I have been a working artist for many years and much of that time I was struggling to make ends meet. Very early on I realized that making art was an experience of complete freedom, but selling art was not. It was difficult and it took quite a bit of the joy out of the creation process. The reasons for it are simple. I had no direct access to collectors. All my sales depended on intermediaries who showed my work when it served their purposes. Many artist were canceled out right there because an intermediary, often with no qualifications, decided they were not a promising prospect. I struggled with this system for many years and I saw it chew up and disappoint many artists. Worse, I saw it turn bright creative artists into drones, painting the same painting over and over, or variations ad infinitum, because that was what the dealer could sell.
I was very lucky, most artists weren’t. My luck was meeting a few influential people who had confidence in my abilities. Through them I met collectors. Collectors donated my works to museums and introduced me to curators. Little by little I built a following that helped me survive. Very often it was feast or famine. I was also lucky to have a wife that supports me in everything. So as I see it, four ingredients are necessary for one to succeed as an artist:
Living in a country with constitutional rights and free speech
Until recently I only had 3 of these ingredients. I did not have a good distribution.
Then the revolution of web3 became apparent to me. I realized that I could mint art to the Blockchain and it would get global distribution. The decentralized ecosystem of Web3 allows any artist to find his audience 24 seven anywhere in the world. This is powerful, there is nothing separating the artist from the collector. Artists can be themselves, and collectors are empowered to find artists who communicate directly to their soul. A transaction could be made without interference from a middleman.
The most serious problem for artists is that making art takes time and so the physical work has to be priced high and only the elite can afford it. The average consumer can’t. Most people love art, want art and enjoy art but cannot buy it. This problem is solved in Web3 by editions. In the brick and mortar art world the only works that are produced in editions are etchings, lithographs and silkscreens. Those are customarily viewed as the more minor works of an artist. In Web3 however, an edition does not signify a minor work. The opposite is true, the quality and importance of the work can be the same as a 1/1, and because it is an edition, the lower price makes it available to almost everyone. I can make a work of art and sell it as a 1/1 and charge a higher price for its exclusivity, or I can sell it in an edition and charge a lower price so many people can buy it and enjoy it. I can make the same amount of money, potentially, with an edition as I would with a 1/1. So this revolution is beneficial to all artists. I don’t see how the brick and mortar art world can ever compete with the simplicity and freedom of Web3.
Some people expect that the brick and mortar art world will adapt. I don’t think that adaptation is going to happen. The investment involved, the operating costs for a gallery, which include real estate, branding and exclusivity, are prohibitive. Web3 and decentralization work for the artist, it is clearly obvious from how well NFTS are doing.
As a traditional artist, I have had the privilege of having my works displayed in some of the most prestigious museums like MoMA, the Metropolitan Museum and the British Museum. But digital art and NFTs have the potential of reaching a whole new audience and open up new possibilities for the art world.
I am excited to share with you my five resolutions for my declaration of independence in the new decentralized art world:
1. I have the ability to create unique and verifiable digital artworks and have control over their distribution and sale. With other artists doing the same we create a more diverse and dynamic art scene.
2. I can bypass the traditional gatekeepers of the art world, such as galleries and museums, and connect directly with my collectors.
3. In the decentralized art market I am part of an inclusive and diverse art community that is accessible to artists and collectors from all backgrounds and locations.
4. The potential for digital artworks to be collected and traded like physical art opens up new possibilities for the art market.
5. Artists benefit from web3 technology in creating, selling and displaying art and this will lead to a more efficient and transparent art market.