Wait I thought this was printmaking blog? This is a printmaking blog; however, I believe blockchain technologies are ecosystems where traditional artforms can insert themselves. If you make any sort of income through your artwork, then I suggest you stick around!
When digital art entered the art market, artists went up in arms. NFTs are now doing the same thing. On May 9, 2022, Mark Suzkaberg and Adam Mosseri announced that Facebook and Instagram would begin hosting NFTs as well as widening the creator economy to even more people. On May 12, 2022, Instagram CEO, Adam Mosseri, shared Instagram’s first NFT.
Hold on to your ink! Change is HERE and it doesn't matter if we like it or not!
Why YOU should pay attention..
You have probably heard the buzzwords: NFT’s, the Metaverse, cryptocurrency, blockchain technology and bitcoin being thrown around lately. I will not bore you with all the details of what crypto is or how it works. The Latecomer’s Guide to Crypto, by Kevin Roose breaks it down perfectly.
What exactly is an NFT then?
NFT’s stand for Non-Fungible Tokens - digital goods that live on the internet. They can be pictures, videos, 3D scans, digital real estate and Metaverse worlds. I recommend reading What are NFTs?, which can offer some great insight!
As traditional artists, we should not be afraid of change. We should learn more about what is happening, and if possible, adapt to it. How do you know you don’t like fried chicken until you try it?
Wait, but aren't NFT’s just pictures on a website?
Yes, in a way. You can go to any NFT marketplace and right click over an NFT and save a jpeg file on your computer. You will have the image but you will never be the owner. I have a poster of Monet’s ‘Water Lilies’ on my wall but that doesn’t make me the owner of the original painting.
As artists and creatives, we know how hard it is to get proper credit on the internet and how inconvenient it can be to have a middle man. I am talking about you, Etsy!
Are NFTs a scam?
When you buy an NFT, you do not get the digital goods or its copyright. You do get to own the token stating this is the “official copy” of that item. A perfect example is the famous Nya Cat, which its creator Chris Torres originally uploaded to YouTube and sold as an NFT for $580,000 last year. Yes, crazy money for a cat farting rainbows!
I can frame and hang a print but how can I enjoy NFT art?
Currently, NFTs live on digital wallets and most recently thanks to Meta, they will also be viewable on Instagram and eventually Facebook. My mom already told me she wants one of Los Muertos NFTs for her Facebook profile. With the dawn of the Metaverse, digital goods will be able to be enjoyed in even more places and virtual worlds.
NFTs are highly controversial. I will not lie to you and guarantee that the small-time artist will become an immediate millionaire after their first NFT. Big companies and celebrities are launching their NFTs while utilizing their clout to raise prices and like in the traditional art market, the NFT market has also been ground for money laundering.
There are some serious collectors out there. Take a look at this wallet which is filled with $1.4M worth of NFT art. This wallet is insane with over $40M dollars. These digital goods have real world impact - not just financially and socially but environmentally. The amount of electricity that blockchains consume is astronomical.
My NFT Experiment
So with all that in mind, back in April I decided it was time to step into the NFT world and minted my own. This is a guide on how you, if you are so inclined, can do it too!
Decide which NFT marketplace you want to mint your work in. NFTs are not made, they are minted.
I chose OpenSea because an 18 year Dogecoin billionaire told me to (that was a joke). There's also FTX, Axie Marketplace, etc.
OpenSea is one of the most established and largest marketplace for NFTs. They have it all: art, collectibles, domain names, music, photography, sports paraphernalia, trading cards, utility goods, virtual worlds.
Coinbase just opened their marketplace on 04/20 which already boasts 89 million global users.
Choose a digital wallet. Like marketplaces you have options. OpenSea supports over 15 different wallets. I chose MetaMask.
MetaMask is web3's most popular wallet and oldest in the industry. You can download it as a web browser extension or mobile app.
Set up your wallet.
This is an important step where you will create a unique 12 word phrase that will serve as your master key. If you forget or lose this key no one will be able to help you. Like ever! There is no IT guy who will unlock it for you.
Connect your wallet to your OpenSea Account.
At this point, you could fund your wallet with Etherum, since most NFTs live on the ETH blockchain. Plus, you will have funds in order to pay for “gas” fees associated with the creating, trading and selling of NFTs.
Once your account is connected to a wallet, you will be able to upload content to mint. Make sure you add a title and description, customize properties, or un-lockable future content.
List for sale.
It took me less than ten minutes to do this entire process. Honestly, it was a little too easy. As I browsed through the pages of available artwork, I began noticing a trend, digital art is king. There are also a lot of paintings and even printmaking NFTs! My dream to be the first to mint Printmaking NFTs was thwarted.
So far, I have minted 5 NFTs - utilizing unsold paintings from my ‘Great Beyond’ watercolor series. I have not put them up for sale yet but once I do, I will let you know how that goes. You can view my NFTs here.
Beware of the risks...
NFTs and cryptocurrency are not all unicorns and rainbows - no pun intended! It is important to understand the risks associated with both before you drop your hard earned Benjamin's to buy Internet money. Last week there was a huge crypto crash, and like in the real world market, it’s suspected Wall Street Bankers caused the meltdown.