NFT and metaverse, digital art finally recognized at its fair value?

German artist Albert Oehlen presenting his augmented reality avatar, Jeff Koons and his sculptures Moon Phases – sold partly in the form of NFT – or even the French gallery Edouard Montassut selling a digital creation by the Turkish artist Özgür Kar. During the recent edition of Art Basel, held in Switzerland from June 16 to 19, digital art proved once again that it held an increasingly preponderant place in the great nebula of contemporary art.

However, there is nothing aberrant in this situation. This evolution is even rather logical as all the interstices of our society are governed by new technologies. Like every human activity, art is subject to this numerical revolution and must reconsider its way of being, creation, as its raison d’être, its exhibition.

However, for a lay person, it can be difficult to approach this subject as its ramifications are multiple. Word “digital” is a portmanteau word encompassing many realities, just like the word ” art “, which also refers to many techniques of expression. As a result, the association of the two can give rise to multiple interpretations. To see more clearly, here are five questions that should give you some answers.

What exactly does the term digital art mean?

As the curator of the Whitney Museum in New York, Christiane Paul, already suggested in 2004 in her book Digital artit is necessary to distinguish between art that uses the digital as a simple tool of creation – for example, photography, printing or music – and theart that uses digital as a medium in its own right. This form of art suggests that the digital, in the broad sense of the term, becomes the material for the creation, transformation and/or operation of a work.

To better understand the complexity of this field, let’s move forward by opposition. Digital art contrasts with the more classic form of Fine Arts, in the sense that digital is participatory, interactive, more dynamic and above all customizable. As a result, digital arts can take on multiple aesthetics and forms of expression. 3D models, pixel art, digital sculpture, mapping, interactive fiction, vector drawing, game design,, 3D printing…

What is the history of digital art?

Logically, the history and evolution of digital arts intertwine with developments related to IT. From the 1960s, an encounter between art and technology took place. However, it would be difficult to describe in a few lines the entire history of these arts, as the number of its experiments and its currents are plethoric. To fully understand that digital art is a cauldron in perpetual boiling under the fire of technology, here are some great figures from different movements.

In 1963 at the Parnass Gallery in Wuppertal, Germany, the Japanese artist Nam June Paik made an impression with his exhibition “Music/Electronic Television”. Totally grotesque for the time, his project consists of 13 televisions, placed on the floor, which display distorted images due to the presence of magnets around them. This device marks the advent of video art within digital arts. In 1980, the artist will also be one of the first to introduce a narration into his installations in his project “Video Cryptography”presented in Paris in 1980 at the Center Pompidou.

With “The Legible City”, the Australian Jeffrey Shaw proposed in 1989 one of the first interactive digital art projects. Placed in front of a screen, the spectator pedals on a bicycle to survey a virtual place lined with walls with 3D letters that gradually form sentences.

For his part, the French Maurice Benayoun is one of the first artists to give meaning to the virtual. In 1991, he broadcast on Canal+ the first animated series using both synthetic images and an imaginary scenario. Passionate about immersion, this visual artist created in 1997 the revolutionary installation “World Skin”. Equipped with stereoscopic glasses, the viewer is immersed in war scenes in which he is invited to take pictures like… in a safari in Kenya.

Photo credit: Rhads

However, digital arts should not be reduced to wacky installations. Sometimes this art takes on more “classics”. This is particularly the case of the digital painting by the artist Rhads. Inspired by the world of the English painter William Turner, this illustrator delivers surreal and dreamlike works of great beauty. Just like the German Karsten Schmidt who uses software and data to do generative design. Thanks to his exhibitions at MoMA (New York), the Victoria & Albert Museum (London) and La Gaîté Lyrique (Paris), this programmer, passionate about images, has given the Data Art movement an international aura. As you will have understood, the digital arts are a territory where each technological evolution can create a new form of expression.

Do NFTs finally close the debate on “is digital art really art” ?

Now that the scene is set, let’s take a look at this almost existential question. Is rarity a constitutive property of art? Despite more than half a century of history, the digital arts have long remained on the periphery because of their opposition to thetraditional art in terms of collection, sale and conservation. The most conservative galleries and art institutions have always been wary of the technological abstraction of digital arts. What is its lifespan? Who is the owner? The judge ? Or the viewer? Who is the actor of the work? This great confusion, intrinsic to the digital arts, coming shake up the notions of collection and expertiseso dear to the world of contemporary art.

And now since 2017, the hurricane of NFT arrived like a savior by proposing concrete solutions to these questions. By introducing the notion of scarcity, non-fungible tokens had a considerable and immediate impact on the world of digital arts. From now on a digital work has the possibility of being linked to an owner in an immutable public register, it thus becomes collectible.

Thanks to NFTs, digital arts can be monetized and this form of expression is slowly beginning to no longer be marginalized. A godsend, since many artists can now make a decent living from their arts and thus continue to build a dynamic and creative community. Proof of this evolution, illustrious galleries such as Sotheby’s, Christie’s or Drouot increasingly organize digital art sales.

Photo credit: Unsplash / @Barbora-Dostalova

More and more experts in the sector are fully aware of this dynamic. This is particularly the case of David Brocherie, Training Experience Advisor at the Artline Institute, a pioneering school in the field of digital arts which already includes these developments in its training courses.

“Thanks to the timestamping of a digital work, its creator can dispose of it in a pecuniary way: royalties on its uses by third parties, sale of exploitation rights… It’s a real revolution and it’s a universe expanding with countless possibilities yet to be discovered. Just look at the January 2022 numbers, this market generated a total sales volume of around $16.57 billion. »

Digital arts under NFT, one of the keystones of metaverse?

By owning a digital work of art in NFT, a collector will be able to access many exclusive experiences in the metaverses. Private concerts, event previews, product launches, virtual talks… Many brands are already experimenting with these new forms of interaction and vertical communities. So much so that the digital arts could become both a new branding lever for companies, but also a currency of exchange and a membership card for the various virtual users.

Going further, the metaverses also offer a new field of creativity and a new place of expression for digital artists. Art fairs, galleries and virtual exhibitions, the metaverses are an opportunity for artists to connect with their audience in a completely new way. The famous Charlot gallery, specializing in digital art, for example co-organized with the start-up the Unvirtual NFT Meta Art Fair, last February in Paris. This event was the first digital art belly fair in the form of NFT in France, both physical and virtual. During the event, collectors were able to discover the works before their eyes in a loft, but also through a metaverse of more than 1,000 m2.

Photo credit: Unsplash / @Uk-Black-Tech

Digital arts, how to make it your job?

To live and satisfy his passion for digital arts, there is no need to be Beeple and sell his work at Christie’s for 69 million dollars. As we have seen, the digital arts are of an unprecedented transversality. They take different forms (3D or motion video, animation, graphics, illustration, graphic and interactive design) in order to express themselves in many fields (audiovisual, luxury, marketing, culture, entertainment, video games, etc.). In the field of digital arts, jobs are very diverse and especially with the upcoming advent of metaverses, these types of profiles are increasingly sought after.

On the other hand, if you have already been looking for a school in the field of digital arts, whether for a training, reintegration or a simple upgrade, you must have realized the flagrant lack of accessibility of these training courses. The barriers to entry are numerous, as often unfortunately when one approaches the subject of art in the world of work.

Created in 2013, the Artline Institute wanted decompartmentalize the world of digital arts and make it accessible to as many people as possible. Beyond the notes, digital art is not a field in which one crams, it is a passion. For this reason, the Artline Institute makes its selection according to the motivation and professional project of each candidate.

Through an innovative pedagogical approach, 100% online courses, this school offers professional training and diplomas with complete support for students provided by mentors from the greatest fields of digital arts. As Lucie, who took the 3D VFX Artist Masters at the school, attests, the philosophy of the Artline Institute is in perfect harmony with the world of digital arts.

“I really appreciated the way the courses worked, which allowed us to have teachers from all over the world, specialized in their area of ​​expertise, and belonging to recognized companies. Who would not dream of being able to attend their classes in pajamas, to receive knowledge from mentors based in London, Los Angeles, or Montreal? »

As some artists are doing, the Artline Institute proves that the digital arts are no longer in the elitist shadow of the Fine Arts and that it is now possible to make a living from it and make a career out of it.

Photo credit: Unsplash / Simon-Lee

Would you like to know more about the training offered by the Artline Institute? Go to its dedicated page!

School page Artline Institute

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