The question of what NFTs are is baffling to the average person. The simple answer is that NFTs are a line of code that makes a digital asset unique. But in reality, they are so much more than that. They are changing our relationship to the world – both digitally and physically.
Here are 5 ways NFTs are changing the world for artists.
Change The Perception of How We View Artists
The word ‘artist’ has long been considered a synonym for ‘suffering’. Van Gogh was called a madman and an epic failure during his lifetime, famously cutting off his own ear to mail to a woman he was madly in love with before shooting himself in the chest with a revolver. But now he’s considered a misunderstood genius and one of the most famous artists the world has ever known. His art is sold for tens of millions.
Edvard Munich who painted one of the most iconic images ever, ‘The Scream’ suffered from hallucinations and anxiety through his life. Although, unlike Van Gogh, he did become famous and wealthy, he had anything but a peaceful and happy life.
There is this notion that artists live alone in dank apartments struggling to sell their paintings for a few hundred dollars – works they spent weeks, sometimes years, perfecting. They work as baristas, in warehouses, and as waiters. Many of these artists post their artwork online for free to try to get exposure in the hopes that one day they would be plucked out of obscurity and given millions of dollars— or at the very least a few thousand for a piece of their artwork.
It's time we do away with the idea that artists must suffer for their work. Many famous painters, writers, musicians, and actors drank heavily, did a large number of drugs, and chain-smoked their way through their life. But this is a trope that has been perpetuated through the centuries. (There’s even a Wikipedia page dedicated to tortured artists)
Hopefully, NFT artists will prove that you no longer have to be miserable and living in poverty in order to be a ‘true’ artists.
Artists Are Given Freedom of Expression
One of the many things that NFT celebrates is freedom of expression, with no limitations on the medium. An artist is not restricted to a traditional form of art, such as a photograph or an acrylic painting on canvas. The very definition of art has changed, making art less defined and more creative. Tweets, GIFs, videos, and music are just the beginning of what artists can create. And with the metaverse coming, artists will be able to create something that we can’t even imagine at this point. It’s likely that soon we won’t categorize artists into painters, sculptures, writers, photographers. Those definitions will be meaningless as artists will blur the lines, creating new ideas and new forms of expression.
Changing How We View Ownership
Since the dawn of civilization, people have looked at ownership as something physical that they can touch and feel. After all, anything digital is just a bunch of 1s and zeros, with no real substance, right? Not necessarily.
Original ownership, scarcity, and uniqueness are hard to determine online, muddying the waters of how precisely to value works created in the digital realm, but NFTs have created a paradigm shift for digital art and other forms of online media. They allow for online assets to have verifiable scarcity and ownership that cannot be manipulated. They bring the elements that endow physical art and assets with value into the digital realm.
Auction Houses and Galleries No longer Are The Gatekeepers
In the old days of selling art, there were the traditional gatekeepers such as galleries and auction houses which had to champion the artist if there was any chance of selling a piece of artwork for a decent amount of money. It was very tough, if not impossible for artists to make a living with art if not for the support of these gatekeepers.
Like many things on the internet, NFTs have democratized how artwork is sold. No longer do you have people with an inflated sense of self-worth dictating what is and what is not good art. The public can now decide. The auction houses and galleries no longer have control over the artists’ career and that’s definitely a good thing.
Create New Business Models That Didn’t Exist Before
There is plenty for artists to be excited about when they look at ways to make money in the NFT space. But by far the most exciting is that artists can attach stipulations to an NFT that ensures they get royalties every time it gets resold. This can create an entrepreneur’s wet dream – passive income. If the piece of artwork goes up in value then the artists gets a larger piece of the pie.
Just think of how Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David managed to work in lucrative back-end deal for ‘Seinfeld’, making them some of the richest actors – and people – on the planet. Now NFT artists can do the same with their artwork and perhaps get equally as wealthy.
The Bottom Line
In the last couple of years, the influx of attention and investment in the NFT space has proven there is vast interest not just in digital art, but specifically in the unique value proposition of digital scarcity and verifiable ownership. The participation from both creators, collectors, and curators alike demonstrates the interest and benefit to all sides of the artist market. As blockchain technology continues to evolve, the NFT ecosystem will evolve alongside, growing not just in size but in complexity and opportunity, providing artists almost untapped opportunity. And we are only in the beginning.