NFT craze helps Dallas digital artists sell their work


The NFT craze is a huge opportunity for North Texas digital artists, who often have have struggled to sell their work and expose it beyond social media, where it can easily be captured with a screenshot. Essentially art stored on a digital ledger known as a blockchain to verify authenticity and ownership, so-called non-fungible tokens have turned their works into unique digital assets that can be bought and sold.

Magdiel Lopez, a digital artist who designs posters that are primarily posted on his Instagram account with over 100,000 subscribers, has sold a handful of his works as NFT.

“My collectors were all followers before this NFT trend started to happen,” Lopez said. “These people really appreciate my work and they want to own it. A JPEG can be an original copy of a work owned by someone, such as a painting. Digital artists finally have a way to do some of the practices that were only available to physical artists. “

McKane’s NFT combines data on pollution at marine sanctuaries with his own photo of a mangrove tree to take stock of ocean ecosystems.(Ben Torres / Special Contributor)

Lopez believes that art has already been digitized for more than a decade for more than a decade.

“Most people haven’t seen the Mona Lisa in person, ”Lopez says. “But that doesn’t mean you can’t recognize or appreciate it. You can maybe even enjoy it better than in a museum, where you have maybe two minutes in front of it before you have to move because there are people behind you. You can undoubtedly get a better experience on your phone.

Oil painter and digital artist Kelsey Heimerman also creates NFTs.

“Digital assets are not disappearing and NFTs allow you to grow in this space,” she says. “It’s something the world craves. I think there will be a day when a collector’s house is a total white box space, and he’ll hand you a pair of Google-like glasses to see his entire art collection.

She’s also excited that artists get a percentage – typically 10-15% – every time their NFT is resold.

“It’s a liberation of artists who are excluded from the wealth that their creations actually make,” Heimerman says. “Before, we could sell an original painting that could later be sold for a million dollars, and we would never see any of that money.”

Along with Lopez, muralist Michael Shellis and designer Temi Coker exhibited NFTs earlier this month in a physical pop-up gallery.

“There’s a whole market that’s even hungrier than the physical paint market for these NFTs,” says Shellis. “NFTs are going to change art for good. We now live in front of screens. I think it’s going to be a rare thing to walk up to a wall and look at a physical painting. We’re still looking at our phones anyway, and now you can own some artwork on your phone.

“It’s like this digital arts renaissance,” says Coker, who helped create the Oscar statuette this year. “It is to immortalize digital art. “

Underwater photographer Jeremy McKane, who creates works of art that address environmental issues, now uses NFTs as a tool to raise awareness about marine pollution. For his latest work, McKane combines data on pollution in marine sanctuaries collected by drones with a 3D digital master of his photo of a mangrove, a shrub that helps stabilize coastal ecosystems.

“Our environment is going away at an unprecedented rate, in large part because of what we cannot see. The data I pull from these drones identifies the pollution, digitizes it, and injects it into the JPEG in hexadecimal form, causing a problem and at some point will not allow it to open anymore.

In other words, its NFT mimics how pollution destroys coastal ecosystems.

“I think constraints breed creativity,” McKane says of the recent rise in NFT, which he’s been aware of for years. “And COVID was a strain that a lot of artists felt. They couldn’t create like they once could.

With an image that changes depending on environmental variables, McKane’s work may be an example of NFT ultimately becoming generative art.

“If it changes or adapts, it becomes a true living work of art,” McKane says. “I think that’s where it’s happening.”

McKane recognizes that there are many unimaginative NFTs and that some people are just interested in foreclosing on money.

“The real impact, which is why we create art to begin with, is to change perceptions about how we see the world,” he says.

But Lopez thinks the money is reason enough to be excited about NFTs.

“A lot of digital artists are thrilled to be appreciated,” Lopez says. “There is a lot of validation that comes with money. “

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