written by Maurice Cardinal …
Creating art and investing in the crypto NFT art market would be less nerve-wracking if everyone knew what they were doing. Unfortunately, most are flailing and trying to catch up. On the upside, experimenting with art is half the fun, so whether the big score is by design or luck, it’s all good, at least for now.
If you’re like most artists and art collectors, you probably don’t fully understand yet, or appreciate the recent macro-explosions in the crypto art NFT world.
What you do know however, is that you want in. Who doesn’t?
The challenge for many artists and art collectors is that they’re not sure where to find the starting line. Crypto art is a moving target with new companies, features, and opportunities announced almost every day! Some of the players in this arena have a tech background and have been digital artists for eons, and although they have considerable SHORT TERM advantage, the NFT market is HUGE with plenty of space for everyone. It’s not going away!
So … relax, grab a coffee and put on your Blue Thinking hat, ala Edward de Bono and follow along. If you don’t know what Beeple’s Opus is, a historic NFT campaign, take a look at the offering from Mike Winkelmann and Christie’s Auction House. BTW, Winkelmann has been an artist for a long time, but cryptoblock and NFT is relatively new to him too. According to his site Winkelmann is an “Originators of the current “everyday” movement in 3D graphics, he has been creating a picture everyday from start to finish and posting it online for over thirteen years without missing a single day.”
To begin, there’s a relatively small group of tech coders, artists, and marketers who have been involved in and pioneered the cryptocurrency art market for several years. In early 2021 though, it’s still not a big crowd even considering that some of the insane financial success reported lately clearly shows that crypto art is attracting a lot of attention from collectors–wildly in some respects. Crypto art will take a while to go mainstream, maybe a few years, but it won’t however take a decade like it did for the internet to become engrained in society. Today, everything moves exponentially faster–Bitcoin is a good example.
The crypto art market isn’t for everyone.
Unless you have cash to burn, it’s definitely not for hobby artists or meek investors. There was an implied promise in the early days that the cost to play in the blockchain sandbox would be low, but today, the cost in Fuel alone to mint a piece can be an impediment to many artists, especially those who don’t believe in their own work. This reddit thread explains a lot about Ethereum fuel, plus it provides workarounds to reduce and even remove fuel costs–although it’s not a free lunch and comes with a side of other consequences.
Fuel costs aside, pioneer Joanie Lamercier, a crypto art activist also expresses serious concerns about the magnitude of energy required to mint a piece of art. He makes a great argument, but the counter is that NFT crypto art is a new enterprise, and anything new and this big always has massive start-up costs. When NFT starts to show mainstream promise, which it is now, development investors will line up to support methods that reduce the energy required to mint and manage crypto art. When you reduce costs, you increase profit, which means ostensibly, you can also reduce the cost for artists. It’s self levelling.
Crypto art isn’t exactly what it promised in the the early days.
Turns out, it’s actually better!
It initially takes a lot of brainpower and a bit of cash to get in the game and to be competitive, but if you have faith in your art, it’s a great platform to grow a new art career, and expand or even revitalize an old one.
Over the years, artists came to regard the promotion and marketing of their own art as a dirty enterprise and necessary evil. That self-sabotaging attitude is changing rapidly though. The reason is that crypto art on the blockchain removes the middleman, which reduces costs. It means artists get to keep more sales revenue, and art collectors get a better deal. When you roll this into the equation, the cost to mint doesn’t seem to be such a big issue. Progressive traditional galleries are figuring it out too, and countering with their own virtual offerings. If you already have a relationship with a gallery, ask them what they offer in the virtual crypto NFT sphere. If they say nothing, or look puzzled, it might be time to move on and do it yourself.
For artists to survive in an insanely chaotic and fractured pandemic art market, they have to learn and embrace promotion skills–crypto or not. As the art market reinvents itself in real time, artists and collectors are discovering new opportunities that never existed. The field is still far from level, and because money talks it never will be perfectly flat, but it’s already much less bumpy and more transparent.
A good first step would be to learn the lexicon so you know the difference between an ETF and NFT. You don’t need to know everything about crypto and blockchain, but the basics are important. Reading posts like this and hanging out in crypto communities is a good way to learn.
In Part Two of this series I cover key concepts, and help you understand what you need to know as an artist or collector to sell or buy minted NFT crypto art.