Part 2 in a series about the “Origins & Ancestries” art drop and what it means for the Web3 art ecosystem.
Barely a week goes by without some Web3 podcast addressing the question, Are NFTs dead? (the subject of last week’s Proof podcast). Or: What are NFTs good for, anyway?
The standard answer — why, you can prove immutable, verifiable ownership of a digital object on the blockchain — is usually met with a shoulder shrug or a puzzled look by anyone who’s not a True Believer.So that leaves those of us who believe in the vision of Web3 looking for a better answer as buying and trading NFTs remains at a low ebb. It leaves us looking around for that essential reason, for that primo use case that will help usher in the next big wave of NFT projects.
While nobody knows for sure what will unlock the next NFT gold rush, I have would like to raise one possibility:
Digital wall art.
We’ve all seen those TV commercials and Web ads for digital photo frames, showing off family members or the family dog in a little picture frame perched on the living room end table. That has never struck me as particularly interesting.
No. What is interesting is the prospect of democratizing art for tens of millions of people through a different form factor: digital wall canvases. There are millions of us who never considered ourselves “art collectors” — who never had the inclination to step inside a local art gallery to buy an original or limited-edition wall print — but would be open to the idea of showing off our digital collectibles on our family room wall or in our home office.
I’m talking about Internet-connected digital wall canvases that have plummeted in price (no, not a $9,000 LED wall screen — the ones I’m talking about start at $399). They’re now at a price point where most of us can now afford to hook these babies up — if we only had the art or photography to go with them.
Enter NFTs. Or, frankly, call it something else. Blockchain art. Digital art with provable provenance.
I’m talking cool-looking modern art. AI art. Glitch art. Multimedia holograms. Fine art photography. Crypto art. Generative art. All of it deserves a special place on your wall, not just squirreled away on your phone or laptop where you’re more likely to check the project’s floor price than to feel a connection with the artwork itself.
That’s right. We need more art in Web3 that makes you feel something. Art that you feel a connection with. That speaks to you on a deep level. That might even tell a story.
Some of the leading makers of these digital wall canvas makers include:
- Meural from Netgear, which has a partnership with Async Art.
- Blackdove in Miami, a digital canvas manufacturer and art gallery that is working on a streaming art service
- Samsung’s The Frame TV and its accompanying Art Store.
Digital art that you truly own
Now, many of these devices work with any kind of digital art, not just NFTs. That includes limited edition works and works that you might see in thousands of other places. In those cases, you don’t really own the art.
But there’s something special about owning a one-of-a-kind NFT, just as there’s something special about owning an original van Gogh or Picasso.
An awful lot of us are art lovers who haven’t considered that — why not? — I can be an art collector, too. All it takes is a couple of well-considered NFT purchases to get you going. Just keep a few things in perspective.
- Art is always subjective.
- The art establishment’s elitist constructions around what constitutes real art are generally bullshit — designed to keep you in your place, reliant on the rarefied opinions of art “experts.” Ignore any notion of what you ought to like. Collect what gives you a little thrill.
- Don’t play it safe. Push the envelope a little. Venture out of your comfort zone to explore subject matter, treatments, styles and aesthetics that broaden your cultural horizons.
- Go global. There’s an entire world beyond Western art. Explore the latest works from creatives in Asia, Africa, South and Central America and elsewhere.
The “Origins & Ancestries: Genesis” drop, debuting soon on expressions.com, is a good place to start or to add to your collection, with hundreds of Caribbean artworks that include utility, benefits and rewards. The drop includes a giveaway of a 43-inch Blackdove wall canvas (retail value $799) to one of the buyers of an “Origins” NFT.
Top image: 3 works by Picardo, part of the “Origins & Ancestries: Genesis” drop.
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In this series
• Part 1: An experiment in Web3 art