Over the course of my adult life, I’ve come to realize that I really enjoy going on multi-year adventures where I dive in really deep into one topic and strive to become world-class at it.
I guess that in a way it’s similar to those journalists who decide to write a book about a specific niche or industry and spend months or even years getting to know the ins and outs of it, interviewing people etc. Authors like Michael Pollan come to mind as an example.
Through my exposure to NFTs, I slowly got really interested in art and art history. I’ve always been a very visual person, but discarded any interest in art early in my life as I felt that I couldn’t really draw, and art meant drawing in my head.
This interest in art is totally new to me, as I had previously always been more interested in technology, and later on in life in finance and investment.
In recent years I’ve taken an interest in world history, and art is really an integral part of that as well. I feel that the great art pieces that have survived offer us windows into historical daily life and important events, but without knowing how to look at art and appreciate what the artists are trying to say, much of that knowledge is inaccessible.
I’ve since discovered that the art world is so much broader than “drawing” or “painting” – there are many roles to play and art history is deeply fascinating in its own right. As I started to educate myself and dig into the history of art I learned that the art we create is a very sincere reflection of the collective thoughts, struggles and trends of each generation.
I became fully engrossed in learning as much as possible about the art world – the history and different art movements, famous artists, the financialization of art, art fairs etc.
I’ve also decided to teach myself how to draw, as I realized I had never given myself a real shot at it when I was young. Having a young son that is creating his first drawings provides me with the perfect opportunity to learn alongside him and spend quality time together.
Much of my studies so far focussed on the following:
- Art history
- The Art Market
- Creating my own art
The art forms that are most accessible to me as a creator are:
- Generative art (I can code and like to think I have good taste)
- Photography (was big into that when I was younger)
- Simple art with a philosophical message (line drawing and zentangle are of particular interest)
Generative art was how I got started really as it was the most accessible art form due to the NFT connection. I started out by collecting a few generative art pieces as part of my NFT journey, then eventually had the pleasure of meeting some top generative artists whom I found to be really deep humans and supremely interesting in their way of thinking. The fact that generative art is created by code makes it much more accessible to me. In a nutshell, it’s something that I can see myself being able to create, since I’ve studied computer science and spent several years developing software products.
I do know that I am a very creative person, but so far my only real avenue of expression has been writing, and that has its limitations. An image can evoke an instant emotional impact and provide a visual sensorial pleasure that words cannot.
My plan for becoming immersed in this world is as follows:
- Learning the history of art
- Understanding the main art movements to date
- Appreciating the biggest artists and their works
- Cultivating relationships with generative artists
- Experimenting with generative art
I’ve also started my own online community, and one of our subgroups is dedicated to art and NFT collecting, where I’ve gathered a nice group of collectors and artists. If you’re an artist or art collector and want to connect, I’d love to do so, just contact me.
What I’ve done so far
I’ve gone all in on art and am trying to learn as much as possible to get myself to a level of decent understanding. I had zero knowledge of art so far in my life, and I’m working hard to change that. That means reading books, attending conferences and fairs, speaking to artists and collectors, watching documentaries, and doing my own art experimentations.
Keep in mind that, as I mentioned, NFTs were what got me into art, so a lot of what I’ll be doing will probably be skewed toward this space and digital art.
NFTs solve many of the big problems present in the traditional art market. Authenticity, opaque pricing, difficulty in logistically acquiring art, and storing art problems are vastly improved with NFTs. While other NFT use cases are still experimental, the art use-case is the strongest, in my view.
In 2022 I attended some big NFT events, the chief of which was NFT NYC, which was an amazing week. But one of my best highlights was a little-known conference taking place that week, Token Art, where I got to mingle with the exact crowd I was craving: generative artists and early collectors.
I’ll continue to post any highlights of my journey here for accountability and tracking my progress, and also for the benefit of anyone looking to do the same thing.
- Attended conferences:
- Token Art (NYC)
- NFT Show Europe (Valencia)
I’ve also been going through the following channels on YouTube:
- Antonio García Villarán – commentary on artists and styles (in Spanish)
- Art History School – commentary on artists and styles (in English)
- Perspective – broad analysis of art
- The Conspiracy of Art – explanation of misunderstood things in the art world
- The Coding Train – best free p5js tutorials
Here are some books about art that I really enjoyed:
- The $12 million stuffed shark
- The Art of the Deal
- Boom: Mad Money, Mega Dealers, and the Rise of Contemporary Art
- 7 days in the art world
Being an Artist
Art and Mathematics
- Mathematics & Art: A Cultural History
- Math Art: Truth, Beauty, and Equations
- The Golden Ratio: The Divine Beauty of Mathematics
There are a ton of websites you can learn from, and Instagram is always a great source of inspiration. Cravepainting has a great post on how to learn drawing where you can find more tips on getting started.
Visiting museums is one of the best ways to learn about art, since they offer you an amazing way to experience art up close and personal, along with snippets about each artwork. Start out by visiting your local art museum, and then aim to visit the leading art museums in the world.
I found it really interesting as a beginner to read about each era of art and the motivations behind the artists who pursued these styles. I think it gives a great grounding in art history to know these more or less by heart, and makes visiting museums a more pleasurable experience:
- Medieval art
- Renaissance 1300–1600
- Baroque 1600–1730
- Rococo 1720–1780
- Neoclassicism 1750–1830
- Romanticism 1780–1880
- Impressionism 1860–1890
- Post-impressionism 1886–1905
- Expressionism 1905–1930
- Cubism 1907–1914
- Futurism 1910–1930
- Art Deco 1909–1939
- Abstract Expressionism 1940s
- Contemporary Art 1946 — present
I’ve been to the following major art museums:
- London art museums:
- New York art museums:
- Berlin art and photography Museums:
- Alte Nationalgalerie
- Neues Museum
- Bode Museum
- Hamburger Bahnhof (Under renovation – terrible in current state)
- Museum für Fotografie
I’ll continue to populate this post throughout my art journey, and in the meantime, please do let me know of any resources you recommend.
I was initially going to focus mostly on generative art and drawing on my iPad, but I really fell in love with using physical materials to produce art. The problem I then faced was how to photography that art in order to upload it in digital form to the web.
Luckily, I have the latest iPhone as well as a DSLR with a macro lens, both of which do a great job at this task. The trick was stands and lighting. Again, I used what I had handy, two tripods from Manfrotto and Joby, and 2 Aputure MC lights. Here’s a video showing a setup using these lights.
- 8 simple Tricks to take great Photos of your Artwork
- 4 Steps to Photographing Your Art Like a Professional
- 4 Tips To Taking Great Photos Of Your Artwork
I’m looking forward to being able to focus more and more on art as I re-align my life around this new aim. This is an exercise that is never easy, and there is typically a big trough of self-doubt when the initial excitement wears off. Time will tell how far I can take this, but for now, I’m enjoying the ride.
Jake Hyunseong Yang says
Hi, Jean Galea. I’m jake yang from South Korea. I really enjoyed your article about generative arts and some confereneces with reference youtube channels. I have recently been interested in generative arts, as I started some NFT releases with my own python code generative arts as a beginner. I have a question that if you are holding any art collection exhibition or something or have any plans for it! I also enjoy your articles anyway. Thank you!