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An artist’s guide to getting started with NFTs

Patience is key when diving into something as new and ever-evolving as the NFT space.

An artist’s guide to getting started with NFTs
[Lazartivan / AdobeStock]

So you’re an artist who wants to create an NFT. What’s next?

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Artists are right to be excited about NFTs. The art world is ever-evolving, but blockchain-based technology has been a big leap forward in offering artists the ability to create digital work with verifiable ownership, earn royalties on the resale of their artworks, and connect to new audiences—and hopefully turn them into buyers. It’s no surprise that their popularity and adoption has skyrocketed. The market cap of NFTs grew ten-fold between 2018 and 2020, and the number of active wallets buying and selling NFTs has increased from just 100,000 in February 2021 to nearly 3 million in February 2022.

But there is a significant learning curve that includes understanding blockchain technology, getting acclimated to the crypto space, and finding buyers. Too often, artists get stuck on next steps. How do I learn more? How do I connect to an audience in the NFT space? How do I make a profit?

For artists looking to venture into the world of NFTs, or for those who may have started minting but aren’t yet finding success, here are some of the reasons why you should consider creating art NFTs and how to get started.

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THE PROMISE OF NFTS

NFTs offer a number of practical benefits to artists. Since an NFT is a non-fungible unit of data on the blockchain, artists get the benefit of scarcity and ownership that can’t be manipulated. This is particularly significant for digital artists who have previously struggled to create scarcity for their works in a world where copies of digital files endlessly proliferate on the internet. The blockchain also makes provenance easily trackable and offers the ability for artists to attach smart contracts to their NFTs with provisions like paying out royalties whenever there’s a resale. The financial possibilities of this paradigm shift for artists can’t be overstated.

Because many buyers of NFTs are crypto enthusiasts, creating NFTs can also expose artists to new audiences outside the traditional art world, many of whom have the financial means to collect art. NFTs also allow artists to transact directly with buyers, meaning that artists are able to create the art they want to make and don’t need to be beholden to sponsors, brands, or other gate-keeping institutions.

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FIVE EASY STEPS TO BEGIN SELLING ART NFTS

If you’re looking to begin selling your art NFTs but aren’t sure where to start—or if you are confused or overwhelmed by the choices—here are my recommendations.

Set up a wallet.

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In order to start selling NFTs, you need to enter the crypto ecosystem. Transactions for NFTs typically take place on the Ethereum blockchain (though there are other blockchains available). The first step is to set up a wallet or a digital place where you’ll receive and store your crypto payments—in this case in ETH currency. You can set up your wallet through a website or mobile app, download a desktop application for your wallet, or keep your wallet on a physical offline drive—the most secure way to keep your assets safe and what I would recommend for anyone holding more than $1,000 USD in digital assets. Metamask is a great option, as they have made it simple to install their browser extension and create your first wallet address all-in-one process. Note that minting NFTs costs a gas fee, so be sure to convert some of your fiat currency into crypto and transfer it to your wallet as soon as it’s set up. If your local currency is USD, GRB, EUR, AUD, or CAD, Coinbase will be a good option for you; otherwise, look to a platform like Binance, which will exchange in your country.

Find the right platform on which to mint your work.

Next, you’ll need to mint your work through one of many available platforms, which not only differ in terms of fees and minting methods, but also offer varying features and benefits to artists. The price of the fee to mint your work will depend on which blockchain the platform is based upon, too. Some platforms offer NFTs for all kinds of digital collectibles, and some only focus on art. Some platforms offer a larger selection of lower-priced NFTs, while some offer fewer, premium NFTs. Some platforms let you go it alone, while others offer services to help artists build their careers.

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Be strategic about what you mint.

Artists just getting started may want to create as many NFTs as they can, hoping to capitalize on the high valuation prices out there today. But be strategic about what you mint. Your NFT portfolio should be composed of works that best represent you and your practice—not what you think would sell the best—so that buyers can really get a feel for you and your art.

Be active in the community.

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Start becoming more active in the NFT community, which will not only give you exposure to the current state-of-art NFTs, but will provide you with valuable insight into where your art fits best. Make a Twitter account,  join Discord, share your work, share others’ works, and interact with people in the online community. Get to know artists and collectors and follow trends and interesting things going on in the space. Engage with your collectors and fans to create a valuable community around your artwork and help give your patrons reasons to continue supporting you.

NEXT STEPS

Patience is key when diving into something as new and ever-evolving as the NFT space. Educate yourself, get well-versed in the technology, go through the process of setting up a wallet, and connect with fellow artists who can tell you about their own journey into the world of creating art NFTs. Those efforts will pay off by helping you find new audiences, new methods of connecting with buyers, and new ways of getting your art out into the world.

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Empowering artists & collectors to embrace digital art as Curator of The Other Avatars and Saatchi Art Manager of Art Advisory and Curation.

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