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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

NFTs are Changing the Collectibles Market by Reimagining Art

The market is expected to mature as more professionals enter the NFT space, making digital art a part of traditional collectibles.

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Throughout history, art has served as the greatest source of inspiration for many people. Trends evolve faster than ever in the age of cryptocurrency and the digitized world. For years, a number of artists have attempted to enter increasingly evolving playgrounds and claim a piece of the pie, but now is their moment.

The NFT craze has swept the industry, transforming visual artists and influential meme makers into millionaires. It’s difficult to predict when this euphoria will fade, but we’ll almost certainly see more market records and exciting experiments in this field before the hype train ends.

From a few pennies to a fortune

The market cap of nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, has grown nearly tenfold between 2018 and 2020, indicating rapid growth. From small forums to the oldest auction houses, the transition was lightning quick. Christie’s has foreseen the trend and has launched successful NFT sales after successful NFT sales. Various artworks and collectibles have fetched six-figure sums — and more. The artist Mike Winkelmann, also known as Beeple, recently set a new world record by paying over $69 million for a JPEG file. Is it possible that this might have been expected a few decades ago?

Nine rare CryptoPunks NTFs will be auctioned off at the world-famous auction house on May 11. The auction house exclaimed, “For the first time, 5,184 pixels worth of a groundbreaking NFT project will go up for auction at a conventional auction house.” The overall selling price is expected to be between $7 million and $9 million, but it may be even higher, given that one of these tokens sold for $7.5 million in March.

The new boom in the NFT market is exemplified by CryptoPunks. Matt Hall and John Watkinson, founders of the New York-based software company Larva Labs, started the project by creating 10,000 24×24 pixel photographs of people. It’s hard to believe that the project’s creators gave these NFTs away for free to members of the crypto group. After half a year, the price has risen to several thousand dollars, and these collectibles are now being sold for millions of dollars. What drives people to spend the equivalent of a garage full of luxury cars on unusual pixel digital art?

The excitement stems from the growing importance of cryptocurrencies around the world, as well as the fact that these limited editions are among the first collectibles on the crypto market.

The motivations were demonstrated by Tatiana Stiskina, an art historian and adviser:

“Even before Christie’s announced their sale on May 11, I wanted to buy a CryptoPunk. As a result, my husband and I purchased it the day Christie’s revealed the sale. Since CryptoPunks are created using an algorithm, they are a deeper symbol not only of cryptoart, but also of the tech industry. The algorithms are idolized by those who brought us everything relevant to hi-tech and home theater.”

Getting to the bottom of NFT’s popularity

What makes NFT merchandise so attractive and unique? Blockchain is a game-changing technology that affects almost every industry. The ownership record cannot be falsified, and NFTs cannot be copied and pasted. These tokens, which are operated by distributed ledger technology, are nonreplicable and cannot be substituted, with only one owner at a time. Despite being labeled “nonfungible,” NFTs are liquid and can be bought or sold on Ethereum-based markets due to their interchangeable features and fungibility.

CryptoPunks were among the first NFTs, launching on the Ethereum blockchain in 2017. These tokens are nonfungible since they follow the ERC-721 protocol standard, which means they are one-of-a-kind and cannot be replaced by another.

Why are some tokens worth pennies, while others gain tens of thousands of dollars in value, and still others are worth millions? The price is determined by analyzing the rarity of unique qualities that are valued in the crypto art and culture. Despite the fact that CryptoPunks have been the forerunners in the field, there are other examples that can rival their success. This sector, like any other lucrative opportunity, has become overcrowded with sharks looking to profit from the situation by defrauding customers and collectors. This pattern is unsurprising when you consider that the overall volume of NFT transactions quadrupled to $250 million last year.

A glimpse into the future

It’s impossible to say how long the anchor of NFTs will continue to entice wealthy investors. Some believe the bubble would burst sooner than the initial coin offering craze did. Right now, a fresh perspective combined with good taste can be able to make a difference and improve things. A new ship would arrive at the NFT’s blockchain harbor, promising such transformations.

The crypto world went nuts last week over a new NFT collectible project — The Bored Ape Yacht Club, a group of 10,000 Bored Ape NFTs living on the Ethereum blockchain — of one-of-a-kind digital collectibles that sold out on the primary market. This is an exciting project that tries to incorporate gamification and group elements, and it will be fascinating to see where it goes from here.

After just a few days, the Ksoids project, which debuted on April 22 as an NFT project, rocketed to the top of the OpenSea rankings. Over 900 of the 1,000 tickets were sold, but some are still available at auction. Ksoids are algorithmically unique creatures whose breath of fresh air and best-in-class imagination did not go unnoticed by digital art lovers, collectors, fans, and investors, calling it a true indie project. Ksoids are the first generative art of 3D characters who not only build their own world but also assist in the protection of ours. Orangutan Outreach, a charitable organization dedicated to saving orangutans in their natural habitat, will receive 20% of each sale.

The new Larva Labs NFT range has been the talk of the crypto world in recent days, with the public sale selling out in hours. A custom generative algorithm recorded on the Ethereum blockchain creates the Meebits, which are 20,000 unique 3D voxel characters. Larva Labs made a whopping $72,976,613 from the public offering, according to data from Dune Analytics.

What’s behind the digital collectibles craze?

Any new record in a highly speculative market becomes less remarkable than the previous one. People would still be able to pay exorbitant sums of money for experimental ideas simply to satisfy their curiosity or to stand out from the crowd.

NFTs are seen by some high-profile investors as a way to diversify their crypto portfolios and shape new types of elite clubs, and the majority of new market participants believe that digital art will become extremely expensive in the future. The only logical next step is for the market to mature and progress, as well as for professionals to step in and set quality standards.

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ART & COLLECTABLES

The Serie A Football League in Italy is releasing an NFT Collection

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Lega Serie A in Italy has teamed up with Crypto.com to launch an NFT series. The collection will be unveiled on May 19th at the Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia, where Atalanta will face Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus in the Coppa Italia final. Lega Serie A is the first football league to collaborate with an NFT and cryptocurrency platform.

Serie A’s chief executive, Luigi De Siervo, said, “We are the first football league in the world to sign an agreement in this new market, which is extremely creative and important.” Lega Serie A also confirmed that the collaboration would provide an exciting experience for millions of fans around the world, according to De Siervo.

Lega Serie A is one of the most well-known football leagues in the world, with over 9 million spectators at public stadiums and over 250 million viewers in Italy last season. Based in Hong Kong, Crypto.com have partnered with celebrities like Snoop Dogg, Boss Logic, and Mr Brainwash to launch their own NFT marketplace.

Details of Lega Serie A’s drop are yet to be revealed, stay tuned for the upcoming drop.

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ART & COLLECTABLES

The Estate of XXXTentacion Is Preparing to Release Unreleased Songs as NFTs

The estate of XXXTentacion is preserving the artist’s legacy by releasing a new compilation of unreleased songs as NFTs.

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The non-fungible tokens were created by XXXTentacion’s former manager Solomon “Sounds” Sobande and his estate, which is owned by his mother Cleopatra Bernard. Sobande notes that the five songs aren’t brand new, despite the fact that they were previously unreleased. They’re really from when X was a SoundCloud sensation.

“We never had the chance to monetize them or get them off-platform,” he told Rolling Stone, “

despite the fact that they were all popular on SoundCloud.” “Some of these songs are no longer available on his SoundCloud website. Just the shards of them are being re-posted. These were the songs that launched his career and paved the way for his meteoric rise.”

The NFTs will feature never-before-seen clips from X’s REVENGE Tour, which was the rapper’s last tour before he was killed, as well as commercially unreleased tracks. Stephen Bliss, the artist behind X’s favorite video game, Grand Theft Auto, will also design the artwork for the NFT.

The auction is scheduled to begin at noon ET on Monday and end at 12:00 p.m. ET on May 15. X was pending trial for allegations of domestic violence at the time of his death. As a result, YellowHeart will donate a part of the proceeds to the estate’s XXXFoundation as well as unnamed groups that help women who have been victims of domestic violence.

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