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Art v Economy: Declaring a New Winner

Art v Economy is rare digital art by Joe Chiappetta
Art v Economy by Joe Chiappetta is rare digital art available on MakersPlace. The initial drawing started out as a still image drawn by Joe on the online drawing community. He has drawn over 350 original digital drawings and paintings directly through the online drawing tool.

Art v Economy: Declaring a New Winner

By Joe and Denise Chiappetta

A Southern California husband/wife team with the combined traits of being artist/author/collector draw up battle plans in a peaceful fight to create new opportunities for artists and art-lovers.

Let's start by stating the obvious before we move to something radical. The economy heavily influences art. Some creators, especially those who spend more time on the business side of art, might even say that the economy oppressively influences art. The pursuit of wealth and/or income in the arts reshapes art into a highly altered state. Most art we see today is not quite pure art; rather it is art under the intoxicating influence of the pressure to make money. In fact, too many artists find themselves ever-transitioning their under-funded careers based on what they think the market will eventually pay them for.

Of course, in the early stages of an artist’s life cycle, he or she often creates whatever they want. Yet, someone needs to pay the bills. Such artists eventually go from following that inner voice to following what they think will sell--hopefully without compromising “too many” of their principles. It’s a survival issue that, like it or not, heavily influences most artists who are not independently wealthy.

Can we also say the reverse is true: that art heavily influences the economy? Hardly. When was the last time you saw a painting that compelled you to forgive a debt owed to you? Try asking a banker that same question.

Art sales are certainly part of the economy, yet art almost never has a heavy influence on the mechanics of the economy itself. Sure, art can move people’s hearts for a time, and it should. Yet an artwork’s influence rarely scales from the heart to the pocketbook and on into the wallet of every practicing artist. The term “starving artist” is common for a reason.

Sadly, there is an all-too-easy way to prove this. As wonderful as art is, most restaurants will not let the average artist exchange a drawing as payment for their meal. Landlords will not accept a mural to satisfy the upcoming rent due. Moreover, it is well known that most artists do not make a sustained, sufficient living off of their art creations. Art school typically increases an artist’s debt: oftentimes, sadly, without increasing the likelihood of paid employment in the arts.

Why are such things true? It is a supply and demand issue. The economy historically does not have enough art demand to pay a living wage to even one-tenth of all the artists active today. For those keeping score--thus far--the economy wins. Artists lose, culture loses and therefore everyone loses. Thus the status quo marches on.

"Meet the new boss; same as the old boss." Pete Townshend wrote that classic lyric into The Who's hit song Won't Get Fooled Again back in 1971. Sadly, that statement keeps ringing true in way too many areas--including the art market. It was hoped, with the rise of cryptocurrency--which is revolutionizing money--that most artists could also benefit through a related innovation called "rare digital art." Without getting too technical, that's an emerging practice of releasing digital art paired to an unique cryptocurrency token that can be easily traded and authenticated instantly online. 

Yet rare digital art is already 5 years old, and most artists who use it have not experienced a significant lifestyle improvement due to this technology. To be clear, rare digital art is incredible technology and and growth opportunities exist in this field. In fact, our family has benefited from it significantly. However that is not the case for the majority of participating creative people. That's because no one (so far) has successfully merged an art community sharing mentality with a conscientious art collector's mentality while also making the process fun, social, fair, friendly, and economical.

Is there a solution to this issue? Yes, there is. Mind you, it is one that will take a heavy degree of coordination, but it can be done. Indeed, there is a way for artists to win, which in turn, means everybody who participates wins.

The steps required to create this new paradigm--where artwork has an extended socioeconomic reach--is multifaceted and off the beaten path. Getting there can happen as soon as most of the following challenges/opportunities/steps are fulfilled.

A Dozen Steps to Art Victory

  1. Create a symbiotic culture where gifting art is highly valued, thereby increasing the value of the art, the value of the community, and the value of the art-creating and art-acquiring experience.
  2. Incentivize the community to value commitment over popularity, and ensure that latecomers are not disadvantaged.
  3. Create a network where sharing and open collaboration are rewarded.
  4. To log all the art provenance data, use a publicly accessible decentralized blockchain that operates quickly, is user friendly to non-tech people, and also has 0 (or near 0) end-user fees to transact on the network.
  5. Bring in vendors and suppliers who accept art tokens as payment or discounts for their services.
  6. Transform art collectors into art stewards. These custodians of art can pay for the honor and public recognition of being custodians of particular pieces, yet the majority of sales commissions go back to the artist, with the whole community also getting a distributed cut of the action.
  7. Reward non-artists for measurable actions that advance this art community.
  8. Operate the community as a somewhat decentralized organization where roles are delegated to those who have proven their worth to the community, and the duration of each role is reassessed regularly.
  9. To guard against counterfeit art, build an online art creation tool that authenticates who created which art.
  10. Make this art creation tool collaborative, where artists have the option to collaborate on works together.
  11. Enable the art creation tool to issue a tradable token uniquely tied via blockchain to each piece created on the art tool, thereby giving market functionality to every piece created in the community.
  12. Structure the community in kindness as a blend of online and in-person interactions.
If all this sounds like it is too theoretical, it actually is not. At least one-third of these components are already in place in a rare digital art community called, and the rest are in active development in that very same community. Think of DADA as an endless jazz session, yet for people who draw.

This twelve-step plan--in a nutshell--is to incentivize a nurturing creative original art ecosystem that benefits all participants while making the economic components of art less celebrated yet still important. In the Dada community, such a vision is increasingly called “The Invisible Economy.” Once all dozen of these steps are completed, we believe everyone will call it “progress.”

The current state of this world we all share is troubling, with a worldwide health crisis, a global economic crisis, as well as widespread political and racial unrest. However, we have been given the gift of advanced technology and a philosophy to structure a nurturing international ecosystem for the art community. Used wisely, it can rework the traditional landscape of both art and the economy, while building bridges of compassion and creativity across the borders of nations around the world.

Using these twelve steps, an online drawing platform that turns individual drawings into art conversations becomes supercharged into a functional force of hope, artistic equality, and even an art market revolution. Creators and art lovers will soon have the opportunity to create, share, influence, and extend the value of authenticated art as they practice their craft. A time for change beckons. Join us and be a part of it. In an epic race that has spanned for centuries, we plan to see you at the victory line: where art is finally declared the winner!