NFTs. The Metaverse. Blockchain. You’ve probably heard all these buzzwords, but do you know what they mean and what they represent for the future of art? No worries, we’re here to break it all down for you—and give you our take on what this means for the world of photography art and the future of Bamboo Scenes!
Bamboo Scenes wall art prints: 'Mong Kok Casualty' by Artist Gideon de Kock, 'Pink Matter' by Artist Vivien Liu, & 'Organised Chaos' by Elaine Li
You’ve probably heard the unlikely story of a piece of digital art selling for US$69.3 (ICYMI, it was Beeple’s “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” that sold at a Christie’s New York online auction and set the record for the third-highest price for a living artist). But how familiar are you with Art Blocks, the first-of-its-kind platform that stores content on the Ethereum Blockchain and generates unique content as varied as static images, 3D models, and interactive experiences?
Image courtesy: Art Blocks Curated
Then there are the collectibles. CryptoPunks, a collection of over 10,000 unique collectible characters stored on the Ethereum blockchain (sensing a theme here?) that—allegedly—inspired the “modern CryptoArt movement”. We haven’t even yet gotten to Bored Ape Yacht Club, another collection of 10,000 NFTs that’s drawn celebrity users across the entertainment and sports world. Fancy being on par with Mark Cuban, Eminem, Jimmy Fallon, Steve Aoki, Post Malone, and Timberland? You’ll need to jump on this train. The only catch? They’re crazy expensive so it might not be for everyone.
Artworks '#8585' & '#9904' Bored Ape Yacht Club, NFT Art
The Metaverse may still be in its infancy, but in the art world, it’s becoming very real. Land NFTs are all the rage in Metaverse projects—keep an eye on Sandbox and Decentraland. And—we are a proud Hong Kong brand, after all—did you know that Hong Kong property tycoons have already bought plots of land in Sandbox to build “Megaland?”
Still not sure what we’re going on about? No worries. Keep reading and we’ll induct you into the world of NFTs and the art world on blockchain.
What is an NFT?
“NFT” is an acronym for “non-fungible token.” Translation: these are digital items that are unique and cannot be copied and replaced. Conversely, a fungible item has no unique properties and is easily interchangeable. Think about it—a HK$20 bill can be substituted for another HK$20 bill and still offer the same monetary value. In the real world (and art world), it essentially means that a piece of digital art comes with a unique identifier that gives you—and only you—ownership of the asset. You basically get a certificate of authenticity that means you have the only real version of a piece of digital art. Think of this as provenance for the 21st century. Giving your digital art a “barcode” that acts as a unique identifier essentially preserves the quality of your art and your ownership, which—by extension—preserves its monetary value.
“NFT” is an acronym for “non-fungible token.” These are digital items that are unique and cannot be copied and replaced. Conversely, a fungible item has no unique properties and is easily interchangeable.
'Love is War' Photograph of XXXTentacion by Aimos Vasquez, Kulture Hub - NFT Art sold for 40 ETH on Blockparty
Think about it like this. You know the “Mona Lisa” is priceless. But the posters the Louvre museum sells in its gift shop? Not so much. With blockchain technology, your NFT retains the unique value of the “Mona Lisa,” instead of the posters from the gift shop!
To preserve its unique value, most NFTs are registered on open blockchain ledgers so that it’s possible to easily track ownership (reader: provenance in traditional art). People can also see old sale prices and the number of copies in existence, so its acts as a digital provenance. But, importantly, the NFT world is already developing so quickly that they’re not just hosted on the Ethereum blockchain anymore.
The Benefits of NFTs.
Real talk: NFTs wouldn’t be so popular if they didn’t offer a world of benefits for artists and collectors.
With NFTs, collectors can own digital assets and have irrefutable proof of their ownership of a unique item. Blockchain technology serves as built-in authentication, which means your ownership of an NFT can never be called into question. Additionally, the security of blockchain means that it’s all but impossible to sell fake tokens. You definitely can’t say the same of traditional artwork.
'Everydays: The First 5000 Days' by Beeple, Christie's Images Ltd
For artists, the benefits are even better. First, you can receive far more royalties than with traditional art. Because NFTs contain so-called “smart contacts,” creators can earn royalties every time an NFT is sold. Translation: artists can reap all the benefits of the secondary art market. In the real world, it works like this: Beeple (remember him?) gets a 10% royalty every single time one of his tokens is sold. Although this sometimes happens in the traditional art world, it’s far harder to enforce because so many sales are private. Another benefit? Artists can make their art scarce and drive up the value of their art.
How Do I Buy and Sell NFTs?
Look, it’s not hard to get into the NFT market. You just need to get all your ducks in a row before making your first transaction. Here’s how to do it.
NFTs can only be bought and sold with cryptocurrency, so you’ll need to make sure you’re already set up with this. There are plenty of cryptocurrencies around these days (Ether is just one) so do you research and buy into what makes sense for you. You also need to set up a “wallet” to manage your cryptocurrency. One popular example is MetaMask, which can be linked to NFT platforms like OpenSea. Just remember - you must NEVER lose or forget your password.
'Asha & Ayanna Diaz and Chris & Clayton Griggs' by Artist Justin Aversano, Twin Flames NFT Photo Project
Once you’re ready to go, you’ll have to head to marketplaces like OpenSea, Rarible, and Foundation.app or find a whitelist that offers first-hand buying. This will allow you to buy and sell NFTs with ease. You can also “mint” your NFTs with all the technological developments happening (but that’s a discussion for another day). Do this on the sites above, or create a minting event of collectibles with a whitelist. Insider tip: Ethereum is still dominant, but Solano is one to watch (they potentially will have lower fees).
Wondering exactly what “whitelists” are? Simply put, if you’re on a whitelist, it means that you’re one of the chosen few that get to buy NFTs at a discount before the rest of the art-loving public gets their hands on them.
The Bamboo Scenes Perspective
So, fair cop—you could simply hit “save” on a JPEG and enjoy a piece of “digital art” without paying for it. But why would you? The world of NFTs is about accepting the value of art in the digital world and acknowledging ownership, much in the same way the traditional art world does. Perceived value comes into play here, and with the rapidly evolving technology, this is going to be more important than ever.
Bamboo Scenes 'Hong Kong Contrasts' Exhibition (Jun 2021) - 'One Thousand Sunset Stories' by Artist Kevin Mak & 'Heading To' by Artist Kelvin Yuen
“We believe that the future of art will change with the rapid development of these technologies,” says Bamboo Scenes Founder Madelon de Grave. “It’s all speculation, of course, but we believe that with the increasing number of Metaverse projects, the way we experience the internet, and art, will change. This is a chance to push the boundaries of what art can be and how we can experience it in new and innovative ways.”
Madelon believes that the future of art will change with the rapid development of these technologies and that with the increasing number of Metaverse projects, the way we experience the internet, and art, will change.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that the power of art and the way it’s enjoyed at home or in any tasteful decor will be diminished. “We believe printed art is here to stay!” adds Madelon. “But that doesn’t mean that new developments can’t happen. I think new ways of art will emerge as artists and collectors are able to think in different shapes and forms by adding ownership and digital value.”
Bamboo Scenes Founder Madelon de Grave
So what does this mean for Bamboo Scenes? First, our craft photography art prints are here to stay. We love it. We live it. We breathe it. And we would never give it up. But we’re also driven by creativity and innovation—it’s in our DNA—so we’re open to evolving with the times. We have always aimed to be a virtual curator of art (have you seen our incredible videos?!) and that’s why we make our collection available online, believe in a strong social media presence, and create content to share the story of our artists and artwork. That’s why we reach people in over 50 countries.
Bamboo Scenes photography artists (from left to right): Kevin Mak, Vivien Liu, Jeremy Cheung, Gideon de Kock with Founder Madelon de Grave (centre)
So…you heard it here first. We’re working on a very exciting NFT project that will push the boundaries of photography art and build a bridge between the virtual and physical world! As always, this will be driven by community and creativity.
Ready to dive in? Join our community and sign up to our EDM to stay up to date on our exciting new projects!
Interested to see our art - check out the full Bamboo Scenes collection here!