Now Reading
Sinziana Velicescu, Vellum LA: “Physical NFT galleries are integral to building a community around digital art” 
Dark Light

Sinziana Velicescu, Vellum LA: “Physical NFT galleries are integral to building a community around digital art” 

While online platforms and social media have provided digital artists with vast exposure and accessibility, there is still a significant value in establishing a physical presence for digital art. Art galleries serve as communal spaces where people can gather, appreciate art, and engage in meaningful conversations.

Here, Sinziana Velicescu, creative director of the physical NFT gallery Vellum LA, shares her experiences and tips on displaying, curating and collecting digital art.

As a curator and director of one of the few physical NFT galleries, what unique challenges and opportunities do you encounter?

Sinziana Velicescu, Vellum LA: As we continue to evolve our exhibitions, the biggest challenge has been adapting the traditional gallery model to fit the structure of NFT auctions on online marketplaces. Where the conventional gallery model relies on sales generated from the physical exhibition itself and operates much slower, NFT artworks benefit from building hype around a drop whose sale typically spans a day or a week before moving on to the next show. Since we’ve opened the gallery, we’ve learned that slowing down is important for both our health and for allowing a wider audience to spend more time with the artwork, but this is often at odds with how the space operates.

The incorporation of web3 in the art industry is revolutionizing how art is bought, sold, created, and distributed. Where do you see the most critical roles for physical galleries in the Web 3 era in the future? 

Sinziana Velicescu, Vellum LA: Physical gallery spaces are integral to building a community around digital art outside the Twitter ecosystem. By hosting receptions and artist talks around exhibitions, we have become a creative hub for anyone interested in learning about digital art and NFTs in Los Angeles. In having a physical space, we strive to inspire a new generation of collectors who may not spend most of their time online.

NFT art gallery Vellum LA

“At Vellum LA we strive to inspire a new generation of collectors”

NFT art gallery Vellum LA

How could physical NFT galleries potentially change the public perception of digital artworks? 

Sinziana Velicescu, Vellum LA: Physical galleries that focus on thoughtfully exhibiting works can show the greater public the value of digital art. Our technology partners have developed canvases that feel less like screens and more like windows into the work itself, allowing visitors to feel more fully immersed in the work. We’ve had institutions, such as LACMA, visit our gallery and go on to acquire works by artists we’ve exhibited. It’s only a matter of time before we will see more digital and new media art generated in the last few years grace the walls of museums worldwide.

What were the three greatest learnings during your engagement as a curator in the digital art space? 

Sinziana Velicescu, Vellum LA: There is a significant learning curve around NFTs, even for those who consider themselves tech-savvy. The more advancements being made to streamline and simplify the ideas around blockchain technology for a wider audience, the more NFTs could become a valuable tool for more than just tokenizing art.

There are exciting artworks out there that can only exist with the help of blockchain technology, providing a compelling use case for tokenizing digital art. Digital art can exist in many forms, and artists translate it across mediums to display the works in many unique ways. Though we are a gallery that displays works on LED canvases, there are some really interesting ways of experiencing digital art. I believe this will continue to evolve with new emerging technologies.

Sinziana Velicescu at Vellum LA

“I ask myself: Is the artwork something I have not seen before? Is it providing discourse around a topic relevant to our world, our relationship with technology, or our ideas about the future?” 

Exhibition at physical NFT gallery Vellum LA

What are some important guiding principles in your curation process and why? 

Sinziana Velicescu, Vellum LA: I ask myself: Is the artwork something I have not seen before? Is it providing discourse around a topic relevant to our world, our relationship with technology, or ideas about the future? Is there a unique aesthetic quality to the work? Underrepresented groups are curated into our shows because we tend to surround ourselves with artists from diverse backgrounds, so in a way, it comes naturally to us. We are a women-owned and operated gallery, and from the beginning, we’ve always striven to curate work outside the boundaries of the top ten (predominately white male) highest-selling NFT artists.

What advice would you give collectors trying to navigate the current digital art space and what should they consider when it comes to archiving NFTs? 

Sinziana Velicescu, Vellum LA: I recommend to invest in emerging artists and have an open mind to artwork that does not necessarily align with your own life perspective. You might learn something about yourself in the process.

An important consideration for collectors and artists is file formats, compatibility across displays, and ensuring that high-resolution files are provided alongside the artwork supported on the marketplace. We typically recommend that artists pin the high-resolution works to IPFS and give this as an option for collectors. NFT. Storage is a great free resource for this. Beyond this, security is another crucial aspect to consider, and we’ve seen some of the biggest collectors in the space get scammed just by clicking the wrong links. Learning how to keep your NFTs secure is a big part of ensuring longevity and success in safekeeping the work. Club NFT just came out with an interesting security plan we have yet to try but came highly recommended by experts in the space.

“File size limitations on NFT marketplaces often dictate the types of works artists will create, making high-resolution narrative long-form works harder to sell.”

Where are the most significant limitations and chances within the current NFT marketplaces?

Sinziana Velicescu, Vellum LA: File size limitations on NFT marketplaces often dictate the types of works artists will create, making high-resolution narrative long-form works harder to sell. The UX of most marketplaces also makes it challenging for collectors to dive deeper into the work, resulting in a window shopping experience based on aesthetics that doesn’t allow for more conceptual artworks to shine.

What are some new technologies you are excited about experimenting with at Vellum LA to blend the physical and digital art worlds? 

Sinziana Velicescu, Vellum LA: We’re interested in how to translate virtual reality into the physical space and create more immersive pop-up exhibitions in the future. We hope to have more resources to experiment with emerging technologies, but it is incredible that many artists we exhibit and work with are already incorporating new technologies into their practice. We tend to learn by watching how artists harness these tools to evolve the medium of digital art.

Interview: Eva Bolhoefer

© 2023 THE OVERVIEW. All Rights Reserved.

Scroll To Top