Dana Powell Smith, aka 'Georgettes Granddaughter,' Is Using NFTs to Honor Her Harlem Renaissance Family Heritage
For many creators, beginning the foray into the world of NFTs is daunting. There’s the technology, which is new and complex, alongside the staggering pace of concepts. But for artists looking for innovative opportunities, it can be a great space to explore.
NFTs appeared on artist Dana Powell Smith’s radar around a year ago, when she heard the term on the Clubhouse app. “I thought this would be a great opportunity to continue my family’s art legacy through a new platform,” she says.
Smith goes by ‘Georgettes Granddaughter,’ an homage to her grandmother, Harlem Renaissance artist Georgette Seabrooke Powell. Pursuing an art practice is extremely important to Smith, as is honoring the challenges her grandmother experienced. To be able to share Georgette’s legacy, learning to navigate a new space is worth it.
“I thought about my grandmother and the struggle she faced after painting the Harlem Hospital Mural during the Harlem Renaissance,” Smith recalls. “When her mural was complete, they told her that it depicted too many Black people. She fought and fought to keep the mural as she painted it. It was restored in 2012 and now sits in the Harlem Hospital Lobby.”
Despite creating art since she was a young child, Smith only began painting publicly in 2020, after the killing of George Floyd. “I had to get all of my emotions out on canvas. It felt like a force inside of me. My art took off immediately.”
When first figuring out which NFT platform to use, Smith chose to mint her NFTs on Voice because of how easy it was to get started and understand, saying, “I have looked into many other platforms and was utterly confused.” Voice’s lack of a learning curve allowed her to hit the ground running, with sales on her NFTs beginning mere days after minting.
For fellow artists considering an entrance to the space, Smith points to the ability to reach a broader range of people and collectors. “I can show the art community in general that we don’t have to box ourselves in.”
What’s next in the continuation of Georgette’s legacy? An art scholarship fund, Smith hopes. As she pursues the technology of the future, she wants to invest in it, too, and pay a beautiful homage to the past.
Share this story
Whether it’s to advance your career or try something new, the Division of Continuing Education at the School of Visual Arts offers more than 230 courses to choose from. Visit sva.edu/ce to view free events and all online and on-campus offerings. Courses begin on January 24.
Online courses are available in:
- Art & Activism
- Fine Arts
- Global Arts
- Illustration and Cartooning
- Interior Design
- Photography and Video
- Professional Development
- Visual and Critical Studies
- Visible Futures Lab
- Visual Narrative
If you need advice or have questions please email [email protected] to connect with one of
our course advisors.
About the School of Visual Arts
School of Visual Arts has been a leader in the education of artists, designers, and
creative professionals for seven decades. With a faculty of distinguished working
professionals, a dynamic curriculum, and an emphasis on critical thinking, SVA is a
catalyst for innovation and social responsibility. Comprising 6,000 students at its
Manhattan campus and 35,000 alumni in 100 countries, SVA also represents one of the
most influential artistic communities in the world. For information about the College
please visit sva.edu.
Share this story
Estonian installation artist Katja Novitskova’s art career started with a collaboration—a curatorial project—so it’s fitting that she continues to excel in opportunities that involve working with other artists.
Her latest project, a six-piece NFT series of Angels, represents an ecological concept that permeates throughout and defines our world. For this ambitious project, Novitskova collaborated with artists Kévin Bray and Alexandra Martens Serrano to portray the visual identity of non-human entities: animals, bacteria, molecular structures, and more.
The artists used machine learning to generate renderings of contemporary ecological concepts in the form of abstract synthetic beings, made of light and digital genomes. Each piece is inspired by the variety and cryptic descriptions of angels from the ancient world (such as Kalkydra, also called the Carriers of the Sun’s Heat; Laylah, the Angel of Night and Conception; and Azariel, also known as Waters of the Earth).
“The idea is that we are making an abstract matter that is somewhat alive and is animated via subtle breathing or movement or other processes,” she says. The six artworks can also be seen as six days of creation, with abstract matter gaining its voice and assembling into something living: 3D models of organic shapes like proteins, primitive creatures, living cells, eggs, and molecules.
Novitskova was selected for the Voice NFT Residency by Myriam Ben Salah, a Tunisian-French curator who currently serves as the director and chief curator of the Renaissance Society in Chicago. In pursuit of the residency’s theme, Raise Our Voice, Novitskova asked herself a series of questions: “Whose voice is being ignored? Whose voice can I present that’s an unexpected character?”
Novitskova has always been obsessed with biotechnologies, a passion that turns beautiful in the collection, which she describes as “NFTs that represent the vision of another being.”
View the works only on the carbon-neutral NFT platform Voice.
Share this story
Learn to Build Speculative Worlds in SCI-Arc’s LA-Based Fiction and Entertainment Postgraduate Program
SCI-Arc’s Master of Science in Fiction and Entertainment is a one-year, three-semester program during which students work with world-renowned professionals from the entertainment industry to develop expertise in worldbuilding, storytelling, film, animation, visual effects, and video games to build new forms of creative practice.
Our perception of the world is unquestionably determined by the extraordinary shared languages of fiction and entertainment. Through these stories, we exchange ideas and engage with our environment. Fictional worlds have always been sites where we can prototype new scenarios and emerging cultures. They can act as teleportation machines, helping us immerse ourselves in the various consequences of the decisions we face today. They can be both cautionary tales or roadmaps to an aspirational future.
The Master of Science in Fiction and Entertainment at SCI-Arc provides the opportunity for students to learn the techniques of entertainment design and visual storytelling, as well as employ a broad range of digital and narrative tools to imagine, animate, and produce compelling, alternative worlds. Deeply embedded in the entertainment industry of Los Angeles, the program challenges students to develop provocative stories that critically examine the emerging conditions of contemporary life.
Organized as a year-long thesis project, students are encouraged to develop a unique directorial voice and personal body of work that may take the form of a short film, animation, music video, documentary, video game, graphic novel, VR environment, immersive experience, or performance. The Fiction and Entertainment curriculum simultaneously creates space for students to develop their own interests, passions, and agendas while directly focusing on preparation for careers that will continue to propel their professional practice after graduation and help them to transition into their chosen field.
Throughout the year, students are supported by an intense program of workshops, talks, and mentoring sessions led by world-renowned filmmakers, concept artists, screenwriters, and animators from the film and entertainment industry. A critical motivation of the program is helping students to establish a productive network of collaborators and ongoing mentors to help launch them and their work after graduation.
Recent graduates from the program are developing careers in production design, creative direction, video games, visual effects, commercial, music video and TV production, media art, and design research. Projects incubated within Fiction and Entertainment have premiered at festivals such as Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW, Rotterdam, and platforms such as Nowness, VICE, FACT, and many more.
Applications for students and scholarships are now open, and details can be found on the program website.
Share this story
RISD Pre-College is thrilled to announce the return of its on-campus residential summer immersive in 2022. Pre-College at Rhode Island School of Design is one of the most established and renowned summer art and design programs for high school students in the world—and also one of the oldest, celebrating its 50th anniversary since it was founded in 1971.
At RISD Pre-College, rising high school juniors and seniors can live like RISD students and work alongside hundreds of other creative, highly motivated peers who will inspire them to push their limits and produce their best work. Students will follow a college-level curriculum with day-long studio classes, visits to the Nature Lab and RISD Museum, critiques, and final projects that will forever shape the way they approach art and design. The program runs from June 25 to August 6, 2022.
The health, safety, and well-being of students, instructors, and staff remains a top priority, and RISD has developed a comprehensive set of protocols and policies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on campus.
RISD’s Advanced Program Online is a year-round online intensive for high school students interested in pursuing art and design in college. This certificate program is for changemakers who want to develop their art practice, learn new ways to collaborate, and create a future they’re excited about. The Spring 2022 term runs from March 5 to May 29, and the Summer 2022 term runs from June 21 to August 14.
Both programs offer a college-level curriculum that provides a strong foundational understanding of drawing and design principles. Whether on-campus or online, students will participate in courses led by professionally practicing instructors, learn to manage time and self-motivate, and develop a portfolio of concepts, sketches, and finished pieces that can be included in or inform their college application.
Share this story
Austin-based gallery Sebastian Foster just announced its Fall Print Set, the first collection of its kind in almost a decade. The new release features 19 works by well-established illustrators, printmakers, artists, and painters from across the U.S. and Europe, many of whom have worked with the gallery for years. Encompassing an eclectic array of mediums and themes, the collection showcases works from artists previously featured on Colossal, including the quirky, cartoonish characters of Sabine Timm, Diana Sudyka’s fanciful storybook scenes, and Grant Haffner’s vibrant, flat landscapes bisected by his signature utility poles. Completing the set are pieces like Anne Siems’s dreamy, layered renderings and Andy Kehoe’s imagined worlds tinged with magic.
Now online-only, Sebastian Foster focuses on original works and prints, publishing upwards of 1,000 editions since it opened in the late 2000s. Whether you’re looking for the next piece to add to your collection or for meaningful holiday gifts, head to the gallery’s site to shop the Fall Print Set today.
Share this story
Editor's Picks: Science
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.