The dawning of a new era in art emerges today as we navigate a post-digital world. Materiality succumbs to immateriality, and art-makers have begun to explore immaterial avenues. Enter the NFT.
Most at this point have heard of the NFT, yet many still struggle with grasping the concept. The world of block-chain, crypto-currency and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) continues to grow, but can be challenging to comprehend.
As BFree strives to be one of San Diego’s leading NFT galleries, our latest exhibition Pop Icon x NFT highlights the digital works of four emerging and mid-career artists of color: Sey Yes, Tony Concep, Shlome Hayun and Lucius James.
The following is our humble attempt to explain: What is an NFT?
NFT stands for non-fungible token. In essence, non-fungible means that this “token” (in whatever form it may take — oftentimes, but certainly not always, a moving image similar to a .gif) cannot be copied. One can trade a dollar for another dollar, a bitcoin for a bitcoin and so forth; these “tokens” are mutually interchangeable replacing one for the other. They are fungible. A non-fungible token is a unique entity that is irreplaceable — much like the Mona Lisa or a Basquiat original, it is one-of-a-kind. A Van Gogh original painting is non-fungible.
The NFT is a way for artists to create and release digital art to buyers — it is a unique piece that replicates the process of buying a painting or a sculpture, but in a virtual world.
NFTs are priced using cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and thereby enter the block-chain model (an NFT is actually “minted” and behaves as its own currency). The NFT takes “token” from the universe of crypto, where a token denotes a unit of the currency at hand. One Ethereum or one Bitcoin is described as a token. Therefore, an NFT can be understood as its own value of cryptocurrency, and fluctuates along with the block-chain system of which it is a part.
Essential for the functioning of NFTs, the block-chain system can be explained as a type of decentralized autonomous organization (DAO). The “blocks” relate to one another through “chains” where no block or chain is treated as a central figure. What this means is that the blocks (which can stand in for a currency like Ethereum or Bitcoin) fluctuate based on the value and movement of other blocks without being controlled by a standard. This allows for crypto-currencies, for example, to represent value as they relate to one another divorced from other currencies like the US Dollar.
Block-chain technology as the next evolution of finance is here to stay and spreading quickly as many believe it to be the wave of the future (not only is it seen as the final phase of finance technology, it is believed to be the basis for the next evolution of the internet itself). NFTs are speculative investments in the form of digital property based on block-chain technology and are far from a passing trend in art collection.
BFree is delighted to be at the forefront of the NFT world. Our current exhibition Pop Icon x NFT features a collection of originals by artists Tony Concep, Say Yes, Shlome Hayun and Lucius James. A digital gallery of our NFTs can be found here. From an effervescent static can of Krylon spray paint (“Pop Can” available in green, red and orange) to a pair of translucent crystalline blue sneakers (“Blue Dreamz”) and beyond, our NFT collection represents the original and pertinent work of emerging and mid-career POC artists.