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FELLOW ARTISTS: SHOULD YOU DO NFTS?

<em>NFT created by photographer Jady Bates<em>

As NFTs continue to take the art world by storm in light of the COVID-19 pandemic halting many in-person operations, many artists are getting in on the deal. A non-fungible token, or an NFT, is an electronically verified piece of artwork. Collectors have bid hundreds of thousands of dollars for NFT artwork, most recently noted by Sophia the Robot selling her own artwork for nearly $700,000 and Beeple selling his digital artwork for $69.3 million. These NFT works, which are basically like attaching a permanent autograph to the art, provide great revenue for artists, including lifetime royalties for whenever the art is sold or resold. Photographer, Jady Bates, has recently begun checking out the market. Here is her experience:

<em>Courtesy Jady Bates<em>

“To explain how it is done, let explain in my own layman’s terms.

It is a picture of your piece of art that has gone through a couple of software platforms. Let’s say you had to sign up for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to get your picture of your art ‘certified.’ It is similar to all the actions that posting on three websites and creating profiles entails. You put your picture of your art up on a website that posts, shows, or ‘deposits’ NFTs. Please note those words are interchangeable in this scenario. Some examples include Rarible or NiftyGateway – there are more, simply Google for them.

Then you use another website to buy a cryptocurrency that is used with NFTs which is called ‘ethereum’ or ‘ether coin.’ There are also WAX or Flow cryptocurrencies. Take a minute to read a bit about them first. I bought just enough ether coin to pay for what they call ‘gas fees’ to be able to pay for my art picture being turned into an NFT. And do beware, the time of day you buy your coin matters. The ‘gas fees’ are like processing fees. Once you have enough crypto coin, you finish the certifying process. Rarible or NiftyGateway – platforms that sell NFTs – really ‘mint’ your art photo into a coded version that can be sold in the cryptocurrency market, verifying it as yours.

<em>Courtesy Jady Bates<em>

I can tell you in further steps that in my case, I went on Rarible and I had a 1920 pixel digital photograph with metadata that includes my name as the creator. You probably also know that metadata includes dates made, etc. I uploaded my photo and already had a MetaMask wallet for cryptocurrency made.

If you go to their website it is very straightforward. It sounds strange but it is easily done. Make sure to have this already set up with ether coin in it before uploading your first PNG photo of your artwork because the NFT-selling-site has to be able to link to your MetaMask wallet. Your computer does this automatically when you have your MetaMask account window open. Once it approves that you have enough coin in your wallet for the ‘gas fees,’ it then asks you to sign a ‘sell order’ before it ‘mints’ your PNG photo into an NFT. Be prepared that it may take an hour or longer to purchase your ether coin because it does take quite a lot of computer power to ‘mine’ the coins, or in effect get this done.

Let me repeat in a different way because it took me two weeks of trying to tell myself in different ways for it to finally make sense.

All in all, you go to one website to create a crypto wallet, then on that website with your wallet, you buy a cryptocurrency. I began with ethereum. Then, once you have bought enough to pay for the ‘gas fees,’ or posting fees, you go to a site like Rarible and post your PNG file that will sync with your crypto wallet and it automatically embeds the necessary code to turn your file of artwork into an NFT. This also attaches your wallet to your artwork so you get paid royalties on every sale and resale. This is the exciting part for artists.

<em>Courtesy Jady Bates<em>

Do you want a place you can post your artwork to be viewed and sold that you can forever earn royalties on with any work of yours that sells? Yes? Yes.

Boom! Done. Your work is now an NFT available for sale on the crypto market. Just do a little research with some google searches and check out a few YouTube videos on how to do this as well. I recommend you watch one or two of these before finalizing your first NFT. A whole new marketplace is open for you to sell your artwork on, without an intermediary to take some of your artistic profits.

I am a serious artist who is really interested in the royalties going forward. Historically, artists are the ones that never made any money in the art game. This is still The Wild West, of course, and an emerging market – but for artists to create work with little investment for consistent returns could be a game-changer.” – Jady Bates

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