There have been several news articles regarding NFT art recently. Beeple’s spectacular selling of his artwork ‘Everydays: The First 5000 Days’ at Christie’s has thrust it into the limelight, making it the hottest new investment opportunity. This item, a digital artwork containing an authenticating NFT (non-fungible token), was sold for $69.3 million, making it one of the top three most expensive works by a living artist.
Therefore, it is an ideal time to utilize those column inches to promote the arts, particularly digital work. But to what extent do NFTs engage audiences with art? And to what extent?
Championing Digital Art
NFTs can pertain to a wide variety of digital assets, including film snippets and trading cards. The term NFT art may be used to describe any type of artwork, from a digital reproduction of an oil painting to virtual architecture.
Digital art is where NFTs have had the most impact. Previously, the ease of duplication of digital art was a hurdle to its commercialization. NFTs altered this by giving a safe, collectible token representing an artwork. In doing so, they level the playing field between digital art and traditional media for collectors and investors. And NFTs go even farther to recognize digital artists by including a commission so that once they are exchanged, the creators receive a portion of the earnings. In addition, NFTs are quite simple to register, reducing entrance hurdles for artists.
The potential of non-fungible tokens to commoditize digital art is undeniable, because they enable more artists to earn more money, hence fostering the art form’s expansion.
Specialist markets, such as SuperRare and Nifty Gateway, provide a tailored experience and excel in generating buzz and high-priced purchases.
However, NFT art is also marketed as generally accessible, and sales are not exclusively of great value. Digital artists are offering NFT originals and editions at a broad variety of pricing points, therefore expanding the audience for art collecting. For instance, Beeple sells ‘Everydays’ versions for as cheap as one dollar.
Art For Tech’s Sake?
While NFTs are relatively new, digital art has a long history. Since teamLabBorderless built the first Digital Art Museum in the world in 2018, several specialized galleries have sprouted throughout the globe. The digital art project Van Gogh Alive, which has previously been shown in 65 countries and will debut in London this summer, draws enormous crowds. And digital art has been implemented in a variety of situations, like the Chelsea and Westminster Hospitals, which have lately unveiled an interactive AI art project that promotes mental health.
So digital art is fantastic for engagement. But do NFTs and their associated buzz enhance the art form, or do they detract from it?
In March 2021, the blockchain company Injective Protocol burned a Banksy print on fire, shot it, and then sold the footage as an NFT for $380,000.
The measure was mocked as a “money-making scheme” (BBC News).
The act was financially beneficial, since the Banksy print that Injective Protocol burned cost $95,000. And their choice of print, ‘Morons,’ a depiction of an auction room, focused on the potential of NFT art to disturb the establishment (although this was rather ironic, considering Beeple’s sale at Christie’s a few days later).
The burning of a Banksy artwork illustrates a key point: minting an NFT focuses the value of the work on the NFT, not on the artwork itself.
NFTs are generally tradable tokens that reside on the blockchain, the underlying technology of cryptocurrencies. And the manner in which NFT art is traded resembles a currency more than an art market. In a quickly expanding market, it appears to be often traded for the purpose of making a fast buck. This is considerably distinct from conventional art collecting, in which pieces are often acquired for personal enjoyment.
Therefore, do NFTs sustain digital art, or does digital art fuel the NFT market?
A New Language For Contemporary Art
The principles underlying NFT art are intricate and still foreign to many. This marketplace has its own currencies, galleries in the metaverse, and vocabulary. NFT, blockchains, cryptocurrencies, and Eth are terms from an entirely new era.
This new globe is populated by a tiny but steadily expanding population segment. In just two years, Coinbase, the most popular cryptocurrency provider, saw an increase from 13 million to 35 million registered users. There are around 1,100,000,000 Visa credit card customers globally.
Digital art has demonstrated its potential to reach and engage new audiences, whereas NFT art appeals to a limited audience. Add the difficult jargon to the high-priced sales reported in the press, and NFT art looks to be available exclusively to the wealthy at first glance.
Nonetheless, it is quite probable that NFTs can become widespread, but this will take time. And fears that the NFT art market is a bubble suggest that it may burst before a broader audience grasps its significance.
To achieve long-term success, non-profit organizations must address certain broader concerns, and art may be the best method to investigate them.
Ownership and copyright raise some of the most urgent problems. This value of NFT art is predicated on a core concept: that the NFT represents a true digital work, and that the NFT itself is unique and safe. Even while specialized art markets provide assurances that the work is authentic, it is nevertheless feasible to create a non-financial instrument (NFI) for a work that you do not own the rights to. This was shown when the Global Art Museum coined and sold NFTs representing iconic pieces from major institutions.
These concerns will not be resolved until they are litigated.
NFTs are also environmentally expensive. The complex encryption that makes them so safe and consequently valuable requires enormous quantities of power. Damien Hirst is cooperating with Palm, a sustainable NFT ecosystem, on his foray into the sector as a result. He is releasing a 100,000 NFT piece with the amusing title “The Currency Project.”
Many view the NFT art boom to be a fad fueled by speculative investors, despite the fact that it has created a perfect chance for artists and collectors to benefit.
Once this initial uproar subsides, however, the technology presents an opportunity to add value to digital art by providing artists greater flexibility and allowing them to reach new audiences.
And this is contingent on the sustainability of the NFT art market. We hope that the bubble will not burst anytime soon.
You might be interested in this article, read how to create a NFT art?