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ART & COLLECTABLES

New York, London, L.A. …This Artist Has Seen It All, As She Jumps In The NFT Boom

Karen Amy Finkel Fishof is the creator of #FamousFaces, a digital collection of NFT portraits with a touch of charity.

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Born in the Bronx, Karen was influenced by the New York art scene in the 1980s. In elementary school her art was chosen to be shown at City Hall in New Rochelle, NY. She was labeled as “gifted”, and her parents encouraged her artistic development enrolling her in painting and sculpture classes. She apprenticed under artist, Marylyn Dintenfass and was motivated by her work practice. Karen received a BFA in painting from Syracuse University including a year abroad at St. Martins School of Art, London, UK, creating photograms under the same professors as Gilbert and George.

Photograms

By pushing the boundaries of conventional black and white photography, she produces large scale, life size, and one-of-a-kind photograms. The work is thought-provoking, visually compelling and a challenge to norms grounded in integrity.

“I stage scenes on photo paper in the darkroom, expose them to light, and then develop them traditionally with black and white chemistry. Photograms provide the medium I need to tell my stories. Through them, I can communicate. I love the creative process of these works, from the exposure to the development. The magic of seeing the image appear when the photo paper is placed in the chemistry, knowing it was a moment captured with no negative, and the anticipation in the darkroom of seeing how various objects live in the light and how light wraps around them, fascinates me.” She then captures that living dance on 2D, still, photo paper. Unlike conventional photography, each piece is a one-of-a-kind, like a painting and bears a painterly feel.

She considers the process drawing with light. It gives her the strong imagery and narrative, with hidden subtleties. Each piece is premeditated to a degree with a window left open for spontaneous improvisation. From a pictorial standpoint, compositional organization is paramount.

“I start with what interests me, not just ideas, but the relationship between ideas.” Her work merges socio political content with sculptural, painterly objects in its own reality experience. The pieces are theatrical stills, each with its own story.

“I am influenced by all artistic mediums including interior design, film, music, fashion and social media. I’ve worked in all these areas professionally and draw from their current trends.”

Inspiration may come from current events, personal experiences or from found objects. Creating photograms allows her to collage these areas together into one cohesive image statement. 

Figures are not only in a physical space, but a psychological one as well. The characters are firmly planted in their own surreal, distorted space. All persons and objects serve a double role. Not only are they instruments in imagery, but also declare a statement about the medium itself. We are forced to recognize a new aspect of the person or object touching the surface, the form itself.

There is a presence that remains of the people and objects, sort of like when you see the handprints on the Hollywood “Walk of Fame”. You know that the person had physical contact with the paper, unlike conventional photography or portraiture. Not only are the figures actors in a drama, but they are also portraits of the models and reflect their inherent personalities.

“The work makes one cognizant of the relationship we have with objects. We almost always have an object in our hands, whether it be a phone, pen, fork, cup, remote control, gun, bible or flowers. We are dependent on them and they define us.”

Recent photograms explore contemporary issues of parenting, politics and the intersection of gender and religion, defining her identity, confronting stereotypes and moving between the secular and the sacred. The work engages the viewer to explore the definition of photography as well as examine their pre-existing ideas of the various content.

NFT Portraits

Karen hasn’t actually transitioned, but added NFTs to her creative arsenal. Aside from her BFA in painting, she also has a degree in computer graphics and have been working as a graphic designer for over 20 years. She had in the past, used those skills for helping brands promote themselves creating websites, logos, brochures etc. When she got wind of the NFT boom, she immediately went back to her love of color, pop art and a statement about celebrity.

“I’m at a point in my life where I really want to give back. There are so many needy people and so many worthwhile causes that it was hard to decide what to put my efforts behind.  I came up with an idea…”

Karen created an #NFT series called #FamousFaces and she’s donating a portion of the proceeds from each piece to a charity that she associates with that person. 

​She’s been working on #FamousFaces – a digital collection of NFT portraits while in lockdown. Her approach is to bridge the art with the Jewish concept of Maaser, giving a tenth of your earnings to charity. The works are slightly animated, living in the small space between a traditional portrait and a full blown animation. Employing a “close up” of the face, she has integrated the Jewish practice of “looking at the faces of the righteous” with the idea that looking at the faces of those with honorable traits, one will feel a sense of connection and in turn, that will imbue the onlooker with inspiration to obtain those positive attributes.

​The first collection of #FamousFaces (1-10) includes:(1) Notorious RBG – Ruth Bader Ginsburg, (2) Imagine – John Lennon, (3) Dare, The Greta Effect – Greta Thunberg,  (4) Dave Stands Up – Dave Chappelle, (5) Let’s Talk About Sex – Dr. Ruth Westheimer, (6) Visionary Elon – Elon Musk, (7) Compassionate Oprah – Oprah Winfrey, (8) Art Takes Action – Ai Weiwei, (9) Girls Just Wanna Have An Education – Malala Yousafzai, (10) Truth, Justice and Nonviolent Resistance – Mahatma Gandhi.

“What do you want this piece to say and what is the best method to get that message across?” is what she always asks herself before creating an art piece.

Mod Wall Art

“It’s a funny thing when you’re an artist and you finally get a wall large enough to hang one of your own works on. That’s what happened to me when my husband and I purchased a house. For two years we sat looking at a blank wall over the sofa. I felt that none of the works I had done prior worked in the space, a space that I had decorated!”

​After seeking inspiration from various sources, it finally hit her. She has been creating such large scale, delicate art. The photograms require a truck to transport and expensive mounting of the photo paper to Sintra, an archival PVC board and then that gets mounted onto a wooden support frame. Beautiful in their own right, she had always thought of them as museum pieces. For her home (and to please her husband who loves color) she created Mod Wall Art.

“At first I designed the entire piece in photoshop and then, working backwards, I hand painted 27 wooden hexagons. That would be the first and last hand painted pieces.” Her fabricator who has been mounting her photograms came to one of her shows where she was also displaying some hexagons. He told her she could encase them in museum grade acrylic. They worked together to get the fabrication just right and Mod Wall Art was born.

What’s great about these pieces is that they can scale horizontally or vertically to fit any wall and still fit in a small space for transport. They look like floating glass. Karen has created hundreds of designs, incorporating various colors, patterns and themes as well as utilizing photos from nature, sports, music and the like. They can be created for bespoke, site-specific installations in any shape or size. 

​“These works allow me to utilize my ‘found object’ skills, while out and about I stop to capture an image as opposed to the photograms which are premeditated and staged.”

The final works are of course carefully curated and the vault of images she has amassed and have at the ready, permits her to collage the best images together to obtain sensational results.

Karen has designed window displays for Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, Dress Barn Stores, and major music labels and fashioned licensed products for Kraft Foods, Simon Malls, Crayola, Nickelodeon, Imax, Cartoon Network and Gameboy after receiving a second degree in Graphic Design. 

Currently, Karen is active in the Los Angeles Arts scene, exhibiting frequently including, The Orange County Center For Contemporary Art, PhotoLA, The Other Art Fair by Saatchi and Solo Exhibitions at DNJ Gallery and UCLA, pushing the boundaries of conventional black and white photography, producing large scale, life-size, one-of-a-kind photograms, abstract modular hexagons for interior designers and digital NFT art for the metaverse.

ART & COLLECTABLES

Why Did an Investor Spend $170,000 on a CryptoPunk NFT?

In a recent interview, NFT collector “Gmoney” explained why he spent so much money on “a 24 × 24 pixel image.”

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In January, the anonymous NFT collector “Gmoney” spent $170,000 on a CryptoPunk NFT.

In January, a “Puerto Rico-based, karaoke-loving investor” purchased a CryptoPunk NFT for 140 $ETH (approximately $170,000 at the time). This move was dubbed “a flex” by Gmoney. “A general partner of Delphi INFINFT, a fund formed with crypto research and investment firm Delphi Digital that is focused on investing in NFT initiatives,” according to Gmoney.

Gmoney stated why he had spent so much money on the rare NFT in the following way:

In the real world, people do not pay thousands of dollars for a Rolex because of the watch’s practical value. A $5 watch might be used for the same purpose. It’s to ‘flex’ their social standing. I can easily ‘flex’ with an image by using an NFT as my avatar on Twitter and Discord.

Owning an NFT, according to Gmoney, has the same effect as wearing a Rolex in person, “but digitally.” He went on to say that owning a digital collectible also meant being a part of the NFT and crypto communities:

It’s natural to want to be a part of something and to want to be a part of a group, especially when their values are aligned.

Cooper Turley, well-known crypto and NFT investor, agreed that the developing NFT community was the “single most important component” of digital collectibles, telling CNBC that it was the “single most valuable aspect” of digital collectibles:

The most valuable component of NFTs is the community… NFTs are worthless without a community. The strength of an existing community, or the possibility for one to grow, is the primary basis of my NFT investment thesis.

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ART & COLLECTABLES

NFTs for Good Causes will be Showcased at a Hong Kong Event

The usage of digital tokens to advance UN sustainability goals is demonstrated at an NFT art exhibition.

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Christie’s auction house sold a non-fungible token (NFT) image of a green-faced pixel avatar known as ‘Cryptopunk 9997’ for roughly US$4.3 million. Investors and collectors are currently interested in all types of NFTs, whether a simple pixel avatar or a finely crafted digital work of art.

NFTs are proven to be successful digital assets in various areas, including gaming, entertainment, and real estate. But, on the other hand, some people are starting NFTS to support issues like the environment and local communities.

By displaying NFTs for good, a new NFT exhibition in Hong Kong hopes to pioneer that positive spirit. The ImpactNFT Exhibition, which opens this Friday, will allow collectors and NFT aficionados to view and purchase digital artworks based on the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, including climate action, equal access to education, and gender equality.

Genesis Drop is one of the NFT artworks from Project Ark that will be on display during the show, and Romanian culture’s hand-painted eggs inspire it. In addition, project Ark, a carbon-neutral NFT marketplace, donates half of all earnings from Genesis Drop to the WWF in Romania, which is working to return the endangered European Bison back into the wild.

“By creating a win-win for artists, charities, and our partners, we want to show Hong Kong and the rest of the globe the power of NFTs for social and environmental impact,” said Roy Weissbach, Project Ark’s business development advisor.

NFTs from Earth.Org and the charitable art organization Sovereign Art Foundation will be on display, as will artwork by VintageMozart in support of the Nashulai Maasai Conservancy in East Africa NFTs minted for charity by eight Mexican artists.

The South China Morning Post (SCMP), based in Hong Kong, will also highlight its upcoming NFT auction in support of Operation Santa Claus (OSC), including new works by Hong Kong’s iconic visual and performance artist Frog King. SCMP and Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) run Operation Santa Claus every year to raise funds for a local charity.

Aside from displaying NFT artworks, anti-wildlife trafficking organization Break The Chain will host an augmented reality (AR) demonstration produced by gaming and entertainment metaverse portal The Nemesis.

In support of the ImpactNFT exhibition, RioDeFi’s chief marketing officer Stephane Villedieu said,

“The world already knows that blockchain technology provides a decentralized infrastructure for a more transparent, safe, and efficient financial system.”

ImpactNFT Alliance, in collaboration with Project Ark and Sovereign Art Foundation, will curate the exhibition, which will run from October 15 to 24, at the Soho House Hong Kong. Online viewers can watch the show at OpenSea.io, Project-Ark.co, and ImpactNFT.org.

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ART & COLLECTABLES

Shiba Inu Announces an NFT Sale

The $SHIB coin’s developers have announced the launch of a non-fungible token (NFT) sale.

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Shiba Inu announced the launch of an NFT collection called “Shiboshis” in a recent Medium post. The subject of the NFT collection will be similar to that of the SHIB coin, highlighting the coin’s tongue-in-cheek nature.

According to the article, 10,000 Shiboshis will be created for the debut, which will happen this week. Users will acquire NFTs using $LEASH for the first 24-hours, then with a mix of $ETH and $LEASH after that.

According to the post, the first purchase will be made through the ShiboshiSwap website, customized to sell Shiboshis. After that, users will be able to transfer and exchange their NFTs on secondary markets like OpenSea.

The NFT collection will first be sold in tiers, with prices doubling when the first 3,000 Shiboshis are sold.

According to the report,

“Shiboshi costs are based on tiered pricing. The first 3,000 Shiboshis will cost 0.1 Eth (BUT must be purchased in Leash for the first 24 hours). Shout out to XFund once again providing an incredible Oracle to help with this calculation. The next 5,000 Shiboshis will cost 0.2 Eth (in Leash for 24hrs) and the final 2000 Shiboshis will cost 0.3 Eth (in Leash for the first 24hrs).We don’t expect that floor to last for long.”

According to the post, users will be able to rename their Shiboshis with $SHIB, with the spent funds resulting in a coin burn.

The report continues,

“Initially [Shiboshis] just have generic names like 00001, but you can name it Flytoshi Kahn or whatever you like for an additional fee of $100 paid in Shib. Whenever the name is changed, these funds are burnt to the Shib burn wallet. If everyone names their Shiboshis that will be a $1 MILLION dollar burn.”

Shiboshis will eventually be converted to characters in the Shiboshi game, allowing users to deploy their NFTs in strategic gameplay, with each having the potential for unique qualities, according to the blog post.

The Shiba Inu team posted a video yesterday explaining how individuals can purchase $LEASH tokens:

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