February 8, 2023 - Christine talks with us bout her experience as both a traditional and digital art curator and collector.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your journey of collecting and creating art?
My path as an artist began in early childhood, when painting became a means for me to express myself and find myself in my development. A hobby eventually became a vocation that I pursued through self-taught learning and dedication. From small corporate exhibitions and initial sales to gallery shows and successful gallery representation, the journey of my artistic career has been an experience of self-development. The success was not only quantitative, but also qualitative. Experiencing the first major exhibition in New York was overwhelming. I have never experienced such a strong attention and such a creative energy in any exhibition in Europe so far. This international launch was a complete success. I must mention at this point that I was not able to sell a single painting at my first exhibition in New York! Nevertheless, it was a success. Because many doors were open to me afterwards. The sale comes quite automatically and often not at the same time. This experience was so great that during this time I also bought my first artwork by a New York street artist. It reminds me of a turning point in my life. That experience changed me and led me to collect both NFTs and physical art today. It's a matter of space and opportunity as to what kind of art one collects. But whatever the choice, it ultimately serves as a reflection of the inner self and a spiritual journey.
What was the most important lesson learned from these experiences?
Never measure success by direct sales. You have to look at the big picture. Being an artist is not a one-time experience. It's a choice for life.
I think a very big mistake that many artists make is to measure the success of an exhibition by the immediate sales. Many art collectors discover an artist at an exhibition and watch him. Sometimes from a distance. The artist himself often doesn't even notice. Only when one really sees the further development, the great passion and the will to establish oneself as an artist, do these collectors buy. Of course, there are always spontaneous purchases. But from a certain price range, research is undertaken for the first time and observed.
Was there a particular experience that inspired you to support artists?
A few years ago I had an important experience that opened my eyes. It kept me busy and inspired me for a long time. I was invited to an art exhibition by artist friends. At this exhibition I discovered a very talented artist, more precisely a sculptor. I must mention, I love good sculptures. The works were very fascinating and I stood in front of them for a long time. Since I wanted to know the artist's involvement with his work, I sought out the conversation. However, this artist was not open enough to talk to me about his work. He saw that I was an artist myself and was friends with many gallery owners and exhibitors. So I was not a potential buyer for him. He quickly turned away from me, looking for the classic art collector. For me today, there is no such thing as a classic art collector. Of course, I know that artists are sometimes under enormous pressure to stay afloat financially. I know so many people who you wouldn't expect to collect art at first glance. This experience inspired me to sharpen my focus on what support artists need. Sometimes it just takes more than just creating opportunity for visibility.
You work with several galleries around the world, can you tell us how that all started?
As I mentioned earlier, the presence in New York was an important milestone for me. After that, I kept getting requests for cooperation from other galleries. In 2012, the art expert and art advisor Reinhard Fuchs approached me and included me in the Women in Art project, as one of the most important artists of contemporary art. He became my mentor and provided me with many contacts. But there were also other art historians with whom I was in close contact and who supported me. You have to look at the whole picture to understand the individual points.
One thing after another followed - until Covid came along... after that, the world was different for the first time.
I have to admit that from the beginning I was fascinated by the possibilities of presenting art digitally and that's why I started looking into NFTs. When you look at the advantages of exhibiting art digitally in galleries, without the high obstacles with transportation. It's great and lets artists work much more freely. I used to invest a lot of time and money in customs, transportation, shipping of art. Always with the risk of having to get some art back if it didn't sell right away.
Presenting art digitally has advantages. However, in my opinion, you should choose a mix of both types of exhibitions. Today I have different partners with whom I work to present art digitally on displays in international galleries and also in physical form. I think the combination is important between presence for marketing reasons and explicit sales exhibitions. One should always be aware of the goal of an exhibition.
What sparked your interest in digital art and NFTs?
I didn't get into the NFT space until 2021. It was the legendary sale of the artist Beeple - also known as Mike Winkelmann via the auction house Christie's that caught my attention. For more than 13 years, the digital artist worked on a digital collage until it was auctioned off as NFT at a record price for the scene. A few years earlier, the topic of cryptocurrencies had already come to me, but after Beeple, it was suddenly clear to me what the potential for the art world was.
First, however, I wanted to understand, learn and observe. The potential therein was overwhelming for me. Still, it was clear, once on the blockchain always on the blockchain. And I really wanted to understand who is the target audience, who are the NFT buyers, the collectors, the artists. What are the rules. What are the success criteria for NFT artists, etc. So I became active mainly as a collector.
Can you tell us about your experience in the traditional art world and how it differs from digital art?
In traditional art, personal contact is of great importance. The experience at an opening or a visit to the studio. Here it is often about profound themes, deep discussions, or simply the fun of life. We usually experience traditional art in a different form than digital. However, the worlds are increasingly combining and merging into a single entity. I find that particularly exciting. For me, both the traditional art market and the digital realm have advantages and disadvantages. With traditional works, you need a lot of space for producing and storing artworks alone. Likewise, the effort to bring works to exhibitions is often more extensive. In the digital realm, it's all much easier and you can work much more freely and quickly and develop creatively. We clearly have two different buyers and art collectors in the fields. In the traditional art market, a lot of the selling is done through personal networking. Art collectors mostly trust the opinion of their chosen art experts. In the digital market, artists and art collectors move much more freely, take much more risks, and are more willing to experiment. On the other hand, in my opinion, it is not always so easy for digital artists to sell artworks in the high-priced format at the moment. In my opinion, digital art needs innovative and very clever marketing and PR, traditional art more classical PR & galleries, curators and art experts.
Many people describe the haptic feeling as very important. This target group will continue to prefer traditional art. But another very important buyer group for artists is just emerging.
What challenges do you anticipate in the transition to the digital art market?
In my opinion, the right positioning is the most important thing. Art is the artist. So for me, the personality of the artist has to flow into communication more than ever. Almost no one wants to buy art just for the art. Buyers want to have a story. They don't need to know the whole life story of the artist. But an important story that collectors and artists connect with. I think the biggest challenge for artists is to remain artists, to remain creative, but to find themselves in this new form of positioning. To remain authentic, but also to understand how to make the target audience curious and loyal. The worst thing artists can do is just photograph any paintings, put them on the blockchain and wait. The likelihood of good artists just going down with that and maybe even damaging their already built reputation is very high, in my opinion. That's why I think it's important to be strategic and always aware of the possibilities and risks.
How do you think the role of NFTs will change the art world?
I think NFTs will change the art world in several ways. First, they will allow artists to sell and own their work digitally, which will increase distribution and access to art. Second, NFTs will also ensure the authenticity and value of artworks by creating an immutable record of a work's ownership and history. From my perspective as a gallery owner, NFTs will also open up new business opportunities by creating a new market for digital art and, in some cases, increasing the liquidity of artworks as well.
What do you think about the current state and future of the NFT market?
The NFT market is very exciting and full of possibilities. My focus is primarily on the NFT art market and less on the once hyped NFT projects - which are, however, a big part of the adaptation. Despite a bear market, we are seeing a huge increase in interest and activity in the NFT art market. This shows that there is a growing demand for digital artwork and NFTs.
I am optimistic about the future of the NFT market. It is important that the NFT market builds a solid infrastructure to exploit future growth potential while overcoming challenges. We are still at the beginning. Those who already address the issues and position themselves now will have a decisive competitive advantage.
How do you approach the authentication and verification process of digital artworks?
Comprehensive research - and a good gut feeling ☺
What steps are you taking to educate yourself and your customers about the pros and cons of NFTs?
I am a member of some large NFT communities and am in close exchange with NFT experts. Of course, I regularly follow the changes in Space and I am also in exchange with some big NFT art collectors. I regularly keep up with the latest developments and trends in the NFT market, analyze strategies for success, and observe the development of many NFT artists in order to develop a deep understanding of Space, the technology, and its applications in the art world. I communicate openly and am in close exchange with NFT marketing experts to also get a broad view on the development of the NFT Space. Currently, I am working with my team on an education program, a comprehensive educational offering for artists and creatives who want to establish themselves in the digital art market. It will offer online training and consultations focused on topics such as getting started in the Metaverse, NFTs for artists, and important information and tips from experts.
How do you see the coexistence of the traditional art market and the digital art market in the future?
The traditional art market and the digital art market will coexist in the future, as each offers its own advantages. The traditional art market offers a physical presence and a tactile experience for collectors and buyers, while the digital art market offers more accessibility and flexibility, especially through the use of technology and the ability to sell and collect artworks digitally. However, it will be exciting to see how these two markets will evolve in relation to each other. But both worlds will benefit from each other and there will be more and more synergies.
Can you tell us about any upcoming projects or exhibitions you have planned in the field of digital art?
Currently, I am in the process of preparing some projects with my business partners that are dedicated to connecting art and brands. By creating high quality partnerships that unite and create art and brands, we strive to bridge the gap between art and business. This vision is supported by our participation in major exhibitions and through our international partner galleries. In addition to the Education Program, we are trying innovative solutions and new concepts for supporting artists. We are currently entering into many new partnerships. For this we are in the committee of some major exhibitions in Germany and of course with our international partner galleries. 2023 promises to be a journey full of challenges and opportunities for CREO Gallery, and we look forward to bringing these projects to fruition.
How do you see your role as a collector and gallery owner evolving in the digital art world?
My role as an art collector will be ongoing and will continue to grow. As a gallery owner, I see digitization as an opportunity to expand my role and reach a larger, international audience. By using digital technologies, I can present our artists and our collection well and facilitate access to art for a broader public. It also allows me to develop new formats for virtual exhibitions and sales events. I see myself in the role of continuously expanding my network and making it available to emerging artists. However, it is also important to maintain personal interaction and direct contact with collectors and art enthusiasts in order to preserve the integrity and value of art. Together with my team, we will try to create a bridge between the digital and analog worlds. My goal is to help artists realize their talents and visions and establish themselves in the art market. It takes passion to be an artist. I believe with that passion, any artist can make it to find their way in the art market. And CREO Gallery is happy to be a companion for all these artists.
Who is your favorite artist right now and is it traditional or digital?
There is not one or one favorite artist. There are many talented artists that I appreciate and admire. Honestly. I am fascinated anew every day. Over the years I have met so many great creative personalities. That's why it's a mix of the old world and the new. I also don't favor technology or media. For me, it's more important that the artwork has a strong statement and a distinctive vision, whether it's traditional or digital. For example, the last digtial Twin I bought was by Justin Aversano.