Rise of the NFTs. What are NFTs?
The rise of digital art as a mode of expression is a natural progression in a world increasingly connected to the Internet. NFTs, unique cryptographic tokens that represent assets such as digital art, are the source of these evolutions. But how do they work? These are unique codes powered by smart contracts (similar to a deed) typically executed on the Ethereum blockchain, by creating an open access public record of provenance, price, ownership and authenticity. NFTs also introduce digital asset scarcity, giving creators the ability to sell – and collectors to own – inherently replicable works in finite quantities.
Why do artists create NTFs?
This recent technology with an uncertain future has revolutionized the artistic world, offering artists and creators a unique opportunity to sell directly to consumers and facilitate the creative process — greater freedom of expression and autonomy. More and more artists are joining the world of NTFs for their great potential, for a myriad of reasons, from developing extremely creative new directions for their work, increasing connection with collectors to gaining more power for their works. Another very attractive feature is the possibility for creators to program to receive a percentage of the profits from their own art, whenever it is sold to a new owner. Undoubtedly, these advantages and opportunities have boosted this new technology and, consequently, have revolutionized the art world. There are still several questions about this new technology: is it already integrated into the values of the art world or is it still deeply embedded in the cryptographic community.
Are NFTs Art?
This is a pretty mainstream topic and was the big question posed by Wikipedia's recent decision to classify the recent $69 million and $91 million NFT sales of Beeple and Pak not as art sales but as NFT sales. Most NFT artists do not obliquely cite Western art history, but rather the history of video games, pixel art, comics, AI, science fiction, concert graphics, and other stories that have not been canonized by museums and universities. NFTs are primarily a market innovation. Can they be art? Of course, art is defined by the artist's intention. What is certain is that NFTs continue to break records in terms of amounts paid for works by living artists. There has been such a massive surge that Collins Dictionary has named NFT the word of the year for 2021. The growth of cryptocurrencies coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic has paved the way for the rise of NFT collectors. Additionally, Christie's record sale of “Beeple Everydays — The First 5000 Days” (2021) for $69.3 million in February 2021 put NFTs in world news.
NTFS market in Portugal?Vhilscreates “Rupture” and enters the world of NFTs
The NFTs have created an innovative digital art movement led by artists and a community of collectors. In Portugal, we highlight the growth of this practice with the artist Alexandre Farto, known forVhils, for having made great strides in the world of NFTs. This consists of a video that captures the exact moment when the explosives that the Portuguese artist uses in his work – which transforms destruction into creation. The video was filmed usingslow motionadvanced, including 2000framesper second, which offers a unique experience and perspective on Alexandre Farto's unique creation process.“Rupture” is part of META_VS: A CRYPTO ART EXPERIENCE IN 3 METAVERSES, an action by BEYOND THE STREETS that aimed to promote the artistic community on the blockchain through exhibitions, piece releases, exclusive artist collaborations and conversations on ClubHouse and YouTube. During these days, NTWRK's virtual art fair presents exclusive works by names such asFelipe Pantone, Mister Cartoon, DABSMYLA, POSE and Tim Conlon. The Portuguese visual artisthas captivated the art world for the last 15 years with its unique techniques that consist of subtracting the buildings themselves.Vhilshas been using everything from scalpels and chisels to drills, jackhammers and even explosives to destroy crumbling walls, revealing the realistic faces of local and often disenfranchised residents.Now the artist has passed this message on to NTFS, being the first experience in Portugal with these cryptoassets. Companies like Verisart have facilitated the entry of artists such asVhils, in the NFT space. They helped creators use blockchain technology, certify and sell their work. NFTs have become a way for artists to express themselves without censorship, in a free and open access network where they can share their creativity and prove ownership over it.
“The goal is to create something that perpetuates the digital format and that also allows people to acquire it. More and more traditional collectors are better realizing the potential of this technology and digital art itself. A technology that brings the possibility of solving several problematic questions that are associated with the art world. One is the issue of royalties, or long-term payments.” — Vhils
"Vhilsreveals that NFTs give artists the possibility to “win over a lifetime”, given the existence of “transactions” of NFT from one collector to another, which guarantees a “return” to artists. Something that does not happen, at the moment, in the “most sales in the secondary market” of art commercialization. In these cases, “the artist never wins anything”, he recalls. With NFT, “royalties are always paid automatically”, in a “transparent and automated” way, ensuring that artists are always rewarded for every resale of their works.”
How is the relationship between the artist and the collector?
Many collectors find themselves directly involved with the artists they collect. With NFTs, collectors are able to connect their name to an artist or a work, and there is a timestamp of this special moment, in which the collector supported an idea or a human being. This is the real revolution that NFTs bring about.
Collect NFTs? Should I collect that Nfts? Where to buy?
The considerations for exploring and deciding which NFTs to purchase are essentially the same. One should learn about the artist's background and career trajectory, its narrative and historical significance, as well as the message of the work. Having a connection with the artists and the message they are sharing is essential for you to be happy when collecting a work of art. The fascinating part is that anyone can become an NFT collector, given the variety of prices on various blockchains. Even the biggest artists in the NFT world often havedropswhich are quite affordable.
The creation of the Museum of Crypto Art
Initially, NFT collectors were attracted to the way blockchain technology helped creators. Like Colborn Bell, who created the Museum of Crypto Art (M○C△), a decentralized art exhibition platform that houses a permanent collection of 200 NFT historic artworks. This virtual museum at Somnium Space represents a pantheon of artists including Trevor Jones, XCOPY, Dmitri Cherniak, Frenetik Void, Pak and undeadlu. The M○C△ represents a “testament to those who dared to believe in a better future that prioritized sovereignty, market access and freedom of expression in the arts”.
What is the future of NFTs?
Although the technology is still very new, the fact that more and more notable national and international contemporary artists are entering this space suggests that applications of blockchain technology in art will continue to grow.