NFTs have changed the way artists work and the rules of the art market. NFTs are also and especially in the field of photography, which alongside collectibles, digital art and member brands like Bored Ape Yacht Club takes a back seat in the media excitement, NFTs are increasingly unleashing their potential. The fact that interest in photo NFTs is growing was most recently proven with the sale of TWIN FLAMES # 49 by artist Justin Aversano in May 2021, the fifth most expensive image ever sold. With a selling price of 871 Ether – the equivalent of $ 2.4 million – it is also the most expensive photo NFT ever. Last November, Aversano founded the NFT platform, which focuses on hand-picked photo collections, along with Kris Graves, Alexx Shadow and Jonas Lamis quantum art. Together with the German online and print publisher for art photography Griffen launches Thursday, March 24, the first NFT collaboration with works by Julia Kafizova, Marcin T. Jozefiak and Margaret Murphy OpenSea at the beginning. We spoke with Simon Lovermann, founder of Der Greif, and Margaret Murphy about the motivations, opportunities, challenges, and new avenues through NFTs in photography.
NFTs are changing the art scene
Blink in the pot or wildfire? Simon Lovermann has a clear position on the impact of NFTs on the art market: “In my opinion, NFTs will change the art industry in the long run – they already do”. While NFTs were initially smiled at as a fashion phenomenon, the sales figures in the NFT market have long ago created new facts that even the established art world can no longer ignore.
With veteran auction houses like Sotheby’s or Christies, which has made a significant contribution to the success and presence of NFTs in the art market with spectacular auctions such as Beeple’s mammoth work “Everydays: the First 5000 Days”, a process of change in the art world itself was also set in motion. According to Lovermann, “classic gatekeepers like galleries” are changing and being forced to reorient themselves by “the power that potential economic empowerment unfolds on the part of creative people”.
A process that is gradually but unstoppably set in motion as a result of the gradual dissolution of power structures in the traditional art market. So far, the friction points have been manageable, and “the discrepancy between the traditional art world and NFT collectors” is still very clear, says Lovermann: “I have seen very little or no overlap so far”. But what is primarily due to the loss of significance of the institutions: “What relevance do you have as an institution, gallery, etc., if your market power is potentially being scammed?”
How artists benefit from NFTs
The fact that the distribution structures are moving benefits first and foremost the artists themselves. For them, the “potential benefits are different,” Lovermann says. Especially when it comes to “financial independence”. And not just right away. Finally, the great advantage of Smart Contracts is that artists can permanently benefit from their increasing market value. “Secondary royalties potentially create a passive income that seems quite revolutionary,” Lovermann says. Also revolutionary because artists do not usually participate in the sale on the “existing secondary markets in the art industry, that is, the classic auction houses”.
However, NFTs are not a sure success. Dealing with them also requires new skills. Proximity, authenticity, network: In addition to the craft, artists must also master the social media game and position themselves as a brand. “A limitation that I don’t think artists entering the NFT market are prepared for,” says Margaret Murphy. “A lot is happening at this point, and things are going fast in the virtual world. You have to be your own biggest advocate.”
But if you are willing to play by the rules of the NFT market, there are numerous synergy effects. “In the world of NFTs, there is an incredible community of artists, curators and collectors who are passionate about transforming the way the art world works.” Margaret Murphy also sees the overall goal of “rejecting systemic monopolies that otherwise hold art as we know it under lock and key”. Although she admits, “I would be lying if I said money was not a significant factor in my decision to make NFTs.”
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