature of “art” why is it that when the image was in the comic it was just a comic book drawing, but as soon as an “artist” blows up the image to a large size it becomes art?
The simple answer is it doesn’t, But the more complex and less straight forward one is that Lichtenstein was the first to think of doing that and he also had the intention of becoming an “artist”. The most ridiculous aspect about this story is that if the actual comic book creators tried to sell their drawings the company would sue them. Yet Lichtenstein got away with it because he wasn’t working for them.
Since Lichtenstein’s time not much has changed for comic book creators but that model of the company owning all IP has seeped into other budding industry’s such as video games and movie art. The artist who creates a character sometimes with their own personality and back story doesn’t get to benefit from any private sales of their creation.
A traditional artist creates a story of representation within the frame of view of the artwork itself. Concept artists create something much more the frame of view for a particular work is only but a small fraction of what the image indents to represent, an entire universe of ideas exists just out of frame. The other aspect that is interesting is why don’t more concept artists create “art” while also producing artwork for a company? I think this is related to the fact that there is a perceived divide in art, in the sense that most concept artists believe that their work doesn’t fit the artworld and most “artists” think the versa.
The issue here is that anyone with eyes to see can tell concept art is far more technically challenging than most forms of traditional art. The art world has got increasingly less about skill and more about whatever nonsense you can make up to sell an artwork, bricks and cans of beans. Realism Oil painting has all but disappeared a discipline that takes a lifetime to master. But those creators who made the most iconic and breath-taking art over the century’s those masters of the artistic Craft, notice how I didn’t use “”. Have taken another form now the only way to sell works of art crafted in such epic baroque style is to look to the work created for video games and create concept art.
Another reason that concept artists may not have gotten into “art” is because of the cost associated with printing framing and displaying work. Thankfully with the advent of blockchain art all those costs become unnecessary and artists that create digital can sell their work in the same space it was created with little to no cost. Soon the “artworld” as it is will no longer exist instead, we will have a market that is open to all forms of art. The popularity of which no longer decided by critics and gallerists but will be chosen by the consumer in a totally free market.
The craft of the master artist is alive and well it’s just that we are looking in the wrong place, instead of looking to the “artworld” to tell us what “art” is. we should just be looking at art and deciding ourselves what is or isn’t an artwork.
Concept art also raises its own questions about IP rights, inspiration and fan art lets take a look at one of the artists currently featured on our exchange to see how these challenges can be addressed.
Leonardo Vincent Memetics, pop culture and copyright
Leonardo Vincent – samurai https://opensea.io/assets/0x677d8fe828fd7143ff3cee5883b7fc81e7c2de60/16
Leonardo’s work is an idle to pop culture his work clearly displays his skill in the creation of digital art. The work is often a transformation of a piece of pop culture such as the work featured of samurai jack. This work epic in creation is clearly Vincent’s recreation of an important character in his lifetime.
Other works by Vincent include representations of Indonesian icons and mythical creatures and in a way a homage to historic pop culture. While the recreation of the Barong could be said to be a nod to historic pop culture the work below of Pewdiepie & Elon Musk is one to modern, this work was featured on PewdiePie’s channel. Whatever can be said of Pewdiepie doesn’t matter the moment captured and recreated in this artwork a vital moment in the history of the internet. This is what art is all about capturing the zeitgeist of the time but in a conceptual manner.
Leonardo Vincent – Elon Musk Saves pewdiepie from t-series https://opensea.io/assets/0x677d8fe828fd7143ff3cee5883b7fc81e7c2de60/82
Leonardo’s work also raises some interesting points about what constitutes fan art and where the lines of copyright end. Andy Warhol famously painted soup cans but what is more interesting is his recreations of superman which are identical to superman by DC, where is the line? To be considered to be a new work the artwork must be highly transformative. So, the thinking goes like this, if you create an image of superman in the style of superman then you have stolen. But change it to a different style and put your own meaning and it is transformative at least as far as art is concerned. Is art or fan art, well depends what label you put on it and how much of your IP is in the art.
Why we shouldn’t let everyone create crypto collectables
I miss Steve
Simple copyright, there isn’t much else to say I get increasingly worried about crypto projects that allow anyone to tokenise with so much as an image search. It’s not just about quantity it’s about quality it is art after all.
Only verified members of our community can create artwork this is to stop any copyright infringement, so the work holds a value. You never buy art without some form of certification and despite what a lot of projects say Blockchain on its own is nothing but a record of fake art. In order to know that art is real some form of authority is required to make sure illegal content is not uploaded whether that is copyright infringement or something worse. Giving the power to save art onto the blockchain to anyone who downloads an app is a sure way to destroy any hope this industry has of being a real store of value.
Also, with the EU copyright directive we need to think about what we host on our platforms and these projects put everyone at risk. This is because we share a back end so what’s on your site is on rare bits is on open sea. Copyrighted content posted by someone who is not the owner on one platform can take down the entire ecosystem in one go and have everyone paying legal bills.
A solution to this could be to install KYC checks to anyone creating artwork.
This is going to start a chain of events that will destroy the NFT market. You can’t let anyone save something forever on your platform or Ethereum unless you know who they are, and you know it is their IP. What’s the point of having this new marketplace if we are just going to fill it with fakes?
You may say well anyone can make a smart contract, yeah anyone can but it’s hard and that alone is a hurdle enough.
Please comment down below is you have anything to add or/and questions…