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Art prize, house studio app, Verisart digitise all art objects, share a painting collectors

Harper’s Bazaar Singapore launches art prize for emerging artists

Fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar Singapore is organising the inaugural Harper’s Bazaar Art Prize this year in conjunction with Robinsons retail store.

Aimed at discovering “emerging artists”, it is open to everyone aged 16 and older who are residing here, are not represented by a gallery and have not sold works commercially. In addition, submitted artworks must not have been previously exhibited in public, except at graduation shows.

The winner will receive $10,000 cash and a three-week opportunity in January to exhibit and sell his works at Robinsons.

Submissions are accepted in any of four categories: ink on paper, oil on canvas, photography and sculpture. This year’s theme is “Uniquely Asian” and the deadline for submission is Oct 23. The winner will be announced in the January issue of Harper’s Bazaar, which hits newsstands in mid-December.

In a press release, the fashion monthly’s editor-in-chief Kenneth Goh says: “Harper’s Bazaar Singapore has always had a longstanding tradition of seeking out, and nurturing, new creative talents. This competition stays true to that spirit by providing emerging artists an opportunity to showcase their abilities, and to take their vision to the next level.”

The prize joins an increasing number of visual arts competitions held here. Recent additions to the scene, such as the Asian Pacific Breweries Foundation Signature Art Prize (established 2008) and the Prudential Eye Awards (2014), have emerged alongside more established ones as the UOB Painting of the Year, which has run locally for decades.

The organisers plan for the new competition to be held annually.

This year’s Harper’s Bazaar Art Prize will be judged by a panel comprising Mr Goh; Mr Christophe Cann, managing director of Robinsons Group; Mr Lorenzo Rudolf, founder and director of Art Stage Singapore; Ms Bala Starr, director of Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore; Ms Hazel Lim, fine arts programme leader at Lasalle College of the Arts; and Ms Susie Lingham, director of Singapore Art Museum.

For details and submission form, go to www.harpersbazaar.com.sg/10691/get-creative-with-bazaar-art-prize-2015/.

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NEW YORK, July 22 — Is it possible to digitise and verify every art object ever made? Verisart, a new site co-founded by Robert Norton, previously chief executive officer of two online art-commerce sites, Saatchi Online and Sedition, is going to try.

The digital startup hopes to chronicle original artworks, prints, multiples, and books by using block chain, thereby assigning each object a (hopefully) unassailable certificate of authenticity. Each object’s provenance, in turn, is created step-by-step by its owners, who add their e-mail addresses to an object’s data when they purchase one. In the project’s second phase, down the road, Norton plans to catalogue older artwork by extending the verification service to online sites and artists’ estates. Eventually, he hopes to work with appraisers and insurers to add works that have already been validated.

Building a database

First, though, the plan is for artists to use image identification software provided by Verisart, which is based in LA and will launch in late September, to add art to the database as they produce it. Along with the information you’d get from a brick-and-mortar gallery (artist, title, year, materials), the artwork’s “signature” will also include price information and metadata that will allow artwork to be catalogued and searched by collectors and easily ingested by museums.

“I’ve spoken to successful artists, and they all have some form of database management,” says Norton. “At the end of the day, they want some definitive control of their output, and this potentially empowers them.”

This could be a potential boon for creators. Many artists have voiced frustration over the fact that they have no idea who owns their art, let alone where it is on the planet. The art market — rife with opportunities for fakes and forgeries and theft — desperately needs airtight authentication methodology. An easily accessible, readily identifiable process that verifies an artwork’s authenticity would benefit both artists and collectors in equal measure.

Norton, who recently announced that his company has received backing from Rhodium, an Israeli venture capital firm, plans to use the tool for an even bigger goal. He wants to create a Verisart-authenticated database that is shoppable. Using it, anyone could search for an artist or artwork, find images, price history, and provenance, and then — if the present owner of the artwork has opted in — contact them to purchase the artwork.

“We think long-term monetisation will come through building a verified database of inventory,” he says. “We think that that will enable transactions through Verisart.”

A few problems

The first and potentially most damaging roadblock is simple adherence. What makes Verisart a useful (and profitable) tool is the voluntary participation of an artwork’s present owners. Many collectors might choose not to voluntarily add their contact information — and the price they paid for a painting — to a publicly available database for the same reason that you wouldn’t add your name to a list of people who own diamond earrings, bedroom safes, or second homes on Nantucket. It’s a question of discretion and security.

Norton counters that his program will protect participants’ privacy.  “There are sensitivity options that owners of these works will be able to choose,” he says. “The core function of what we’re doing is a decentralised service, but in order to make something useful to the art world, we don’t think it can be entirely so.”

A further potential problem: Verisart presupposes that a broad audience is champing at the bit to buy art online, thereby bypassing traditional such art market business models as galleries and auction houses. That’s not necessarily true.

“What’s very clear is that the success of the auction houses over the last 10 years has been in bringing new buyers into the art market who want to — prefer to — be able to buy from Sotheby’s and Christie’s,” says Marion Maneker, founder of ArtMarketMonitor.com, an art industry news website. “Instead of bypassing the art market, new buyers are flocking to its most established elements.”Breaking Tradition Models

It’s not just collectors. Artists, who depend upon galleries and dealers to promote their work, fund their production, and develop a collector base, are arguably even more reliant on traditional business models than collectors are.

Without established artists’ support of — and participation in — the Verisart platform, the site has the danger of becoming a repository for aspirational artists who have yet to (or will never) receive art market attention. “The only people who don’t want to go through the traditional system are those who can’t get in to the traditional system,” argues Maneker.

Norton believes that this rule of thumb doesn’t apply to lower-value art objects. “When people buy editions and multiples, they consider themselves collectors of those artists’ work,” he says. “I don’t think it just needs to be verification of original artworks; editions are a great point of departure.”

Paintings by David Hockney have sold for millions, for instance, while a lithograph in an edition of 75 by the artist sold for just US$2,156 (RM8,168) at Christie’s in London last year. Successful artists, Norton says, can participate on Verisart “if it doesn’t threaten their galleries,” he says. “It becomes a really interesting value addition in the long term.”

In one respect, that’s the problem. The very nature of Verisart means that success won’t be discernible until it has been widely adopted. “I don’t underestimate the mammoth task ahead of us for one second,” says Norton. “For sure, there will be a bunch of hurdles to overcome. But as an entrepreneur, that’s what gets you up in the morning.” — Bloomberg

– See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/tech-gadgets/article/tech-start-up-verisart-to-digitise-verify-every-art-objects#sthash.EpSS5rNw.dpuf

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Art Academy Lessons

Art Academy Home Studio tomato

Art Academy starts you off with a couple of lessons to choose from. I did both the first beginner lesson and the first advanced lesson. The beginner lesson did a good job of walking me through the steps of painting a tomato. The advanced lesson took me through an entire still life of a dish with flowers. My animated helper, Vince, was good about not only showing me what to do, but offering suggestions as to why I was doing it. Adding a certain splotch of color launched an explanation about reflected light, for example.

Art Academy Home Studio cats

Basically what Art Academy does is offer you two sources to copy from. The first is the original photograph. The second is Vince’s drawing-in-progress. This isn’t unlike how a lot of art classrooms are set up, and there’s of course nothing wrong with copying. Mimicking step-by-step examples can be a great way to figure out how to achieve a certain look. These lessons were super helpful and simple, but not childish. Despite being thoroughly familiar with the concepts, I didn’t feel that I was being talked down to.

Art Academy Features

There are several cool features to Art Academy: Home Studio, to go along with the lessons (which are probably the main focus of the program). One is that there is a freestyle mode, so you can draw whatever you like. I suspect that as a child I would’ve enjoyed this more than the lessons. You can also upload any piece of art, freestyle or otherwise, to your Miiverse account. Don’t worry, though. If you’re concerned about other folks seeing your kids’ art, you can set up a private gallery that can be shared only with family members and select friends. Finally, you can record a video of the painting-in-progress and upload it to YouTube. Time-lapse videos of drawings are pretty excellent no matter what, but I can confirm how cool it is to see your own progress sped up.

Art Academy Home Studio gallery

Art Academy Medium

My main complaint about Art Academy doesn’t have to do with the lessons themselves, which are actually pretty great. My criticism has more to do with what they’re trying to accomplish. Art Academy is a digital art tool at its heart. But it’s trying to teach players how to draw in traditional mediums. I’m a digital artist, myself. I’ve spent the last seven years using various digital art programs (like Photoshop and Paint Tool SAI) to draw and paint. There are benefits and drawbacks to digital painting, just as there are benefits and drawbacks to physical art. Digital art is truly its own medium. Just as colored pencil does a different thing than oil paint, digital art has its own technique and specificity.

What Art Academy does is impose the limitations of physical art upon a digital medium, without offering any of the wonderful, tactile things you get from physical art. For example, the way you find a color in Art Academy is by mixing pretend paints. You click on a palette spot, then add colors and “water” to get the desired effect.

One of the benefits of digital art is that you don’t need to mix colors—most programs offer a color wheel, eyedropper tool, and more. All I need to do in Photoshop to find the color I want is drag my cursor around a box like this until I get the desired hue.photoshop-color-picker-400x262

art academy home studioIf you’re looking for some kind of rollicking adventure through the arts, Art Academy is not it. In fact, I’d liken it more to a textbook. It looks like a game from the outside, but it has no typical game mechanics. Not even gamification-style trappings like being rewarded stars or gaining power levels. Played on the Wii U (with a GamePad), Art Academy does have an animated little guy that gives you instructions. It’s something in between a game and a training tool.

Art Academy Lessons

Art Academy Home Studio tomato

Art Academy starts you off with a couple of lessons to choose from. I did both the first beginner lesson and the first advanced lesson. The beginner lesson did a good job of walking me through the steps of painting a tomato. The advanced lesson took me through an entire still life of a dish with flowers. My animated helper, Vince, was good about not only showing me what to do, but offering suggestions as to why I was doing it. Adding a certain splotch of color launched an explanation about reflected light, for example.

Art Academy Home Studio cats

Basically what Art Academy does is offer you two sources to copy from. The first is the original photograph. The second is Vince’s drawing-in-progress. This isn’t unlike how a lot of art classrooms are set up, and there’s of course nothing wrong with copying. Mimicking step-by-step examples can be a great way to figure out how to achieve a certain look. These lessons were super helpful and simple, but not childish. Despite being thoroughly familiar with the concepts, I didn’t feel that I was being talked down to.

Art Academy Features

There are several cool features to Art Academy: Home Studio, to go along with the lessons (which are probably the main focus of the program). One is that there is a freestyle mode, so you can draw whatever you like. I suspect that as a child I would’ve enjoyed this more than the lessons. You can also upload any piece of art, freestyle or otherwise, to your Miiverse account. Don’t worry, though. If you’re concerned about other folks seeing your kids’ art, you can set up a private gallery that can be shared only with family members and select friends. Finally, you can record a video of the painting-in-progress and upload it to YouTube. Time-lapse videos of drawings are pretty excellent no matter what, but I can confirm how cool it is to see your own progress sped up.

Art Academy Home Studio gallery

Art Academy Medium

My main complaint about Art Academy doesn’t have to do with the lessons themselves, which are actually pretty great. My criticism has more to do with what they’re trying to accomplish. Art Academy is a digital art tool at its heart. But it’s trying to teach players how to draw in traditional mediums. I’m a digital artist, myself. I’ve spent the last seven years using various digital art programs (like Photoshop and Paint Tool SAI) to draw and paint. There are benefits and drawbacks to digital painting, just as there are benefits and drawbacks to physical art. Digital art is truly its own medium. Just as colored pencil does a different thing than oil paint, digital art has its own technique and specificity.

What Art Academy does is impose the limitations of physical art upon a digital medium, without offering any of the wonderful, tactile things you get from physical art. For example, the way you find a color in Art Academy is by mixing pretend paints. You click on a palette spot, then add colors and “water” to get the desired effect.

One of the benefits of digital art is that you don’t need to mix colors—most programs offer a color wheel, eyedropper tool, and more. All I need to do in Photoshop to find the color I want is drag my cursor around a box like this until I get the desired hue.

Photoshop color picker

If I wanted to teach someone how mixing physical pigments works, I would much prefer to simply…use physical pigments. With physical paints, you get to really see how the colors work together. You can see how different percentages of each color make different pigments. You can experiment with water or different papers. And you can experiment with how those paints can be applied depending on how wet or dry the surface is. You can look at those colors in different lights and see how they change. These are things that Art Academy cannot—at least at the current level of technology—mimic. (Digital art tools can and do mimic physical art to an extent, but it’s much more about achieving a similar end result than it is using the same techniques to get there.)

We have some excellent technology these days that can get kids started learning digital art—which is becoming more and more prevalent, especially in the workplace. We’re not using digital art to the best of its ability. I would prefer that Art Academy, a digital art program, help kids learn digital art techniques and tools, instead creating a pale, unsatisfying mimicry of physical art. I’m passionate about digital art and the things we can do with it. And I would like it to be more accessible to more people. I also love physical art—I used watercolors and ink and colored pencils for the first 18 years of my life! But I maintain that the best way to learn traditional art is to do traditional art.

Art Academy Ergonomics

My second major criticism also didn’t have anything particularly to do with the program itself, but rather the Wii U and the GamePad. Using the tiny stylus isn’t exactly ergonomic. And bending over the GamePad—because it was too heavy to hold up—ended up getting uncomfortable pretty quickly. I might be hyper-aware of these things because I’m trying desperately to stave off carpal tunnel and early-onset back problems from drawing 5+ hours a day, but I think it’s worth noting.

Wii U stylus

The Takeaway

Art Academy’s lessons were truly useful and I have no doubt that if I sat down with the program for long enough I might learn something new. For kids who like painting but don’t have the space for traditional art materials (or maybe you have a white carpet), Art Academy might be pretty nice. It’s more expensive than your average set of watercolors, of course, but if you already have a Wii U and are looking for a nice how-to-draw book, it’s pretty much perfect.

I

f I wanted to teach someone how mixing physical pigments works, I would much prefer to simply…use physical pigments. With physical paints, you get to really see how the colors work together. You can see how different percentages of each color make different pigments. You can experiment with water or different papers. And you can experiment with how those paints can be applied depending on how wet or dry the surface is. You can look at those colors in different lights and see how they change. These are things that Art Academy cannot—at least at the current level of technology—mimic. (Digital art tools can and do mimic physical art to an extent, but it’s much more about achieving a similar end result than it is using the same techniques to get there.)

We have some excellent technology these days that can get kids started learning digital art—which is becoming more and more prevalent, especially in the workplace. We’re not using digital art to the best of its ability. I would prefer that Art Academy, a digital art program, help kids learn digital art techniques and tools, instead creating a pale, unsatisfying mimicry of physical art. I’m passionate about digital art and the things we can do with it. And I would like it to be more accessible to more people. I also love physical art—I used watercolors and ink and colored pencils for the first 18 years of my life! But I maintain that the best way to learn traditional art is to do traditional art.

Art Academy Ergonomics

My second major criticism also didn’t have anything particularly to do with the program itself, but rather the Wii U and the GamePad. Using the tiny stylus isn’t exactly ergonomic. And bending over the GamePad—because it was too heavy to hold up—ended up getting uncomfortable pretty quickly. I might be hyper-aware of these things because I’m trying desperately to stave off carpal tunnel and early-onset back problems from drawing 5+ hours a day, but I think it’s worth noting.

Wii U stylus

The Takeaway

Art Academy’s lessons were truly useful and I have no doubt that if I sat down with the program for long enough I might learn something new. For kids who like painting but don’t have the space for traditional art materials (or maybe you have a white carpet), Art Academy might be pretty nice. It’s more expensive than your average set of watercolors, of course, but if you already have a Wii U and are looking for a nice how-to-draw book, it’s pretty much perfect.

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D’Angelo’s team are analytics junkies, and investors in Arthena will be able to see the performance of every collection they own a piece of on a digital dashboard, 24/7.

But D’Angelo has noticed that while the strength of the investments is important to early adopters of Arthena, another thing that draws them in is the “members services” aspect of the company. Arthena coordinates gallery tours and studio visits, allowing investors to dip their toes into the world of fine art collecting.

In certain ways, Arthena is not only building a series of funds, but also a club. And it’s not meant to be one that’s pretentiously exclusive. D’Angelo hopes to eventually lower the minimum capital requirement to $2,500 dollars, which would open the collections up to many smaller investors.

D’Angelo firmly believes the low to middle end of the art market is what will see major growth in the next few years, even if the higher end might be in a bubble. And she’s quick to point out the difference between Arthena and an art flipper, or a service that puts together buyers and sellers like buzzy startup Artsy. Arthena will live or die on the strength of its picks.

What D’Angelo is building is an entirely new way to be an art collector, one that lets go of the ego contests of old, and is built for the digital age. But the pivotal question, which is central for any investment fund, is where is the market heading?

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