The Digimarc Blog

Artist Uses Digimarc for Gallery Engagement & Counterfeit Protection

Technology continues to change how art is made. Today we see everything from computer generated art to robotic art, and the possibilities are almost endless. Jill Renee Grant, an artist from Longmont, Colorado, saw the possibilities of adding a scannable, digital code to her photographs and didn’t look back. Grant recently showcased her photograph, Shower of Sparks, which contains Digimarc Barcode (digital watermark) at the 40 West Arts show in Lakewood, Colorado. We spoke with Jill to discuss her experience using the Digimarc Platform to protect against counterfeits and promote viewer engagement during the gallery showings.

Digimarc: How would you describe yourself as an artist? What type of medium do you work in?

Jill: Primarily I am a photographer, but as an artist, I also work in other mediums.

Digimarc: What inspired you to incorporate Digimarc Barcode into your artwork?

Jill: We were looking for a solution where the corresponding artwork information wouldn't be separated from the physical artwork. Digimarc provided a way to do this.

Digimarc: What was your inspiration for Shower of Sparks?

Jill: Inspiration for Shower of Sparks came from an invitation from David Lobdell, Visual and Performing Arts Professor at New Mexico Highlands University, to show an art piece at Iron Tribe Exhibit 2019. The photograph itself is from a performance iron pour in conjunction with the University of Colorado Denver's iron casting sculpture program. This process is often a mystery to individuals who don't work in metal, or are unaware how poured metal sculptures are created. This photo captures the intensity and breadth of this careful, yet dangerous pour, that is on-site, cordoned off and limited to those only with safety gear.

Jill Renee Grant next to her photograph with Digimarc Barcode. Experience how Digimarc Barcode works by downloading the free Digimarc Discover App and scanning this photo to easily visit Grant's LinkedIn page.

Digimarc: When someone scans your artwork, what is the benefit of adding Digimarc to your photography?

Jill: The most valuable benefit is the opportunity to interact with the audience on their terms. We wanted to incorporate my brand, logo, signature, and other important information inside the artwork without jeopardizing the content of the composition. When an artist attaches their signature to a work, it takes up valuable space.

A second benefit was to prevent forgery. I wanted to add a layer of protection to my photograph that would withstand wide distribution and exposure (particularly without my consent). I achieved this security with Digimarc Barcode, which became the catalyst for anchoring authentication. When scanning the piece, we can access when and how many individuals examined the work.

As the artist, the ability to permanently embed the watermark upon the sale of the artwork to a prospective buyer is beneficial. We know it is possible to solidify the watermark at the final sale of the artwork. The mobile application is easy to download for audience participation. Also, Digimarc's customer service team is prompt at clarifying the product's capabilities. This includes pre-press specs online and walking printers through the process to create a final, viable product. All these features in tandem lend credibility towards broader adoption.

Digimarc: How did you discover Digimarc Barcode?

Jill: Dustin Stanton, my art adviser, researched steganography (the act of concealing code inside a desired medium) and it led us to use Digimarc as a viable solution to protect my intellectual property.

Digimarc: What’s the future for Shower of Sparks?

Jill: I’m submitting the piece for an upcoming show for alumni at Metropolitan University of Denver for May 2020.

Artists can get started by adding Digimarc Barcode to photography. Just click on the link, create a personal account, and start protecting your digital assets.

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