How Artists Use Codex Protocol: Featuring Romero
In this series, we look at different stakeholders in the art and collectibles (A&C) industry to discover how they are using Codex Protocol. In this post we are focused on artists. We interviewed Avant-garde artist Carlos Romero to see how he has been using Codex to change his artistic practice.
Early adopter of using blockchain technology in his artistic practice, we look at Romeroto, winner of the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Avante-garde Art/Music Award- Who’s Who in America, to see how artists can continually leverage the latest in technology to further their careers.
Early days of digital art
New York City native and Pratt Institute alum, Romero began experimenting with the digital as a medium in art school when only the architecture students had access to a single computer. He grew restless during his time at Pratt as the school wouldn’t let him experiment with digital art. While studying traditional mediums he couldn’t let go of his curiosity to explore how working on a computer could change the way he produced art. As frustration grew, Romero left Pratt in pursuit of creating art the way he wanted and made his way through NYC’s SoHo galleries, pushing his own work himself.
In the early 90s while Romero was working at a telecommunications company, he was still stuck on the idea of creating digital art. Studying the Giclée process, he used the materials he had at his disposal and created paintings on Microsoft Paint and printed them out, producing works instantly. Romero remarked that he loved the immediacy of digital art. He said he never liked the idea of working on one work for months at a time, but instead loved the ability to sit in front of a computer and create a work in minutes and then print multiples, harking back to a Warhol like process of silk screening. His digital art practice took off from there.
An under discussed benefit of creating digital art, Romero says, is the environmental impact. By creating digital works and selling them online, his eco footprint is incredibly small, especially when compared to most traditional artists. In a time when climate change and environmental impacts are a growing concern, the world of digital art avoids shipping, packaging and storing art — a powerful contribution to the art world and the planet.
When it came time to sell his works online, Romero hit blocks and realized there were no good solutions for artists, especially digital artists, to sell their works online. The reason for this, he hypothesizes, was likely due to being a little too early to the party. Romero joked that has been an ongoing issue he faced in his career. When he recognized the power blockchain could have on his work in 2016, he began searching and subsequently creating blockchain solutions for his digital artwork for provenance and sales. He has his own gallery — Ikohaus, and utilizes Codex to leverage the benefits of blockchain for his digital art practice.
Codex for archiving an artist’s portfolio
Romero notes that one of the most important things for an artist to do is to archive their entire portfolio. Artists often sell through multiple marketplaces, auctions or galleries, and records of their portfolio are scattered among various platforms. Having one comprehensive archive of your work is crucial, and something you can do securely and easily on Codex. Romero is in the process of registering all of his artwork on to the Codex Registry; not only does this make it easy to track where his works are, but it gives anyone the ability to browse through his entire oeuvre.
While most collections can be handled privately on Codex, Romero uses Codex’s Gallery feature. This is a publicly viewable gallery that allows anyone to see the works registered in their Codex collection. Viewers can browse through Romero’s gallery, view works in his collection and subsequently decide to purchase any of his available pieces.
Romero is now working with artists all around the globe to archive their works on Codex. He is determined to help artists realize their power and he uses his resources to help artists who aren’t aware of the benefits of blockchain technology. Because Codex is “easy to use” he says he teaches people to use Codex and quickly sees them “running out on their own”. He is currently working with African artist Kityo Kips to register his art on Codex, you can view Romero’s and Kityo Kips Records here in the Ikohaus Gallery.
Authenticity on Codex
Proving authenticity had been no easy feat for digital artists in the past, and Romero says this issue is one directly solved by Codex for artists like himself. Art has always been the most valuable when it can be shared, but that becomes a dangerous slope when the work is digital. Sharing digital art online used to put one at risk of losing the ability to prove they own the original image. Romero recognized the dichotomy between sharing one’s work and risking the loss of proving ownership. But registering his digital art on Codex gave him freedom as a digital artist to use the Codex Records as proof of authenticity. “It allows me freedom to make my work anyhow I like to, and that doesn’t matter, what really matters is who owns the Record, that’s all that’s important, if you don’t own the record you’re not the owner.”
He loves that people can own an original and authentic piece of his art, but have the opportunity to share it with the world. Digital art is a booming medium as technology has caught up with needs of the practice. As digital art continues to flourish, it’s crucial that artists understand how they can navigate the space, and taking steps to ensure their works have provable authenticity is of paramount importance.
Selling art on Codex
Romero was one of the first artists to use Codex to leverage sales. Not surprising, as he sold a digital artwork in Bitcoin to a patron in February of 2017, just before the cryptocurrency’s boom. Romero has experimented with different marketplaces and sales platforms with Codex, and says that the ability to buy directly on Codex would be a great feature to see.
When asked about Simple Login feature, Romero said while he still uses his MetaMask account but he did check out the feature and was impressed how easy it was to use. It’s important for him that his patrons and viewers can easily receive the Records, making Simple Login a helpful step for artists to connect with patrons. The creation of Simple Login allows users to navigate Codex without using a blockchain wallet, the advent of this feature has drawn in many users who hadn’t previously felt comfortable on a blockchain platform. As Codex continues to grow our platform to benefit artists, we are excited about how this can help bring patrons together with artists. We are dedicated to making Codex easy and helpful to anyone in the arts and collectibles space, and we believe Simple Login will be a crucial feature that improves the buying and selling of digital art for both the patrons and the artists.
Romero is excited about using his digital art practice to “change the perception of how you work with art. It’s about breaking the norm and and recreating art”. As we continue to communicate and engage with Romero to build a platform that is as beneficial to artists as possible, we are excited at what we can build for the artist community.
A huge thank you to Romero for giving us your time for an interview. It is great to watch your work unfold on Codex and we thank you for your incredibly helpful feedback and continued collaboration.
Codex is the leading decentralized asset registry for the $2 trillion arts & collectibles (“A&C”) ecosystem, which includes art, fine wine, collectible cars, antiques, decorative arts, coins, watches, jewelry, and more. Powered by the CodexCoin native token, the Codex Protocol is open source, allowing third-party players in the A&C ecosystem to build applications and utilize the title system. Codex’s landmark application, Biddable, is a title-escrow system built on the Codex Protocol, which solves long-standing challenges in auctions: non-performing bidders, lack of privacy, and bidder access. The Codex Protocol and CodexCoin will be adopted as the only cryptocurrency by The Codex Consortium, a group of major stakeholders in the A&C space who facilitate over $6 Billion in sales to millions of bidders across tens of thousands of auctions from 5,000 auction houses in over 50 countries.