If you’re an artist in any medium, be it visual, musical, embroidery, you name it, then you should seriously consider researching NFTs right now and start making them yourself. Yes, the concept doesn’t make any sense at all at first, there are some minor technical barriers to overcome, and there is a lot of mixed information out there- but this does not outweigh the value of NFTs to an artist by any means. First, to address the misconceptions: Misconception 1: Making an NFT is difficult. False. Anyone can sign up for a Metamask wallet (just a chrome extension), link it with a bank account, go to Opensea and make an NFT easily- perhaps even in 5 minutes. The hard part is forming community and marketing your NFT’s so that people actually see them, but there is no great technical know-how on how to make one (as a parent, suddenly I’m reminded of the analogy of making a baby vs. taking care of one). Misconception 2: NFT’s are horribly bad for the environment. This can be true if you are considering only Ethereum based NFT’s due to the way that the cryptocurrency is mined, but nowadays there are plenty of ways to making NFT’s with alternative methods such as Polygon or Tezos, which have little to no environmental impact. Although not quite as widespread, they are certainly viable options that many people are using now. Hicetnunc, Kalamint, Screensaver are three platforms that come to mind. Misconception 3: If I start making NFT’s, then anyone can take my art and copy it or steal it. This is also true regardless of whether or not you decide to make NFT’s. In fact, if you are an artist with great visibility already, there is a chance that someone might start making NFTs from your work without you knowing it– so you might as well start the process first, so that the authenticity of your work can be verified more easily later on. Now that some of the common misconceptions are out of the way, now comes the burning question: why should artists make NFT’s? The reasons are manifold, but here are a few: Ownership and Control Often artists can feel marginalized and powerless in society, forced to create art that they do not feel passionate about in order to make a living, while running out of energy to create the art they are actually interested in. Moreover, it is rare that an artist has full control over the monetary aspect of their work, submitting to high commission fees from galleries, agencies, labels, etc. Making and selling NFTs allows the artist to cut out the middleman and make potentially larger amounts of money from art that they feel passionate about. Of course, it is not a given that the art will sell. But if there is a chance that it will, why would you not take it? Then there are scenarios when artists’ pieces are used in various contexts without being given proper credit, or worse: people stealing or copying artists’ work without their permission. This is especially an issue with artists that produce digital files that can be easily copied (audio, images, videos), for obvious reasons. In all of these cases, making your art into NFT’s can in a sense claim back the ownership of your work, and the further you progress in your NFT career, the easier it will be for everyone to identify fake or inappropriate uses of your pieces. Be a part of history NFTs are based on blockchain technology, the foundation that allows for cryptocurrency to exist and thrive, and therefore are likely to to be around for just as long. NFT platforms themselves are also rapidly evolving according to both artist and collector feedback, and as far as I can tell there are no signs that NFTs as a medium will disappear anytime soon. At the same time, this whole movement started relatively recently- although they’ve been around since 2017, the market got invigorated only in late 2020 with digital artist Beeple’s landmark “Everydays” sale on Nifty Gateway. In short, the NFT movement began in earnest only around 7 months ago, but might last beyond the lifetimes of our grandchildren, or beyond, so this is really just the very beginning. The “OG” NFT’s that were created earlier than this year are already much higher in value today, simply because they were the first to be created (same reason why the first video on youtube has 167 million views). Although most of us missed the moment to be in the very first generation of NFT artists, we all still have an unprecedented chance to slide into the beginning of a revolutionary movement that is already changing the art industry, and end up being one of the pioneers (and thus higher valued later on) while doing so. The sooner you start, the better. A New, Versatile Medium of Expression One of the most attractive aspects of NFT’s for me, as a multidisciplinary artist, was that it gave me an avenue of expression that did not exist before, where I could potentially synthesize all of the different mediums I was involved in and have an end goal that was more substantial than just a social media post. This might ring especially true for digital artists, who previously had little opportunity to interact with the traditional art world due to limitations of in person galleries. With NFTs, the possibilities for mixing media and making into a unique product are almost endless. Even if your work is 100% physical, all it takes is a picture or video of the object for an NFT to be made. The great artist Foodmasku is maybe a crystallized example of someone whose art is a purely physical expression (food on the face, which he then eats), which is then documented via pictures and videos and quite successfully sold as NFTs. Many platforms are beginning to support algorithmic and generative art in addition to standard images and videos, which opens even further what an artist can express through NFT’s. This is all just to say, pretty much anything can be made into an NFT, and the medium also seems to encourage innovative ways of combining digital and analog media. Worldwide Community One of the common refrains in the NFT Clubhouse communities is: “The NFT scene is the most supportive community I’ve ever met in my life” In order to succeed as an NFT artist, you are essentially forced to build community, and being that all the marketing is done online, this means an instant worldwide community. NFT artists and collectors are more commonly from the US currently, but are also found all over the globe (S. Korea has a particularly strong showing, if I may say so myself) and personally speaking, I have never experienced this sense of global camaraderie– in the past three months, I’ve made new artist friends in person from Korea, but also new connections with artists and collectors from all over the world- Mexico, Canada, Iraq, Singapore, London, Mongolia, the list goes on and on. One might expect a sense of greed and competition among artists, and while that isn’t entirely invisible, the sense of mutual support is much greater, and oftentimes the first thing that artists do after a NFT sale is to buy a fellow artist’s NFT, sometimes from across the globe. As an artist, having a global network of supportive, like minded fellow artists is a truly valuable and unique experience that the NFT community can potentially provide. Refinement of Your Artistic Vision For those who are new to NFT’s and reading this article, please don’t misunderstand the meaning of this blog post. I am not at all saying that making and selling NFT’s is easy. Like the making a baby / caring for a baby analogy mentioned earlier, it is easy to make an NFT, but very difficult to be a successful at selling NFTs, even statistically unlikely. Besides the marketing aspect, part of the difficulty is that collectors scrutinize an artist’s trajectory and vision (especially those who are investment minded, wanting to know if their asset will rise in value eventually). Any artist who realizes this is forced to take a step back, analyze their motivations and goals as an artist, state them clearly, and run after them on a semi-public stage. This can be difficult and uncomfortable, but ultimately can light a fire to the artist to focus their vision and create a higher level of art that they otherwise would not have. What greater reward could there be than the refinement of one’s artistic vision? They say that the things that are truly worth pursuing are the things you have to work hardest for, and as an artist I believe that the NFT journey is one of these pursuits: worth every ounce of effort you can put into it.