Digital art was born in the 1960s, but the 2020s will surely remain the era when the medium took hold and turned the art industry upside down.
The technology, in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFT) as CryptoPunks, played a key role in disrupting the traditional dynamics of the art market. Marketplaces and online platforms have freed artists from gatekeepers, giving rise to a billion-dollar business that favors creators.
“The art landscape changed when CryptoPunks launched in 2017, and everyone realized that art could be traded and traded through NFTs,” said Singaporean digital artist Metalman. Decrypt.
He and others describe a transformation that helped online art sales double in 2021, according to a report by arts organization Art Basel. Accelerating this shift online, platforms such as the .ART domain registry, which celebrates its fifth anniversary this month, have enabled creators to anchor their collections, form communities and reach new audiences.
A new rebirth
“Over the past five years, especially the past two, the interest [in] and the perceived value of digital art has increased dramatically,” according to Katelyn DeVan, a digital artist who has used the .ART platform to reach global audiences from her Ohio studio.
“Blockchain technology, and NFTs in particular, have sparked what I describe as a ‘digital art renaissance,'” she claims. “Digital art is no longer seen as just a niche collection, but also as an investment.”
This transformation has been helped by the pandemic, which has pushed online art sales from 9% to 25% of total global art sales in 2021, according to Art Basel.
But the culture is also changing. Without intermediaries, artists are able to form deeper connections with collectors – and NFTs have helped initiate the shift from consumption to sharing, according to .ART founder Ulvi Kasimov.
Free artists from their attics today
“With NFTs, every artist has a better chance of going independent. Instead of working for a big company, you can make a living producing art, that’s definitely a big factor,” says Tadeusz Chmiel, award-winning artist from Vancouver.
A user of .ART, Chmiel has worked in both digital and physical spheres; in addition to painting in oils, he has created stunning digital artwork for Star Wars, Marvel and Disney films.
In recent years, he says, “creating digital art has become much more accessible and fun. The hardware is faster, the software is simpler (and often free), and there’s a video tutorial for almost everything you need.
Ukrainian artist Stepan Ryabchenko is an early adopter of .ART and believes that “digital art has become a mass phenomenon due to the worldwide trend towards virtualization in all fields, including the gradual transition to digital currency”.
He argues that digital currency is the main factor that has led to the growth of interest in digital art, with NFTs bridging the transition and providing “the cultural component”.
NFTs as a springboard to Web3
Katelyn DeVan is the creator of the NFT Anxious Bulldogs collection on Brainshambles.art. She has owned and operated many digital art-focused websites in the past, but it was looking into NFTs that prompted her to join .ART in early 2022, she said. Decrypt.
“.ART marked a clear divergence between my Web 2.0 and Web 3 lifestyle,” she explains. “Digital art, especially NFTs, was my entry point into the crypto community.”
The artists who spoke Decrypt praised the clean look of the .ART platform and the benefits of using its domain registry. “I chose .ART to showcase my portfolio because it accurately reflects the industry I’m in and it gives a ‘prestigious’ sense of belonging to the art community,” Metalman said.
It is a community within an ecosystem that is rapidly evolving and seeking new platforms; Chmiel stressed the need for an organized space where artists can meet, better organized than Twitter, Instagram or Discord.
DeVan, meanwhile, highlighted the challenges that still need to be overcome regarding “digital security, art theft, and copyright.”
The future of digital art
Not all artists Decrypt respondents agree on the role of NFTs in the future.
Thomas Obermeir, a digital artist from Germany who specializes in software as art, has worked in the digital realm for decades and said that “NFTs are overhyped and will eventually die out”.
Ryabchenko, on the other hand, believed that NFTs – this new “digital fever”, as he describes it – have plenty of room to grow. But he predicts that physical art and space will soon be in greater demand. After all, he argues, “man is made of matter and is attracted to matter.”
Chmiel, meanwhile, argued that the great NFT boom might be over. The progress will mean that “investment in digital art will need to be more mainstream and have a place in an investor’s portfolio,” he says.
And the challenges remain. “We’re just at the start” of a digital movement that’s pushing the mainstream and “still pretty weird to most people,” Chmiel said. But he argued there’s no doubting the usefulness of NFTs: “Having a way to digitally sign and track the sales of the artwork is huge.”
The economic and cultural change triggered by NFTs is facilitated by platforms such as .ART, which provides its community of 150,000 creatives with free website building, as well as links to 3 web tools such as typing NFT and the Ethereum naming service.
It serves to connect the digital world to traditional galleries, museums and auction houses, in a time of rapid transformation, where internet and blockchain technologies have invited comparisons to the role of the printing press and ledger in the European Renaissance.
But there is an essential difference: in the 15th century, the Renaissance was limited to Europe; what is happening today is on a global scale, at an unprecedented speed.
To explore domain options, visit get.art and use promo code ARTBDAY to get 55% off all domains, or check with your registrar.
Article sponsored by .ART
This sponsored post was created by Decrypt Studio. Learn more about the partnership with Decrypt Studio.
Want to be a crypto expert? Get the best of Decrypt straight to your inbox.
Get the biggest crypto news + weekly digests and more!