NFTs, An Ideal Playground for Artists
Embracing innovation can be both exhilarating and intimidating. As a medium, NFTs challenge the norm. And through this new technology, provide new opportunities. For instance, NFTs enable artists to be experimental and creative and communities to find new ways to express belonging. Each day, week, and month, NFTs are opening doors in ways we couldn’t have imagined.
“The art challenges the technology, and the technology inspires the art” — John Lasseter
To many artists, the secondary market royalty mechanism that directly benefits them is an attractive reason to develop an NFT artwork. This is revolutionary and important as it had not been possible in the traditional art market. And, from a technological standpoint, NFTs can inspire art and transform the way we connect with it.
Interacting with art physically and digitally are two different experiences. And, the digital experience can also vary based on several factors. For instance: the way an NFT is built, the smart contract is coded, and the sale mechanism is designed are all factors that impact the user experience. There are innovations in the digital user experience happening every day. And this matters as it continually pushes the boundaries for what’s possible.
Take Cai Guo-Qiang’s Your Daytime Fireworks for example. It is an immersive experience where collectors from around the world set off daytime fireworks on a day of their choice within 45 days. The TRLab team designed the smart contract so that the community may ultimately decide the rarity of each daytime firework.
NFTs can also create experiences that reinterpret the physical world, like our genesis release, Transient Eternity. The artwork transforms the “ignition moments,” crucial parts of Cai’s gunpowder paintings, into NFTs. These moments all come from pieces the artist created during his recent undertaking, Individual’s Journey Through Western Art History.
“Transient Eternity is the existence of the explosion moment itself — not the videos or photographs with which the instant of ignition was preserved in the traditional sense, or the physical gunpowder painting that was born from the ignition…The project ruminates on the following question: Is it possible to create an art project with a more forward-looking vision, and with more compelling forms and concepts, by leveraging the qualities unique to NFT technology?” — Cai Guo-Qiang
Fostering community and culture
Art is one of the greatest forms of self-expression. It brings together artists and onlookers. It brings together people who may not share the same societal culture, language, or be alive at the same time. There is an otherworldly or perhaps most human-worldly quality to art, that it can speak to all people. And people can take what they wish and interact or choose what resonates.
The way NFTs can foster community, connectedness, and belonging continues to push on these themes. The world of NFTs opens up access to a relationship between artist and collector or fan that is novel. The direct nature of this relationship is less common in the broader world of art and cultural institutions. The typical interaction between a collector or fan with an artist is in a museum or space. Most traditional art is physical in nature and thus tied to geographical locations. NFT art is digital in nature and thus borderless. This is an incredible advantage that artists can leverage to attract a new wave of collectors, and expand their audience to younger generations.
“I am constantly in the pursuit of creative breakthroughs…the experience of working with TRLab (twice now) and experimenting with NFTs made me appreciate firsthand the special importance of community engagement in the NFT world, which resonates with diverse aspects of my art methodology: working with different cultural and regional communities around the globe over the years, inviting audiences to participate in the making of my artworks and transforming this process into an integral part of the works, and creating firework events that attract hundreds of millions of viewers who watch on-site and online. Perhaps there are still untapped possibilities yet to be discovered? This is how Your Daytime Fireworks came into being.” — Cai Guo-Qiang
Access to blue-chip artists and the ability to participate in an artist’s creative process is one of the greatest uses for NFTs that we’ve seen thus far.
Breaking boundaries with a new artistic medium
The NFT space is an ideal playground for artists because of the possibilities presented by the medium — financial support from royalty mechanisms, novel ways to be creative and experimental, and unique ways to engage with collectors and fans.
Art created by blue-chip artists has been inaccessible to most people, as the traditional art world has been operating under relative opacity. NFTs democratize access and make things much more transparent. It might take some time to become familiar with the nooks and crannies of the NFT space, but the research is well worth it.