We live in a digital world. With the advent of the Internet we have built new online cities.
As the line between “real life” and digital is refined, the artists who have always transformed our cities, can now also transcend our digital existences.
In current online cities you don’t own anything. Even your data, what “defines” you is owned by Fb and Google. But that was before Web3, Blockchain and NFTs
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.
For some people, it is still hard to consider something digital valuable. For decades, the digital art space has been struggling to be credible and find its market.
Then NFT came and the possibility to create rare digital collectibles shifted the paradigm through authenticity, provenance, and real digital scarcity of now ownable asset. This innovation opened the market, the demand and valuation for digital art.
Our broken economy based on scarcity of goods and abundance of money just could not resist it. NFT is allowing culture to become an asset class. Although attention was brought to the space, we are still so early and only 1% of possible use cases have been explored so far
What is the metaverse?
It is very difficult to define an always 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 a metaverse any kind of social virtual world.
The term is regularly used to describe a future version of the Internet where virtual, persistent and shared spaces are accessible via 2D & 3D interaction.
Although there has been awesome initiative in the past, things are accelerating, thanks to the NFT standard that really took off this socio-cultural revolution.
NFT for Crypto Art and Metaverses are a natural fit as there are digital native. But other artistic movement are starting to emerge
What about urban art?
Urban art is often used to summarize all type of art forms arising from urban areas and public spaces. The most common are graffiti and street art but many subcategories and alternative genders exists.
Despite all the different practices, there is a common myth about this discipline: because the art might be illegal, the artist do not own any rights.
In 99% of jurisdiction, if an artwork is truly original, no matter the support, the artist benefit from intellectual property.
They might not have direct ownership over the physical artwork, but NFT allows to transcend the materialistic aspects and capture the tangible beauty of an artwork in the public space.
Just like digital art, it seems there is a real match between crypto and street art.
Why urban art should be massively tokenized
Most people don’t know it yet, but tokenizing street art is unavoidable. For us, it is obvious that art on public streets belongs on a decentralized public ledger.
The NFT is both the medium of conservation but also the financial 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 to transcend the ephemeral nature of an outdoor artwork. Just like moment in sport are worth capturing, you can now capture a moment in the cultural landscape of a city.
With NFT, artists can reclaim ownership over the digital representation of their physical art instead of giving up the rights to Zukenberg. NFT represent a better way for artists to archive their artwork, but they can also gain more creative freedom knowing they can still own and monetize their work even though it will be destroyed tomorrow.
But why street art would be better?
Exposing your art to the outside world is a powerful statement. The fact that it might be illegal, ephemeral, and visible from anyone passing by is both bold and humble.
Besides beautifying cities, there are intangible characteristic that makes urban art priceless. Urban artworks are popular, costly, rare, widely appreciated, valuable on a social, economic and personal level.
Due to the natural scarcity of the art (there are only a finite number of walls you can paint) and cost associated with time, material, and fines, you have a rare and costly real-world asset visible to everyone, valuable to many waiting to enter the digital world to be forever tokenized.
For some people, NFT will always be a scam until there are able to touch it. The fact that these digital skeptical can now be exposed and touch in real life a work of art in the physical world yet owning it as an nft make it a more tangible bridge between their mainstream understanding and the reality of our digital streets.
In the coming years, street art and NFT will be the 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 are the missing chain to the institutional recognition of street art.
Of course, there will be those that see the monetization and digitalization of this art as a negative and capitalistic thing to do or that it will never be the same experience IRL. Bringing street art into web3 question the notion of artistic support and the place of Art in a given environment.
The web3 and urban art movements are sharing many philosophical and social values. But these two very singular universes bring us back to the same conclusion: everything is subject to be artistic support. Art should be everywhere and for everyone to see. No matter the environment, the artistic process is indomitable, timeless, and censorship resistant.
Time is on our side. The more days pass and 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 concrete digital wall.