Notes on art in early web3
November 18th, 2021
From my Zombie Zoo collection
From my Zombie Zoo collection

Had a chat with one of my bffs recently whose an artist and wanted context on all the chatter around NFTs, web3, DAOs, etc...

I entertained him with my limited but growing knowledge.

Here are a few takeaway notes from our convo — apologies if it feels disjoined or doesn't make any sense. I was inspired and wanted to dump out my stream of consciousness. I’ll likely add to this list in the near future.

Most of the bullets have the potential to be entire essays, but I'll leave it to the passionate and willing.

  • Artists (using loosely here) ultimately define the ethos for big ideas because they're able to distill and communicate them to a wider audience that businesses and the founders can't. This means that they're more than likely the lifeboat required for crossing the chasm to mass adoption, and I think that's what we're seeing right now with the push in the space from both believers and non-believers. With that being said, I hope this is truly a larger organic call-to-action and not a macroeconomic warning shot.
  • One way to win artists over (that aligns with part of web3 thesis) is teach them how to make more money. The problem here though is that this narrative sets a weird precedent for NFTs as a money scheme and all the other benefits are glossed over. I believe NFTs in their current state are just financial manifestations of web3 that serve as forcing function for awareness, education, and adoption. What is left to be seen is when dollar signs are replaced with other forms of capital. Is the concept still compelling then?
  • I think all this talk of money also interestingly creates an adverse effect for some artists, especially the purists, to not want participate and/or prompts themselves and others to look at the NFT art medium as a zero-sum game. Related to the zero-sum part, a few popular writers, economists, and regarded thought leaders have mentioned some derivative of this. I wonder how repressive these viewpoints actually are for overall ecosystem of curious creatives or is it just whatever I’ll do it anyways.
  • Artists are some of the most business minded people out there. But many are so focused on the 𝓊𝓃𝒾𝓆𝓊𝑒𝓃𝑒𝓈𝓈 of their art that it translates into how they do business and sometimes ends up hurting more than helping. Copying and pasting business models should be normalized. Monetization as a form of art never hits right IMO. I get the message — just sell the thing already so you can make more dope shit.
  • Building community and gamified incentives as a way to increase the value of your art is a brand new concept for many. This is especially true for those who've worked often BTS, undiscovered, alone in a studio, with no one but themselves, maybe a few friends or collaborators, and curators or gallerists pushing them. I think there's a ton of education and opportunity around community building for artists and their teams to work on if it is a path they choose. Otherwise, I'm curious to see other strategies that will emerge in the near future.
  • Everything is so early that it's hilarious to give or receive advice on any of this — the best way to learn is to just dive in. Sure, Mirror essays, Spaces, threads, and frens help provide context, but who tf actually knows what they're doing rn? If you asked, I bet close to none.

Thanks for reading.

More notes to come…

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