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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

Ford is getting ready to enter the Metaverse with digital cars and NFTs

A month after the company announced significant personnel reductions, it has filed a trademark application covering its future initiatives in the Metaverse and NFT space.

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Ford Motor Company, an American automaker, has filed 19 trademark applications across its key automobile brands as it prepares to enter the realm of nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and the Metaverse.

Mike Kondoudis, a trademark attorney licensed by the United States Patent and Trade Office (USPTO), disclosed in a tweet on Wednesday that the business had submitted a total of 19 trademark applications covering its car brands, including Mustang, Bronco, Lincoln, Explorer, and F-150 Lightning, among others.

The trademark applications include a projected online marketplace for NFTs and virtual versions of its businesses’ automobiles, trucks, vans, SUVs, and clothes.

Ford intends to produce digital images of its vehicles, SUVs, trucks, and vans that will be verified by NFTs, according to USPTO filings submitted by the automaker on September 2.

The business also disclosed plans for “downloadable virtual commodities,” or “computer programs,” that would include apparel, accessories, and parts for vehicles for usage in “online virtual environments,” such as virtual and augmented reality trade exhibitions.

Additionally, there are plans to develop an online marketplace for “others’ digital artwork” as well as “online retail shop services featuring non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and digital collectibles.”

Less than a month after Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford and CEO Jim Farley announced significant personnel reductions from its global workforce to decrease corporate expenses; Ford has decided to enter the Web3 area.

Ford isn’t the first automaker to enter the Metaverse market.

While premium automakers like Bentley and Lamborghini have already launched NFT collections, automakers including Nissan, Toyota, and Hyundai have indicated ambitions to enter the fast-expanding Metaverse market.

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ART & COLLECTABLES

Crypto-Vultures Profit from the Death of Queen Elizabeth

Only a few hours after the Queen’s passing, more than 40 meme tokens bearing her name have been released.

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Yesterday, according to Buckingham Palace, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II passed away. Although her loss triggered a global outpouring of sympathy and grief, it has also been exploited as a money-grab.

Elizabeth II, monarch
Grift endures eternally, but the Queen is gone.

There are over 40 meme coins on Ethereum and the Binance Smart Chain thanks to Queen Elizabeth’s passing (and at least one exploitative NFT collection).

While the news of the British monarch’s demise saddened people worldwide, cryptocurrency scammers took advantage of the occasion to launch dozens of meme coins with Queen themes on Ethereum and Binance’s BNB Chain.

Among the new crypto coins that were introduced are “Queen Elizabeth Inu,” “Queen Doge,” “God Save The Queen,” “London Bridge Is Down,” “Queen Grow,” “Rip Queen Elizabeth,” “Elizabeth II,” and “Queen Inu II.” Other tokens with the name of the next king, King Charles III, have also appeared. According to DexScreener, at least 40 separate meme coins appear to have been produced in the previous six hours.

The most liquid tokens, Save The Queen and Queen Elizabeth Inu, have already processed trade volumes of around $700,000 and $200,000 since their debut. At the time of writing, the price of Queen Elizabeth Inu is up 1,517%, while it has increased by 23,271% on Binance Smart Chain and 3,708% on Uniswap. Prices are incredibly unstable and exceedingly unlikely to persist.

The “Queen Elizabeth 69 Years NFT” NFT set has reportedly been produced. One image is said to represent each year of the Queen’s reign in the collection. The project’s aims should be questioned because Elizabeth II reigned for 70 years, not 69.

The crypto community, typically known for its gallows humor, mainly reacted negatively to the initiatives. When told about the NFT collection, NFT aficionado ThreadGuy said, “You’re going to hell.” Trader Byzantine General declared, “We’ve got to stop this crypto stuff.”

In 1926, Queen Elizabeth was born. She was the longest-reigning British monarch in history and passed away in Balmoral Castle at 96.

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ART & COLLECTABLES

One crypto sector, according to billionaire Chamath Palihapitiya, is experiencing a classic bubble cycle

One crypto sector may be going through a typical hype cycle, according to billionaire investor and software entrepreneur Chamath Palihapitiya.

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In a new episode of the All-In podcast, the CEO of Social Capital discusses the sharp decline in trading volume in the non-fungible token (NFT) market.

Palihapitiya offers Coachella and Burning Man as examples of major music festivals that strive to be distinctive but may wind up being mostly the same.

The billionaire contrasts NFTs and the overall art market with the two music events.

“I do believe that there is something going on; the simplest way to explain this is with the Burning Man/Coachella scenario. Many of these things are similar, but when some people approach anything new, they are too insecure to accept that it is similar to another item, so they spend a lot of time attempting to convince you that it is different. When someone says that a time is different, it’s probably not that different, as stated in the Warren Buffett quote, is an example. Or consider the other famous historical adage, “Things don’t always repeat in history, but they rhyme.”

All of this is meant to imply that, aside from major advances in science, not much new has been discovered recently. We keep repeating the same patterns, and one of them is the social capital that comes from making certain decisions and then having those decisions validated by others in order to feel valuable. And this occurred in NFTs, as well as, I’m sure, in the initial stages of several artistic movements. These events are more comparable than dissimilar because they have presumably occurred in a number of other markets as well.

Burning man and Coachella are same. The art market and NFTs are both the same. It doesn’t need to be unusual; you can simply appreciate it because you think it’s cool. I would just take it with a grain of salt and tell anyone who comes to you asking why it’s so different.

DappRadar reports that earlier last week, trading volume on popular NFT marketplace OpenSea reached a one-year low.

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