Throughout history, artists have always been at the forefront of change, leading the way through cultural, political, and economic shifts. The introduction of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) to mainstream society is no different.
While the term itself may be associated with a certain type of asset, specifically crypto art, what NFT actually refers to is a technological element assigned to any type of media that links it to a blockchain, rendering it permanent and unique.
NFTs will change the way people share ideas forever. In this digital age, the ability to verify actions, authenticity, and origin is priceless. Beyond that, NFTs empower creators to capture and share their digital expressions on their own terms. The walls between artists, galleries, and buyers are crumbling in light of the boundless possibilities presented by the blockchain.
In the first half of 2021, the NFT market saw $2.5 billion in sales, up from just $13.7 million in the first half of 2020. Yet, only a small fraction of creatives are involved due to high barriers to entry and the exclusionary nature of many of the early platforms. That leaves massive opportunities for creators and collectors alike.
Amidst this rush to participate in the surge, a variety of opportunities have emerged for creators. Alongside them come platforms like Voice, which built its NFT platform to solve for the pain points seen in existing NFT marketplaces.
Renowned photographer Misan Harriman sees NFTs as a breaking point for inclusion in the arts space. “You know how many Picassos, how many Gordon Parks are walking amongst us, whose voices were never given the chance, were never heard?”
Harriman’s day job as chair of the Southbank Centre establishes him firmly in the upper echelon of the arts world, while he has simultaneously emerged as a fierce advocate for up-and-coming artists entering the digital creation space. He’s serving as one of the curators in Voice’s NFT Residency program, which connects established figures with emerging creators to explore the possibilities of NFTs.
“The amazing thing about the borderless world, the internet, and then now the ability to have an exchange of wealth through the blockchain is a seminal moment,” says Harriman. “And instead of people in the Western world just enriching themselves, Voice is saying, well, actually let’s reach out to others and see if we can pull them up as we rise.”
For artists, NFTs represent a never-before-seen opportunity for control over ownership of their work, plus a view into its life cycles. Where previously a sale might mean a piece of art passing out of your life forever, on the blockchain, you can track its ownership indefinitely — and depending on which marketplace you’re selling on, earn from the future sales forever, too. It’s a revolutionary shift for artists to maintain connections to everyone who may end up owning their work over its lifetime.
For those keeping an eye on the nascent market, it may seem more full of questions than answers to the endless quest to make a living from creative works. But if there’s anything the past year has shown us, it’s that NFT technology is here to stay. That means: getting involved at this point in time, even if it’s just to explore, is a good idea for any creative person.
You can create and sell an NFT of anything (though, most platforms are limited to a certain list of file types), and eventually we all will. But for now, let us honor the artists who are leading the way into this new era and redefining what it means to be a creator. They deserve it.
Start connecting with your audience on the easiest-to-use NFT platform today: voice.com