How NFTs Are Impacting the Art World

How NFTs Are Impacting the Art World

The first time that many people ever heard of art NFTs was Beeple’s The First 5000 days, which sold for $69 million at Christie’s, just over a year ago.

While it seems like a crazy amount of money, it’s worth bearing in mind that Beeple (aka digital artist Mike Winkleman) had been working on it for more than 13 years. Each day he created a digital image — some are surreal, or sci-fi, or political — or all three. “It’s more about ideas and putting things together in interesting ways. Anything you can think of, you can make. There are no limits,” he says in this interview.

This is the perfect example of digital work that could not be made in a conventional way, with such a vast amount of tiny, yet detailed, high-quality images. For this reason, neither could it be copied.

What Are Art NFTs ?

The characteristics mentioned above are the main differentials with conventional artworks. Digital art uses cutting-edge technology to create immersive, highly detailed images, with effects such as 3D — but each NFT is unique, and is stored securely on the blockchain.

This means that it cannot be copied, and its digital data, or code, cannot be altered. Regular digital files can be easily copied and pasted multiple times, while NFTs are tokens that are traded using a digital certificate which authenticates ownership of a unique asset that someone has produced. Another important point is that NFTs are extremely simple to make, or “mint”. This article explains NFTs very clearly.

Merge by Pak. Courtesy of Nifty Gateway.

Who Are Other Famous NFT Artists?

Beeple’s record for the most expensive artwork sold by a living artist has now been pushed off the top spot by Pak’s The Merge, a collection of NFTs which was bought by multiple buyers, each purchasing tokens, for $91.8 million in December 2021. A total of 28,983 collectors snapped up 312,686 units. But is this one single artwork, or a series of them? One of Pak’s fans (the real identity of this successful NFT artist is unknown, like Banksy, although they are thought to be Turkish, and could be a group rather than individual) is Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter.

The Bitcoin Bull by Trevor Jones.

Trevor Jones is a classically trained NFT artist, who started out using art to help those in healthcare environments, improving their wellbeing. Jones moved into the NFT space just over two years ago. One of his works is called The Bitcoin Bull, made with oils and microcrystalline wax on canvas, and decorated with logos of the cryptocurrency. Based on Picasso’s painting, it is available in multiple editions including an animated one with jigsaw-type pieces that move around, and has sound; the bull paws the ground and snorts, and at the end we see Picasso himself. This NFT artist has also collaborated with Pak on art projects.

Also check out generative art — randomly generated, created by computer programmes — by Tyler Hobbs and Matt LesLaurier.

Cartoons (think Bored Apes) and street art are extremely popular for art NFTs. With the flexibility of new creative media, the only limit is the artist’s imagination.

Freedom for Artists

So NFTs have changed how artists create, but also how they earn. Previously, artists were nearly always represented by galleries, who took a cut to show their work and to represent them to potential buyers.

Now artists can show, and sell, their work on marketplaces, like Fayre’s, for free — little (or no) commission to pay to the middle-man. The advantages of the Fayre Marketplace is that all NFTs listed there are verified by the Fayre team as being authentic — you will not be sold a “fake” NFT that wasn’t made by the person is it claimed to have been made by. It’s also free for creators to list their NFTs on the Marketplace.

With NFTs, artists can be as quirky, controversial, or niche, as they like in their subject matter, as no gallery owner is going to refuse their work, or suggest they try another subject.

The new generation spends much (probably too much) of their time on screens, so this is a natural next step, if they are considering investing in art — a digital work, safely sold as an NFT.