“Artists are historians and their art the journal,” the Singart team once wrote. This statement is most certainly true in the case of young South African crypto artist Daniella Attfield who is rewriting the history of art through non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Attfield draws inspiration for her work from the rich and diverse South African landscapes, which is particularly evident in her neon line artworks. Having officially begun her crypto art career in early 2018, Attfield only really started to get going in July 2020.
Since then, Attfield has become a full-time crypto artist. She describes her style as neon line art, although she sometimes enjoys testing out other styles. Speaking about the revolutionary nature of crypto art, Attfield says:
“Crypto art allows artists to survive off of their creativity and share their artwork with people all over the world. It is truly revolutionary. Artists are always stereotyped as being poor and crypto art breaks this stereotype.”
It also allows collectors to buy art and support their favorite artists while they’re still alive, she continues, unlike most famous artists from history, who often died penniless. “I imagine it can only grow,” asserts Attfield.
The value of crypto art and NFTs
Crypto art is now exposed globally, there are no boundaries. Still, some countries have more potential to grow within the crypto art sphere, with the more technologically developed countries — such as the United States and England — having the most activity, at the moment, according to Attfield. Simply because more people are exposed to newer technology.
“I think crypto art could hugely benefit people from poorer countries where creative people often don’t have a way of sharing their art or making money from it. It could really change people’s lives.”
In the meantime, some people may find it difficult to grasp why digital art is valuable as it can easily be copied and distributed. Month after month, NFT sales in crypto art reach new records, having gained almost $12 millions in sales, in January alone.
Attfield explains that crypto art allows for someone to buy an artwork which has a digital signature and can be proven genuine. “It is not the same as saving an image from the internet, which has absolutely no connection to the original artist. You can download a picture of ‘Starry Night’ and use it as your wallpaper, but you do not own it,” she states.
She further strengthens her position saying, “Besides, how long do people spend looking at their phones and computers each day? How long do people spend looking at physical art on display in their house? Everything is going digital, why not art?”
Does crypto art have legs?
Bryana Kortendick, VP of operations and communications at popular gaming-based blockchain platform Enjin, seems to agree with Attfield that NFTs are the way forward for crypto art.
Kortendick told BeInCrypto, “When it comes to valuing NFTs, it’s important to consider the utility a specific token gives you in the virtual and physical spaces. There’s a lot of hype around NFTs with big names getting involved, but this has led to some low-utility tokens being overvalued, making it less attainable for many everyday users to get involved.” She added:
“The potential for NFTs representing our identities and values is immense. From digital assets like gaming items, to physical assets like real estate, there’s a lot of untapped potential for NFT use cases across industries. The real demand and value will come in NFTs that are more than just collectibles — those that serve a real purpose in the digital and physical world. We’ve only seen a glimpse of the utility that will exist once the ecosystem of NFT-integrated software, hardware, and business models matures.”
Crypto art as an investment tool
For many, art is beauty, expression, a form of communication. The art industry manages large amounts of money, almost $68 billion. Some investors buy art pieces as an investment tool. Elaborating on whether this benefits or damages the art industry, and how this applies to the new era of digital art, Attfield believes it can be very beneficial to the art industry.
“It shows people that art can have value and be a good investment for the future. It also helps crypto artists gain more exposure. Crypto artists also earn royalties (usually 10%) of all future sales, so the artist still benefits from all secondary sales. This is also one of the major pros of crypto art — traditional, physical art cannot be tracked and artists will not earn from their creation after their first, direct sale,” the young artist says.
Before NFTs, a young artist would have had many troubles trying to sell their artwork, as traditionally older artists would receive more attention from potential investors. Attfield says that the programmable nature of NFTs is able to completely change this dynamic in the industry:
“There are so many young talented artists who have so much potential. I, myself, am a young artist and I never expected to succeed or make money from my art. The fantastic thing with crypto art is that a lot of the community is on social media, which is something young people are traditionally better at. Everyone has an equal platform to show their art and market themselves.”
Some thoughts on the future of crypto art
Going deeper into the topic, Attfield mentions performance artists who have sold their work usually in the form of a video of themselves as part of a performance. She thinks that crypto art will grow more diverse and start to include more forms of creativity. “It’s just in the very early stages now and has started with mostly digital art,” she says.
Attfield can imagine traditional paintings becoming tokenized and sold by parts thanks to the tokenization, in the future, thus witnessing how NFTs not only change the new era of artists but also upgrade the old era.
However, it will only happen after more people know about crypto art and it’s widely accepted. Otherwise, she continues, many people would reject the idea as it totally goes against traditions. Attfield further adds:
“It could work very well though. The art piece could be tokenized online in order to keep track of it and all its sales. The physical artwork could then remain in a gallery or a system could be set in place to transfer it to the new owner each time it sells. It’s a very interesting concept.”
As for the type of crypto art that has the highest potential to grow in 2021, Attfield thinks that it could be anything which is really unique and shows the artist’s passion, whether it be 2D, 3D, or even physical artwork. “You can see when people love what they do within their work and it makes a huge difference,” she notes.
Lastly, Attfield shares who her favorite crypto artists and artworks are and tells us what she loves them for:
“Kristy Glas. She makes beautiful art with intense and vibrant colors. It’s the type of art I’ve always loved and know I’ll never be able to do myself.”
“Adam Fryda. He does landscapes and nature inspired artworks. He has a range of different styles and they’re all totally unique and wonderful.”
“Thato. He’s also a South African artist and makes stunning geometric 3D art. It’s really unique and beautiful.”