“There really is no such thing as Art. There are only artists. “Ernst Gombrich
In Art there is no accounting for taste.
In the 1874 French art critic Louis Leroy slammed Claude Monet’s paintings at the Exhibition Of The Impressionists, “A preliminary drawing for a wallpaper pattern is more finished than this seascape,” he wrote.
20th century conceptual artist Marcel Duchamp’s most famous work, Fountain, was tossed in the trash by gallery owners only two days after it was first exhibited.
In 1956, New York’s Museum of Modern Art rejected a painting Andy Warhol freely donated, replying with a letter written by its director, “We must turn down gifts offered since we feel it is not fair to accept as a gift a work which may be shown only infrequently.”
Today, Monet is rated one of the great painters of all time and has influenced generations of artists; Duchamp commissioned replicas of Fountain ,one of which sold for $2,000,000; and the Museum of Modern Art now holds 168 Warhol paintings, including the one it rejected.
Art is extremely subjective and hard to define. We can settle with the words of acclaimed art historian E.H Gombrich , “There really is no such thing as Art. There are only artists.” And for the artist, the great struggle is expression and communication.
“All great works are trophies of victorious struggle.”Julius Meier-Graefe
Now in the 21st century, digital art is booming. Artists use the tools of their time, and software brushes have usurped those made of horsehair.
Artists sell their work to live, and buyers collect their unique creations for enjoyment or investment. In either case, the purchase is motivated by the fact that the work is unique, and that buying it bestows upon its owner some special privilege.
In the digital age, where infinite replication and perfect copies are a reality, notions of rarity and uniqueness can easily get lost. It is for this reason that non-fungible token (NFT) technology in blockchain could prove so important. By delivering a means for ownership of digital art to be transacted meaningfully, the digital art economy has begun to thrive.
Getty Images and other silos of digital artwork, especially photography, have existed since the 1990’s. Yet such services make artists dependents and do not offer them the flexibility to license or sell their work themselves.
Even though NFT’s predate Ethereum by many years back to Counterparty, the “world computer” has invigorated the space and provided reference contacts (ERC) for developers to build products and services.
One of the most successful exponents of this nascent technology is Rarible, “The first community-owned NFT marketplace,” who issued their own governance token (RARI) to moderate decision making in its decentralized community.
The Daily Chain caught up with Rarible co-founder Alex Salnikov to find out more about this hitherto niche market which has gained so much traction in recent weeks.
NFT (non-fungible token) is a blockchain standard for uncopyable digital materials. You can put any digital item: art, media, files, in-game assets in it. By doing so, you create an authenticity record, making it impossible to fake and creating value to it. It is the next big thing in the world of digital art and digital ownership in general. Rarible is an NFT marketplace where you can create, buy and sell these digital items with no coding skills required.
What kinds of things are on Rarible, and in NFT?
Primarily, art. But the potential of NFTs is much broader than that! On Rarible, we already support music and video NFTs, for instance. Our users sell tracks, albums, multimedia art pieces, collectibles, in-game assets, metaverses lands, DeFi insurances, domains, and more on the marketplace. And there are more use cases yet to be explored.
What is the difference between Rarible and OpenSea?
OpenSea is an art-focused NFT marketplace, and we’re glad to be partners with them. We at Rarible have a wider focus, as I mentioned above. On top of that, Rarible has a liquidity mining program: active sellers and buyers on the marketplace receive $RARI tokens in weekly distribution. Apart from being a reward and incentivization mechanism for engaged users, $RARI is first and foremost designed to fuel Rarible governance mechanisms, as we are steadily moving towards becoming a fully decentralized organization, community-owned and governed. We are also working hard on introducing and improving social features, such as follows, notifications, personalised feed.
What makes an NFT valuable?
Let’s think of it that way: if you own a physical art piece, you know that it’s yours, it’s there hanging on a wall in your bedroom. But how do you know if something digital belongs to you? Prior to NFTs, there was no effective instrument to track ownership of original digital items. Now, when creating an NFT, you create this authenticity record, a proof of ownership. Everything else after that are mere copies without value. The original item becomes scarce.
Pricing of scarce items is a zero sum game: the bigger the demand, the more people are willing to pay for it, the higher the price. It is market-driven and psychology-driven. When a popular artist creates a unique work and puts it on sale in the form of NFT only, collectors are willing to pay for it if they believe the artist will become more sought-after and the item will appreciate in price.
On top of that, collecting is a huge part of human psychology. People just love collecting things they enjoy! Rare digital items powered by NFTs, with such additional mechanics as unique unlockable contents cater for this interest.
The future of NFT?
For me, NFT ultimately is a better version of data files. They can live in a different environments: L1 chains, L2 environments, obviously with a persistent metadata in Filecoin or any other decentralized storage. I believe all the digital content would eventually live as NFT on the internet.
There wasn’t enough ownership on the internet until now. It’s exciting to have a sovereign identity that truly own its digital belongings.
What do you think about this?
I tend to perceive art not with thinking, but with feelings. Here, I definitely feel calm, satisfaction, pure pleasure from the beat. The first association is a benign (more light and kind) version of a Berlin techno night club.
Competition in the digital art and NFT space is growing fast with many including the Winklevoss twins are making a foray in the space. Yet with so many styles, genres, groups and communities it is both unlikely and undesirable that any one of the marketplaces today will eevr dominate the space. Yet those with strong communities, like the Impressionist movement, will outlive those that don’t.
The Rarible marketplace has a great website and UI with tutorials. After testing the platform a couple weeks ago it’s clear posting artwork, whether image, video, audio, collectable card or whatever, is straightforward. Artists can post their work to the Rarible collection or create their own collections at extra cost.
It’s not all good news though, and rising Ethereum gas prices have driven down submissions to the marketplace. With around 40 dollar gas cost to “mint”artwork on Rarible, Ethereum layer 2 solutions will have to arrive soon, or migrating to a different platform may become the solution.
The bright yellow Rarible branding umbrellas a lively community (gas prices permitting) whose participants are rewarded with the RARI tokens. The tokenomics seem agreeable to the usually energetic content creators.