How NFTs are Revolutionizing the Art Market

By integrating the concepts of ownership and rarity into the digital world, NFTs have enabled the emergence of a market for artists in the industry, as well as galleries and collectors.

In March 1847, playwright Ernest Bourget and composers Paul Henrion and Vincent Parizot sat at a table in the café concert Les Ambassadeurs. They hear many of their songs performed by different artists. And then the waiter comes to present the note of their drinks. Then they refuse to pay it, claiming that this establishment just distributed their compositions without paying them!

A lawsuit followed, and to my surprise, the judge ruled in favor of the three creators. This incident led to the creation of Sacem in 1850, which then sought to compensate songwriters for the exploitation of their works.

To put it simply: theappearance from digital and D’internet was not kind to the makers and initially meant a clear setback. Digital art took off in the 1990s with artists like Evan RothGregory ChatonskyMaurice Benayoun or Ubqui who developed the so-called “Net Art” using digital tools and sometimesartificial intelligence† Only then will digital have established a new state of affairs: a musical work, a photography or an animation is never more than a precise sequence of zeros and ones and as such can be duplicated ad infinitum. For example, photographers on the Internet have discovered that their photos can be reproduced from site to site without respect a priori of any right. And from 1997, the exchange of songs in MP3 format caused panic among record labels and among songwriters, especially since it was fashionable in certain deliberately demagogic magazines to explain to everyone that art on the Internet was basically free. The singer Tori Amos then had such a healthy reflection that she declared herself ready to offer her music the day she would enter her bakery and the croissant would be free! At the time, the record industry managed to win over the Napster site, which promoted illegal music downloads, but couldn’t stop other services like uTorrent from taking over.

Digital technology had thus created a situation generally unfavorable for artists, who were easily deprived of their rights and unable to claim a notion of rarity.

The arrival of NFT has therefore revolutionized it: this technology makes it possible to appropriate a work, whether by the author or its buyers, and it opens the way to potential rarity.

The Birth Certificate of the NFTs

the NFT phenomenon is recent. We usually place the breakout in 2017 with the parallel appearance of Cryptokitties and cryptopunks† Dieter Shirley, co-founder of Dapper Labs (the Cryptokitties) is the founder of the ERC-721 standard that defined the specific rules for NFTs. An NFT can be compared to a certificate of inviolable authenticity since registered on a blockchain

For digital artists, the situation has completely changed. By certifying that a work is linked to its maker and identifying the chain of successive buyers, the NFT has made it possible to assign a value to JPG, video clips, interactive animations, works resulting from artificial intelligence… Platforms such as Rarible or OpenSea have enabled everyone to put protected works online in this way and determine the price themselves.sales, the number of copies available. While they can be blamed for this overtly indulgent approach, open galleries like OpenSea have played a role similar to the one that Amazon was able to self-publish by revealing authors such as Agnès Martin-Lugand directly to the public.

The emergence of a digital art market

It was from late 2020 that the NFT sector saw prices rise. So that they came from a computer code, the Cryptopunks from Larva Labs have seen their ratings reach new heights. Other “collectibles” of the same type, the bored monkeys, have experienced a similar phenomenon

Traditional galleries have traditionally shown distrust of the virtual universe. The advent of NFTs has prompted them to reconsider their position. Illustrious galleries, such as Sotheby’s or Christie’s, have now included this form of art in their offerings, offering artists an unexpected look as they pass by. For example, a quintessential digital artist, Beeple, who had hitherto failed to sell a work over $100, was able to break record after record. In March 2021, during a sale organized by Christie’s, the work Every day: the first 5,000 days the Beeple was won for $69.3 million.

The fashion world soon showed an interest in sponsoring art NFTs, thereby contributing to the multiplication of opportunities to sell digital art. Thereby, Guerlain associated the sale of images of bees, the Cryptobees, with owning a parcel of nature reserve near Rambouillet. And at the end of June 2022, Gucci, in partnership with SuperRare, opened a crypto art gallery: Vault Art Space.

Make possible what was not possible before

One of the main points of NFTs is to provide opportunities for artists that did not exist before. Here are some examples.

Promotion of the ephemeral

Some works are essentially ephemeral, such as sculptures on ice or in the sand† the street art is another example. As a rule, these kinds of artists continue to paint walls public buildings in a city, near major roads or in places they occupy, for example, an unused bank or town hall building. Since they do not own the respective supports, they cannot sell their creations.

However, from the moment the work of street art is photographed on its original support and linked to an NFT, it becomes possible to sell it. For example, in June 2022, the Maison Boischaut offered painters to street art to exploit their creations in the form of NFT† It is indeed for such artists the opening of a hitherto non-existent market.

Breaking Geographic Limitations

Some artists evolve in countries where it is not easy for them to distribute, or even transfer their workssilver… The possibility to post the snapshot of a work on an online gallery such as OpenSea or ​​Rarible opens up again an unprecedented opportunity, on the understanding that they will be paid in cryptocurrencies

art photography

Photographers have traditionally used so-called numbered fine art prints. The number of copies must be less than or equal to 30. However, it is usually necessary that the person organizing such a draw has a gallery or a site such as art coupleand the crowd is usually small or elitist.

For photographers, the NFT opens up new ways to sell their art and the opportunity to attract new audiences. The buyer, for his part, is free to decide on the use he wants to make of the photo in question:

  • digital print placed under glass;
  • reproduction on canvas;
  • reproduction on a wallpaper

Thus, photographic art becomes more “malleable” in terms of use.

Can NFT be of interest to classical artists?

What about classical artists, those who prefer to stick to traditional instruments (painting, sculpture…) and also some collectors who make a point of avoiding digital?

The sometimes misunderstood view is that an artist, even if he has sold a work to a private individual or to a museum, still and always has a later exploitation right. If he took a picture of his work, he has the right to take one lithograph, a numbered print, to reproduce it in a beautiful book or even, if he so chooses, on a carrier such as a T-shirt – but at the risk of alienating his favorite audience. In any case, the NFT offers such an artist an additional opportunity to exploit a creation.

What might put off a traditional artist, however, is the prospect of seeing his works together, on sites like OpenSea or Rarible, with all sorts of creations, some of which are far from deserving of the artistic label. However, several initiatives have emerged to make the sector more discoverable by: eyes industry professionals. First, there are more elite platforms such as SuperRare, Zora or Foundation, which practice the so-called “curation” (selection of works hosted in their galleries). For its part, the to start To pour plans to create a platform where collectors can purchase NFTs” from people with a good reputation in the art world “. Also the gallery speed back, takes pride in hosting NFTs from renowned artists such as Lucas Samaras as well as Jeff Koons, one of the world’s most highly regarded living artists. The latter plans to Moon 125 miniature versions of his sculptures moon phases and planned to sell, as NFTs, a photo of their location on the moon.

Public domain and plagiarism

The NFT field has its youthful flaws: In January 2022, OpenSea had to admit it through a tweet : 80% of the files put online with the tool specific to this platform were “plagiarism, fake collections and spam OpenSea says it has taken drastic measures to curb this movement

On the website NFT artist rightsSeveral artists’ estates – including those of the Picasso and Magritte families – are pushing to build the NFT market regarding artistic property rights.

It is recalled in the clearest possible way that, according to the rules applicable to copyright established at the international level, any reproduction and communication to the public of a work of art, in part or in full, can only take place with the consent of the artist or his legal successors.

Marketing a work associated with an NFT is no exception to this rule: no one is authorized to publish a digital work on a selling platform, nor to inject it into a metaversewithout the consent of the artist or his successors in title (heirs, foundations, etc.).

It is the responsibility of anyone considering an NFT project related to an artist’s work to ensure that the necessary authorizations are obtained from the rightholders or the appropriate collective copyright management organizations.

Not to mention that over a thousand fraudulent works and counterfeits have been removed from NFT selling platforms.

Clearly, the fledgling universe of NFTs is changing. After’euphoria from 2021, the market saw a noticeable drop from $945 million in August 2021 to $101 million in May 2022 according to Clare McAndrew, author of a report on this topic† However, if some want to see a parallel with the internet bubble of the late 1990s, it’s easy to remind them that after theto collapse spring 2000, this sector has seen the rise of many giants googlefacebook Where Twitter† From this angle, the NFT market seems to have a bright future ahead of it.

Interested in what you just read?

Leave a Comment