Digital technology is continually opening up new perspectives for artistic experimentation. For artists
who are willing to explore and play with new mediums, possibilities for creative expression are endless. Moreover, digital art has radically changed the way of viewing, enjoying, and sharing art as it can be easily transported and seen via different kinds of digital devices. The potential of a new, enlarged audience has also empowered artists to build their own careers and make their work known without the necessity of representation. But there is another recent layer to digital art, one that explains the rising attention towards this kind of artistic practice in the media more and more often with titles such as “Digital artwork sells for record price” or “The Most Expensive Digital Image Ever”. This has something to do with the monetary value and the ownership of digital art.
The development of blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies, and non-fungible tokens has allowed ownership over something that would otherwise be impossible to own. That’s how the market for NFT’s grew by nearly 300% in 2020 alone. NFT sales of crypto art and collectibles have already hit an estimated $3.5 billion in 2021 as reported in the Hiscox Art trade. Compared to the traditional art market, the NFT market is offering certain benefits such as viability for digital works as art and assets, authenticity and transparency, more accurate, cheaper and quicker authentication, and royalties for future sales – a context that sees artists in a much better position compared to the traditional system where they earn no money from secondary market sales. However, the biggest revolution of NFT’s in the art industry is related to the ownership of digital art. Even though many would argue that owning a piece of digital art is senseless with so many copies around, accessible to everyone, when it comes to the market, owning an original piece of art, be it physical or digital, is associated with monetary and social value. After all, having a print of a Picasso’s painting is not quite the same as owning the original painting. That is ultimately what makes the NFT art market so valuable.
- Mishkaat January