From GIFs, to videos and paintings: NFTs are gaining prominence in the world of art
Contemporary artists around the globe have been trying to free art from the confines of art galleries and make it accessible to people. While some advocate bringing art to public spaces, others have chosen a more modern approach — digitising art. The latter, in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), has come to the rescue of the artist community in the pandemic when physical galleries and museums closed their doors for exhibition and sale of artwork. NFTs are also helping artists earn royalties for the resale of their work, and preventing plagiarism. From meme artists, GIF makers and AI specialists, to graphic designers and sound engineers everyone’s involved in NFTs now.
Beeple’s collage, Everydays: The First 5000 Days, sold at Christie’s
Mahendra Rajpurohit, the founder of a platform that promotes works of digital artists and helps find collectors and buyers, explains, “NFTs let artistes or anyone buy/sell ownership of their digital items in cryptocurrency. It also allows them to track who owns the items, using the blockchain, by creating a unique code of the digital asset that can’t be copied or imitated. Anything digital — drawings, artworks, tweets, TikTok videos, GIFs, sounds and games — can be sold as NFTs.”
Pakistan’s most shared meme ‘Friendship ended with Mudasir’ was sold as a non-fungible token for a whopping $51,530 (Rs 38 lakh)
According to the website NonFungible.com, NFTs have generated nearly $2.5 billion in sales in May 2021, taking the world of art by storm. NFTs and blockchain not only help artists find buyers and collectors from across the world, without mediators but also promise them a 5-15% royalty each time their work is resold.
HOW NFTS ARE BRINGING DIFFERENT ART FORMS TOGETHER
Recently, pop icon Ritviz and visual artist Santanu Hazarika sold their collaborative work for $391.8 (`29560 approx) within 10 seconds of going live on an Indian NFT marketplace. In July, actor and host Vishal Malhotra was trending on social media for becoming the only Indian actor to release his NFT — a digital artwork in collaboration with artist Ishita Banerjee — which was sold for 2.5 Ethereum ($5,500), five times the listed price. The actor, who recently dropped his second NFT, says, “The beauty of the digital world and NFTs is it gives you the scope to make your artwork interactive. It’s not static like the physical world where a painting is two dimensional. My NFT artwork has my portrait in an animated form with my hair swaying and instruments like the tanpura and the sitar playing in the background with my voice chanting ‘Aum,’ which I recorded in a studio.”
Actor-host Vishal Malhotra’s NFT atworks
Echoing similar sentiments, Raghava KK, a multidisciplinary artist and curator, shares, “Why should one be staring at a static piece of art when you can bring in movement, sound, and different other elements by collaborating with UI designers, musicians, choreographers and tech experts? That’s how you bring interactivity to your art. What NFTs have done is tell the art world that art is not just what you buy in a gallery, but it can be something that you experience digitally as well. It has also liberated art and artists. Suddenly the medium is no longer a 2-dimensional physical object. It no longer has the rules of the physical world.”
He continues, “NFT is proof of ownership of digital art, not art itself. Anything digital, physical, hybrid, an idea etc can be sold through NFT. If I project the image of my painting, the image is digital and the painting is physical, so there are the kind of things that are happening.”
DEMOCRATISING THE ART SPACE
Pune-based artist and curator Shankar Mridha, who runs an art-tech organisation, already has a bunch of artists registered with his platform, says, “NFTs gave a unique way to authenticate any digital asset. In the story of the evolution of NFT, digital artists saw a huge opportunity to reach out to art collectors with a certificate of authenticity. There are several platforms available in the market where one can upload a digital version of their artwork and obtain NFT, by paying a gas (Ethereum network transaction) fee. Tech-savvy art collectors and digital galleries can purchase these artworks from NFT platforms by paying in cryptocurrency.”
Artist M Narayan’s artwork Indian Folk
Shankar, elaborates, “There are several platforms available in the market where one can upload their digital version of their artwork and obtain NFT. The fact is that all the NFT platforms available today do transactions only in cryptocurrency. So the artist needs to purchase cryptocurrency from a crypto exchange and then transfer them to the NFT platform and pay a fee to get the NFT token called GAS fees. This step will complete the artwork uploading process and an NFT is assigned to the artwork ready for sale.”
IS NFT THE ANSWER THE ART WORLD IS LOOKING FOR?
All said and done, Raghava KK, a multidisciplinary artist and curator, warns that NFT is not a gold rush. He says, “I want to warn people against this notion. They think NFT is the golden unicorn that is going to give them loads of money. It is just new technology and opportunity, like the internet. We have to use it in a way that is meaningful to us.”
Horizons by Madhuri Bhaduri
The challenge that artists and those investing in NFTs face is the fact that cryptocurrency is not legal in India yet. “This is an impediment for Indian buyers and sellers to enter. The payment is often routed across many channels, and the result could be quite disappointing for artists despite the astronomical figures at which NFT artworks are sold. The expected boom for the NFT market in India will happen when crypto transactions are legalised here,” adds Dr Palem.
“Significantly a very low number of Indian artists have really delved into the world of NFT. One is because they were possibly a little closer to the technology due to the tools they have been using for creating their art. And the other reason is that the process itself is extremely costly as of now for an average artist in India,” adds Shankar.
From a sex tape to farts, bizarre things that are being sold as NFTs
- Rapper-singer Azealia Banks sold her 24-minute long audio sex tape with her boyfriend Ryder Rips, I F*&#ed Ryder Ripps for 10.00 ETH, which is worth $18,270.80 (Rs 15.40 lakhs).
- William Shatner sold an array of things on NFT including digital trading cards and dental X-Rays. The X-Ray of the ‘Star Trek’ actor sold within 9 minutes. Shatner’s headshot from the 2000s was sold for $6,800.
- Brooklyn filmmaker Alex Ramírez-Mallis and his four friends, who were sharing audio recordings of their farts through WhatsApp group chat, auctioned 52 minutes of audio of their fart as an NFT which was sold for 0.24 Ethereum, or about $420. He’s also selling NFTs for individual farts and their Fart #420 was sold for about $90.
- Taco Bell sold its taco-themed GIFs within 30 minutes of dropping the NFT.
- Pakistan’s most shared meme ‘Friendship ended with Mudasir’ was sold as a non-fungible token for a whopping $51,530 (Rs 38 lakh)
- What better than physical toilet paper? Digital toilet paper but not as an NFT! Toilet paper brand Charmin ‘rolled out’ their toilet paper-themed NFTs and secured a bid of $3,102.95, selling one NFT for each of its five designs.
- They say love cannot be bought and sold, but Marta Rentel, a Polish influencer, sold her love as an NFT online for $250,000. The buyer will also be able to go on a dinner date with her.
- Digital artist Beeple sold his artwork Everydays—The First 5000 Days for $69 million in March at Christie’s digital auction. Beeple’s first NFT, titled Crossroads, was inspired by U.S. presidential election and depicted a defeated President Donald Trump lying naked and covered in graffiti on the roadside. It was sold for $6.6 million. His Ocean Front was sold for $6 million.
- Edward Joseph Snowden, former computer intelligence consultant, CIA, who leaked highly classified information from the National Security Agency in 2013, sold his artwork featuring court documents for $5.4 million
- Mad Dog Jones, became the most expensive living Canadian artist with of Replicator, depicting photocopier machine, for $4.1 million in April this year
- Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter sold his first tweet (dated March 21, 2006) that read “just setting up my twttr,” for the equivalent of $2.9m (£2.1m), in March this year.
- Artist XCOPY minted has $ 1.8 million for his crypto artwork Death Drip
Published By : Times Of India