Penplotter profit/loss, month of May 2021

This is the month of the "great balancing". It probably would have made more sense if this was all bundled into last month, but things were moving pretty fast then, so I guess this is where it all gets sorted out.

Last month we had sales of £50k, which made the profit look stupidly big. This month is tax and carbon offsetting, which will make the loss look a bit wild too. Hopefully, things will settle out a bit after this.

I'll put the numbers down below and then take the tax/carbon out of it, so it's easier to see what's actually happening. Here goes with the top-level numbers.



May Profit:

Overall Profit:

So right off the bat, (and these numbers will be detailed below), I have two large numbers; the first is £10k set aside for tax. Up to now, I haven't been including tax in the calculations because, well, there hasn't been enough profit to really warrant it, and it's both boring and not easy.

The numbers also get a little confusing because, in reality everything is bundled in with my day job (which is working with museums and cultural orgs, helping them manage their catalogue). Still, I split it out here because the focus is on the pen, ink and selling art part. The other confusing bit is the sales of digital art is in the form of "magical sky money", the value of which appears to change on a weekly basis.

While before, it was easy to track the pounds and pence of buying some pens and paper or sticking a stamp on something and sending it to the US, it all gets a lot harder when it comes to crypto. While the hunt for an accountant who deals with crypto-art sales continues, the general "I AM NOT AN ACCOUNTANT" advice seems to be to instantly draw half down and then set that aside to cover whatever the taxes work out to be. For the moment, I'm just saying 20%, and we'll work out the details later.

The second large number is from picking three carbon offset projects from Gold Standard and using £5k on each. There is a whole blog post to be written on why carbon offsetting isn't the solution (changing the entire Ethereum system is) but is at least something while things get sorted out.

While this isn't perfect, opinions and calculations are all over the place, meaning nearly every single number I'm about to use now is up to dispute, but we'll give it a go anyway.

On average, I usually have a CO2 "footprint" of 8.5 tonnes/year. An NFT has a footprint of around 211kg, according to The carbon footprint of creating and selling an NFT artwork. You will, of course, be able to find all sorts of other figures depending on who is trying to argue that it's either "boiling the oceans" or "it's fine because it's using 'clean' electricity", we are going to assume it's somewhere between the two.

In total, I have sold 9 "Thirteen Ghosts" NFTs, one project of 256 generative art NFTs, and a second smaller project of 64 NFTs (more in a moment), making a total of 329 NFTs, or 69.42 tonnes of CO2. Just over eight times as much as I'd typically generate in a year.

The £15k worth of Gold Standard projects offset around 2,123 tonnes of CO2, making the whole thing not just carbon neutral but carbon negative by 2,053 tonnes of CO2, or 241 years of my life.

So you know, I'm trying my best.

The second smaller project of 64 NFTs, raised just over £10,000 for Women Who Code. This was done by putting their crypto-wallet address as the destination address for payments, totally bypassing me. So I could say I sold £10k worth of art and then immediately donated it away, but the reality (for tax purposes) is that I never saw that money at all.

One last final number.

Various pieces of the artwork I've sold have been resold on the secondary market, sometimes several times, for a total value of just over $70k. Because of the way (these) NFTs work, I get 5% of the secondary sales, some of which I got last month; this month's total from secondary sales was £811.

Tying it all together means in the last two months, my artwork has, in total, sold for just over £100,000.

I'm not sure where that puts me on the league table of UK artists, but I can see why art galleries and auction houses are getting more interested in NFTs and generative artists.

I think it means I can call myself a professional artist; I am now paying myself a wage after all.

Expenses time!

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Postage & Packaging £37.35
"Paper" £0.00
Pens & Ink £26.97
Misc £25,000
Studio Rent, wages & costs £2,231.16
Total expenses: £27,295.48

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Notes and observations

So obviously, the expenses are a bit extreme this month!

If we remove the Tax and Carbon, the costs would be £2,295. The bulk of this is down to me now paying myself a wage (£1,600) and still keeping the old studio on as well as the new studio as I sort my stuff out (£560).

Going a step further and also removing the digital sales, we'd have a monthly loss of £1,843.48. Clearly, the pen plots on their own are not enough to support my wages and rent. If we relied on just the pen plots, at the current rate, the remaining £26,751 would last me 14.5 months.

I decided to try to be a proper artist for a year, and we're already a month into that, with 11 months left, and most of this month has been taken up with moving the studio and admin.

Even with more hours in the week, finding time to actually art is still hard.

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Fuller-ish expense breakdown

Postage & packing
All the postage £37.35
No new paper this month! £0.00
Pen & Ink
Pen Holders £26.97
Set aside for Tax £10,000
Carbon Offsetting £15,000
Rent & Costs
Art studio £560.00
Wages £1,600.00
Shop space rent £37.00
Shopify £22.16
People of Print Membership £12.00
Instagram ads £0.00
Total expense: £27,295.48
May Sales
Plots (5) £452.00
Prints £0.00
Digital (2) £4,697.00
Other income, i.e. buymeacoffee etc. £0.00
Total sales: £5,149.00
May profit -£22,146.48
Profit to date £26,751.92
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To try and get a little more perspective on things, if we take the tax and CO2 out of the equation just for the moment, my sales would be £5,149.00, and my expenses would be £2,295.48. Giving a profit of £2,853.52 for the month.

I'm not sure my monthly report will ever get back to "normal", but I'm going to try to keep it on track as much as possible.

As you can imagine, things have still been busy, to the point that I had to hunker down in a hotel for a weekend just to sort out my to-do lists and work out what I'm supposed to be doing next. I haven't been able to do as much pen plotting as I want. I still need to get the shop set up properly again. There's a couple of other projects I can't talk about yet. While really, all I want to do is sit down and write some more code that makes the machines sing and ink flow.

What even is "normal" anymore?

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