Episode Interview with Kenny Schachter, find his twitter @kennyschac, his website
[0:58 – 3:31] Kenny was introduced to NFTs in September 2020. Made art prior to NFTs but never felt comfortable calling himself an artist. After learning about NFTs, he made some NFTs and realized how revolutionary NFTs would be to the art world. Wrote about NFTs in the journal, The Art Newspaper. He was introduced to Nifty Gateway by Tommy Kimmelman and in December 2020 sold several NFTs on the platform. Has pursued NFTs since then.
[3:47 – 7:46] Kenny explains that art is about communication. NFTs are being communicated in different ways. The CryptoPunks set a precedent and people are poking fun at themselves. Kenny created PFPs called the CryptoMutts as satire. Kennys says right now you can also buy a masterpiece NFT, but people are more focused on using PFPs as a substitute for digital currency (which he says is a no-no). Kenny says art is a slow burning process. The NFT community is full of all different people making relevant and meaningful art.
Sabretooth mentions tension between artists and feelings toward PFP collectibles. He references the value of Crypto Punks for being OG art of NFTs, and compares it to Bitcoin being the oldest crypto. He asks Kenny’s thoughts on the thesis that PFPs won’t hold in that high value as more traditional art people come into NFTs.
[9:26 – 13:55] Kenny thinks there are pockets of overvaluation. His own CryptoMutt collection was to create a community and also gave a reduction to an ArtNet subscription. He didn’t like Crypto Punks at first but has grown to appreciate what they signify. He thinks eventually PFPs will go away because they are now just copying what has been successful and don’t have any meaning. He says the market changes swiftly and references art blocks, and generative NFTs from generative photography and computer art in the 60s and 70s.
Kizo mentions that people in the crypto world might not have art history knowledge, and people in the traditional art world may not be interested in how discord works.
[15:25 – 22:24] Kenny references Beeple who has a sculpture at Christie’s with an NFT element (the piece is Human One) in the language of “boomer art” like Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons. When someone commented on a resemblance to Alberto Giacometti’s walking man sculpture, Beeple was uninterested, and said art history is stupid. Kenny uses this to emphasize there are people on both sides (crypto world and traditional world) that aren’t interested in the other. Many in the crypto world who don’t care to learn about art history or have interest in power brokers in the art world such as Larry Gagosian, Hauser & Wirth, Barbara Gladstone, Acquavella, or Pace. Many people in the traditional art world don’t care to learn about NFTs. Kenny talks about contemporary artists who’ve transitioned to NFTs, Tom Sachs who created Rocket Factory and Urs Fischer whose project is Chaos. Kenny talks about the difference in their approaches to the transition.
He says people are scared of change and this is on both sides. Kenny says money will drive change and he predicts all major art galleries will have their own NFT platforms in the next two years.
[22:56 – 28:51] Kenny says the NFT market will eclipse the fine art market in the next two years. For all the NFT artists selling high priced pieces, there are 20 million NFT artists floundering. Just because an artist is selling in the millions now, doesn’t mean they will sustain.
Art galleries have a history of not wanting to give away power to the artists. The fine art world is scared of losing money. Auction houses have been open to NFTs because auction houses exist to make money.
Kizu asks Kenny about the balance of art platforms going forward and if both can coexist.
[31:11 – 36:09] Kenny references the large number of art galleries in the New York area alone. The traditional art world has grown more in the last 25 years than the previous 250 years with a large credit given to social media. He said crypto is now contributing to growth. The best thing about NFTs is the melting away of hierarchy and barrier to entry that exists in the traditional art world. Kenny gets as much satisfaction from his own art as he does helping teach others, encouraging people to contact him with questions on social media. Kenny references artists that are creating crypto art such as Sarah Friend, Rhea Myers, Kevin Abosch, Osinachi. Kenny says nothing will ever replace hustle needed to succeed, but NFT platforms where people can mint their own work is giving more access and opportunity.
[36:15 – 40:30] Kenny talks about one of his favorite artists, Paul Thek and discusses his work, Technological Reliquaries,. He isn’t a fan of Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst saying they just make bubbles for rich people. He says artists like Paul Thek and the late Vito Acconci never settled. Favorite crypto artists include Rhea Myers, Sarah Friend, Kevin Abosch, Osinachi.