Lessons Learned: 5 Years of .ART from our Early Adopters

While .ART is celebrating its fifth anniversary, we couldn’t have done it with the support of our community. While we learned tremendously vital lessons and have crossed many miles stones in 5 years, we felt that giving the stage to some of our early adopters was the best thank you we could offer them.

For .ART’s fifth anniversary we didn’t want a big party or balloons and glitter. We had a profound desire to be aligned with what we wanted .ART to be from day one – a positive and creative environment for artists to empower them to make a living, share with others and feel supported.  Read what our early adopters – who have been with .ART for over 5 YEARS! – have to say about the last five years and what exciting new projects they have in development. Be ready to be inspired!  

SHANTELLMARTIN.ART  | Shantell Martin is a visual artist best known for her large scale, black-and-white drawings. She performs many of her drawings for a live audience. 

Photo © Anton AndIrene

What is your biggest accomplishment of the past 5 years? 
Wow. I feel like so much has happened! I choreographed my first ballet at the Boston Ballet and had a world premiere at the Boston Operahouse, I had my first museum career retrospective at The New Britain Museum of American Art, I did a collaboration with the Whitney Museum Shop and took over their shop with a series of co-produced products, I created a space for poetry, contemplation and peace called the May Room on Governor’s island, I took over all the screens of The Oculus in World Trade Center, I did a big collab with The Lincoln Ballet and took over their home at Lincoln Center, I collaborated with Kendrick Lamar and did a show with him in Miami…. and I could go on but I’m gonna stop there..

Looking back to 5 years ago, how did the importance of a digital presence has changed? 
Five years ago, it was essential to me to have an excellent, beautiful, well-designed website. Now people have shifted to social media, so that has changed. People have a more digital presence than five years ago. The definition of “being online” has changed immensely, and now this encompasses AR, Discord, NFTs, etc. It’s so many more things than it used to be.

Why .ART? In its essence, .ART is simple and gets to the point. – Shantell Martin

What’s one thing you would change about art in the digital world? (Or digital in the art world)
For me looking back, as someone who has been creating digital work for many years, I think there’s a problem with archiving, future-proofing, and finding past digital work.

Any new projects you would like to share with us?
I have a show opening at Subliminal Gallery from May 7-June 4, which is a show I wrote around a manifesto for the future of art. Stop by if you have the chance. 

BRAFA.ART | The BrafaArt Fair established in 1956 is one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious art fairs, famous for the high-quality fine art, antiques, modern and contemporary art and design it offers. 

Our biggest accomplishment of the past 5 years? We have happy exhibitors and that’s the biggest accomplishment for us. We always do our best to adapt ourselves. – BRAFA Art Fair  

Looking back to 5 years ago, how did the importance of a digital presence has changed?  
During the pandemic, we had the chance to organise ‘Brafa in the Galleries’. The project wouldn’t have been a success without the digital push seen art lovers and collectors could discover on the BRAFA website a page dedicated to each participant with photos and descriptions of the most beautiful objects offered as well as a short video presentation of their gallery. Our website is a daily work tool for us, the journalists, the exhibitors but also a very nice showcase of what BRAFA can offer to its visitors. 

The last five years have seen the emergence of at least a dozen of new domain extensions, yet you’re still with .ART. Why? 
For us, it is important to keep .ART seen our Fair is only about art and that our main target is to attract collectors and art lovers.  

HOHMANN.ART | Hohmann Fine art is a contemporary gallery which also offers advisory services. The gallery holds an inventory of thousands of artworks by emerging, mid-career and blue-chip artists which can all be consulted online, in the showroom or at fairs.  

What is your biggest accomplishment of the past 5 years? 
From a business point of view, I feel that our biggest accomplishment was the purchase of a building for the gallery because it freed us from the ever-increasing rent spiral and allows us to invest into our infrastructure.  

In terms of art projects, I believe it was our placing of several Julian Voss-Andreae sculptures in public spaces and the installation of the David Cerny babies in front of the Palm Springs Art Museum that were most consequential. Also, maybe our very successful participation at Art Miami got us noticed nationally. 

We always battle the stigma of our location. People don’t expect a high-end gallery in a vacation town 

Looking back to 5 years ago, how did the importance of a digital presence has changed? 
For us, the digital presence has been important for a while, because we have a large number of clients that are not local and the website is our window to the world. We started investing heavily in our internet presence from the beginning, but COVID pushed it forward even faster. We were forced to develop and adapt much more rapidly.  

I believe strongly that it will be increasingly hard to remain relevant if your digital presence doesn’t match your physical presence, because fewer people will actually come to the gallery before making a buying decision. 

Our website was originally hohmannfineart.com, but I managed to get a trademark for my family’s name HOHMANN, so when .ART became available I jumped on it and used the change at the time to redesign our web presence. Obviously we own dozens of other domains with our name, but hohmann.art remains the number one because it speaks for itself. Christian Hohmann, president of HOHMANN, Inc.

What’s one thing you would change about art in the digital world? (Or digital in the art world) 
My biggest complaint about the artworld in the digital realm is that dealers, artists and third party websites that showcase many galleries or artists have not understood the primary objective of our profession: For artists, it is to create something special and for dealers/galleries, it is to communicate to collectors and clients why it is special by means of presentation and education. Instead, most dealers, artists and websites just think in terms of volume and upload any and every piece they have. As a community we have not yet learned how to translate the in-person experience of going to a gallery or an artist studio into a similar digital experience. I wouldn’t welcome clients to the gallery, immediately drag them into my warehouse and show them every single work of art by every one of my artists, right? We need less volume and more quality.  

STEVEMILLER.ART  | Steve Miller is a multi-media artist, who makes paintings, screenprints, artist books, and sculptures. Through his art, he explores the influence of science and technology on modern culture. 

What is your biggest accomplishment of the past 5 years? The last 5 years offered me the opportunity to publish a trilogy about art, technology and the environment.  The newest book Surfing the Cosmos (to be released in Summer 2022) completes a three-part series launched in 2017 with a focus on the environment. Radiographic started this trilogy by observing the fragile nature of the Amazon.  The second book, Surf/Skate explores how we live and move through the world. And finally, Surfing the Cosmos looks at the spectrum of energy and lays out the complex variables of climate change and the science that may offer solutions.   There is a provocative forward by Neil deGrasse Tyson and a philosophical journey about the aesthetics of science written by Arthur I Miller.  All of these books fall under a project entitled Health of the Planet for which I secured a .art domain and US trademark.  The idea of this project was to x-ray the lungs of our planet, the Amazon, and give the world a metaphorical check-up.   In 2017, a solo museum exhibition at the National Academy of Sciences kicked off this project in Washington, DC which is still in motion

Looking back to 5 years ago, how did the importance of a digital presence has changed? Covid accelerated the concentration of the digital world in social media and in apps like Clubhouse, Twitter Live and Discord.  Tik Tok came on strong as a cultural game-changer for mass audiences.   At the same time when museums and art galleries were closed with travel restrictions in place, more people moved online to look at and buy art.  The art world migrated onto Instagram in full force turning that social platform into a marketplace.  One auction house noted that 80% of their buyers looked online and were first time purchasers of art.  NFTs became a new source of auction income.  The growth in cyberspace accelerated by the blockchain and digital currencies has made Web 3 and Meta common nomenclature.

At the start of this period I did an interview with the artist Richard Prince for Museé Magazine where he said ” I think it’s a matter of joining. Participating. Sharing. By now, if your not “on the gram” your either in deep shit, quicksand or riding around in a covered wagon.”   Essentially, having a digital presence is a new artistic medium.  In his book The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again), Warhol gives his famous quote: “Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.”   One more quote by Marcel Duchamp, “The creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act.”   In the end, It’s all about reaching eyeballs

The last five years have seen the emergence of at least a dozen of new domain extensions, yet you’re still with .ART. Why?

From my perspective, there are 2 important domain extensions: .com and .art.  .ART is explicit in foregrounding the importance of the content.  You come to .ART for a deep dive into creativity and innovation. As the domain space heats up with a plethora of options, it’s important to have a clear identity.  

What’s one thing you would change about art in the digital world? (Or digital in the art world) The one thing I am trying to change in the digital world is the overwhelming aesthetic of NFTs that I describe as something like Salvador Dali meets Start Wars.  In conversation with this mechanical and unified computer programmed “look” of digital effects, l purposely minted NFTs about my analogue studio practice. The aesthetic experience of a studio practice stands on the other side of the spectrum of NFT collectables.     

Is there one thing or project .ART could tackle to support the artistic community even more? Is there something missing? What’s clear in all endeavours, whether in the analogue world or the digital realm, building community is essential.  I’m a part of a community called Techspressionism (.art and.com)  It’s one of the role models for bringing artists and art together.  Colin Goldberg at goldberg.art and I collaborated on my front porch and he used his digital finesse and art to birth a movement.   The result of this collaborative community is the current exhibition at the Southampton Arts Center that is running until mid-July at the height of the art season in the Hamptons.  There has been an enormous amount of press (on Techspressionism website) and attention to this lively exhibition.  Techspressionism: Digital and Beyond include the works of over 90 artists working with technology from more than 20 countries around the world including Afghanistan, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Canary Islands, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Iran, Italy, Netherlands, Peru, Puerto Rico, Russia, Taiwan, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine and the United States.  There are techspressionist artist nodes in Iran, Germany, France, Canada and Brazil.  Using the network effect of .art should connect your artists to a special .art community.  Certainly, your celebrating 5 years of growth is part of this process. 

Any new projects you would like to share with us? I am planning an NFT project around my book Surfing the Cosmos.  It’s an exciting opportunity to let the content of the book reach a larger audience.  I love the idea of leveraging an analogue book for a digital project and letting them both speak to each other.  Since the book will be released to the public this summer, the NFT project will work in tandem.  Look out for that. 

AESF.ART | AES+F is a collective of four artists: Tatiana Arzamasova, Lev Evzovich, EvgenySvyatsky, and Vladimir Fridkes. It was first formed as AES Group in 1987 by three artists, becoming AES+F when Fridkesjoined in 1995. The collective works in photography, video, installation, and animation, as well as more traditional media. They also offer an Artist Residency Award.  

What is your biggest accomplishment of the past 5 years?
The opera Turandot, for which we did the art direction, and the subsequent new video installation, Turandot 2070 with original soundscapes by Vladimir Rannev, which came out of the work for the opera. 

With the appearance of NFTs, artists’ digital presence has become even more important. A new generation of art and art lovers emerged which can only be addressed in the digital space. – AESF 

The last five years have seen the emergence of at least a dozen of new domain extensions, yet you’re still with .ART. Why?
After we met with Ulvi Kasimov and got acquainted with his project, we chose the .ART domain because we came to believe that this is the right domain for artists, art institutions, etc. It is our common ecosystem, and we are still confident that it was the right choice. 

Turandot: “Heads and flowers”, still from the production.

What’s one thing you would change about art in the digital world? (Or digital in the art world)
Historically there formed a distinction between digital art and what is now suddenly being called “traditional” art. We would do away with this distinction and consider all art according to its relevance for cultural discourse, not its medium or technology as categories. 

Martha Fiennes | YUGEN.ART | Yugen is the title of a moving-image artwork by Martha Fiennes, film director, writer and artist which showcases the talented Salma Hayek-Pinault.  Fiennes explores “the boundaries of a radically new medium to create a visual and meditative exploration into perceptions of reality”.  

Looking back to 5 years ago, how did the importance of a digital presence has changed?  
Yes, absolutely .. it is more and more relevant – taking a long-awaited hopefully established position in the art market. 

One thing I would change about art in the digital world? One thing only ?!

Is there one thing or project .ART could tackle to support the artistic community even more? Is there something missing?  
I think anything resource or opportunity or project / idea (by .ART)  that can be given to young people, even school-age children.. to engage them in imaginative ideas for greater expansion of consciousness through art – is  a good idea.

Any new projects you would like to share with us?  

New digital art project : Title: Anastasi – that’s the title. I’m excited about it.. 

.ART Team
.ART Team
members are global citizens with interests ranging from art history to social justice. If we had an office cat we would have called it Basquiat.