With the rise of NFTs, many art collections have moved online, exposing artists to the opportunity to sell their work to buyers on a global scale. But how can you build your brand in the space and leverage this reliable and inclusive environment to sell your work?
To answer this question, we are joined by investor, community-builder, and writer, Tim Salikhov. Tim is the author of This Week in Photography and Tatarin Digital, digital newsletters where he uncovers key insights about the digital art market and the artists who are propelling the crypto space forward. Today, he offers his perspective on community, art, and technology within the space.
We discuss the value of being an entrepreneur first and an artist second, how you can grow your brand in the NFT space, and why Tim believes that photography is a solid investment. We also touch on the challenges that come with building scarcity, what goes into creating a “fair price” for an artwork, and so much more!
Through his in-depth writing and analysis, Tim helps collectors, institutions, and artists alike get more comfortable with Web3 and take a front seat in the next technological evolution. Tune in today to learn more!
Key Points From This Episode:
[0:00:04] JB: Welcome back to the Me Llamo Art Podcast. I'm your host, Jordan Banks. In this episode, I'm joined by investor, community builder, and author of This Week in Photography, Tim Salikhov. So, let's go!
[0:00:21] JB: Tim, it’s great for you to join us today. I really appreciate you taking the time out. How is everything? How are you going? How's life treating you at the moment?
[0:00:28] TS: Hey, Jordan. Excited. In the holiday mood. Put up the Christmas tree and just getting ready to relax, take a break, and recharge batteries for the next year.
[0:00:38] JB: Fantastic. Fantastic. Well, like I said, I really appreciate you taking the time to be here and share your knowledge with us and talk about Web3 and NFTs and what you're doing in this space. I'm going to jump right in because I personally don't know that much about you. I'd like to know a little bit about your background. What did you start off doing? What's your career path?
[0:00:54] TS: In 11 days, it will be one year since I bought my first photography NFT. It was December 30th of last year. I'd learned of Quantum Art, which was started by Justin Aversano and a few other folks. I got really curious about what it is. I participated in the job by this photographer, [inaudible 0:01:15], and received a piece that I absolutely loved. That kickstarted the journey that I've been on over the past year. I no longer have that piece though.
[0:01:26] JB: You sold that piece.
[0:01:28] TS: I sold that piece three months in, and I do think of it as my first photography NFT. But the one that I think helped me get deeper into the space was a piece that I selected myself, not the one that was randomly assigned to me. That was a piece by Shane Lavalette, as part of his collection, One Sun, One Shadow. He's a fellow photographer who took the time to explain to me why photography belongs on the blockchain, what it means, why it's important, what the future holds. He introduced me to a few folks and just really helped me get off my feet in the first few months. I own that piece; something that I will never sell, and just means a lot.
[0:02:09] JB: That's one for the vault, is it?
[0:02:11] TS: It is one for the vault for sure.
[0:02:13] JB: Perfect, perfect. I like that. That’s also something. Obviously, you talk about secondary sales and things, but I think there's definitely a part of it that's nice to know when someone's actually going to just, that's a piece they're never going to sell it. You know it means that much to them.
[0:02:26] TS: Is it important to you that a collector never sells your piece? Would you want them to hold on for a long time?
[0:02:31] JB: I don't personally mind either way. It doesn't bother me. I think that obviously, when someone says that's going to be a piece to hold forever, I don't necessarily want to hold them to that statement. It shows that they just love it. They're like, “This is a piece that I want and I don't care about money, or value. I just love the art.” There is that warm, fuzzy feeling.
[0:02:49] TS: [Inaudible 0:02:49]. I love being emotionally attached to these things. I've been an investor for 15 years, and there is no way you can get attached to equities or startups. You think of them as investments first, then what they mean second. I love that with crypto and NFTs. I look forward to the day when we stop using the word NFT, just call it what it is.
[0:03:11] JB: What would you prefer it to be called? What would your term be?
[0:03:14] TS: It would be whatever purpose it serves. If it's a photograph, it's a photograph, right? If it's a collectible, let's call it a collectible.
[0:03:21] JB: You mean, almost as take it by that term. Meaning, we're accepting the blockchain technology, or NFT, as we call it today. Photography, when you talk about photography, could the public just accept it as a photograph?
[0:03:33] TS: [Inaudible 0:03:32] to think of it that way, for sure. To an extent, it doesn't make sense to call it NFTs these days, because the space is really small, right? The crypto itself, it’s what? It used to be 2 trillion market cap at one point, but it's below 1 trillion now. Then NFTs within crypto are a 15, 20-billion-dollar market down from about 40, 50, which was at the top in April. Then within that, art is less than 2 billion dollars. 2 billion dollars is absolutely nothing in the context of investable assets around the world.
From that perspective, because we are all trying to build this space from the ground up, supporting each other, calling it NFTs maybe creates a context that helps defined the group that is involved in building this place in the meantime.
[0:04:20] JB: Yeah, I think you're right, because also, I think the term, just NFT sounds like, obviously, to us, in this space is just such an obvious term. It just seems like an everyday word. When you tell it to an outsider, they're a bit like, “Well, what even is that?” Even though it's not particularly complicated, they couldn't remember. It's just not a very common term. When you hear these abbreviations you don't know, it just throws people off a bit sometimes.
[0:04:43] TS: It also has a very negative connotation in the media, in the mainstream media, I believe. The sooner we get away from that, the better for all of us.
[0:04:50] JB: It's a definite in the UK at least, anyway, I find it's getting a lot better. I've noticed over the last six months or so, people are starting to realize that the bad press is not necessarily all that. When I talk to people about different projects I'm working on and things with magazines and stuff like that, that they're all actually very receptive. I have heard this and I see that this could now be of some potential in where we’re going with this. I think there's still a way off from mass adoption. I think, we're getting in the UK anyway, which is surprising, because we’re usually a bit slow on the uptake of technology.
[0:05:21] TS: It's very similar here in New York where I am.
[0:05:23] JB: Yeah. I was going to ask where are you based, actually. I wasn't sure.
[0:05:26] TS: I am based in Brooklyn, two miles away from at least a half of the photographers that I'm following on Twitter.
[0:05:33] JB: Oh, yeah. You got that. You're in the hub of NFT photography, I think, aren't you, probably?
[0:05:37] TS: Just happened to find myself here. It's exciting. It makes it so easy to meet in person and build relationships, connections, make friends.
[0:05:46] TS: Yeah. I think as well, we talked about before the NFT, NYC and Miami obviously, going to both and things. Those building, those real-life connections with people is just a whole another level, I found, my first of things to do in London and NYC. It just totally changed.
[0:06:04] TS: Adds a lot of meaning to what we're doing here.
[0:06:05] JB: Yeah, it really does. Because until you see it in people's faces, you're like, you’re not sure. You feel it's true and you're like, I still need to see this person's body language to affirm that this is what I'm feeling as well. It's like, wow, it was like that on steroids.
[0:06:21] TS: 100%. The most amazing thing about Art Basel was obviously meeting people in person, many of whom I've known for quite some time on Twitter or on Discord and finally putting the face to the names and just giving them the biggest hug and getting their smile back. It was incredible.
[0:06:40] JB: Yeah. It really was. I found it so funny, where people are coming up to me, like, “Jordan?” They'd recognized my voice off spaces and different things. Like you say, it was just hugging first. I remember one as well, there was no mention of any bear or bull market. Everyone was just – it was there, really was like, sounds a bit cliche sometimes. But for the art, people were just there for art and community, like the actual attachment to it and financial really for – at least for those period of time was just a complete secondary, or third, or fourth thought to people, which was –
[0:07:11] TS: I agree with you. It's definitely important to remember why we're here, what we're doing, and what we're building and focus on the long-term. I also wouldn't want to be the guy who ignores what's happening in the world. There are some people who are very negligent to speak about the bear market, or go through the downturn. But it is important to accept that.
It is important to recognize that it is a difficult time and it's not easy to attract investments. It's not easy to make these sales. It's important to remember that it's not about you, that it's just a difficult time. It's important to focus on the things that you can control and get ready for the time when things do start to get better. As a result, you would be one of the first ones to receive a sale, or receive an investment, or be supported by someone who's been figuring out how to allocate their time and resources.
[0:08:07] JB: Do you think going back – I want to jump right back into your history of investing and what you've been building outside of NFTs. Do you think, just what I already know about you and that your history, do you think obviously, I'm assuming you've been through bear markets before? Whereas, a lot of artists now, maybe they haven't really ever experienced a bear market, because they probably, till two years ago, or a year ago, they didn't even really know what a bear market was. They're artists. They're out creating. It's a hard thing for them to get through. It's nice to hear people like you, or with the experience of this is what happens. Don't worry, or panic.
[0:08:40] TS: For sure. I'm wondering what everybody's experience is. Because NFT and crypto, it's not a means to an end. People whose art we buy these days, most of them have been artists for many years before, and they were not relying on crypto or NFTs to make a living. I wonder how overexposed many of them are these days? Because there are definitely artists who have been doing really well in the crypto space and how reliant are they on crypto these days? That's the question that I'm really curious about.
I think that what this bear market has shown us is that it's important to maintain the balance, whether it's with respect to the income streams that you have, or with respect to the collectors that you onboard, and just in general: be a lot more balanced and don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
[0:09:30] JB: Yeah. You make a really, really valid point. I think, from my experience, not through this, the crypto markets, but just photography generally, it was always very tempting to just do exactly what I love. It was like, I realized very quickly that wasn't – You could do that, but you'd have to limit how much what your lifestyle was going to be like and what you could – where you could live and these sort of things.
I always diversified into, whereas I just wanted to do editorial for magazines, say, I start to do hotels and things like that. When I came in, I managed to see it as the same thing. I was like, don't just jump – It is very tempting to just see some big sales come in and be like, “Wow, this is a platform where I can just create again. I can do what I want. I don't have to answer to anyone apart from my own creativity and I can make a living.” You have to go, “Hold up. You've made a few sales. Now it looks good.” I mean, I wasn’t even thinking bear markets. I was just thinking, I'm not just going to keep selling for this amount every week, or every month, necessarily. There might be patches where you go dry for six months and stuff. I think, for me, I couldn't agree more with what you just said about –
[0:10:34] TS: Oh, 100%. I'm glad to see many of the artists these days accept offers, which are significantly below some of their all-time highs that they received six months ago, 12 months ago. Because maybe those times were not the right benchmark. Maybe this is a way to rediscover yourself and rebuild your brand, refocus on something else. I'm seeing a lot of experimentation by artists and it's exciting.
[0:11:01] JB: On that, because you bring up the pricing thing. If say, as a collector yourself, if you picked a piece up for say, I don't know, 5 ETH. Then that same photographer, or same artist was releasing pieces two months later, or three months later, 2 ETH, or 3 ETH, would that or wouldn't that affect you? You'd be happy that you made your investment based on – or outlook on the art, or the financial?
[0:11:23] TS: It is what it is. I would be glad to see this photographer still being out there, so being devoted to their craft and connect with collectors and make those sales, eventually. I think, that's what counts.
[0:11:37] JB: Yeah, I agree. I think, it's because it's one of those questions as artists, you're constantly asking, should you? I struggle with it, sometimes, the constantly raising prices, Because it's fine for a bit when you're maybe 1, 2, 3, 5 ETH. When you start getting into the very high, then it's like, well, eventually, I might reach a ceiling where that's my own ceiling at this stage. How long can I not make a sale for?
[0:11:58] TS: 100%. It's a lot more relevant, the cadence with which the artist releases their work, the type of work that they've released, one on ones versus collections versus editions versus something else, how much they experiment, what these art pieces eventually mean. The intention behind the release of their work is a lot more important, obviously.
[0:12:17] JB: Yeah, I agree with that. On that, actually, there’s something that – I mean, I think probably a lot of people have been thinking, but it's something I've been thinking as an artist myself, like scarcity is one of those aspects that we're talking about, thinking about how you release things in experimentation.
How do you see scarcity, for example, in an artist, maybe who's got a lot of experience, or is able to shoot more regularly, or paint, or create more regularly, because they are full-time artists, such as myself, maybe a full-time photographer, I'm always out creating. I've been doing it for so long as against someone who's maybe been only doing it a few years. They may be a part-time, so they can't create as much.
Do you think scarcity levels need to change? Or do you think they should be – are appreciated by collectors on the way different people are, where they're at and what their back catalogue, hat their pieces are? Am I making sense in my question?
[0:13:11] TS: Scarcity is a very – it's personal to every artist, right? Only artists know what the right level of scarcity, or the amount of available work is for them at this very moment. Maybe today, it's releasing five pieces of on SuperRare over the next six months. Maybe one year from now would be a little bit more, a little bit less. It really depends, right? Depends on what they try to optimize for. Obviously, if you have 40 collectors lining up to buy your piece at 5 ETH, it's not a good idea to release all those 40 pieces, right? You want to release it gradually. It's up to you to decide that how quickly you want to do that.
[0:13:48] JB: Yeah, yeah. Great.
[0:13:50] TS: You want to build the right level of FOMO and availability at the same time.
[0:13:54] JB: Yeah. Again, for you, it would depend. If you note, you could release quicker is based more on FOMO and that sort of thing, and on actually building that hype and building that brand around how your scarcity is displayed, rather than actually what you could release in quality of work that you've already shown.
[0:14:10] TS: For sure.
[0:14:11] JB: That comes back down to again, I guess, what you're saying of really just thinking about your drops and having the tactics and the plan and thinking ahead about how you actually represent and build your brand and your art in this space.
[0:14:22] TS: Definitely. At the same time, if I'm an emerging artist, I wouldn't overthink this. When you're an emerging artist, I believe that you should be optimizing for something else. You should be experimenting more, taking on more risks, and thinking less about scarcity, or some of these things, which are a lot more relevant for the artists at later stage of their development.
[0:14:44] JB: If you see a mistake by someone, or what you may be viewed as a mistake by an artist, but they were new and they were trying things, it wouldn't affect the way –
[0:14:52] TS: Not at all. I'd much rather see them as putting themselves out there and experimenting and figuring out what works for them. Every artist’s portfolio is incredibly unique, right? Somebody prefers primarily one on one’s. Others lean into collections. The third use editions in very cool, innovative ways, and so on and so forth. It could be they’re all just tools in their toolkit. It's up to them to figure out what works for them, what doesn't.
[0:15:18] JB: I think a lot of artists would be very happy to hear that, because that is one of the – It's also a very hard question to answer. We you hear someone like you say that and there is obviously people who feel differently. It's like, people are trying to always please collectors and I don’t know, obviously, might have a whole load of collectors that they vibe with, that like their work, but don't have the same opinion on these sorts of things.
[0:15:38] TS: Yeah, for sure. I think, the best thing that collectors and curators can do is just to share observations of what they see in the market, like what other people are doing. But then, it's up to every artist to connect the dots and figure out what works for them, what they want and give a shot. Because I don't know what works for you.
[0:15:56] JB: I think it's good to hear that people – I've always been an advocate of that, that if you do something wrong, I think in this space, it’s forgiven very quickly. If it's just a genuine – not a rug pull, or anything. If you just make a mistake, or just do something that's viewed wrong, I don't think many people will judge you on it really. I think, they will all be like, “You tried something. It didn't work. That's fine. That's what we're here for. We're here to build and learn and create.”
[0:16:17] TS: Definitely. Otherwise, this thing is not going to move forward.
[0:16:20] JB: No. I want to go jump back in. I got ahead of us on that. That was like, I just kept asking you questions and you kept giving out the alpha. You're investing and what you've been building. What did you do before you came into Web3? What was your history?
[0:16:35] TS: I've been an investor for 15 years. I started with equities and moved into private equity and venture capital. I joined a few startups and helped teams build them from the ground up. That eventually led me to crypto and NFTs.
[0:16:49] JB: Do you think that background has led you here to the crypto space and it's very valuable? Or do you think it's a complete career change, really?
[0:16:56] TS: It's definitely led me to the crypto space, because I had not been a collector before. I don't have a tendency to hoard things. I've moved around so much that I try to keep it easy for myself as much as possible. I've never collected anything, until crypto and NFTs.
What resonated with me was the investment aspect. I saw digital art on the blockchain as an asset class that I can get into, and that I can get out of, and potentially realizing a return. That's what clicked with me. I also realized that what drives these prices has a lot of commonalities with what drives prices of stocks for some of the companies.
[0:17:39] JB: It worked perfectly, if you want. You had the knowledge bases of the financial side of things in investing and that sort of thing. Then you had the fact that you don't know how to collect things, or you move around a lot, but you found a way now to actually collect things. Because they go with you anywhere, don't they obviously, as we all know.
[0:17:58] TS: That's right.
[0:17:59] JB: It's the perfect blending of two worlds, I guess for you.
[0:18:01] TS: It really is. It also shapes how I approach the space. I am 100% drawn by aesthetics and what works of art mean, and by artist’s stories. All of those things are incredibly important. At the end of the day, I'm looking to make a profit. Whether it happens in the year, or five years, or 10 years, or 20 years doesn't really matter. I am betting on these artists’ future.
[0:18:24] JB: By what you've said then, you see photography as a lasting investment, that something that will hold its value in the next – for over the years to come and will actually be a solid investment.
[0:18:35] TS: 100%. Not only hold value, but accrue value in the long run. Photography, in the traditional art world is a very big category. It accounts for 10% of annual sales, anywhere between 5 and 6 billion dollars, which is a significant amount. Obviously, we're nowhere near with photography on the blockchain. In the last few years, we've done 50 million worth of sales. Not even a billion. The runway for growth is absolutely massive. Photography has already established itself as a very important category within art on the blockchain. I have no doubt that we will continue to see this medium flourish.
[0:19:13] JB: What do you think it was that, because I think I've seen on one of your feeds and forgive me if it wasn't you, but I think that it was – you said, you bring up as a category that didn't exist 24 months ago, or 12 months ago.
[0:19:22] TS: That's right. That’s right.
[0:19:24] JB: Can you give me the correct term? Is it 24 months, or 12 months, just for the sake of our listeners?
[0:19:29] TS: Some of the first photography on the blockchain was released in the end of 2019.
[0:19:37] JB: Okay. Yeah, we're talking give or take, two years.
[0:19:40] TS: We're talking about exactly, just slightly over two years.
[0:19:43] JB: Yeah. What do you think, obviously, the crypto art, the blockchain art, technology had been, that crypto, or whatever beforehand, what do you think was the catalyst to bring photography and how do you think – really, I mean, other than obviously, it attracted people with financial. I mean, what was the catalyst in your eyes that really start to make collectors, I guess, is what I'm getting at, take notice of it, rather than the artists coming in?
[0:20:07] TS: There were so many. JN Silva, for example, is definitely someone who put the photography on the map with his collaboration with ThankYouX, and the job that they did on Nifty Gateway. At the time, digital art was already a rapidly growing category, which was attracting very big collectors, a lot of money. Collaborating with him, JN Silva was able to introduce photography to the same collectors, who started to pay attention to the medium.
Then, came folks such as Justin Aversano, who not only released the first collection on the blockchain, but he also proactively explained why photography belongs on the blockchain, why it can hold and accrue value. He was able to attract very big collectors and within very big communities, and that he began to create enormous value for the industry, so much more beyond just his photography collection. That was an important piece as well.
Then we saw so many more photographers start gaining traction. Obviously, during the summer 2021, many forms of art were in high demand, including photography. That's when the majority of the photography collections were released, actually, was in August and September, which was followed by the founding of Quantum Art, which ended up onboarding 3,000-plus collectors into the medium, demonstrating that it's attractive to invest in photography, it's exciting to invest in photography, and that it can utilize some of the tools that were enabled by the blockchain, and as a result, make photography a blockchain native medium.
Also, they created the secondary market for this medium, demonstrating that even if you don't like something, you can always sell it to someone who appreciates that a little bit more than you do.
[0:22:06] JB: It's quite fascinating, because I wasn't really around for that period when that was going on. I was listening, but I wasn't deep enough into the space. I first heard about it probably at the end of 2019. Started coming into the space in early 2020 and having a look around. I didn't know anyone, or anything that was involved in this space, so I totally missed out on that history lesson that you just gave there.
[0:22:33] TS: Those hype cycles were important for the space for sure, as much as there was flipping and just getting into something and selling it 10 hours later, it was also important for the medium to grow, to get attention and to eventually put themselves on the map, which is what photography is.
Secondary volumes are down significantly, today versus a year ago. For example, in January, February, March this year, secondary volumes accounted for 70%, 80% of total photography volumes. These days, it’s less than 20%. The focus is on the primary sales. What changed between then and now is that today, we have over 3,000 collectors holding photography in their wallets. A year ago, we had way less than that.
[0:23:22] JB: Yeah. I guess, there was less collections and less stuff to buy. There as less stuff on offer a year ago. I think, I mean, for me as a photographer as well, I mean, I feel as well, something in this space is really, really, take all the financial sides. I just love the fact that I'm really seeing people who appreciate photography as an art form, as a medium, the power holds in the art world, which is just – I think that is what really keeps me here as an artist as well, is just knowing – I've got friends and obviously, colleagues, but you don't really connect with them outside that too often. It's quite a lonely career, photography, or especially what I do.
All my friends are just like, “Oh, you just taking a picture. It's a click.” They didn't have any love for it, which is fine. Nor should they. They’re not photographers, they're not artists. Then to suddenly find a load of people and collectors that are out there that are just like, “Wow, this is incredible work,” and just love what you're doing.
[0:24:15] TS: There's so much that goes into creating that perfect shot. You're a photographer. Your photos are absolutely stunning. They're also incredibly relatable, something that someone may have seen on a trip to somewhere. When you are on a trip and you have your iPhone with you and you take a shot, you think that, “Oh, hey. I can do that.” But there is so much more that goes behind the scenes of creating that perfect shot that we see, you and many other fellow photographers release. It's something that I suggest that every photographer does and share about your creative process. Share what it takes to make this amazing piece of art that we love so much and we want to collect. It's 99% of the work that you do.
[0:25:01] JB: It’s funny you should bring that up, because I read a thread by Matt Scoble. I don't know if of him, but he put out this – a really good thread actually about a shot that he wanted to take, I believe, in Japan. I forget the name of the temple I haven't actually been – I've been to Japan, but not to there. He broke down the whole start of it. Like, I've got to buy the plane ticket, I've got to travel 10,000 miles. I'm only in the country and I've been 36 hours or whatever it is of like before, of just movement to get to even be – and I'm still nowhere near the actual shot. All the process of the sunrise, or sunrise, the time of year, logistics of the bus, the cost of just the bus, the bicycle, this whole thing.
I sat there thinking, “This is so great. This is so well explained.” I think where something that struck me that we as photographers, and only think at myself is that I just love it so much that none of that stuff seems like that big a deal to me. It's just you're so used to that creative process, that it's just, yeah, I'm going to have to travel around the world, or to this remote place. I'm going to get this bus and this bike and this – all this stuff. That's so much part of the art and creation. I think a lot of photographers, or artists generally struggle to emphasize this, because they don't really think it's that big a deal. It's just like, “Yeah, this is what we do.” It's just the way it is.
[0:26:18] TS: I think it’s human nature. It's not only about making art. It's about everything, right? Even investing companies are thinking about how you want to structure your portfolio plan for the future. If you've been doing this for 10, 15 years like I have, it’s second nature. You don't even think about these things. If someone lacks this knowledge and they want to get started, it may seem overwhelming, because you're not sure where to start. You don't know many things. You're not as intuitive.
When I think about these things, I ask myself, is this really valuable? Is this helpful if I share X, Y and Z? Most of the time, I think it's not, but then the other person actually appreciates that and that's a good reminder.
[0:26:58] JB: Yeah. You got to put yourself in the other person's shoes, haven't you? I think as well, I saw the amount of people, collectors that were also commenting under this, and they all were appreciating this. They're all saying what you were saying. “Yeah, we want to hear about this. We didn't really know that,” maybe, or “We want to hear this story.” This is the beauty. We now realize, you put that one shot cost this amount of money, it took this amount of hours, this amount of effort. Then, sometimes you still don't even get the shot as well as the possibility. I think Matt did get the shot. You potentially go over there. I mean, I've done stuff in Japan. You've done all this way. Suddenly, it's like, the conditions aren't right and it's like, oh, we've got to come again next year.
[0:27:37] TS: Definitely. I absolutely love pattern recognition. It's the number one skill set that investors end up developing throughout their careers. I do apply that to artists a lot. I haven’t spoken to many artists about their stories and creative processes and how they've been evolving. You start noticing commonalities. Then when you come across an emerging artist, who is in the early days of their journey, and if you notice that they are following somebody else's footsteps, or learning along the same lines, or pushing themselves to be better, in somewhat similar ways, you can start – it makes me comfortable to make a bet on that person, because I know where they might be five years, 10 years from now, for example.
[0:28:24] JB: Yeah. That leads perfectly into what I was actually going to ask you next on when you are collecting photography, or art, what is your process? I mean, so obviously, I'm assuming sometimes you might just see something, or you’d hear a word on the street from all the collectors, or that sort of thing? What are the different ways that you would find a piece of art and that would end up leading you to actually collect it?
[0:28:45] TS: What captures my attention is mostly aesthetics, obviously, or something that piques curiosity. Something that just reminds me of something that happened to me in the past, or something that fascinates me. I started digging deeper into that. Once I learned about the artist and their creative process, I try to understand whether there is longevity to them, whether they will be around 5, 10 years from now and what they might be doing then. Would they continue to innovate, to push the boundaries and to evolve as artists, as entrepreneurs, and what else they might invest?
Ideally, I would love to find photography [inaudible 0:29:22] be household brands in the long run. The reality is that less than 1% of them will be, but that's the ultimate goal. I think of my photography collection as a portfolio of startups. Typically, in the typical VC portfolio startups, 5% create the majority of the returns, and then 15% to 20%, they end up doing really well. Then the rest, they contribute to your learning, but not necessarily to your returns and that's how I think about part on the blockchain as well.
[0:29:53] JB: I think that's very good way of looking at it. Again, having the investor side that you've got that knowledge of way of understanding that yeah, 5% as you say, that will make your gains and you might lose. I guess, the beauty of art is as well that those 95% that maybe didn't make you a gain, you still enjoyed, and you've gained as well. It's a perfect scenario for you.
[0:30:12] TS: Yeah, 100%. That's what I love spending my time on the mills is discovering new photographers and artists and tracing their story and looking at their sales and prices, how they evolved and the types of collectors they were able to attract and the collaborations they've done. Everything is on the blockchain, so it's really easy to connect the dots and see the full body of their work. Eventually, for example, 2022 was a difficult year, so there aren't really many photographers who have seen the prices for their work increase over the course of the year. Then the question becomes, are some of them undervalued? Why? Why not? Or, for example, if I see photographers value go up significantly.
I try to study those photographers and understand what it took for them to succeed. What was it that propelled them to the success? What others can learn from that? Is this a one off? Can this be replicated? And so on and so forth.
[0:31:09] JB: I think that's really interesting, the way that you delve into it as well and really look and study the photographer. Let's say, you came across a piece that you've not been known, and you're just scrolling through Twitter and you think, “Wow, that's amazing.” Would you delve straight away into that artist maybe? Or would you set, bookmark it and then come back to it and spend a bit of time? Or does it vary? Sometimes, just like, “Hey, I love that. Is it for sale? Let's go for it?” Or is it, do you always put that due diligence and maybe watch them for a little while and just –
[0:31:38] TS: I try to stay on top of the most recent releases and sales as much as possible. Obviously, there is no one centralized place where I can look at every work of art that's created. I have my filters and I have my lists that I follow. I continuously expand them. I do this, like a few photographers here and there, but that's okay. I definitely have a lot of bookmarks on Twitter, on SuperRare and I go back to trying to understand how come this particular person that I've never heard about was able to sell their first piece for 20 ETH? What's that about? Most of the time, we can get to the answer pretty quickly.
For example, last week, we saw many Genesis pieces by amazing photographers go for anywhere between 10 and 20 ETH. Many of them were very well established artists in the traditional world, who happened to release their genesis work on the blockchain. Because of their reputation, they were able to get their sales pretty quickly.
[0:32:39] JB: Do you think on that topic, the grails and things, do you think – I mean, I've heard some other collectors talk to me and say that, because obviously, still seeing some higher sales like that, 10, 20 ETH. Do you think it's partly down to the fact that we are in a bear market that if you're going to invest at this time, then you're actually almost getting in a fiat currency conversion anyway, you're getting the art maybe at a discounted price and it's a safer bet than really risking ETH, staking ETH on an artist that maybe not quite there yet?
[0:33:07] TS: It's hard to tell what the fair price for these artworks is right? One fellow collector shared with me that they were trying to get a Guy Bourdin piece two years ago, and there was a five-year long list to even get – have the right to collect their piece for close to a $100,000. When Guy Bourdin, when the estate of Guy Bourdin released their work on the blockchain several months ago, and they were selling those pieces for 10 ETH, those were selling like hotcakes, primarily because it was an arbitrage on time. You don't need to wait for five years to collect the piece.
Obviously, an arbitrage on the price as well, because you're essentially paying $15,000 to collect the piece, versus $100,000. That's a no brainer, for example. But because you have that benchmark. Many photographers don't. As a result, whenever we hear, “Oh, this photographer, or this piece of art is undervalued,” it's important to ask yourself, undervalued relative to what? Last year, Fidanzas and Ringers were selling for 2,000 ETH, which in dollar terms was close to 6, 7 million. Today, as a result, when we see a floor of them at 9, 10, 65 ETH respectively, yes, relative to the levels of a year ago, they seem undervalued, but then the question becomes, wasn't that inflated a year ago?
[0:34:28] JB: I think what struck me when he was talking about that, actually, with Guy Bourdin’s pieces was one drop that I'm sure you're aware of that Magnum dropped their first piece. I can't remember exactly when the first one, or the second drop has just come out, or just been released. I myself collect Magnum art photography, in IRL, in physicals. I've got them all over my house. I mean, they do the 6 x 6, which I love and I collect them all. That's my passion. That's my love of photography is those sorts of photographers. I assumed that I was actually away, so the pieces I wanted did actually get picked up from that collection.
I assumed that whole collection of 1 ETH, basically, was a starting point. Obviously, they were auctions, would sell out almost instantaneously. It didn't really move as quick. There was some really iconic pieces. Obviously, the Steve McCurry pieces went, I think, probably the Martin Pars, the really established ones went. Then some photographers even that bought, collectors and artists that I knew picked up some of the other pieces that were relevant, realizing this was a steal to get these, one of ones, at 1 ETH. Why do you think they weren't valued quite as highly?
[0:35:32] TS: I was about to ask you this. If you were pursuing these pieces in the traditional art world, would you be able to get them quickly for the equivalent of $50, $100?
[0:35:43] JB: No. Well, if they were one of ones and any size print, you would end up – It would be more than $1,500, I would have thought for most of them, in a say, 24 by 36. Relatively good size print. No. Magnum don't release – you could get them – Probably wouldn't be necessarily a waiting list. It might be if they did a limited run of them. Obviously, you can go buy anything off Magnum. It’s an agency. But when they actually released through their shop as prints, I mean, they've got a huge back catalogue, so not everything is there. No, you couldn't get it very easily.
[0:36:17] TS: This is a perfect example how knowledge of the traditional art world can benefit you in the crypto world. You understand the value of the art. You understand the value of Magnum photography. When you see a piece which is a steal, compared to what you would get in the traditional world, it's a no brainer for you. While for example, for someone like me, who is a lot less familiar with that, it will take me time to try to understand whether it is a good value.
[0:36:43] JB: Okay. Yeah, you think it's just that they maybe haven't done their threes, and they haven't – obviously, they want to sell out. It's maybe they just haven't put themselves out into the community.
[0:36:52] TS: I wouldn't know. I was not following the drop. I saw the final numbers. I saw that many fellow collectors picked up those pieces, but I wasn't following how they were marketing them, how they were sharing about them on Twitter, or anywhere else, so I wouldn't know.
[0:37:08] JB: It wasn't a great deal. I didn't see. I mean, there wasn't a really – I guess, it's hard when it's an agency as well to come into the community, there's not one person that can really, could have nominated some to be. It's harder to do. It's not as easy to build a single brand, or seems to me at the moment through an individual, than it does a company as it were.
[0:37:25] TS: There are only just a handful of collectors who feel comfortable paying 10 ETH for photography on the blockchain. I'm sure that all of them were following Magnum. But then to spread the word, to release a bigger collection and to attract many collectors. Obviously, you need to share a little bit more. You need to appeal to those who might not be as familiar with this. Marketing is important. Sharing storytelling is important.
[0:37:53] JB: Definitely, definitely. I mean, it took me a long time to get good at marketing. I'm not good at it at all, to even understand in my traditional world and Web2. Then Web3, I actually found a little bit easier. I think, maybe just because I was a bit further on in my career, a bit older, a bit more mature. Also, I found that I really liked the way the space, you didn't need to wear a tie. If you swore, it didn't matter. It was very like, we can actually be who we are and nobody really expected us to try and put on this whole suit and be overly polite. It was just like, no. Just do you and be honest and be a good person. That's all you need to do. Then tell us what you think and what you feel and yeah, people are feeding it.
Want to find out a little bit more about you, Tim. I mean, that's been fascinating. I'm going to come back to some stuff. I wanted to find out what makes you tick and what makes you the person you are. What do you do to relax when you're not working? What’s a chill time for you? do you run, or play sport, or other hobbies?
[0:38:50] TS: I am a runner and I ride motorcycles a lot. I own a Triumph, which I resonate with you being from England.
[0:38:56] JB: Yeah, yeah. I rode a Triumph 4 around. Bought it in Vietnam and see – Sorry, Cambodia, see them reaping in the Angkor Wat.
[0:39:02] TS: No way.
[0:39:03] JB: I drove it across Cambodia. My wife, just before we had children. We didn't know we were having children at the time, so it wasn't like a last trip. I was doing a job over in Southeast Asia and then I told her how I did this trip around Cambodia and Laos years and years ago, well before I met her. She's like, “Oh, you should do it again.” I've managed to buy a Triumph. I drove it all across Cambodia, right up Vietnam, because man, it’s a long story for another time, but smuggled it into Laos over this top and then drove all the way back down Laos. So yeah, I’m jealous of –
[0:39:32] TS: That is incredible. That would be a dream trip for me.
[0:39:35] JB: We should do it one day, man. We should do it. We should get a couple of Triumphs and just go cruising. It was all pre-Sat Nav as well, so there was no – I don't know how I navigated myself. I had to leave the cities at sunrise, so that I could actually navigate the sun out of how, keeping east, or keeping west, or whatever way I needed to go. Then, there was a couple of points where it got pretty scary, like chains coming off and running low on fuel.
[0:39:59] TS: That’s an amazing old school way. One of my favorite TV shows is Top Gear. Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, James May, obviously, who have since launched their own show. That contributed to me learning about the world a lot. I am very much into sports. I used to race cars when I lived in London. Watching that show, watching the destinations that they go to, and the trips that they take, whether it's a Death Road in Bolivia, or crossing Salt Flats in Botswana, I’ve been trying to visit those places and replicate their experiences on two or four wheels as much as I can.
[0:40:41] JB: They did a Vietnam one, didn't they, I think?
[0:40:43] TS: Oh, my God. I watched that least 10 times. It’s a hilarious trip.
[0:40:47] JB: What was the one that I really enjoyed was the Myanmar one, because I remember certain things like, dry earth. Oh, it so rang true, doing that. Because on that, I'd also done – I got a bike. I hadn't bought a bike. I rented a bike and gone through Myanmar a couple of times. I know they were in cars, but I could just feel the pain of it. I was like, this really rings true with me.
[0:41:07] TS: You are quite an adventurer. That's incredible.
[0:41:09] JB: Oh, yeah. I mean, I'm tied down. I still get out a lot, but I'm tied – I don't want to travel as much as I used to. I mean, I spent probably the best part of 10 years just on the road, almost just living. Before there was a digital nomad was even an option, or a thing, I was just a nomad, I think.
[0:41:24] TS: It’s fantastic.
[0:41:25] JB: Yeah, it was great fun. You’ve got that in New York, where you've got a Triumph in New York, so you can just –
[0:41:30] TS: I have a Triumph in New York. It's more of a sporty Triumph. It's a triple.
[0:41:34] JB: But you can get out and hit the roads and go up to the north, or south, or the Adirondacks, or just get hit the open road.
[0:41:39] TS: That’s what I try to do. I cannot ride that thing for more than one and a half hours. My back gets sore.
[0:41:45] JB: I remember my back getting sore as well, actually. It's just like, I'm not trained for this. I’m quite a tall person as well. After six or seven hours on this bike, on these bad roads, you'd be like, “Oh, I feel like I'm going to pass out.”
[0:41:56] TS: Yeah, for sure. It's definitely one of my favorite pastimes.
[0:42:01] JB: That sounds good. And running as well. I'm a runner myself. I know how that's really helped me, relaxation of running and just clearing my headspace and getting away from technology. Just being with myself in nature really, really helped me through the pandemic and just promote general fitness and just well-being, I think so.
[0:42:17] TS: Running is new for me. I've been into sports for a long time. But running is something that I picked up only earlier this year, thanks to my sweetheart. It's a completely different game, like emotional game. I love high intensity exercises and activities. Running is something that it puts you in a different mindset. It makes you confront the mundane and boring and the never-ending landscape of what's happening. It felt uncomfortable. During the first few months, I felt bored. I began to slowly appreciate what it is about and how it was engaging completely different skills and emotional touchpoints inside my head.
[0:43:01] JB: I think, I went through exactly the same thing. It's fairly new to me. I think about three years now, I've been running. I've constantly tried and always got to the same things as you as just, this is a bit boring. I've never minded the pain factor. I've always been one of those – I guess, the word psychopath is the right one. I like confronting the pain of something. It's almost like pulling a plaster off, or picking a scab. Yeah, the boredom was a thing that got me. I was like, “This is so dull.” I think having kids helped. This is actually now like some peace and quiet. It's just my time, which I don't get much of.
[0:43:34] TS: I eventually was able to reframe this as an opportunity for me to grow. I have a growth mindset with respect to almost everything. It does help me get into things and exceed the runway for improving, or for doing things differently and for learning. That's the lens that I apply to art as well. I started off writing these weekly recaps of what happened in photography. It's been going well. I feel like I've been able to help many collectors get into photography, buy their first pieces. It's also created an opportunity for me to speak to traditional collectors and traditional investors to consider investing in the space and seeing this as an alternative asset class.
It's also come to the point where I'm curious about other forms of art and curious about collecting. I'm curious about investing other people's money and shepherding them through this landscape. I'm working on all of these things, which eventually, led me to leaving my day job and focusing on crypto full-time two months ago.
[0:44:34] JB: I got to just quickly – I want to go back onto that. Did this idea of This Week in Photography come about while you were on a run?
[0:44:41] TS: No, it didn’t.
[0:44:42] JB: No. One other question on that. How long has that been going now? How long have you been doing that weekly thing?
[0:44:51] TS: I believe, that three months roughly. I've been releasing it for three months, but it's been in the making for much longer than that, obviously. I started tracking photography collections and sales and prices since April. That's enabled me to accumulate with one of the largest datasets on the market and help me connect the dots, see where I could add value, which eventually led me to creating this weekly newsletter.
[0:45:18] JB: I could see that you obviously had been tracking it a lot longer than when you said three months, I was like, because you're referring back to a point a lot further than three months. I assume, you're probably doing that for your own good as –
[0:45:28] TS: I love that there's so much data in the space. There's so much on the blockchain. But actually being in the trenches and seeing all of these things develop and tracking the sentiment, whether it's on Twitter, on Discord, or just watching the floor prices, which is very hard to get anywhere else, it does contribute to my understanding of what's happening.
[0:45:49] JB: Yeah, definitely, definitely. It's a complicated thing to understand as well, I think. If the photographers could work – I think the tool you're giving them there is so good, because I think, for me who's not got that knowledge to even keep those figures and keep track of those. My mind doesn't work like that, I guess. I'm an artist. When you lay it out, it's very simply put that it's like, oh, okay, you can see tangibles and you can revisit these things, and you can start to actually learn very, very easily, I felt.
I mean, when I came across them, I was like, I think it was one – It was not long ago. It was definitely not three months ago. I think it's maybe only a month, or six weeks. I think, you put one out on Michelle Viljoen. I forget the name now. By the shake of your head, I knew you know I'm talking about.
[0:46:31] TS: It's a collection called Hidden Stories.
[0:46:32] JB: Hidden Stories.
[0:46:34] TS: That she released with Transient Labs. That collection had been in the making for over a year. We met at NFT NYC in person for the first time and she had shared about the collection and also allowed me to pick a piece of art that I really like. It took another four months to release it on the blockchain.
[0:46:52] JB: Well, I met her for the first time, we spoke a bit and we hung out quite a lot. I was surprised, we missed each other. She was telling me all about one of the pieces in it is actually shot when we first met, the day we first ever met.
[0:47:01] TS: No way.
[0:47:02] JB: Yeah, I don't know the name of it. It's one of a gentleman's hand, I think in a diner. It's a diner near that we met for brunch on the first day of NFT NYC. I was like, “Is that from there?” She just jumped up from her seat in the middle of brunch –
[0:47:16] TS: That is so fantastic.
[0:47:18] JB: – and took this shot. At this stage, I didn't even know about the project she was working on. I just thought, she’s thought and seen a cool shot. Then as we got to hang out more, she told me and she told me about the issues she'd been having and all this. I really felt quite emotionally connected to that collection as well, even though I had no part in it, other than just being a bit of an ear to bounce ideas off of and just listen to the problems and issues and tech stuff that she was having.
[0:47:44] TS: Michelle is a perfect example of an artist I would bet on for the long run. Well, first, her work is absolutely amazing and the stories behind them are stunning. Very easy to relate and appreciate. She goes so much beyond that. She has a growth mindset. She is looking to improve and collaborate and evolve her art and get into other forms of art, whether it's painting, whether it's music, whether it's something else. By being so curious, by being relentless, she's bringing all of that back to the world that she releases on the blockchain, which just keeps on getting better and better and better.
At the same time, she's incredibly devoted to the space. She has one of the biggest galleries collecting fellow artists’ works. She is also working with other builders in this space. I'm trying to remember the name of the company. I believe it's MetaLabs, or something else.
[0:48:42] JB: I'm so bad with names. I know who you mean.
[0:48:44] TS: They’re developing a fashion plan. Certainly, some of the well-established communities in crypto. That's just the beginning of that. I look forward to seeing how that's going to grow. She is an entrepreneur first, for me. As a result, whatever she does, I would bet on her, no brainer.
[0:49:02] JB: I couldn't agree more on that. Before we did the podcast and I will get her on our podcast again later down the line. We did a Space with her when we were just doing our Spaces and yeah, I just wanted her to come on, because everything you've just said, I was like, that's exactly how I feel about her. She's so down to earth and approachable as well with all of that and she really doesn't realize – she’s got no sort of idea of how great she is, I don't think.
[0:49:24] TS: She's so kind and generous and amazing community builder. The number of people that she introduced me to and never expecting anything in return. I was just absolutely grateful.
[0:49:35] JB: She was one of those people who was there when I was telling you about meeting Pedro. She was the one who was there, watching this whole thing with me. It was like, they were so funny, because you can normally never stop talking. Nothing fazes you, but this was like that. Yeah, it was a real privilege to get to know her.
I think that actually leads me on as I've got another question I want to ask about stuff, and you gave me a nice segue in there as well about, obviously, one thing struck me as soon as I heard what she was building with lost stories, or Hidden Stories – sorry. Terrible with names. Hopefully, Michelle will forgive me if she listens to this – was the tech behind it as well and the stories and the way, in what she was doing with the whole adding to the story, and you could then change the story, and it struck me so many ways you could buy the piece, if you didn't agree with the story. Maybe you’re like, “No, that's not the right story for that piece. I'm taking that and I'm going to change it.”
Is there anything you've seen recently in the space, aside from what Michelle has done? Because I guess, that is still classed as recent, that you're like, “Wow, that's clever. That's smart”? Or, you don’t have to be really technical. Just those little things that people are using tech to make art as anything that's –
[0:50:39] TS: I've seen so much innovation. There's a lot of it for sure and it's exciting. Behind many of these innovative drops is this design studio, Transient Labs. The guys there are doing a phenomenal job. They were also behind the SupeRare pass release a month ago. They've been expanding their team and taking on bigger challenges. I look forward to seeing what they create next year, and how many artists they will uplift and what else they will do.
Outside of that, there's definitely a lot of innovation happening both at their individual artist level, as well as led by some of the photography platforms and launchpads, for sure. So many come to mind.
[0:51:22] JB: I know when I'm writing these questions, I’m like, I'm putting people on the spot here as well, when I'm thinking of these questions. It's hard to do, isn't it, as well? Like you said, there's so much of it. It's like, where do you start as well? I'm a big fan of what they're building at Transient Labs as well. I think, just seeing their innovation and what they're doing and obviously, the uplifting of artists.
[0:51:41] TS: Absolutely. One of my favorite teams is also the guys behind Fellowship. They are doing amazing work, onboarding females, iconic legendary artists onto the blockchain and sharing their work with the broader community. They accounted for 30%, 40% of photography sales volumes for four months. Started from June. That's an enormous impact to the space. Yes, we are in the bear market, but at the same time, those guys are building through it. I do believe that they're creating a very solid foundation that way to continue to grow their community, onboard bigger artists, and merge the traditional world, the crypto world, and the digital space and the IRL space.
[0:52:30] JB: I couldn't agree more. Both of those people, or both of those teams – I hope, I'll get a member of those team onto our podcast at some point. They're on my hit list. I personally like to work – a goal of mine is to find a project that I can work with Transient Labs on, it's just a matter of, obviously finding what I want to do and what is right for me, and then having them agree that it can be done, and they want to work on it. That's one of my goals of –
[0:52:56] TS: For sure.
[0:52:56] TS: – to work with them.
[0:52:58] TS: If you're an artist, you don't necessarily need to get onto those platforms to do innovative work. You have all the tools available to you, even open editions or editions in general. There's been a flood of them, but if you peel back the layers of the onion, many artists are doing very innovative things with those editions, whether incorporating different kinds of burn mechanics or creating a certain cadence for their releases, or whether that’s becoming a ticket for participating in their follow-on drops.
Innovation and creativity is incredible. I'm very bullish on those artists who are staying on top of the recent innovations and trying out some of these technologies. There is a lot of negativity in the space with respect to these editions and with respect to the supply and the notion of the work. At the same time, I'm seeing those as experiments. If those artists continue to build over the next several years, nobody's going to remember some of the failed experiences. Those were just important milestones in their journey. I would actually be super happy to own one of those pieces to remind me of where they came from.
[0:54:09] JB: Well, I'm with you on this as well. I picked up a couple of editions from Michael Sidofsky about Mind's Eye, or three editions of his, so I can – it's going to be my first time doing a burn. I bought three, so I can keep the old town at day. I will keep that I bought two more of them, so that I can burn them and get the old town at night as well. I'm quite excited. That’s Boxing Day that happens as well. That's going to be my first. Obviously, I've seen a lot, but actually taking part in it, that's going to be my first –
[0:54:37] TS: That is super exciting. Also, something to remember about these things is if you're a collector, it's important to remember the game that you're playing. If your intention is to collect and support fellow artists, by all means, just go all out and buy as many editions as you want and participate in this drop and burn mechanics and all that.
If your intention is to build a portfolio of premium artwork, which will appreciate in value in the long run, then I got to apply a different set of criteria to our selection that we're going to get back. Editions, there are over 200 editions by photographers, which have done over 10 ETH in sales. Out of those, I believe, not more than 10 went up in value. That's 5%. Editions are not meant to accrue value. They're meant to expand the family of collectors, onboard more people into this space and to engage them. It's not a tool to accrue value.
[0:55:38] JB: Yeah, I agree. My investment strategy is not there. I think I struggle in terms of, I like to support artists and editions are a great way to do that for me in on budget that I'm working on. I don't mind about the investment. I just love doing. I want to see people stay in this space. I want it to grow. That's one of the ways to do it. I have done a couple of other smaller investments in one of one’s, but again, they're just more based on artists that I have known before, love their work. I see as well that, I think, they are going to stick around and be in this space. I mean, nowhere near as in depth as you go. Just looking at, yeah, they're going to be here in five, 10 years. Even if they're not necessarily in the NFT space, I believe they'll still be artists. Therefore, it will still hold value, I think. I hope.
[0:56:24] TS: 100%. If everything goes bust and we're left with these JPEGs that we cannot even trade, we will still own these works, whether it's in traditional work world, crypto world, any other world. They will at least hold value for as long as these artists continue to create and push the boundaries.
[0:56:42] JB: Totally, totally. I want to get into, because you've got – I noticed that a lot of questions artists ask as well and they want to just – they don't really understand things and no offense to them. It's not our area. Obviously, someone like yourself does understand it. How do you see the current state of the crypto market? Obviously, besides the obvious of what we're in. I mean, are you bullish? Are you bearish? Any timeframes that you could put to anything, or predictions based on calculations?
[0:57:07] TS: It’s hard to find an asset class to invest your money in this case. It’s one of the most difficult as I've personally experienced, for sure. With respect to crypto, I own many NFTs and I own significant amount of crypto. It's a very big part of my portfolio. Close to 20%. I have not been adding to it over the last six months. I'm not looking to. I feel like, I'm already overexposed.
[0:57:36] JB: Okay. If you had to make a prediction of when we might see a turnaround in ETH, going back up to whatever it was, was it summer of 2021 maybe? I mean, even close to those figures, or maybe even hitting $2,000. Is that something you see happening next year? Or do you think we're still quite a few years away from that?
[0:57:55] TS: Cryptocurrencies in general have become a lot more correlated to the broader financial markets. The reality is that the financial outlook for many companies and nations, countries is incredibly tough. From that perspective, I don't see crypto performing well while other asset classes continue to fly.
[0:58:18] JB: Okay. That's a nice, simple answer as well and one we can monitor quite easily, because easy to keep track of other markets as well, isn't it? In monetary classes.
[0:58:25] TS: For sure. It's encouraging to see volumes still being healthy and traditional institutions get into the space of launching cryptocurrency, ETFs, and introducing cryptocurrencies to their investors and the broader proliferation of crypto into the mainstream. We’ve definitely seen that. Regulations have slowly been evolving as well. There's a lot of work to be done. All of those things are important. We're creating a solid foundation for us to build on over the next several decades.
[0:58:58] JB: On that point of you say, several decades, when do you think this mass adoption of NFTs may be a thing in terms of – maybe not just art. Whereas, maybe you don't see it the same as me. I see that they'll probably hold of your house deeds, your health records, your car service records, all these, eventually. Do you see it that way? These things will happen when –
[0:59:17] TS: I definitely see it that way. There are so many amazing teams working on these problems already. I'm an investor in many of them. I'm definitely seeing that work being done and will start off. We already have real estate deals happen on the blockchain. We've seen that before. Obviously, not at scale, but it's happening.
[0:59:35] JB: Yeah. Very true. Very true.
[0:59:38] TS: What I'm seeing that I'm really loving is traditional brands getting into the space, embracing these technologies, but presenting them in a very simple way to their customers, like abstracting away the technology, avoiding the use of words such as NFTs or crypto. Just focusing on what they do and what's in there for their customers. Good examples include companies like Starbucks and Nike. Among the creators, for example, Armin van Buuren recently released a series of digital collectibles, which he calls an All-Access Pass. Not a word about NFTs or crypto.
All the focus on what it does, what it enables them, the access that it provides to his world and to the exclusive merch that you release and collaborations and behind the scenes, videos, and so on and so forth. That's a very smart way to get this technology into the mainstream.
[1:00:37] JB: Yeah. I totally agree. You've got to simplify everything, haven't you really. That seems to be the key way to get everything mass adoption. You've got to make it very simple, clear, not scary and just put it into terms people understand.
[1:00:47] TS: 100%. Also, we've gotten used to thinking of NFTs and crypto as a financial instrument, but it doesn't have to be that way.
[1:00:54] JB: No, exactly.
[1:00:55] TS: There are many companies working with this technology, which are also restricting the transfer of NFTs and tokens. As a result, you would simply focus on collecting that. You will see them in your wallet, but you wouldn't be able to trade them. As a result, just makes a lot easier for the project to avoid complications that might arise with respect to regulations, for example, or seeing these NFTs or crypto as securities. You can just focus on the use case for why you release your NFTs in the first place.
[1:01:27] JB: Yeah. I could not agree more. I think that's a pretty good place to leave this, because we're running out of time. It's been absolutely fantastic speaking to you, Tim. Really, to get to know you as well, and just hear your knowledge and your thoughts and everything on the space. I mean, it's quite reassuring for me personally to hear it, because it confirms that what I've been thinking, someone else's thinking as well and slowly and slowly, more and more people are thinking it.
[1:01:48] TS: I appreciate you sharing this. I'm generally very excited. I love taking risk. That's part of my personality. I was very thoughtful about leaving the confines of my safe job and dive into this world full-time, without much expectations. Just following my excitement. I will be doing more work next year. Look forward to sharing more about that when it's the right time.
[1:02:14] JB: Well, I look forward to hearing about it. Yeah. Obviously, if there's anything we at Me Llamo Art can do to help, or support, or myself personally. You know where we're at. Always feel free to give us a shout and we're happy to collaborate and help get the word out of things and just have people to up. We're going to put events on in New York and Miami and hopefully – Obviously, I'm from London, or live in London. I've been trying to push the London and suddenly, there's some chat starting about London as well, or a European thing. I'm all for this. Trying to pump it and get things out there.
Before we finish, have you've got any questions that you want to ask me, about me personally, or about art, about photography, about Me Llamo Art? I can't necessarily always answer everything about Me Llamo Art, but if there's anything – Don't feel pressured, too. I'm not looking to steal the limelight, or anything.
[1:02:57] TS: What attracted you to Me Llamo Art?
[1:02:58] JB: I've been looking for something like it. Basically, I'm in a position in my life, where I – I guess, I found this community. Suddenly was like, wow, this is something I've been looking for. I've never had a community of artists around me that were supportive and cared and wanted to have a clear goal. Then trying to do something like this on my own, I wasn't in a position to do that, I guess. I didn't have the time to put it all together. I didn't have the knowledge base, I guess, to start a non-profit.
Then, when Matt approached me, we got on really well. We just talked in Spaces and hung out in New York and it become – We were friends. It was no longer any collect it. Almost got to the point where I might even feel a bit weird when he collects off you. This is a bit like a friend –
Then, I actually reached out to him. I was just like, “Hey, can we chat? If you fancy, get a jump on a call?” About something completely different. I just want to bend his ear on something. Then he was like, “Yeah, cool.” We had a call and I offered. I said, “I've got something to ask you.” He did asked me if I'd like to get involved in it. We had a small team. I think, it was maybe six of us then. He'd been doing some stuff in the background about the site before he'd approached me. He said, “Would you like to lead the social team and take control of the Twitter and Spaces and the podcast?”
Well, I think at this point, we didn't have the podcast. We didn't have the podcast. We just had Spaces. It quickly became, I was like, “Can we do a podcast?” He was like, “Yeah.” Because it worked better for me for Spaces, as well as – I think, they've got more longevity. We can really delve into things. I think as well, just having – Spaces has to be kept at the same time, so it was harder to just keep every slot off as an artist, or a creative, or in anyone's life, it's hard to just keep a certain slot open every week.
I mean, for me, it's worked perfectly. I mean, I get to speak to people like you. I get to learn, while hopefully, giving other people value and knowledge as well and we can really just keep this whole community and space going. Obviously, having the team around me as well that he's put together, that Matt's put together for this is invaluable. It means that we can each just get on and we're allowed to grow, and who knows? I mean, it seems to be making a bit of a difference already and we’re barely even half a year into it. Who knows what could happen in a few years’ time?
[1:05:06] TS: This is fantastic. Such a beautiful act of kindness and generosity, which is uplifting others and making it a much more fulfilling journey for you.
[1:05:17] JB: Yeah, totally. I mean, like I said, it was something – I've always been like that. I've never been driven by money, or these sort of things. I feel, if you can do something nice or add a real value and build a community, that's enough for me. I mean, I never expected photography to make me rich, but I wanted that quality of life and it's given me an amazing life and amazing journey and brought me to this point in my life and it just felt like, yeah, I'm in a position where I can give some of my time up for others.
A lot of people did the same for me, not necessarily in the same way I'm doing, but was a lot of people put their time helping me get work for National Geographic, helped me work on pitches, helped me hone my skill, taking me on assignment, taking time out of their day to teach me. If they hadn't done that, I couldn't afford to pay them. I think, pay it forward, I guess. That's a long story short.
[1:06:05] TS: That's fantastic to hear. Thank you so much for having me on.
[1:06:08] JB: One last thing, you got any shoutouts? Anyone you want to shout out, or helped you, or you just think deserves a bit of air time?
[1:06:15] TS: I've made a few shout outs throughout this episode.
[1:06:17] JB: Yeah, yeah. You have.
[1:06:17] TS: There are so many folks who have supported me throughout this year. So many friends that I’ve made and they know who they are.
[1:06:24] JB: Good. Good. That's the perfect – very diplomatic of you. Well, yeah. Tim, thank you so, so much for coming to join us. It's been an absolute pleasure. Yeah, hopefully we can do it again someday and work together again, or collaborate on something, or who knows? We look forward to seeing more of your weekly photography feeds.
[1:06:39] TS: Thank you, Jordan.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
[1:06:42] JB: Thanks for tuning in. A massive thanks to my guest today, Tim Salikhov, for joining us to share his thoughts and ideas on community, art, and technology within the space. Me Llamo Art is a Web3 non-profit supporting creatives. To find out more, or listen to future podcasts, please visit us at mellamoart.com, or you can follow us on all the usual social channels @mellamoart. Thanks again. Until next time, take care of yourselves.