Decentralized Arts #12: ArtSect DAO & Tips for Collectors

BanklessDAO Weekly NFT and Cryptoart Newsletter

Dear Bankless Nation,

In this edition we focus on three interviews. In the first, we feature BanklessDAO’s artist of the week, Alfred Swahn, where he explains some of his experience as a crypto artist.

In the second interview, we invite you into the art collective ArtSect from the warehouses of East London. Artists here have created a DAO to help educate and onboard artists and the wider community into the crypto space and the metaverse.

For the last dialogue we bring back our collaborator Tam Gryn. This time she gives some advice when buying NFTs.

We hope that you find inspiration in the stories that we are sharing with you today and help you connect further with the cryptoart world.

Welcome to Decentralized Arts.

Authors: BanklessDAO Writers Guild (Grendel, Kouros, nonsensetwice)

This is the official newsletter of the BanklessDAO. You are subscribed to this newsletter because you were a Premium Member of the Bankless Newsletter as of May 1, 2021. To unsubscribe, edit your settings here.

Artist of the Week

🧑‍🎨 Artist: Alfred Swahn

🏦 Auction Type: Open Edition 200 pieces

💰 Price:  0.02 ETH


Alfred Swahn introduces himself as a contemporary artist with an inconsistent art style, specializing in creating 2D stills, but taking the more traditional approach and creating something that can be printed on a canvas and hung on the wall or gifted to a friend.

The artist also wrote his own NFT guide for Rarible.

bDAO: How did you become a cryptoartist?

AS: I have painted for as long as I can remember. For the last couple of years, digitally only. I've always wanted to be like a traditional artist in the sense of people displaying my art on their walls as rare collectible pieces telling a story. In the past, that wasn't possible, but the times have changed. We are now living in the growing future of the metaverse where digital ownership is key.

bDAO: Define what cryptoart is for you.

AS: Cryptoart is the art renaissance, plain and simple. In no other time have we been able to track digital ownership in such a sophisticated way. People know this, thus the constant expansion of the NFT/Crypto market. This is something new, and we are on the bleeding edge of it, making sure to capitalize on the opportunity.

bDAO: The Bankless Drops have been a huge success. How does the work you are dropping today continue to expand on this success?

AS: To me, Bankless is at the forefront of marketing amongst all of the DAOs I have seen. Marketing is a huge part of my life, that I also owe a big part of my success to. When I hear Bankless, I hear loud marketing, making sure to get everyone’s attention and properly educating them on the future of Crypto and DAOs. The loud pop culture pieces I have created will draw people in, then Bankless will do the talking.

bDAO: We’ve learned that the pieces you have created are pop culture inspired, with loud colors, some pieces paying tribute to history, while others are entirely new in the concept. Will you expand on that?

AS: As I stated earlier, these pieces, in my honest opinion, are the perfect combination of the widespread Bankless marketing, coupled with my more loud pop culture art style. With Crypto Monroe, I wanted to pay tribute to pop-art history by featuring Marilyn Monroe in a Warhol style. Some of you might know how Warhol was king when it came to art and branded products. For this same reason, I decided to give Miss Monroe Bankless earrings.

When it came to the piece WORTHLE$$, I wanted to bring something new into the mix when compared to my past art. I had never done animation before, so displaying how worthless the dollar bill will be in the future by creating a neon sign just seemed like the perfect solution.

As for Diamond Hands, this is just the perfect centerpiece in the office of any crypto investor. The person who buys this piece will know that they wouldn't have gotten this far if it hadn't been for their diamond hands.

bDAO: What relationship do you imagine between your NFTs and merchandising? Do you believe more in digital or physical merchandising?

AS: The future of merchandising is WITHOUT a doubt digital. It's only a matter of time before the rest of society catches on.

Yes, there is always going to be value in physical goods, but we're nearing a point in the real world where everything has been done before.

Real innovation and utility are going to come from the Metaverse.

Curated NFT News

EA CEO Says NFT Gaming “is the future of our industry”

Andrew Wilson, the CEO of Electronic Arts, called NFTs and play-to-earn games the future of the gaming industry, but added that it was too early to figure out how it is going to work when asked about it during the company’s earnings call.

EA makes the Fifa Football series which have card packs for gamers to collect and Wilson believes gamers want to see NFTs in the franchise: "They want more digital experiences outside the game—esports, NFTs, broader sports consumption—and they want us to move really, really quickly."

But he added that the NFT ideas are "still really, really early." "It's still early to kind of figure out how that's going to work," he advised.

EA joins other major gaming companies in acknowledging the potential of NFTs and blockchains in the industry. However, Steam, the gaming platform, has prohibited blockchain games from its platform, banning any "applications built on blockchain technology that issue or allow the exchange of cryptocurrencies or NFTs."

ArtSect DAO, an Art Collective by Artists for Artists

By Kouros

I'm in a warehouse in East London with Miki, who is one of the founders of the artists collective ArtSect. It is an open space with white concrete floors and plenty of natural light. A collection of paintings and screens showing NFTs hang from the walls. There are also VR headsets where you can actually experience the virtual gallery which is this massive space that looks like a Mayan temple with small pyramids and waterfalls. You can actually hear the sound of the water while you stroll around the gallery looking at the different pieces of art that are in the exhibition. The water also reflects these digital works and makes the whole experience quite relaxing and highly recommended.

Miki takes me upstairs to this little apartment overseeing the gallery where he lives. He brews some tea and I sit comfortably on one of the sofas.

K: How did this collective start?

M: We actually run a Web3 property company as well as co-living; and a bunch of artists started living together last year in 2020. Researching marketplaces; NFTs. So we were living together as a DAO in East London in the warehouses, which is quite strange, and then launched into the NFT gallery. We found a beautiful space and decided to renovate it and put in the Web3 tech so we could help train, onboard, and help people at a consumer level understand what an NFT and the metaverse is.

K: That’s why you created this gallery as well?

M: Yeah, specifically. So we really wanted our gang to be able to vote on all sorts of creativity and help push that into the wider community.

K: So the DAO is called ArtSect?

M: Correct.

K: And that was created by artists for artists…

M: Yes.

K: Do you still have all those people living in the warehouses?

M: Yeah, and it’s expanded quite well already. We’ve tried to stay quiet and just work on the community. But yeah, starting in the warehouses in London and some bits in Europe, it’s already expanding further, so we have some really interesting traditional contemporary creatives, IA, video, CGI, sculpture… and then bringing them together as an art collective.

K: Do you own the warehouses, or do you rent them? Or how does it work?

M: Yes, so we just rent them at London prices.

K: Oh, wow, that’s expensive.

M: It is, so that was the whole premise of the property DAO, our first one was called Yoga Box and we were a bunch of traveling yoga teachers coming together, renting that space as a DAO. The next one was Media Box, which again had a VR tech focus, and then this one was supposed to be Art Box, but it has accelerated and grown so much that it became the NFT Gallery.

K: Nice. So you have moved into NFTs now. However, do you have a token for the DAO or do you plan to have a Token?

M: Yeah, so we are going to be releasing it soon actually. We are just in the tokenomics discussions and governance discussions with the core team, so we’ve got four pods: governance, business, tech, and creative. They’ve all got really amazing people, and we are just discussing this next, scaling now, the Discord, the different tools that we are going to use, and then putting that token out.

K: And then when you sell an NFT, do you have a main treasury, or can people sell their NFTs and keep their profit?

M: Yeah, so we store everything in the Gnosis Multisig that is currently held by the founding team, and then we are going to roll it out with the next stage of full community voting. But, equally, all assets are stored in the vault from the metaverse plot to NFTs, and then we are also looking into Superfluid or other methods of automated payout systems so the artists can receive that automatically.

K: Thank you, Miki, for opening the doors of ArtSect to BanklessDAO.

ArtSect Gallery, Unit 24 The Tram Depot, 38-40 Upper Clapton Road, London, E5 8BQ

Tips for Collectors

By Tam Gryn

What are the important factors to keep in mind when buying art?

TG: The art you collect should manifest the same things you want. Do you want a cleaner planet? An end to police brutality? Do you need some peaceful, healing aesthetics in your life? Reflect on what is already occupying your mind and your desires, and then use art to showcase it.

What are major trends in the art world currently that first time buyers should be conscious of?

TG: Major trends are aligned with what the world is going through at any certain moment. 2021 is going to be a year of healing; healing from this pandemic, healing as a society, healing from the political environment. I'm looking out for the art that interprets healing in many different ways.

Who are your favorite artists that produce work at an affordable price?

TG: This question is like asking me which one of my kids do I love the most! But I can name some great women artists that I personally collect (or would love to collect):

  • Egle Zvirblyte

  • Jen Stark

  • Kennedy Yanko

  • Brooke Didonato

  • Shantell Martin

...let's just say I would be here all day if I tried to name them all!

Can you share your recommendations for a first time art purchase?

TG: To me, art is the most valuable if it is true to its time and important. For example, the artwork is true if it captures a moment in history — a pandemic, a social movement, a natural disaster. Ask yourself, is this piece true to its time? Can I use it to identify its time and place?

Collecting is personal and directly related to our emotions and desires. It should be aligned with who you are: are you peaceful, easygoing and meditative? Or are you political, risky, ballsy, and opinionated?

A piece should be both conceptually and aesthetically strong, using visual language to explain an idea which you can understand right away. Another aspect I enjoy when collecting is being able to stare at a piece and always finding some new meaning within it, no matter how many times I look, to keep me engaged.

Any other useful tips to share?

TG: Buy the art you NEED to have in a moment of visceral impulse, the art that reflects your emotions, dreams, mission, desire, values and memories from trips.

Anamorphosis-8: Electric Sheep

by G.Contro

The shopping windows of Milan's via della Spiga hosted some works of art; which, on closer inspection, does not involve a change in their usual function: they exhibit objects whose cost is commensurate with the status that their possession implies. But this is an incidental observation, as well as knowingly biased. What we need to point out is the presence—in those shop windows—of some sheep crudely reinterpreted by the German artist Judith Hopf as concrete blocks on metal legs. An ironic stylization, animated only by the scribbled “faces” that show themselves here and there, in a carousel of amazement, perplexity, discontent. Hopf's Sheep, a synthesis of that rough simplification of the living which pertains mostly to comics, however, alludes to other simplifications and no less indecipherable animations. Androids are known, or should be known, to dream of electric sheep, but what do they do when wake?

The anthropomorphic machine—the Automata that writes—created in 1773 by Pierre Jaquet-Droz and Jean-Frédéric Leschot responded with what, with bold linguistic synthesis, we could define as a deictic truism: "Nous sommes les androïdes," he wrote with his metallic child's hand. But not without adding a decidedly more demanding “Cogito ergo sum.” The hopeful wonder that such contraptions aroused at the time, about an imminent post-human revolution and the dawning of an age of Intelligent Machines, must not deceive us, just as it must not soothe the enthusiasm of certain school textbooks today.Usually—the great Ernst Cassirer reminds us in his Die Philosophie der Auflkärung (1936)- the passage to “mechanism” and “materialism” is considered as a characteristic sign of the 18th century (…). In reality, however, this materialis—as represented, for example, by Holbach's System of Nature and La Mettrie's Man Machine—is nothing but an isolated phenomenon, absolutely devoid of typical importance. The transition from inorganic to organic-like in short, it does not pass simply by a generic affirmation of the Machine as the guiding idea of a new natural exegesis, nor by the industrial machinery that will soon overwhelm Europe. The processes that lie behind this brotherhood between human and inhuman respond to a non-linear logic. The biomechanical simulacra that today crowd the technology fairs (a quick picnic on YouTube will be enough to track down several) are, in fact, at least in appearance, the manifestation of a similar dissonance. In them, much more than the immediately profitable investment principle that prevails in any other field of economic activity, something elusively aesthetic is drawn. As part of the maximum rational and technical implementation, there is a principle of de-rationalization. An artistic principle, in a certain sense.

It is not a trivial matter. We will come back to talk about it.

Bankless DAO NFT Updates

Last week’s weekly showcase numbers

Artist RedCrystalDragon made a total of 0.38 ETH in sales with the VooDAO Priest and Priestess.

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