An NFT Love Letter from a Jilted Artist
1987: Hand coding each and every pixel for my 640 x 480 px “masterpiece” in BASIC while shedding a tear since I knew my work would be gone forever upon the reboot of my ColecoVision ADAM.
What is an NFT and why is it so important for digital artists?
This picture is my touchstone into my life as a digital artist. As my marriage between technology and creativity progressed through the years it has become frustrating. I have a BFA degree which includes studying traditional fine arts from painting to sculpture, but my true love has always been creating digital art on my Macintosh computer.
Jumping ahead 35 years to the dawn of NFT (Non-Fungible Token), I feel I have arrived at a world that could finally recognize and respect digital artists. We are no longer jilted.
Until NFT, the only way a digital artist could receive income for their work was to offer it on products for sale. This ranged from lower priced products like t-shirts to higher end pieces such as giclee prints for framing. There always seemed to be the stigma that because this medium of digital art was not original or hand-made, it is then not considered “rare,” which is another way of saying, not valuable.
NFT has changed all of that because of blockchain technology, an NFT is like your car’s VIN number. A number (token) is attached to the digital art file so that there is only one. It is open source so anyone can confirm its ownership and this number cannot be manipulated (that’s the non-fungible part). When you purchase an NFT, it is yours and yours alone. Digital works of art can now be on equal footing with any painting or sculpture. Granted, a digital artist must compete for recognition like any other fine artist, but I welcome this challenge because I have been honing my craft for all these years.
As NFT digital art becomes more accepted as an investment then the need to earn an income through products becomes less necessary. In turn, this frees up digital artists to be more original and creative.
Why do you want to own an NFT?
Besides owning this new type of rare, digital art in the real world, there will be new and exciting ways for you to display it. From dedicated wall mounted digital frames that will showcase your collection (see Tokenframe), to small, personalized Profile images on social media (see Twitter & NFT), these will become more common. Eventually, you will be displaying your art collection in your Metaverse “mansion.” We are just at the beginning of this new opportunity for creative expression and potential investment.
My initial NFT launch!
So, with that in mind, my initial NFT launch is with this series of illustrations, “Captain ACrab.” This tribute to Maryland’s watermen and the Chesapeake blue crab is more humorous than my more commercial work but this is the direction I want to go creatively. I look forward to adding my collection of favorite work and offering them as NFTs so I have put together this “How to” Guide!
How to purchase digital art as NFTs
There is a ton of information online about NFTs with many different paths you can take but I created this guide to showcase the path I took after reviewing numerous options. I have purposely made this as simple as possible.
Step 1: Set up a METAMASK Wallet (see MetaMask)
As of early 2022, you need Ethereum (a cryptocurrency) to purchase an NFT. There are some NFT market sites, like Nifty Gateway, that you can use dollars to purchase NFTs and this will become more common place but, for now, setting up your own MetaMask (MM) is an easy way to purchase Ethereum and store your NFT purchases. MM is an app that plugs into your web browser or smart phone for easy and secure transactions. If you want to learn more then explore MM’s extensive “How To” on their website.
Step 2: With MetaMask Wallet installed, you may purchase Ethereum (ETH) with dollars.
MetaMask will guide you through this process here.
Step 3: Go to my NFT portfolio on OpenSea (here)
OpenSea is the NFT marketplace I have chosen to host my NFT collection. It is the largest NFT marketplace and many digital artists that I respect have their work hosted here.
Step 4: Purchase my NFT
Follow this link to learn more about how to buy an NFT on OpenSea
If you choose to purchase my NFT artworks then thank you very much! We are both at the beginning of an exciting time. Another aspect of NFT is that I will receive a 10% royalty every time my work is sold. Imagine how this will fuel the creative community. Not only is your purchase an investment but you will continue to support your favorite artists on the resale of their work!
Sincerely, Joe Barsin, Digital Artist and NFT Enthusiast