May 18, 2024
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Artist and Investor Join Together in NFT Art Project

Shaul Hen, of Fleetwood, owner of a digital marketing agency specializing in the Jewish world and co-founder/chief technology officer of Daily Giving, is partnering with artist Marlene Burns of Arizona on a new NFT project.

NFTS (non-fungible tokens) are electronic identifiers confirming a digital collectible is real by recording the details on a database known as a blockchain.

Hen describes Burns as an artist who has spent over five decades perfecting her unique brand of abstract expressionism, “a style that incorporates both her spirituality and steadfast devotion to creating honest portrayals of the modern world. By entering the NFT space, she is keeping time-honored traditions alive in the digital era.”

Hen added: “Her NFT collections include abstract images inspired by her Judaic heritage. Devoted to her art, she is poised to be a fixture in the NFT space for years to come.”

Burns explained that abstract impressionism is “like spilling my guts on a canvas. I look at the canvas. Whatever inspires me in the morning, that’s what comes out. For me, it’s all about the process of painting.”

After receiving her art degree, Burns was hired to paint religious imagery on stained glass church windows. “The studio owner understood that religious art in a sanctuary has to be more than just pretty; It has to hold people.”

Burns believes “the majority of people don’t like abstract art because they can’t make sense of it. For those who do, they have something that holds them; [the artist] has to communicate something.”

Twelve years ago, Burns confronted a rabbi who didn’t understand the “big deal” about Shema. She went home, but couldn’t sleep. In the morning, she looked up at the sky and said, “Just give me a sign.” Burns squirted a big arc on canvas. She recalled a Midrash of Yaakov on his deathbed, with his 12 sons saying Shema in unison. “I tilted the canvas and 12 drips came down from that arc.”

Burns continued: “As it happens with a series, I never know if it’s going to be a series. I just paint a painting. If I stay on that path, it becomes a series. I am about Jewish education and painting. That’s how the sacred intention series came to be.”

“Avinu Malkeinu” is her favorite of this series. She had read the history of this prayer, written during a drought. “I decided to start with a wet canvas, not only for the rain that ultimately came, but also the tears. Rabbi Akiva, author of ‘Avinu Malkeinu,’ said rather than begging for rain, do with us what you will; that is the trust we have in you. When I started to paint this piece, I used a spray bottle while listening to Barbra Streisand’s rendition of ‘Avinu Malkeinu.’

“Everything about that painting, from start to finish, the process, the whole experience for me, listening to a voice singing it, crying the words, the history of the story, everything about it fit perfectly.” It was purchased by a San Diego congregation to honor their rabbi who had fallen ill.

Burns’ second series are Hebrew words. Both series are now digital. “Each painting has a text,” she said, “explaining where I’m coming from as an artist and educator, the use of certain colors and translations of prayers. They became important adjuncts to the paintings, which were really nothing without the explanation; just pretty abstracts.

“I toggle back and forth between these two series,” Burns reflected. “I don’t see leaving the Judaic world. I have enough material to keep going until I can’t paint any longer.”

Burns and Hen connected on LinkedIn five years ago. “He said he loved my work. He was building websites and was connected with Jewish organizations.” Hen asked to use her pictures to complement his work.

Looking at NFT platforms, Burns said: “My son’s been pushing me for years to check this new digital world; 30 years ago, investors in art would buy a piece either by somebody moderately well-known or not well-known hoping to be discovered, or from somebody well-known—and wait for them to die.

“We’ve been trained to want faster results,” Burns continued. “I have friends who invested in art, holding on to pieces for years, thinking ultimately, they’re going to be worth a fortune.” Burns described one friend doing just that. “I said, ‘You’ve waited 50 years; in the new digital world, people buy and sell hourly.”

Regarding his new collaboration, Burns said: “Hen approached me to partner together. I said, ‘I’ll take care of the business. You keep painting and provide me with images.

“I believe NFTs are the new way to invest in art,” Burns continued. “People will see financial results sooner. I’m excited about the NFTs we’re placing on different platforms all over the world. Just have fun and have as many people as possible to be able to share it.”

Visit the website for this project—https://nftmb.art/

By Judy Berger

 

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