In episode 2 Eric Chevallet is joined by Laurie Bonin and Vienna Kim from Artpoint to discuss digital art and its impact. The conversation touches upon the speculative market for digital art and the emergence of blockchain technology in the art world. They highlight the innovative and conceptually strong work that has been created using blockchain technology. The speakers also mention the motivation of collectors, such as corporate offices and hotels, to incorporate digital art into their spaces for inspiration and differentiation. They emphasize the immersive and interactive nature of digital art, appealing to a diverse audience, including young people and technology enthusiasts.
5 Minutes Ahead Is hosted by Eric Chevallet.
Eric: Hi everybody, this is Eric Chevallet with BearingPoint, and you are listening to Five Minutes Ahead. Today I have the pleasure to have two guests with me, Laurie Bonin and Vienna Kim from Artpoint, and we are going to talk about Art and NFTs. But maybe before we do that, Laurie and Vienna, can you introduce yourselves?
Laurie: Of course. Well, first thank you for having us, Eric. We are very glad to talk about digital art on this podcast. I am Laurie Bonin, and I am one of the co-founders of Artpoint.
Vienna: And I am Vienna, and I am the artistic manager at Artpoint.
What is Digital Art?
Eric: Okay, glad to have you today on the show. Can you tell us about Artpoint, Digital Art and how do NFTs fit into all of this?
Laurie: Of course. Well, as we are going to talk about digital art, just to give you a little bit of context, digital art was born in the early fifties at the same time as when the first computers were developed. And since then, artists have been using new technologies to reveal their creative potential and to understand how the transition from the industrial era to the digital era has disrupted our relationship with the world. Artpoint's mission is to promote this new generation of art that pushes the boundaries of creation and to connect people to the best digital artists worldwide. So, to do that, we bring digital art into living spaces to elevate public experience and thanks to an exceptional collection, thousands of works can be displayed directly on any screen. We also offer exclusive NFT collections to a dedicated community of patrons and collectors.
Eric: That's super interesting. So, tell me, how do you select the artists and the art? And how do people display digital art?
Vienna: What we want to do with our gallery here at Artpoint and within our catalogue of artworks is to represent the diversity and the richness of digital art as a medium involving many different kinds of techniques and styles. So, everything from 3D to generative photogrammetry, collage, we want to represent all kinds of techniques that can exist in digital art, whilst also accounting for artists that come from different countries, backgrounds, ethnicities, sexualities, genders. So, we really want to show the richness of what this digital art community looks like. So, in terms of content, that is what we are really searching for, this diversity, but also a level of professionalism and a real artistic background behind what these artists are creating. So, we really look for artists who are professional artists. They do this as their main career, and these are the kinds of artists that we really want to showcase and put in the spotlight in the public, in these public spaces.
Laurie: Today at Artpoint, we have gathered a catalogue of more than 4,000 digital artworks to be displayed on any screen. We really have the opportunity to transform any screen into an immersive digital art canvas. Our clients are hotels, corporate offices, or retail spaces, they pay a monthly subscription to get access to personalized collections of digital artworks that we renew. Every month you will get to discover different techniques, different artists, and of course different inspirations.
It's not just about owning the art piece
Eric: So if I we try to make a parallel between the physical art, it is not only about owning the art work, but also about displaying and therefore leasing or renting some of the pictures for a while.
Laurie: Yes, because when we launched Artpoint back in 2019, NFTs were not that famous, you know, and we wanted to find a way to help digital artists live off their works. For them, it was very hard to sell their works to a dedicated community of collectors because there was no scarcity before NFTs. So, we came up with this system to rent digital art to places that wanted to exhibit the works, not necessarily buy them, but just benefit from the experience, the magic that it can create, the emotion that it can bring for the public. So, we first created the streaming solution for business and living spaces that you can access with a monthly subscription. So, it is really leasing. And then, with the emergence of NFTs, we also wanted to bring our digital artist community to a new generation of collectors and that is when we developed our NFT solution. So today we can help artists exhibit and sell their works and they have the most value possible because they have royalties with every exhibition we do. And of course, they have the money when they sell their work to collectors.
What is the benefit of NFTs for artists in the digital art world?
Eric: It is good that you are bringing NFTs into the discussion because a couple of years ago, we saw that it was a of speculative market and people were buying NFTs for whatever reason. What is the situation today and how do you see the NFT as a plus, for the artist in the digital art world?
Vienna: Yeah, I mean it is interesting because there really was, you know, the bull market when everything was kind of crazy with NFTs in 2021 and beginning of 2022. It is subsided a lot now. So now that things are a bit quieter, we are seeing some extremely well thought through and conceptually strong artworks emerge where artists are using the blockchain and NFTs in innovative and novel ways. There is still the speculative aspect, there are still scams.
Eric: How are NFTs disrupting the digital art world?
Laurie: So, crypto for instance, of course, was a great source of inspirations for many artists who just translated the emergence of Web3 communities and everything in their creation, I think new technologies are fitting into artistic creation and emergence of Web3 will mark the history of art forever. From a creative point, we will just see this paring shift in history of art, I guess, and regarding what we do here at Artpoint as it changed or not with NFTs, I guess that our mission is and will remain to support digital artists and to democratize access to art. That said, NFTs have definitely changed the way artists distribute their works and interact with their communities. We think that NFTs is an incredible technology for securing ownership of intangible assets and for digital art of course. But we just must keep in mind that digital art does not mean NFTs and vice versa. So digital art is a form of art that takes new technologies as a medium. NFTs is a technology that is securing transactions on digital artworks. For the copyright, most of the artists, keep the intellectual property of their artworks. We see a lot of NFT projects give away copyright, but I would say in artist circles, most of them are holding onto their intellectual property, which again allows Artpoint to have this type of exhibition model where we can pay artist royalties for the exhibition of their work.
What are the new usages regarding “consuming” digital art?
Eric: Can you tell us about your clients and what is their motivation to own digital art?
Laurie: So, if you think of corporate offices for instance, they are looking for a new solution to enrich employee wellbeing and they really want to enhance their employee brand, for instance. And I guess hotels and retail spaces are also trying to differentiate in a competitive environment and to surprise their audience, from one visit to another. What is interesting for our clients is that it will create something very immersive, interactive and it can also create emotions for a very large audience. Our ambition is to democratize access to art. And for that we think that it's very powerful to bring it in places we frequent every day. And for instance, if you just think about corporate offices, it is often the space you are the most often.
Eric: What would we need to display art in the BearingPoint office?
Laurie: We can display on any screen if it has a good rendering for the artworks of course. And the screens need to be connected to the internet so that we can change the exhibition every month. We also have the technology to sell digital art as NFTs because we have our own smart contract on Ethereum, and so far, we have organized four collections of NFTs. So, we have an all-in-one platform enabling artists to display and sell their work, collectors to find NFTs to collect and of course public spaces to display digital art and art that are available as NFTs as well.
Eric: How do you make the link be between the blockchain and the technology you have and what the artist is doing?
Vienna: So, we put the artworks on our platform that have not been minted before. As Laurie said, our tech team developed our own smart contracts. So, it is directly linked to our platform. What we do is that we publish the artworks on our platform, artworks that will then go on to be exhibited in public spaces. And when a collector is interested in acquiring a piece, they can just go to Artpoint. And then there is a very simple way to acquire the artwork through cryptocurrencies, which is the most common way of buying NFTs in digital art today. But we also have an option to pay in euros or dollars. And in this case, if someone is to buy with euros, for example, we will then go onto accompany this collector in creating their crypto wallet and then assisting them with the minting of the NFT. So, the actual minting happens when the collector buys the NFT. So, it is a very simple process, whether you are in NFTs already or not. The main thing for us is to really reduce these barriers so that anybody who is a lover of digital art can collect if they love the artwork.
Eric: What about the collectors? What trends are you observing and is it like digital on one side and physical on the other side? Or is it blurry from a collector standpoint?
Vienna: I mean, we are seeing a lot of different models that are very interesting right now. Some artists are like I said before, very innovative with the ways that they are thinking about NFTs and digital art. So sometimes some artists will have physical artwork that is also accompanied by its digital counterpart. Other times there are even more interesting mechanics involved. For us, the artists that we work with, digital is really at the core of what they do. And if they pair it with something physical, it's usually in a conceptual way or once again to open collectorship to people who are maybe not necessarily in to NFTs today, but maybe their first NFT will come with a physical artwork.
Eric: So, thank you very much Laurie and Vienna. Thank you. And I hope you all enjoy the discussion around art and NFT and we will see you soon. Thank you. Good-bye.
Laurie and Vienna: Thank you for the invitation.
Eric: Thank You. Bye Bye.
Eric Chevallet is an entrepreneur and innovator with a passion for technology. Eric is currently leading the immersive lab for BearingPoint, where he specialises in helping clients maximize the potential of augmented and virtual reality solutions.
Laurie Bonin is the Cofounder of Artpoint. Laurie graduated from HEC and is now an entrepreneur with a passion for the interactions between art and tech, and a desire to democratise access to art and support digital artists around the world.
Vienna Kim is the Artistic Manager at Artpoint. After her Bachelor’s in Art History from the University of St Andrews, and her Master’s in Art Business from the Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London, Vienna has dedicated her career to the intersection of the traditional art market and technology.
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