NFTs have become a controversial topic in media arts, investment, and traditional art markets. The mystery that surrounds NFTs to those not involved in the blockchain can make things confusing and cause mistrust and anger directed towards certain communities.
Artists have been a sidebar for a long time. Most people value doctors, lawyers, or investment bankers over the artists in the world. Artists have been facing an eternal struggle of getting fair pay for their work and the time they put into their pieces.
Additionally, artists face scrutiny concerning their careers. The artworld is not free from scandal and theft, both intellectual theft and physical theft. It is no wonder that artists mistrust and sometimes even hate NFTs.
But beyond these generalizations, what are some of the deeper reasons and specifications for why so many artists are against NFTs? Why do some artists flock toward this revolutionary new market while others steer clear? Why are some pieces of art more popular as NFTs than would be in the traditional media?
Answers to all this and more are in the following article! So, read on to get the insider scoop on why artists hate NFTs.
Historical and Social Context
To understand why so many artists are against NFTs, you must first understand the historical and social context in which artists are placed. The context of anything allows you to get inside the position of the person you are trying to understand.
Throughout history, we can see a trend in the social acceptance of art. During ancient times, Victorian times, and even pre-modern times, art was valued as a contribution to society. Artists were not ashamed or shamed for being artists.
However, as we grew into the postmodern age in which we currently live, art began to take a backseat to productivity and more tangible contributions to society. Artists began to feel ridicule from social institutions, structures, and their fellow citizens.
While the world modernized and became more industrious as well as focused on productivity, art was not something that could be modernized into a dynamic and productive contribution to society. Art could not stop wars, heal the sick, or make products for consumption.
Thus, artists began to receive more pressure from society to turn to more practical careers.
Now that we understand more about the social and historical context of the artistic community, it is easy to see why artists mistrust certain institutions in society.
They have been ridiculed for decades, and so when a new institution or industry, like NFTs, becomes popular, the art community is prepared for that new industry to ridicule them and undercut their value.
The art industry is also heavily reliant on having a name that is well known in the industry. This has been a fad for centuries, and it remains a fact today.
Let us move on now to why many artists he NFTs because of how the market and industry are structured.
Status in Art and NFTs
Two things that the NFT blockchain and the artistic community have in common is the need for status. Status is what allows you to have a wide range of potential buyers and clients.
Generally speaking, the more well-known you are, the more chances you have to make money by selling your product.
In the artistic community, it can be challenging for new or underground artists to break through into mainstream markets.
Going from an unknown artist to a well-known household name does not happen overnight and often takes decades of hard work, which only a few artists will ever achieve.
The same goes for artists trying to make money and grow their business through NFTs. It is hard to create a following when the market is overgrown with thousands of artists, and so many of them are incredibly well known.
If you are an unknown artist trying to create a client basis, NFTs may not be helpful while trying to grow. Your art will simply get lost in the mix and disappear along with thousands of other NFTs that will never become popular because they are not created by well-known artists in the mainstream.
Most NFT collectors do not want underground artists’ NFTs; they want somebody who is well-known and has substantial value in their NFTs and their brand as an artist.
Because collectors make up a considerable portion of the NFT market, it is impractical for new or growing artists to try to break through into this market.
Artists who fail to break through end up discouraged and feeling once again excluded from structures and industries that are meant to do their community and industry good but fail to fulfill that.
Money, Money, Money
Another issue why artists hate NFTs is money. While some NFTs can be sold for millions of dollars, most art NFTs get sold for less than $200, which is not a living wage for someone who has to spend hours producing their art.
$200 for a piece of artwork or an NFT may seem like a lot of money, but when it boils down to the amount of money the artist is getting over time, it quickly becomes practically nothing. If an artist sells 1 painting for $200 once every two weeks, they are only making $400 a month.
That artist is also spending dozens of hours working on their art. Beyond their artistic endeavors, they also have lives, bills to pay, rent due, and families to feed. Because half of all NFTs sell for less than $200, then selling art on the blockchain is not profitable in any sense.
Additionally, most blockchain markets for NFTs have fees and minting costs that can quickly drive up a pretty penny. I speak bout the cost of minting NFTs at length in these viral posts:
- What is the Average Cost to Mint and Sell an NFT? (Top Marketplace Examples)
- The 3 Cheapest Ways to Mint an NFT: Full Breakdown
If someone is not turning a profit selling NFTs, then the charges for maintaining an account and posting their NFTs simply becomes illogical to continue because the person is then losing money on the blockchain instead of turning a profit.
Art Theft is Not Just for Museums Anymore
As our worlds are digitized and grow into new and exciting arenas like Web3, the bad things grow and learn as well. While art theft used to be a thing of the past, something out of an action movie, or a wacky bit of history, it is becoming increasingly more popular on the blockchain.
Art theft has spiraled out of control in the NFT market. Independent artists struggle to maintain credibility and cybersecurity while producing profits and creating unique art that keeps their name in the spotlight.
Eventually, juggling all of these tasks becomes impossible, and something slips. Here is where art thieves make their break.
Art thieves can also take action even if an artist has all their energy focused on cybersecurity and credibility. Theft has been around for as long as the idea of belonging has.
Artists quickly become exhausted with the risk to reward ratio, which is almost always a 100:1 ratio. The risk of art theft is so extreme and common right now on the blockchain that artists feel like putting their hard work out there is pointless because it will be stolen.
Once a piece of NFT art is stolen, the artist has to bring it up with the site hosting for them to try to do anything to remedy the situation. Usually, nothing can be done, and the artist has to start again from the beginning.
This cycle is incredibly disheartening, exhausting, and unfair to the artist to work incredibly hard to produce unique and beautiful NFT artwork, only for it to be stolen and with no practical consequences for the art thief.
One artist named RJ Palmer, who is a prominent artist who created the piece “Detective Pikachu” once had 29 pieces of art stolen from the blockchain as NFTs within 24 hours.
A week later, Palmer tweeted that approximately 6 to 10 pieces of his artwork are stolen as NFTs every single day. He finished his tweet by saying, “…this is affecting my mental health in a really bad way. I can send out endless takedowns but it just doesn’t stop. I feel powerless and hopeless.”
fo some more valuable info on NFT fraudsters and copy cats check out these articles:
This is not the environment that the artistic Community wants to create or grow in. This is not the community that they all have spent time crafting and committing their lives to. For that reason, many artists hate NFTs.
NFTs as a function are theoretical. While some NFTs may be valuable to everyday people, most people are not able to find products or NFTs that apply to them or their lifestyle or budget on the blockchain.
One of the creators of the original NFT idea has once said that the blockchain “has… approximately 0 uses for the typical consumer.” There are theoretical uses, but nobody in their ordinary day-to-day life is going to select a blockchain system to find art over simply going to the artist or visiting a gallery.
It is impractical for ordinary people to use the blockchain and buy NFT artwork.
Additionally, many people still do not understand cryptocurrency. That means that they probably do not understand the blockchain and how cryptocurrency is used to buy and sell links of ownership to different things that are not even physical.
The whole blockchain system was meant to open up the market and create an equal playing field for all people to buy and sell different types of media. Still, it has become inaccessible and impenetrable to those without status and money.
The complex system has made it accessible to people who are not aware or care to learn about cryptocurrency in the confusing and somewhat aggressive crypto culture that has gotten a bad name for itself.
Social Culture Around NFTs
NFTs are mocked relentlessly in our culture. From making fun of frat boys who over-explain NFTs on first dates to making fun of people who base their entire personality on cryptocurrency. The internet is ripe with jokes about NFTs and the people invested in them.
While this may not be exactly polite or kind towards the people with a vested interest in NFTs and cryptocurrency, it is a way for other people to handle this weird situation we have all found ourselves in: the crypto boom.
The crypto boom has steadily taken over after its initial eruption into the mainstream a couple of years ago, and now with the popularity of NFTs, it is only growing.
But the popularity of crypto and NFTs isn’t growing across all social demographics. Specific demographics take to crypto and NFTs more than others, and the demographics not interested in NFTs are not showing any signs of wanting to get involved.
Independent and small artists are one of those groups. There is too much risk involved in NFTs, and there is such a limited window for profit that it just feels hopeless.
It is easier to make jokes about the people who push crypto and NFTs rather than to try and change the entire system, a system that is complexly coded and out of the depths of many “normal” people.
When all is said and done, it seems most independent artists hate NFTs because they are an inaccessible and impenetrable way to sell their work, and it does not give them a livable profit, including a risk of theft or fraud, and can cost them a crazy amount of money.
However, there is negativity surrounding NFTs, and this energy can be turned into a positive outcome. With a bit of education on how to use NFTs to your advantage, I believe many opportunities can arise for artists and creators alike.
This blog has numerous posts on how to get involved and get exposure. Just check out these popular posts.
- How to Get More NFT Exposure: 13 Effective Methods
- Do All NFTs Lose Value? The Facts Explained
- How to Attach an NFT to Digital Art (7 Easy Steps)