Will NFTs Empower The Future Artist?


Oscar Wilde once said: “When bankers meet for dinner, they talk about art. When artists get together for dinner, they talk about money.” Thus, all the talk about art and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) is usually more about the market and less about art.

If you own any digital assets, they can be converted to NFTs. For example, if you have a designer dress custom-made for you, although people can make replicas of it, ownership of the original clothing will rest solely with you. The NFT would be the proof or certification of the authenticity of the product in your possession. These digital assets represent real-world objects like art, music, and videos that can be bought and sold online. These transactions are frequently done with cryptocurrencies and are usually encrypted with the same underlying software as many cryptocurrencies. Here, each token has a unique identity on the blockchain that allows people to link unique assets to it.

Artists who have embraced NFT find it empowering, like a new digital encounter where they can build a new aesthetic. NFT markets are offering artists new ways to interact much more closely with an audience that has otherwise been massive and is now, thanks to this relentless pandemic, distant. Collectors, on the other hand, are showing increasing participation in the NFT world because it is the first time that they can co-create their artwork together with the artist. “I know there is a great future for multi-media NFTs. It’s a totally democratized environment where you don’t necessarily have to be a collector,” says actor, musician, and now NFT artist Vasundhara Das, author of an AI chatbot sold as NFT. He seems very open to this direct relationship with people who appreciate and buy his art, as he can “see immediate returns from sales and musical works.”

Fury Toy Face, 2022 by Amrit Pal Singh Featured at India Art Fair 2022 by Terrain.art

Das has created radical bots (radbots), representatives of underrepresented voices. “These voices can be from the past, present, future or fiction. My bot is called Damroo. She represents people who feel musically shut down by the narratives that have been passed down to us for a variety of reasons, about our own innate musical abilities.” As a facilitator who creates and builds communities in the real world, this social justice element of bots is what struck her the most. Artists are now exploring new horizons, to see if there is a way to have a positive narrative about AI in arts and culture. “It’s really important for us artists to creatively engage with technology to ensure its future involves empathy and diversity. For example, in our own collective of radbots, we have Anrup who represents a child on the autism spectrum, Baangmoi who is not predominantly an English-speaking individual, and MSwann who is the reincarnation of a dead poet in the form of a cat.” , he explains, emphasizing the need for this confluence of technology and creativity.

To what extent can art be digitized?

In 2021, after seven years of working with robots, Raghava KK’s first project was an NFT about orgasms. Raghava worked with about a hundred people, data scientists and artists, and captured brain waves generated with the help of digital equipment. Here, Raghava scrambled the neural data, turning each neuron into an individual brushstroke, and eventually transformed it into a work of art titled ‘La petite mort’, his phygital (physical and digital) NFT. “The reason I decided to sell my orgasm as NFT was because we are in a consumer culture, where we are desperately digitizing every part of ourselves,” says the artist.

Using NFT to monetize digital art practices

According to a report by coinbase.com, in 2020 the global NFT market was worth just over $200 million, but this year it has grown exponentially to around $12 billion in digital assets. “There are great platforms that artists can use, and we are going to see NFTs everywhere. Accessing them will be easier; even if I don’t have a lot of money but want to have a piece of art, it is possible right now,” says Om Malviya, founder and president of Tezos India.

Although it is only a tool to allow ownership of something to pass from one person to another, many believe that NFTs will become the only authentication tool for any movement of objects where money is involved.

Psylbi, 2022 by NABI Featured at India Art Fair 2022 by Terrain.art
Psylbi, 2022 by NABI Featured at India Art Fair 2022 by Terrain.art

NFTs are here to stay

While some artists believe that NFTs are a fad, soon to fall like indices in any market after a spike, others believe that NFTs are here to stay. “If you want to invest in something that you think is valued and you are an early adopter, believe in it,” says Raghava KK. “I think NFTs are here to stay because they have unleashed possibilities that you cannot take back. I’m not sure if the market will go crazy, if people will continue to buy pixel art for 69 million dollars. What I do care about is that there are vehicles for new art forms to exist, and I hope there are more believers than speculators,” says the artist, who has been experimenting with the limits of art for more than two decades.

On whether NFTs are a fad, Aparajita Jain, co-director of Nature Morte and founder of Terrain.art, says: “Maybe bad content is a fad, good content is not a fad, and the market is not a fad. bubble. In my opinion, everything in five years will be NFT. It will just expand and the garbage content will disappear. The pendulum always swings back to center and things are removed from the real ecosystem to start being built,” adds Jain. On the other hand, Raghava KK believes that the main goal of NFTs is decentralization, and that it is not ‘bad art’ but ‘effortless’ art that will be eliminated. “We are going to see the emergence of very strong subcultures. Values ​​like tenderness, mischief, don’t exist in the serious art world, but in the NFT world, they will develop,” says Raghava.

Will NFTs Help Local Artists?

With recent talk of the booming NFT art market, is the Indian artist being left behind? The infrastructure in India is not where it should be. The country lacks museums and platforms to exhibit art or even institutions to raise awareness compared to the huge population of artists waiting to showcase their talent and bring their art to the end consumer. In all of this, how do artists get the best resources to learn? The physical infrastructure to support high-tech art markets is almost impossible to replicate unless you have billions of dollars, and in a country like India, where we have roads and toilets and hospitals to build, how are we going to divert that financing to the infrastructure around? creators?

“The idea was to be able to add liquidity to the art market. The only thing the art market doesn’t talk about is that we need a lot more liquidity for it to become a serious market. We have about 1.5 billion rupees in India, but the world art market is a staggering 67 billion dollars. There are a lot of billionaires and millionaires, but we don’t have an art market that fits that size,” says Jain. She adds: “Now, if there is no money to spend on art, how can the artist survive in a small town in the Sunderbans by having his tribal art survive?” For her, the idea is to use technology like creating NFTs to democratize art, for everyone and not just for the elite; for that last person, who is a creator, with some access to a 4G service, so that he can continue to be a creator.