What About NFT Digital Art? What Is The Hype all About?

25/05/2021
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Welcome the new kid on the block, NFT digital art.

Most aspiring digital artists start by posting their artworks online for free, hoping to create enough buzz to bring in some income. Sometimes, they might feel disillusioned and give up, for, behind the many likes, shares, and comments, there is not much of a marketplace.

However, NFT in digital art will change that, or so it looks at the moment. NFTs is short for non-fungible tokens – a new technology that enables digital artists to authenticate the ownership of their digital files using crypto platforms.

There is a growing hype going on about this. The digital assets are sold for thousands or even millions of dollars at auctions. The future owners gain the claim to the original version of a computer image or video, and digital artists can finally find a viable marketplace for their art.

$14-Million-worth of NFT Digital Art Sold Daily

According to the NonFungible.com market tracker, about 28,870 artworks were sold last week, amounting to more than $40 million. Nearly $14-million-worth of NFT digital art is traded daily at the moment.

In 2007 Mike Winkelmann started drawing one piece a day to improve his skills. In 13 years, he has drawn about 5,000 images. Little did he know in 2007, when he started, that his Everyday series will become the third most expensive piece of art ever sold.

Yes, Mike Winkelmann, also known as Beeple in the digital realm, has sold a collage of NFT images called “Everydays: The First 5000 days” for an all-time high of $69 million. The transaction took place on March 11th 2021.

At the centre of this historical art sale is the NFT. NFTs are computer files “residing” on a blockchain. Like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and all the rest, they are stored on a public digital ledger. However, all cryptocurrencies are equal to a certain amount of money; one Ether is worth the same amount of money as any other Ether at a given time, but art is different. There are no two artworks that are the same. So how do you value them?

Bidders set NFT art valuations. As with almost any object in our world, people place value on it. Like baseball cards with pictures of players on them, Pokemon cards or Beanie Babies that cost thousands of dollars, NFT digital artworks are valuable because collectors place value on them. This value is primarily due to their authenticity and uniqueness, to the solid knowledge that they are genuine, as you cannot trick the blockchain.

However, there are some downsides to how NFT art is valued and some other general pros and cons of crypto art that we’re discussing here.

So, how do you get started in NFT digital art?

A digital artist will have to sign up for an NFT art marketplace, upload their information on a blockchain, and get a digital token. They will have to pay some money for this.  Further on, they go on the NFT art marketplace (websites such as Rarible), where they “mint” their artworks. Minting is not free either. You need to pay a so-called “gas fee” for that. Through minting, the artwork receives a “signature” as proof of its authenticity and uniqueness. The whole process takes place on the blockchain, where all the information about the artwork, its owner and the past transactions is stored.  So, there are no middlemen, no art galleries or traditional gatekeepers. The artists have direct access to their audience.

More on how to create, buy and sell NFTs here.

Why is NFT so important for the digital artist of today?

NFT creates an easy-to-access marketplace for the art digital world. Unlike the “usual suspects”, such as Facebook, Instagram, where you can get lots of interactions, appreciation but no real income, NFT can help artists generate revenue from their art. This is the dream, isn’t it? To create freely and earn a living from it is something that Paul Cezanne, Claude Money or Gauguin wouldn’t even dare dream of. Anyways, let’s not stray too far away from the digital art world.

It is not just digital art paintings we’re talking about. It is also videos, sounds, animations. Even memes can be transformed into NFT. The original photo of the famed Bad Luck Brian meme was sold as crypto-art for 20 Ethereum. That is about $41,000 at the moment. The transaction closed on March 9th 2021, on an invite-only NFT marketplace called Foundation. It is not the only one. The Nyan Cat meme original photo was also sold for $600,000 in February. A collector bought the actual image of the Scumbag Steve meme for 30 Ethereum, which is more than $63,000 now.

Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter, is auctioning off the first-ever Tweet for charity.  Kings of Leon sold $2-million-worth of tokens from their new album and limited series tickets to their future events. Even the Times Magazine has auctioned off three of their most iconic covers as NFTs. It is happening; things are moving fast.

The thing is, computer digital art has been wrongly considered as “free” for many years now. People get the wrong idea that if it’s on the Internet, then it’s for everyone to use. Consequently, aspiring digital artists find it challenging to generate revenue for their work and even give up, seeking more proverbial jobs that pay the bills.  

NFTs change the rules of copyright in digital art

It really does. More than that, it creates a viable marketplace digital artists can easily become part of.

Apart from this, NFTs generate a “treasure hunt” effect for the rarities and collectables of the Internet that no one seems to have ownership of. Let’s take the Bad Luck Brian meme we mentioned above as an example. It is so memeable that one begins to wonder who that poor fellow is in reality and how he became such a big “meme star”.  

His name is Kyle Craven, and the picture was first posted on the Internet in 2012 by his friend, Ian Davies. It was meant as a joke, but it seems everybody wanted to join in on the fun. On March 7th  2021, the two friends minted the original yearbook photo on Foundation.app to be auctioned off, and the rest is history.

The idea is, in a world full of so many copies and artworks that no longer seem to belong to anyone, claiming ownership of the original is a valuable asset. NFTs allow collectors to do just that, pay for the authentic.

NFTs create scarcity, exclusivity. It is mind-blogging when you think that these are just pixels or computer files.

Actually, this is why some people find it hard to value digital art these days. You can hold a classic painting in your hands; you can touch it, you can smell it; it provides a sensory experience that you’re used to.  Digital art is not like that, and most people cannot fathom how many hours of work and effort go into creating those pixels.

The digital-art collectors of today paying incredible sums of money for NFT art are getting it. They understand that they’re paying for the artist’s creativity, effort, imagination, vision. Even if it’s “made on a computer”, it’s still art, and it is not easy to make.

Even the most basic video animation is not an easy feat. Many digital creators with big dreams and imagination might give up because they don’t see a way forward in digital art. We think there is one now with NFT. Moreover, today’s latest animation tools, like our animation technology, lets you express your ideas freely, without limits.

In fact, to some degree, digital art is more complex, intricate. It is the perfect embrace of the digital art software and the artist’s aesthetic sense and creative mind. It is not enough to have the idea; you also need to master the tools, and the tools are more complicated now than the proverbial brush of Michelangelo.

With Vidalgo, we don’t want to add to the problem; we want to simplify things and help digital creators pass the first barriers, reach the next level.

The transition to CryptoArt and CryptoCreators

Art is going digital a lot. It is also one of the effects of the latest Coronavirus pandemic that has kept us indoors. Unable to go outside, we went to the digital realm, which is limitless.

We are now at the point where we can start talking about Crypto Art, and a whole new aesthetic community is shaping up. Riding the wave seems like the normal thing to do if you’re an aspiring digital artist or an experienced creator looking to broaden your horizons.

So what is crypto art? It is a computer file, if you want, that can have the same value as a Picasso painting, for it is authenticated with a non-fungible token. Every piece of crypto art is identified through a unique ID or digital token that cannot be replicated or forged. You can attach this signature to anything from JPEGs to MP4, GIFs, even tweets.

Yes, NFTs might solve most of the artists’ vital problems of ownership. More on this matter here.

What sets Crypto art apart? What are its main characteristics?

·         It is an entirely digital process from top to bottom

Art can now be created, edited, sold and bought digitally.

·         No geographic limits

The CrytoArt movement can be considered as the first truly global movement. Geography does not count now. Artists can create, edit and sell their creations from all over the world.

·         Highly democratic

Everyone can create and sell their creations, regardless of their name, race, gender, class, skills, or training. It is a decentralised marketplace, after all, right?

There are high hopes that NFTs can bring about a digital revolution where fame and credit are equally given to the creators regardless of who they are.

·         Anonymous

Artists can sell their creations under different pseudonyms, with no social judgment or stigma involved.

·         The Meme economy has become a reality

Most crypto artworks are memes, especially the old and classic ones that seem like they belong to everyone. Well, they don’t. The original image can be tracked down, and collectors can claim ownership.

However, memetic art is just the beginning. It is how it is all starting, and it is a good start, no doubt.

·         The CryptoPatrons have replaced the Art Patrons of old

Fortunately, or unfortunately, some people have got here first; they are also called the CryptoRich, or the whales. They’re tech-savvy investors and art enthusiasts who are the most likely to buy crypto art. There’s Daniel Maegaard; there are the Winklevosses and many more.

·         There are manageable costs

Artists usually have to pay a “gas fee” to “mint” their NFTs. Sometimes, it can prove a bit costly. However, some platforms pay commission to the artist every time that exact artwork is sold.  On Nifty Gateway, for example, artists will receive 10% of every sale. If a single artwork is sold to 4 owners in a year, the artist will get 10% of every transaction and all the other forthcoming transactions.

This breaks a historically unjust system whereby artists never benefited from the growing value of their works. The digital artist Beeple we talked about above sold an NFT artwork of Donald Trump for just $67,000. Sometime later, he got an additional $660,000 because the initial buyer had sold it forward with $6,6 million. Not bad, is it?

·         Unconventional, it needs new artistic standards

It goes without saying that crypto art is unconventional, and we can no longer judge it by classic artistic standards.

But where did it all started, you might wonder. One name – CryptoKitties.

From CryptoKitties to Beeple – NFT history in the making

Ever heard of CryptoKitties? It has started as a blockchain game on Ethereum developed by a Canadian studio in 2017. Players would buy and breed unique crypto cats with a 256-bit genome. It went mad. A few months after its release, 15% of all the Ethereum network traffic was devoted to the game. Up to this day, about $32 millions were spent on breeding, trading and collecting crypto cats, much like Pokemon cards, but a lot more expensive.

Around the same time, the crypto art blockchain CryptoPunks was released. We could consider these as the grandparents of the NFT digital art movement and the ERC-27 standard. They’re very young grandparents, it’s true.

In 2018, the Nifty Gateway platform was founded with the objective of changing the art world. At that time, NFTs were beginning to gain traction in some circles, but it wasn’t easy to trade with them. Nifty Gateway made it all more accessible, and in their first year, users exchanged more than $100-million-worth of art. Then similar other platforms appeared, and the NFT digital art took off.

Prominent celebrities and companies joined the trend. Cryptocurrency evangelists and investors are on the lookout for the next investment. But it is not just for investment objectives people spend money on NFTs; it is also for art’s sake.

There are many artists out there that are creating mind-altering digital videos that play with colours and perceptions. Their styles could be deemed controversial in the old art world, but not in the NFT marketplace. Twirling 3-D renderings, jaded colours, cartoon-styled artworks are the new aesthetics of today, a blend of street fashion and the countercultural, punk style, disrupting, grabbing your attention immediately. They’re the epitome of today’s crypto realm, where tech-savvy people work on creating a new world.

But who are these artists and creators?

They are digital art illustrators, motion designers, video artists just like you. In fact, motion graphics is a big part of the NFT digital art world. Remember that NFTs can be attached to any file, whether JPEG, MP4 or GIF and motion graphics are highly sought-after art pieces.

Animations are a particular category of art. They are incredibly time-consuming to create and usually require a high level of technical knowledge. On top of all this effort, you also struggle with selling them.

But that can change with NFT and Vidalgo, our easy-to-use platform for aspiring video artists who want to put their ideas into practice but don’t have the technical skill and knowledge yet.

We know what it’s like to spend hours on end just changing the position of a 3D object. As NFT democratises the art world, we are building a platform that can also democratise the video production process so that anyone with an idea can create their own motion graphics. You don’t need to be tech-savvy or a geek to create digital art.

Check out more about our simple tool for making video animations, and set your eyes on the NFT digital art world for it looks like the future. Also, check us out on OpenSea where we have our own artwork tokenized and ready for the world to see!

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