NFT’s are the latest hype. And they are storming the art world. But … is it art? Or are these ‘artists’ just a bunch of flippers? Or is this really the new art world? AI art sold as an NFT? Are we collectively going crazy? Don’t know. Interesting enough to try it out.
Lately someone (not a public figure) commissioned me to create some simple digital images for their NFT collection. So, I got pulled into the NFT world. It really is interesting to me, because it is all about mind models: the idea that you own something that is freely shared and used by anyone … and bought and sold.
Recently, I published a thought about ‘le prix de l’art‘. It contains a few words on the price of an artwork and about NFT’s for artworks, creating a whole new dynamic in the art world. And they do.
So, I started wondering: should I start an NFT based art project?
I think, I will. Why? Well …
As I said, it really is all about mind models: a digital reality.
1. Today, it definitely is 90% Flipper Art
My guess is, that at least 90% of all so-called digital artworks with NFT’s as ownership titles – NFT art, for short – have nothing to do with, let’s say, the traditional definition of art. And, at least 90% of all NFT art buyers are not art lovers, but art flippers. And it shows. Have you seen the CryptoPunks collection by Larva Labs? Well, here’s an example of six CryptoPunks:
Is it art? Hmm. Maybe. We’ll see. These digital images are examples of so-called generative art, where many different images can be created by assembling a selection of simple picture components in different combinations.
Is that it, you ask now. Yes, that’s all. And mind you, there are exactly 10,000 non-identical copies. All for sale. So far, the total trading value (initial plus follow-up sales since mid-2017) is 808,800 Ether. Which is roughly US$ 2 Billion! That beats Salvador Mundi by a factor of four! It is about 1/3rd of Christies annual turnover. (Christies sold Beeple’s digital artwork Everydays: the First 5000 Days at US$ 69 Million in 2021; the artwork is now exhibited by the NFT owner in a virtual museum in the metaverse). It is roughly 1/30th of the entire global annual art market value! One collection! No wonder, this attracts flippers.
2. But can it be the new art world?
I have said before, that digital art has its advantages. One of which is, that many more people can now enjoy art through virtual exhibitions in virtual museums and virtual galleries (although it will never be the same experience as a real exhibition or having a real artwork in your home). But mind you! If – and that is a big if – if the metaverse will come alive, digital art may well become the new art. The times they are a-changin’. As controversial as the impressionists once were, or the cubists, or street art.
And also earlier, I wrote about AI art. Now, generative art is “art that in whole or in part has been created with the use of an autonomous system. An autonomous system in this context is generally one that is non-human and can independently determine features of an artwork that would otherwise require decisions made directly by the artist” (Wikipedia). So, AI art is generative art. So, AI art lends itself perfectly for the world of NFT art!
Is it art? Don’t know. Let me give a post-modern answer (everyone has their own truth, their own reality; mind models, right?). It is art if you say it is art. Will it be art? Don’t know. Again: it will be art, when many people will say it is art, I suppose. That’s the mind model. And yet … maybe not. In another mind model.
Are we collectively going crazy? Don’t know. Maybe.
For me, it is interesting enough to just try it once. So, I said yes to the request to create NFT art. But I suppose, I’m not ready for generative art. It’s not so much my style. I like the handcraft part of creating art, also digital art. Maybe I’ll call the collection “Clonkies”. It sounds nice, I think … a bit clonky.
To be continued … .
(February 2, 2022) – Or maybe not … . As I wrote above, I already suspected there are many art flippers in the NFT arena. And now, I just read that 80% of all NFT artworks on OpenSea are stolen digital artworks from artists … WTF! Not only are the buyers flippers, many sellers use computers to generate (large numbers of) images automatically or simply take a digital copy of an artwork of an artist and sell it as their own NFT (hence, steal the artistic intellectual property)! No need to create art yourself, just steal it! Oompf. Am I so naive or is the rest of the world so smart (or shrewd)? And what to think about this: The Picasso estate has blocked the sale of more than 1,000 NFTs due to be released by the late artist’s granddaughter and great-grandson. More art flippers … ? And I thought, NFT could be a nice sort-of passive income for artists … Well, in theory it still can, but then first we have to get rid of the flippers, or at least of most of them. Maybe later, after the NFT hype has cooled down a bit. For many years to come – maybe forever – traditional art and digital art will co-exist.
(February 7, 2022) – Or probably not … I just read this article, saying that the NFT ecosystem is a complete disaster full of scams, corruption and fraud.