The Weekend Leader – Painful to see visual artists not getting royalties, says Rahul Chakraborty


Photo: IANS

Indian watercolorist Rahul Chakraborty says the art world is still struggling to survive the impact of lockdowns, travel bans and social distancing a year and a half after the lockdown began. Add to that the lack of artist royalties, and the challenges increase even more for the community in India.

“This results in such a scenario that there are no more physical exhibits, no more physical workshops / classes, and artists have to keep earning enough to live. It is painful to see that the creator does not receive no royalties for his art pieces, as buyers and sellers earn exponential amounts in terms of art and money, ”Chakraborty told IANSlife.

Chakraborty, who now works as COO of the art-tech organization Jumbish, quit his financially stable nine-to-five job to become a full-time artist, despite the financial uncertainties of an artist’s life. He also created his own art school called RahulOnkon. He says his artistic features were greatly influenced by Fabriano InAcquarello and became the Asia continental administrator of the platform of the International Watercolor Museum.

“For the art field, foreclosure presents an unprecedented challenge, but it has also brought a huge opportunity for growth as new ways of reaching audiences via online can be realized by the artist himself. Over the past couple of years, a multitude of online galleries, platforms, marketplaces and even social media stores have started distributing and selling works of art on the Internet. A great opportunity for artists all over the world to share their art and expand their audience. But the competition is tough and it’s not always easy to figure out how to make your art visible. ”

“Upcoming artists need to educate and hone in on the technology and its implications. They need to open up their prospects for the NFT platform. In the coming days, NFT will be a game changer. Early adopters may have an added advantage around this time. I think the likely art buyers would be millennials, who are now in their twenties. We need to make our art visible on the platforms / media where our potential buyers are, ”says the artist.

Speaking of the concept of copyright, he explains: “The artist’s resale right or Droit De Suite, as it is called in French terminology, is both an example of economic law as well as an extension of The copyright theory of the person, which emphasizes a work representing the character and personality of the artist / author. It becomes an essential element of moral rights, in particular for visual artists.

“This allows authors of artistic works to benefit from the increasing value of the work, due to the nature of a work of art, in which the value appreciates over time, popularity and its varied interpretation. The art market has been viewed as too volatile to predict when or how much a work of art may increase in value, if at all, and it needs multiple exposure and sales to achieve a such point. Artists may initially sell their unique work of art for a lower cost, but the value may appreciate as popularity increases, and it is imperative not to compromise their interest in the same. ”

According to Sonam Chandwani of KS Legal and Associates, copyright and royalty information is not a widely debated topic in the creative world, especially in the art market. The lawyer claims that artists are entitled to royalties on the resale of their works.

“The issue of the royalty for visual artists has been long overdue. Like musicians and writers, visual artists deserve to be paid for their intellectual property and today with blockchain technology it seems very possible. This will undoubtedly be a positive gesture for the well-being of the artist community and is a necessary disruption that must occur to bring more parity for the artist in the secondary art market. ”

“In my opinion, this is inevitable – if not in the immediate but certainly in the distant future. The bigger question is how this will shape the market. The general perception is that the blockchain-enabled royalty system will develop. challenges intermediaries, such as galleries, curators and dealers, as this will force transparency in an industry where a large part of the market thrives on information asymmetry. This may not necessarily be the case . Greater transparency generated by the system will bring more professionalism to all actors in the ecosystem, ”Lubna Sen, art curator and founder – The Art Route, told IANSlife.

How does Jumbish tackle the problem?

“Piracy, lack of royalty, and a long gestation period are very common challenges an artist faces. We are addressing these issues through our flagship project – JDAT. This provides a better, paperless provenance for our art collectors. Remember that royalty and provenance are intertwined. Provenance is a record of ownership of that work of art, which includes the history of the owner and details of the painting. ”

“To keep track of this, Jumbish brought a microchip called the Jumbish Digital Authentication Tag (JDAT) which is a highly secure chip and it can be read by any NFC reader. JDAT apparently looks like thin paper when stuck on. on the back of the board, the board itself becomes an authentication certificate. ”

With pioneering technology like JDAT, the artist can expect to be paid a predetermined percentage of the resale amount, as soon as the sale is sealed.-IANS

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