NFT’s have dominated the media for well over a year now and the NFT market is estimated at over $10 billion. Many people in the Artworld were initially skeptical and thought it might be a passing fad, but because it is not just about NFT's, but also the Blockchain, the Metaverse and Web3, this trend can’t be ignored. Art NFT's will evolve for sure, and the market will mature, but they are here to stay.
NFT stands for non-fungible token. An NFT is a unit of data stored in a digital ledger on a blockchain. Non-fungible means the digital asset is not interchangeable. Unlike Fungible tokens which are interchangeable, such as currency, one bitcoin can be exchanged for another bitcoin. Each NFT is unique and identifiable. This is why digital art and rare collectibles make perfect NFT’s. For more on the basics of NFT’s, read NFT's in a nutshell.
Over the years, gatekeepers in the Artworld, gallerists, dealers, curators, and collectors, have defined what is considered 'acceptable' and valuable art. These tastemakers have drawn the line between good and bad. But in the frenzy of the NFT hype, the line has not yet been coded for digital art.
Historically NFT’s have come from the gaming world, from memes and crypto characters, however as more and more artists from the Artworld are interested in NFT projects, questions are being raised about aesthetics, quality and use cases of art NFT’s and where it might all be going.
We caught up with Tamzin Lovell-Miller, Founder and CEO of Artfundi, a tech platform for art businesses, to get some insight on how to start thinking about what makes a 'good' art NFT and what the future might hold.
Q: What is Artfundi’s involvement in NFT’s?
A: "Artfundi's mission has always been to enable art businesses to succeed faster. Our core solution includes software for art inventory and website management, and now we also have an NFT platform so that we can help people get into NFT's in a safe and sensible way"
Q: What do you believe dictates the value of an art NFT and will that change as the market matures?
A: "Value has layers. Simple financial value is what someone is willing to pay. Cultural value is the significance something has within a community for what it represents, or the story it tells about what is happening at a particular moment in time. Personal value is about what something means to you or what it enables you to say about yourself to others.
Right now NFT's themselves are part of a global cultural shift - a digital revolution impacting almost every aspect of our lives and bringing significant social and economical changes. The art at the forefront of that has cultural and financial value as icons of that change, thus many of the 'firsts' will fetch very high prices, because they will have a place in the history being made right now.
After the 'firsts', the next wave a will be driven by the 'bests' - quality digital art, which will be esteemed for what it says, who created it, and how much it moves us or surprises us. I must say I'm looking forward to this."
Q: For artists who are currently in the physical art market, what are the most important things to consider when planning and creating art NFT's?
A: "NFT’s have to be ‘good’ on three levels - Creative, Authorship and Technical.
- Digital native
The most authentic NFT’s are artworks created in the digital medium as they are in their purest form. That said, there are great and bad digital works. Consider both concept and skill , just as you would in the physical world. Good work makes sense of the medium and can also push the limits of the medium.
- Digital twin
This is a high-resolution scan of a physical work authenticated on the blockchain as a separate digital work. It is directly related to its physical twin. If the original work is rare and very precious, its digital twin would share some level of this fame and value. Museums have used NFT’s this way to raise funds and avoid having to divest of works from their collection. Some artists are creating a digital twin with every physical work, and selling them together, using the NFT as a certificate of authenticity. Of course, you cannot guarantee they will stay together, as they each have value.
NFT’s by their digital nature can be minted as unique works or as editions. Just as in the physical print world, the edition must be declared in full upfront.
The creator behind the work will become increasingly important as the NFT market matures. Collectors will research the artist and will be looking for backstory, and to contextualise the NFT work within the artist’s overall practice. Don’t anticipate the future of NFT art based on the present, the market will weed out the pseudonyms and quick-money-makers, and settle in favour of the true artists. There will be exciting artist collectives born at this time, who pull digital and physical art skills together in new ways.
NFT’s are made from digital files, Jpg’s, Tiff’s, GIFs, and movie files. These need to be highest-quality and their digital size must be sufficient. Though many NFT buyers view their collection on mobile phones and tablets, serious collectors, galleries, and museums are beginning to display them on large screens or projections. The file quality needs to stand up.
Good NFT’s also must have good smart contracts.
Check that the platform you are using to mint or buy your NFT allows you to verify the work’s authenticity on the actual blockchain before you buy. You should be provided links to the IPFS to view the actual work file and to the blockchain, e.g. Etherscan, where you can view the information related to the provenance of the work."
Q: How does the Artfundi NFT platform differ from others?
A: "With our smart contract in particular, we have introduced two innovations:
Gallery commissions - in the primary sale allow for artist and gallery partnerships when minting their NFT's.
Copyright - when minting, the artist can select to reserve copyright or transfer it in full to the buyer. This is an area of current confusion, and it will provide much-needed clarity and comfort in the contract for both artist and collector.
Then at the end of the day it's about the community we build. We're serious about about art and tech, we're excited about the future and exploring new possibilities, we love quality, we're very passionate, and we're building a community of like-minded people."
Q: Tell us a little more about your Artfundi NFT plans for 2022?
A: "We are looking forward to realising some exciting NFT projects with artists, galleries and organisations. We are also going to be offering help in the form of practical workshops for those exploring and wanting to create NFT projects. In these workshops we will take people through the entire process from ideation to minting, selling and buying their own NFT's. I love seeing the acceleration of confidence and implementation."