Crypto Art is the new new thing in the digital art world. It came from the realm of finance, where bitcoins rule. Recently works by the digital artist Beeple sold for 69.3 million in an online auction at Christie’s. A headline in last Sunday’s New York Times tells us why this all started during a pandemic: “Bored Rich People Spend Money.”
So what is Crypto Art? While a digital image might be viewed as a jpeg, it becomes crypto art when assigned an NFT, which stands for non-fungible token. These tokens are not the art itself, but a recorded certificate of who owns it. It is as though you spent millions of dollars and all you got was the receipt (I can see the T-shirt now).
NFTs can be bought and sold in new digital marketplaces modeled on traditional art venues. There are crypto art galleries (called gateways), a Museum of Crypto Art, a Museum of NFT Art, and even a CryptoArt Magazine. The first Crypto Art Exhibition will happen in Beijing at the end of March.
Nifty Gateway, where Beeple sells his art, considers itself “The Premier Marketplace for Rare Digital Artwork.” This branding combines the language of nostalgia (“nifty” is a word you might hear from an old guy in a hardware store) with the terminology of the high-end collectibles market. The term “rare digital artwork” is an oxymoron for the ages.
Beeple’s art career also builds the new upon the old. The works he is now selling as Crypto Art are part of a digital series called “Everydays” that he has been creating (every day) since 2007. The quality and originality of the work reveal a remarkable artist dedicated to his craft and making serious money in the brave new world of art.
Mary Edwards, Ph.D
Career & Life Coach for Artists
“Left Brain Skills for Right Brained People”
As an artist coach, I bring a unique combination of business knowledge, art world experience, and professional coaching skill to my practice.