Not all of the art world has reacted warmly to NFTs, but that’s exactly why NFTs and Digital art fit together so well.
The rise of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology has ushered in new eras in economics and digital goods. Many communities and professions have begun dipping their toes into the world of cryptocurrency. The most natural of which, was the art world.
Headlines have been dominated as of late by reports of “NFTs” – or, non-fungible tokens – being sold by artists for millions of dollars. Digital artists like Beeple were able to digitally, and uniquely identify the artwork to create a digital “one of a kind” – or at least close to that.
There have been some fascinating reactions to these sales from inside and outside of the art and creativity world. Many artists were quick to brush it off as an anomaly, and made jokes about low effort NFTs. Though, as each day passed more and more artists were cashing in on the emerging market.
Some reactions online, even went far enough to claim these NFT sales were the opposite of art, and disrespectful to art as a whole.
This point made me really think about this rapid rise in NFT markets, and its implications on art.
NFTs, Art and the Meaning of Life
Art is a complex universe of its own, with limbs that wrap around members of this universe. Often, art carries with it a sense of counter-culture, and is always someone’s form of expression.
Every piece of art is an artist’s attempt to communicate an abstract thought.
When it comes to NFTs, the art being sold is an expression of the art world’s faith. Simply put, the traditional faith in capitalist markets and dollars is dwindling.
Many artists felt abandoned in 2008 when the US economy collapsed. This feeling never quite had the chance to go away, and then this pandemic surged the same senses of abandonment and hopelessness in creative hearts around the world.
The first NFT that I saw really making headlines, was from Beeple. It was Kim Jung Un inside a giant Pikachu head on Buzz Lightyear shoulders. Many of his other work featured prominent world figures, and cultural standouts in a similar fashion.
The meaning of life, and the meaning of art have a lot of overlap in my definitions. To experience life, and turn it into something even better and find ways to express the feelings that can’t be easily wrapped in words.
Uncertainty Creates New Avenues for Art (For Better of Worse)
Beeples artwork, and the rise in NFT markets is a clear sign that this cryptocurrency world is more promising than the the economy in place at the moment. World leaders have been turned into punchlines with each election – or lack of elections- around the world. This brings uncertainty of many kinds, especially economic uncertainty.
Economic uncertainty cause artists to become afraid. Which in turn makes their work get weirder. Sometimes in a good way, some times in a bad way. Always in an interesting way.
Through political discourse turned disinterest, artists opinions become embedded in their work more than ever before. This is the only way to not lose them in the void with the rest of the worlds opinions.
NFTs are a place for artists to explore these sides of themselves, and earn some money for their work. While there are certainly downsides to the process, I am grateful that a digital system like cryptocurrency and NFTs could help art so much.
And art, in it’s odd beauty and kindling for burning questions, helped propel the rapid movement of cryptocurrency into the mainstream.
Learning about cryptocurrency, NFTs, and blockchain has been really inspiring to me lately. It has spurred a lot of thinking and building upon my understandings of economics. Inspiring me to learn more.
You can learn more about my inspirations with the InTakeCreate Newsletter. A monthly newsletter for my latest work to live right beside the creative work that inspired it.