Non-fungible tokens, which are linked to better revenue and new audiences, have the potential to help more artists earn a livelihood from their work, but there are numerous limits.
There is reckless speculation, an excess of works generated in massive pixels, and an excess of cartoonish series, all of which develop a desire for collecting rather than art. NFTs (non-fungible tokens) have received a lot of criticism since their media surge and record-breaking sales of works like those of Beeple or Pak. In response, its supporters often express the same hope: that these digital property certificates, which are rooted in the blockchain and assure the originality and uniqueness of a copy of a work, would help artists overcome poverty.
According to Eric Villagordo, art sociologist and visual arts professor at the University Paul-Valéry Montpellier-III, the “huge failure of artists’ careers” is a futile ambition. “We want to close our eyes to this reality because we share the romantic ideology of the selfless artist,” he continues. In actuality, there is a slew of convincing reasons why NFTs should be able to help artists live better lives. For starters, they provide value to digital works that were previously unable to highlight their rarity owing to their dematerialized nature, which enabled them to be searched and duplicated at any time. And the reason that these works now have value is that people who have benefited from cryptocurrencies, particularly those participating in the market, are prepared to give them one.
NFTs have the potential to make art more accessible to individuals who do not have access to cryptocurrency. “You don’t have to live in one of the finer parts of a big city to acquire a job. The artists are just a click away on Twitter.” John Karp established NFT Morning, a publication about NFTs. NFTs were able to attract new audiences and create a new income because, as French visual artist Kirill Ukolov put it, “no matter what the artist’s focus is, they will always find thousands of persons who are engaged in the same topic.”
A technology that is still in its early stages
Artists, on the other hand, must continue to use this less popular technique. NonFungible, a research firm that conducted a study to identify the aesthetic component of NFT sales, revealed that only 3,550 artists were selling NFTs internationally in 2021. According to Mr. Villagordo, there are “tens of thousands of persons living as artists in France alone,” which is a conservative estimate. “Most of them work on the side to make ends meet.” Only around a quarter of the artists, Kirill Ukolov follows have dabbled with NFTs. Anthony Masure, an associate professor at Geneva’s Haute Ecole d’Art et de Design, found the same discovery, emphasizing that these percentages are still “much lower among students.” In truth, the 20 or so students interviewed by Le Monde at the Beaux-Arts school in Paris and Gobelins (a visual communication and art school) could only identify two people who had jumped.