We live in a digital world. With the advent of the Internet, we have built new online communities.
As we refine the line between “real life” and digital, the artists who have continually transformed our cities can now transcend our digital existences.
Blockchain technology denounces and provokes the order established since the creation of the web as we know it. It re-introduces a notion lost in between realms: ownership.
Some people still find it hard to consider digital assets as valuable. For decades, the digital art space has struggled to be credible and find its market.
Then, NFT came. The possibility to create rare digital collectibles shifted the paradigm through authenticity, provenance, and real scarcity of now ownable assets. This innovation opened the market, the demand, and valuation for digital art.
Our broken economy based on scarcity of goods and abundance of money could not resist it. NFT is allowing culture to become an asset class. Although some people have brought attention to the space, we are still early. Only 1% of possible use cases have been explored so far.
What is crypto art?
It is challenging to define a constantly changing movement. To define is to limit, which doesn’t make sense when we see how limitless the field can become.
Generally, we would consider crypto art anything that uses blockchain technology as an artistic medium with several subsegments (on-chain, generative, interactive, collectibles, trash-art, etc.).
Although there have been awesome crypto-artworks before NFT, the NFT standard is what took off this socio-cultural revolution.
At present, it’s full of 3D art, PFP, memes, and other geeky references. But the space is constantly evolving as each new artist brings their fingerprint.
NFT and Digital Art was a natural fit as both digital natives. But other artistic movements are starting to emerge.
What about urban art?
Urban art is often used to summarize all art forms arising from urban areas and public spaces. The most common are graffiti and street art, but many subcategories and alternative genres exist.
Despite all the different practices, there is a common myth about this discipline: the artist does not own any rights because the art might be illegal.
In 99% of jurisdictions, if the artwork is truly original, the artist benefits from intellectual property no matter the support.
Indeed, they might not have direct ownership over the physical artwork. But NFT now allows them to transcend the materialistic aspects and capture the tangible beauty of the artwork in the public space.
It seems there is a natural match between crypto and street art, like digital art.
Why should urban art be massively tokenized?
Most people don’t know it yet, but tokenizing street art is unavoidable. For us, it is evident that art on public streets belongs on a decentralized public ledger.
The NFT is the conservation, financial, and the artistic medium adequate in our metamodern and connected society.
To tokenize urban art is to make it accessible to new digital streets, both eternal and malleable.
Tokenizing public art allows transcending the ephemeral nature of outdoor artwork. Just like moments in sports are worth capturing, you can now capture a moment in the cultural landscape of a city.
NFT represent a better way for artists to archive their artwork. With NFT, artists can reclaim ownership over the digital representation of their physical art instead of giving up the rights to Zuckerberg or any big company. They can also gain more creative freedom by knowing they can own and monetize their work even though the physical copy will be destroyed one day.
But why would street art be better?
Exposing your art to the outside world is a powerful statement. The fact that it might be illegal, temporary, and visible to anyone passing by is bold and humble.
Besides beautifying cities, its intangible characteristics make urban arts priceless. Urban artworks are popular, costly, rare, but widely appreciated. It is valuable on social, economic, and personal levels.
These arts have a natural scarcity as there are only a finite number of walls you can paint on to. With this scarcity, costs associated with time, materials, or fines, you can have a rare real-world asset visible to everyone. They are valuable to many people waiting to enter the digital world to be forever tokenized.
NFT will always be a scam for some people until they can touch it. But, these digital skeptics can now touch real-life artwork in the physical world and own it as an NFT. This characteristic makes it a more concrete bridge between their mainstream understanding and the reality of our digital streets.
In the coming years, street art and NFT will be mutual concrete proof of existence for each other.
One day, NFT will become the accepted funding mechanism and medium of exchange for graffiti and street art. NFT is the missing chain to its institutional recognition.
Of course, some people will see this art’s monetization and digitalization as negative and capitalistic. Others will say it will never give the same experience as real-life art. Bringing street art into web3 questions the notion of artistic support and the place of art in a given environment.
The web3 and urban art movements share many philosophical and social values. But these two separate universes bring us back to the same conclusion: everything is subject to the artistic support.
Art should be everywhere and for everyone to see. The artistic process is indomitable, timeless, and censorship-resistant, no matter the environment.
Time is on our side. The more days pass, the more people will recognize NFT as the perfect substitute and support for graffiti art.
This new page in the history of street art will be written as abstract, spontaneous, and programmable lines of codes and paints on the concrete digital wall.
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