Penplotter profit/loss, month of April 2021

Last month I said things were a month of change, so, well, yes, indeed.

We'll dive right into the numbers, and then I'll offer an explanation of sorts, I promise.



April Profit:

Overall Profit:

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Obviously, this is a bit of a weird one, so I've prepared a few blog posts that I'll link below.

The abridged version is that I had the opportunity to put a project onto the Art Blocks website, a place for selling generative digital art. I've generally been steering clear of the whole NFTs thing, preferring instead to stick with my pen plotting.

However, there's a lot about Art Blocks that aligns with my art, so I went for it — taking a popular pen plotting design and adapting it for digital.

The result was selling 255 pieces of digital artwork in about two hours, netting the amount detailed below.

This doesn't mean I'm switching to digital from pen plotting, in fact, far from it. The very short version is this...

I'm dropping my freelance hours to be able to spend more time on pen plotting, I've bought a second pen plotter, I've moved to a smaller but warmer and quieter art studio, I'll now have time to write and video the pen plotting tutorials I haven't had the time to make.

You can read more about the 70s Pop project here: 70s Pop Series One, probability is my paint..

More about generative art here: Generative Art with Art Blocks, a new edge.

And finally, more about my plans here: What are you going to do with all that money?.

In which all questions are answered, probably. If you still have any just drop me a line.

Now onto the expenses.

Postage & Packaging £170.99
"Paper" £43.74
Pens & Ink £58.57
Misc £1,656.00
Studio Rent & costs £144.16
Total expenses: £2,073.46

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Notes and observations

Generally, at this point, I'd talk about various expenses because that's where the fun is typically, what new pens or paper did I buy and how did it work out.

Here the most significant expense is tucked under "Misc", that's the cost involved in setting things up to sell digital art. Most of the articles you see talking about "NFTs" are about artworks that are already created that people are paying eye-watering large amounts of money for. Which also, by some accounts, can vanish at any moment.

The point of Art Blocks and generative art is that the code that creates the artwork is placed onto the blockchain by the artist. When someone buys an artwork, the transaction is also stored on the blockchain, and in return, the buyer gets a "hash". Feeding that "hash" into the code produces the artwork.

As long as the blockchain exists, the artwork can always be recreated. The means of producing the work and the token for that work are always there.

That "Misc" expense is the cost of me committing the code to the blockchain, something that thankfully only has to happen once.

The very technically inclined can see the point at which the code (and the code itself) gets put onto the blockchain here. While the Art Blocks code that does the putting lives here.

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Fuller-ish expense breakdown

Postage & packing
All the postage £125.10
Prestige A2 Greyboard * 5 £25.90
A2 Cello bags * 50 £19.99
Frisk Yupo Paper A4 * 2 £17.98
Frisk Yupo Paper A3 £25.76
Pen & Ink
Alcohol Ink Set £23.99
Alcohol Ink Set metallic £22.90
Faber-Castell Polymatic 0.7mm Mechanical Pencil £6.50
Faber Castell 0.7 mm 1377 * 2 £5.18
Setting up Artblocks project £1,656.00
Rent & Costs
Art studio £110.00
Shop space rent £0.00
Shopify £22.16
People of Print Membership £12.00
Instagram ads £0.00
Total expense: £2,073.46
April sales
Plots £520.00
Prints £0.00
Digital £50,450.49
Other income, i.e. buymeacoffee etc. £0.00
Total sales: £50,970.49
April profit £48,897.03
Profit to date £48,898.40

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I tend not to break down sales in the same way that I break down expenses, but I will a little bit in this case.

I have two NFT projects; the first, "Thirteen Ghosts" is based on my "Ghost" plots. Typically my code generates static SVG files to send to the pen plotter. By its nature, pen plots don't animate. So I thought it'd be interesting to make a very limited edition of animated ghosts.

So far, all six standard ones have sold out, as has one of the four silver ones. When someone buys one of the works, they select a frame from the animation to be plotted, which gets sent off to them.

That project accounts for £4,451.59 of the digital sales.

The "70s Pop" project is made up of 255 artworks which all sold for a total of £43,888.39.

Finally, and most interesting to me is £2,110.51, which came from getting 5% of all sales of the "70s Pop" work on the secondary market. That the percentage of secondary market sales going to the original artist is built into the system is amazing.

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The next few months will see that total diminish as I start to count both wages and higher rent. There's no way I'm going to be selling the 40 pen plots a month needed to break even, but it seems useful to start tracking time to properly reflect how much art costs to create.

Details of which are once more covered in my post: What are you going to do with all that money?

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