By integrating the concepts of property and rarity into the digital world, NFTs have enabled the emergence of a market for artists in the sector as well as for galleries and collectors.
In March 1847, playwright Ernest Bourget and composers Paul Henrion and Vincent Parizot were seated at a table in the café-concert Les Ambassadeurs. They hear many of their songs performed by various artists. And then, the waiter comes to present the note of their drinks. They then refuse to pay it, claiming that this establishment has just distributed their compositions without paying them!
A legal case ensued, and surprise, the judge ruled in favor of the three creators. This incident led to the creation of Sacem in 1850, which then endeavored to remunerate songwriters for the exploitation of their works.
As much to say it: the, Maurice Benayoun or Ubqui who have developed what has been called “Net Art”, using digital tools and sometimes also . Only then, digital has established a new state of affairs: a musical work, a or an animation is never more than a precise sequence of 0s and 1s and as such, can be duplicated ad infinitum. Photographers have thus discovered on the Internet that their shots could be reproduced from site to site, without respect first of any right. And from 1997, the exchange of songs in MP3 format caused panic in record companies as well as among songwriters, especially since it was fashionable in certain deliberately demagogic magazines to explain to the all-comers that on the Internet, art was in principle free. The singer Tori Amos had then had this healthy reflection that she declared herself ready to offer her music the day she would enter her bakery and the croissant would be free! At the time, the recording industry succeeded in bringing to heel the site Napster which promoted the illegal downloading of music, but could not prevent other services like uTorrent from taking over.from and D’ was not kind to the creators and initially represented a clear setback. Digital art took off during the 1990s with artists such as
Digital technology had therefore created a situation that was generally unfavorable to artists, who were easily stripped of their rights and unable to assert a notion of rarity.
The advent ofhas therefore represented a revolution: this technology allows the appropriation of a work, whether to indicate its author or its buyers, and it opens the way to potential rarity.
The birth certificate of the NFTs
Leis recent. We usually place its outbreak in 2017 with the parallel appearance of Cryptokitties and . Dieter Shirley, co-founder of Dapper Labs (the Cryptokitties) is at the origin of the ERC-721 standard which established the rules specific to NFTs. An NFT can be likened to a of inviolable authenticity since inscribed on a .
For digital artists, the situation has been completely changed. Since the NFT certifies that a work is linked to its creator, and that it identifies the chain of successive buyers, it has become possible to assign a value to, video clips, interactive animations, works resulting from artificial intelligence… Platforms like Rarible or OpenSea have allowed anyone to put works protected in this way online and to set the price themselves. sale, the number of copies available. Although they can be blamed for this overtly permissive approach, open galleries like OpenSea have played a role similar to the one that was able to have in self-publishing by directly revealing authors like Agnès Martin-Lugand to the public.
The rise of a digital art market
It was from the end of 2020 that the NFT sector saw prices soar. Sofrom Larva Labs have seen their ratings reach new heights. Other “collectibles” of the same type, .
Traditional galleries had traditionally shown mistrust of the virtual universe. The advent of NFTs has caused them to reconsider their position. Illustrious galleries, such as Sotheby’s or Christie’s, have now included this form of art in their offerings, offering artists an unexpected aura in passing. Thus, a typically digital artist, Beeple, who until then had not managed to sell a work above $100, was able to break record after record. In March 2021, during a sale organized by Christie’s, the work Everydays: The First 5 000 Day de Beeple was won for $69.3 million.
The fashion world quickly showed interest in sponsoring art NFTs and thus contributed to the multiplication of opportunities to sell digital art. Thereby,near Rambouillet. And at the end of June 2022, Gucci opened a crypto art gallery in collaboration with SuperRare: Vault Art Space.
Make possible what was not possible before
One of the main points of NFTs is to provide artists with opportunities that did not exist before. Here are some examples.
Promotion of the ephemeral
Some works are by essence ephemeral, such as sculptures on ice or in the. Le street art is another example. As a rule, these types of artists paint on public buildings in a city, near main roads or in places they occupy, for example an unused building belonging to a bank or a town hall. Not being owners of the supports in question, they cannot sell their creations.
However, from the moment when the work of street art is photographed on its original support and associated with an NFT, it becomes possible to sell it. Thus, in June 2022, the . It is indeed, for such artists, the opening of a hitherto non-existent market.
Breaking geographic constraints
Some artists evolve in countries where it is not easy for them to distribute their works, or even to transfer… The possibility of placing the snapshot of a work on an online gallery such as OpenSea or Rarible, again opens up an unprecedented opportunity, it being understood that they will be paid in .
Photographers have traditionally practiced what are known as numbered fine art prints. The number of copies must be less than or equal to 30. However, it is usually necessary for the person who organizes such a draw to go through a gallery or a site such as and the audience is usually small or elitist.
For photographers, the NFT opens up new ways to sell their art and the ability to attract new audiences. The buyer, for his part, can freely decide on the use he wants to make of the photo in question:
- digital print placed under glass;
- reproduction on canvas;
- reproduction on a …
Thus, photographic art becomes more “malleable” in terms of its use.
Can NFT be of interest to classical artists?
What about classical artists, those who prefer to stick to traditional tools (painting, sculpture…) and also some collectors who make it a point of honor to avoid digital?
The sometimes misunderstood notion is that an artist, even though he has sold a work to an individual or to a museum, still and always has a subsequent right of exploitation. If he has taken a photograph of his work, he is entitled to make one, a numbered print, to reproduce it in a beautiful book or even, if he wished, on a medium such as a T-shirt – but at the risk of alienating his favorite audience. Be that as it may, the NFT provides such an artist with an additional opportunity to exploit a creation.
What can put off a traditional artist, however, is the prospect of seeing his works cohabit, on sites such as OpenSea or Rarible, with creations of all kinds, some of which are far from deserving the artistic label. However, various initiatives have appeared in order to make the sector more frequentable by , prides itself on hosting NFTs from renowned artists such as Lucas Samaras but also Jeff Koons, one of the world’s most highly rated living artists. The latter plans to send on the 125 miniature versions of his sculptures Moon Phases and planned to sell, as NFTs, a photograph of their location on the Moon.industry professionals. First of all, there are more elitist platforms such as SuperRare, Zora or Foundation, practicing what is called “curation” (selection of works hosted in their galleries). For its part, the intends to create a platform where collectors can buy NFTs “ from people with a good reputation in the art world “. Also, the gallery
Domaine public et plagiats
The NFT field knows its youthful mistakes: in January 2022, OpenSea had to admit it via and : 80% of the files put online with the tool specific to this platform were “plagiarism, false collections, and “. OpenSea says it has taken drastic measures to curb this .
« It must be recalled, in the clearest possible way, that under the rules applicable to copyright, enshrined internationally, any reproduction and any communication to the public of a work of art, whether partial or total, can only take place with the consent of the artist or his successors in title. »
« The marketing of a work associated with an NFT is no exception to this rule: no one is authorized to publish a digital work on a sales platform, nor to inject it into awithout the consent of the artist or his successors in title (heirs, foundations, etc.). »
« It is the responsibility of anyone contemplating an NFT project related to an artist’s work to ensure that the necessary authorizations are obtained from the rights holders or the competent copyright collective management organizations. . »
And to mention the fact that more than a thousand fraudulent works and counterfeits have been removed from NFT sales platforms.
Clearly, the young universe of NFTs is changing. After’. However, if some want to see there a parallel with the Internet bubble of the late 1990s, it is easy to remind them that after the spring 2000 this sector has seen the emergence of many giants , or . Seen from this angle, the NFT market seems to have a bright future ahead of it.of 2021, the market saw a noticeable dip from $945 million in August 2021 to $101 million in May 2022 according to