Technology

Tagsmart stars alongside Mat Collishaw on BBC 4Tech

Watched by 25 million viewers in the Middle East and North Africa, BBC Arabic’s weekly 4Tech programme discusses technology, innovation and cyberspace.

Invited to take part in this week’s episode, Tagsmart demonstrated its unique triple-lock solution directly from Mat Collishaw’s studio. Our Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer Steve Cooke introduced our technology by tagging Collishaw’s Insecticide 28 print. 

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Tagsmart has developed a unique, secure genetic “stamp” to identify, seal and verify the authenticity of artworks. Following an extensive collaboration between leading artists, surface chemists and conservators, every component of the Tag is part of a complex web of security measures, using revolutionary label technology featuring the latest synthetic DNA taggants and inorganic compounds.

Each Tag has its own unique reference number, linked to the artwork’s secure Certificate of Authenticity and its online Provenance Record.

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Alongside presenter Anees Alqudaihi, Collishaw also talked about his exhibition Thresholds, using the latest in VR technology. 

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Thresholds is a fully immersive portal to the past, restaging one of the earliest exhibitions of photography in 1839, when William Henry Fox Talbot first presented his photographic prints to the public at King Edward’s School, Birmingham.

Presented in London and Birmingham, the show is now relocating to Lacock Abbey, in Wiltshire, where it will open on September 16.

Watch the complete episode here.

Tom Toumazis MBE at PAIAM Conference 2017

Tom Toumazis MBE, Tagsmart’s Executive Chairman, was invited to speak at this year’s Professional Advisors to the International Art Market Conference, which took place at Sotheby’s Grosvenor Galleries at Aeolian Hall on 11 July. 

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He took the opportunity to discuss Tagsmart’s journey, which began with Steve Cooke, our Chief Innovation Officer, and renowned frame-maker Mark Darbyshire. Led by Tom, in the past couple of years we gradually assembled an esteemed board of advisers formed of the UK’s foremost security, art conservation, software and materials science experts. 

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Throughout Tagsmart’s evolution, we have endeavoured to create a solution which appeals and conforms to our clients needs and wants. We have worked extensively alongside scientists and conservators ensuring our Tag does not interfere with the artwork and is applied with ease. The outcome is our triple-lock solution for authentication encompassing the DNA Tag providing proof of origin, the Certificate sealing ownership and our digital Provenance Record acting as a digital passport over time. 

After a year since Tagsmart’s launch, we are pleased to be working with some of the UK’s leading artists including Mario Testino and Gary Hume and to have tagged over 5,000 works of art. 

We are honoured to have shared our story with other professionals in the field, discussing the challenges of establishing authenticity and how we believe technology is leading the way forwards in addressing this issue. 

Introducing Tagsmart’s Advisory Board

Tagsmart is honoured to introduce its Advisory Board comprising some of the world’s leading experts in the fields of arts and science. Its purpose is to assist Tagsmart in meeting its mission by sharing insights and knowledge on the art market needs and trends, as well as contributing to the latest scientific developments and applicable research.


We are proud to be supported by Dr Matthew Baker, Mike Triggs, Dr Carinna Parraman, Professor John Watts, Dr Melanie Bailey, Graham Bignell, Professor Bill Redman-White, Joanne Wilson, Aino-Leena Grapin, Amy Todd Middleton, Colette Loll and Mike Adam and grateful for their crucial insights and distinctive expert advice.

This dedicated trusted group of individuals shapes our business and is vital to our performance and engagement, ensuring our overall success in establishing a new standard for authenticity in art.

For more information, please visit www.tagsmart.com/about-us.

New law to root out counterfeit artwork in Korea

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced Thursday that it will legislate a new law regarding artwork distribution in an effort to root out the distribution of counterfeit works, recover public trust in Korea’s art market, and establish a healthy trading platform for creative crafts. The law will be implemented in August 2017.

The new law will divide art distribution into three major categories: art galleries, which will be subject to a registration system; art auctions, to a permit system; and other sales of artworks, to a reporting system.

Currently, art galleries or art auction houses can operate with only a business license, and without official registration or approval, which led to criticism that they lacked transparency and engaged in unfair practices in their art distribution process.

With the new law, however, art galleries will have to submit plans to prevent counterfeit artworks as well as a list of all of their affiliate artists. Auction firms will also have to provide counterfeit prevention measures, while possessing certain qualifications including at least 200 million won in capital, an official auctioneer, and an auction house.

Furthermore, artwork distributors will be obliged to maintain records for each of their artworks, and issue an official warranty when they’re sold. Failure to do so will also be result in fines and cancelled business licenses.

The law will implement stronger punishment for counterfeit crimes as well, by stipulating that these types of crimes be punishable by up to five years in prison or 50 million won in fines. The ministry will also consider the potential implementation of special judicial police specific to artwork fraud.

Meanwhile, the ministry is to establish a national body for artwork authentication, which will function as the official agency responsible for developing new authentication technology and professionals in related fields.

“The institute will be operated not as a government agency but as a public one, and will help improve Korea’s art authentication technology, as well as aiding with crimes, investigations, and trials related to counterfeit artwork,” said Jung. “It will be staffed by professional researchers and appraisers.”

The full details of the law are to be revealed in the first half of 2017.

Race is on to beat art forgery with DNA technology

A British company is the latest to launch a labelling system that uses synthetic DNA to help protect works by living artists. Mark Darbyshire, the London framer, and Steve Cooke, the software developer, have created Tagsmart Certify to help combat forgeries. While issues of authenticity dog the market for older works, Cooke says the dynamics of today’s broader landscape—including online channels and emerging markets—heighten the need for immediate authenticity in contemporary art.

“Some artists don’t want to get technical, but they may now just have to be,” he says. Artists who have already endorsed the product—which has 12 security features, including its DNA label—include Mat Collishaw, Idris Khan and Gary Hume, who are among Tagsmart’s founding supporters.

This fake Rembrandt was created by an algorithm

The subject, brushstrokes, and colour of this painting all bear classic hallmarks of a Rembrandt. But it’s actually been designed by a computer and created by a 3D printer.

The work was created by teams from Dutch museums Mauritshuis and Rembranthuis, alongside Microsoft, ING and the Delft University of Technology. Creating a faithful replication of a Rembrandt painting required huge amounts of data, with the team describing it was a “marriage” between technology and art.

Computer paints 'new Rembrandt' after old works analysis

How long before anyone can copy any artist? A team of technologists working with Microsoft and others have produced a 3D-printed painting in the style of Dutch master Rembrandt.

The portrait was created after existing works by the artist were analysed by a computer. A new work was then designed to look as much like a Rembrandt as possible - while remaining an original portrait. It was then 3D-printed to give it the same texture as an oil painting.

Tagsmart Certify on BBC London

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“One of the security ingredients [of the Tagsmart Certify smart labels] is a DNA compound and that’s the same biological compound that doctors and police use to identify individuals.” 

– Steve Cooke, CPO & Co-Founder of Tagsmart

This morning, Tagsmart co-founders Steve Cooke and Mark Darbyshire were interviewed by Jim from BBC London. Their conversation about fakes and forgeries in art and our smart solution to artwork security is due to air this Saturday, March 19th, around 5:30 pm. Make sure you don’t miss it!