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Inspiring Conversations with Sam Miller of The Fine Art Ledger

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sam Miller.

Hi Sam, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
My grandfather was an art collector and he bought works which made their way into my home when I was growing up in South Africa. The artwork seemed to have personalities of their own. As a kid, I became fascinated with the subjects of the artwork: a ship in a storm, a forest clearing or a fat man walking down a path in a rural setting. I always wanted to know the story behind the art and as kids, we gave names to the works that kept watch over us while we ate dinner or sat in the living room.

However, it was only years later when I was working in London as a lawyer and doing hedge fund work that the concept of collecting art started to take hold. I thought that if we were so invested in stocks and bonds, then why not art, and an art investment fund? I took the question up with a relative in the art publishing business and he suggested that I start collecting. Armed with a few of his suggestions, I bought my first work; one of photographer Pieter Hugo’s iconic ‘Hyena Men of Nigeria’ editions and I soon became hooked and have been collecting ever since.

My collection is mainly contemporary photography, but I have bought a number of other works through the years.

While the art investment fund didn’t materialize, I got further involved in collecting and brought fine art advice into my practice as a corporate transactional attorney, now living in Los Angeles. I also, from a professional advisory point of view, got involved in Blockchain and it was immediately apparent how Blockchain could revolutionize art. Not only art collecting, but art Blockchain could have immense benefit for artists, galleries, art fairs, museums, auction houses and the like. Primarily for me at that time, it was Blockchain’s promise for art authentication and ownership that caught my attention. No longer would you need a fund structure to invest with others in art and now there could be value in digital images without having to print or otherwise physically reproduce the work. I realized that Blockchain offered a number of solutions for all art market participants and that it was only a matter of time until this technology would mature for the art world.

So I set out to create an art title register that focusses on connecting physical and digital works to the Blockchain, and which provides the tools not only for artists, collectors, galleries, museums, auction houses and other art market participants to own, authenticate, manage and promote fine art, but also to provide better access for all of us to learn about, and appreciate art.

This became The Fine Art Ledger.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It certainly hasn’t been a smooth road and there have been a number of challenges along the way, chief of which is introducing new technology to a traditionally, new-method conservative industry.

Blockchain, for one, outside of the hype around Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and now Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT’s), is not very well understood, and there have been a few traditional art industry protagonists who simply choose not to see the benefits that it can bring.

Another example of this is image recognition. The Fine Art Ledger (FAL) lets you use your mobile phone camera to recognize works that have been registered on FAL and then tells you the story of the art and the artist directly on your mobile phone. We call these interactions with the art Mobile Fine Art Experiences, and our mission is to make the story of the artwork accessible to everyone on the devices we use the most: our mobile phones. However, some galleries are resistant to having their works photographed, even though we have designed FAL so that the image isn’t retained on the taker’s mobile phone.

Building a technology-rich application that essentially is providing the market with a new product is daunting, particularly when you are doing this as a start-up. We are in Beta at the moment, and in order to ensure that we can properly synthesize our technology and establish a workable and reliable art asset and title register, we are currently operating in a test environment on the interfaced public blockchain. We are super excited by the reception that our platform has received, and particularly that the product-market fit is now firmly established.

These challenges have been met by our very agile development and digital marketing teams and we are really grateful to have a quality team on board. Challenges, whether technological, relating to getting seen and heard or to simple inertia in the market are daunting, but having a great team has really made solutions possible and allowed us to deliver quality products.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about The Fine Art Ledger?
The Fine Art Ledger (FAL) is a digital title register for fine art based in Venice, California.

It uses technology to make fine art and fine art information more accessible and to provide the tools to better authenticate, promote, own and manage fine art and fine art information.

While there is currently huge interest in digital art Blockchain tokens, also called ‘NFT’s’, or more colloquially, ‘Nifty’s’, we believe that Blockchain, working together with other developing technologies like artificial intelligence, image recognition and Near Field Communication (NFC), can do so much more, not only for fine art but other physical and digital assets.

This is what sets us apart.

We are looking beyond digital art to physical art too, and ways in which we can connect physical artworks to the Blockchain and make digital ownership and the buying and selling of physical works through NFT’s viable, consistent and reliable.

But we go further and believe that the benefit these technologies have for art is more than just about tokenizing art so that it can be owned, or bought or sold as assets held digitally, but provide solutions, which have not been available previously, for artists, collectors, galleries and other art market protagonists in their management, authentication and promotion of art and, most importantly, for educating people about art and bringing art enjoyment to more people.

This includes using the connection FAL establishes between the Blockchain and physical art to let people recognize art and learn the story behind the art and the artist simply by taking a picture with their mobile phones.

Or letting art collectors, galleries and artists digitally organize and manage their collections and art information, neatly cataloged on FAL’s title register, with certificates of authenticity, invoices, insurance and other needed documents just a mobile phone picture or tap away.

Or tracking art title and provenance when the artworks change hands, all in real-time, digitally authenticated certificates of authenticity pushed directly to your mobile phone.

Or allowing art galleries, art fairs; even hotels or restaurants to become interactive exhibitions for patrons, guests and visitors who, using FAL’s connection between the digital information and the artwork (which we call Mobile Fine Art Experiences), can get the content-rich story about the art, delivered directly to their mobile phones, including videos, images, links, Instagram posts, and the like, helping artists and galleries promote their works.

Connecting art to the Blockchain and people to art is what we are about.

Can you talk to us a bit about happiness and what makes you happy?
Creativity and bringing ideas and innovation to life. I have always been a big believer in the creative process and feel that that is a reason why we are on this planet. That’s probably one of the reasons why art is appealing. It is that fragment of the creator’s imagination, her perspective plucked from the ether, frozen in time, and made real, tangible for all to see, enjoy and experience.

Pricing:

  • Silver Plan Mobile Fine Art Experiences : $24.99
  • Gold Plan Mobile Fine Art Experiences: $69.99
  • Platinum Plan Mobile Fine Art Experiences: $ 124.99

Contact Info:


Image Credits:

The Fine Art Ledger, LLC

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