We can define NFT art as all the artistic disciplines and genres that share the use of non-fungible tokens (NFT) as a technology for executing, storing or simply demonstrating ownership of a work of art (generally of digital nature) on a public blockchain (mainly Ethereum).
As it is a phenomenon that encompasses diverse artistic movements, there is no consensus regarding NFT Art meaning. Some artists and collectors prefer to speak of crypto art, blockchain art, or even web3 art.
The first artistic manifestations linked to the use of a public blockchain as a register of property predate the launch of Ethereum. Some see Monegraph or the metadata records that included images in Namecoin as NFT meaning art examples. Others consider Rare Pepes, collectively created collectibles launched on the Counterparty blockchain, as the genesis of art NFT.
One thing is clear, it was not until recently, with the boom of on-chain generative art through Art Blocks, that the boundary between NFT art and other types of collectibles (PFPs) began to be more clearly defined. Yet, still today, what is an NFT art piece worthy of being exposed in a museum for some people, remains just a simple digital collectible akin to Pokemon for others.
We can find lots of examples of nft art in Ethereum, but also in other blockchains like Tezos, or even in more primitive ones like Counterparty. Probably, the first example of popular nft art that comes to mind is CryptoPunks, a generative art project launched by the duo Larva Labs in June 2017.
CryptoPunks was the first collection with artistic value in Ethereum that experienced a great success in terms of trading volume (other projects like Cryptokitties are not great digital art nft examples, because they are closer to pet collectibles than to actual artworks).
When confronted with the question "what's an nft art piece?", many collectors consider Rare Papes (launched in Counterparty in 2016) one of the earliest examples despite resembling digital trading cards. The reason behind that is the fact that Rare Pepes had enormous influence over many crypto artists, they acted as a catalyst for the overall movement and pioneered several technical solutions. But as said earlier, this is sort of a controversial issue, and what is a nft art piece for some people without a shadow of doubt, for others it's just a plain collectible.
Some of the most popular types of nft art are:
Despite its recent boom thanks to NFTs and platforms like Art Blocks, generative art has a long history that stretches back to the 60's with the emergence of computer generated graphics and other autonomous systems.
In the context of crypto and blockchain technology, generative art generally refers to procedural or algorithmic visual artworks that are partially or completely generated/stored on-chain. That means that the software to create nft art is distributed and decentralized by means of a blockchain, instead of centrally hosted and controlled by the artist.
The fact that the nft art generator can be deployed on a public blockchain is something revolutionary, because generative art as a genre always had to do as much with the creation process, as with each final output of the system.
Platforms like Art Block NFT have played a key role as nft generator art platforms that make it easy for artists to deploy their scripts on the blockchain. Each resulting generative nft is the result of an autonomous system (the software deployed on-chain by the artist) interacting with the random metadata that the collector inputs by means of his purchase transaction on the blockchain.
Among the top generative art projects in Ethereum we find Autoglyphs, Art Blocks, GM Studio, Grails by Proof Collective and Async. Drops by Art Blocks Curated include some top selling collections like Ringers by Dmitri Cherniak, Fidenza by Tyler Hobbs and Chromie Squiggle by Snowfro.
Autoglyphs, launched by Larva Labs in 2019, is generally considered the first on-chain generative art project in Ethereum. It was followed by five other on-chain generative art projects (Squiggly, Gener8tive K-Compositions, Colorglyphs, ChainFaces and Avastars) that predate Art Blocks NFT, the platform that ignited the generative art collector fever.
While CryptoPunks is also a generative project, the fact that it is not completely on-chain and usually associated with PFP (profile picture) projects, prevents it from being the poster child of NFT generative art.
The term crypto art was used for a long time as a synonym of NFT art. With the boom of on-chain generative art, though, all the artworks by digital artists that do not use generative or procedural systems to create their works tend to fall now under the category of nft crypto art o crypto nft art. However, the ambiguity and interchangeability of both terms persists for many people, so answering the question "What is crypto art?" is not an easy endeavor.
To further complicate matters, while in the early days there was some kind of common aesthetics that characterized cryptoart (the use of glitch techniques, the combination of retro styles with hyper futuristic iconography, the abundance of 3D works or GIFS with movement, the limitation of the palette and use of striking and powerful colors), nowadays the phenomenon has become more heterogeneous.
However, according the renowned art critic Artnome, we can still find some defining characteristics of cryptoart as a movement:
Despite detractors calling it nft monkey art in a derogatory way, as we can see crypto art is a very sophisticated genre.
Among the earliest and most influential examples of crypto art NFT we find:
NFT photography is a type of fine art photography in which non fungible tokens are used to prove ownership of each digital artwork. There are even cases where the artist uses the blockchain not just as an ownership registry but as a storage solution - in that case, the resulting artwork is called an on-chain photography nft.
Photo nft artists cultivate all sorts of photography genres, from landscape to portrait. For instance, one of the most popular nft photography collections is "Twin Flames" by Justin Aversano, a series of digital portraits in which the artist photographed 100 sets of twins in honor of his twin brother.
There have been attempts to create a dedicated photography nft marketplace, but so far, the most popular markets are still to be found in platforms like Opensea, Rarible, Foundation or Superrare.
Among the most popular nft photography projects we find collections like:
Another interesting example of photography nft is Quantum.art, an on-chain platform specifically dedicated to curate and drop collections by top nft photographers.
NFT anime art, also called anime NFT art, is a genre that only has become popular as of lately. Anime NFTs usually represent pictures or even videos inspired by popular Japanese animation aesthetics and themes.
Should be clarified, though, that most anime NFT projects tend to be associated more with PFPs than with actual crypto art.
Some of the most iconic japanese aesthetic animated nft projects are:
Pixel Art NFT, also called nft pixel art, is a genre of NFT digital art that uses pixel-based low resolution (8-bit or 16-bit) computer graphics as medium of expression. The genre became very popular after the great success experienced by Larva Labs with the launch of their collection CryptoPunks, that would be featured in several art expositions worldwide.
Among the top pixel nft art examples we can highlight:
Now that the NFT art space is booming we can talk about nft 3D art as a specific genre, with many artists and collectors focused solely on it. But 3D art NFT artworks have been part of the dominant aesthetics of crypto art for some years now, well before it became a specific genre.
According to Jason Bailey (a.k.a. Artnome) the label "3D" is one of the most viewed in several nft's art marketplaces, and "how to make 3D nft art" is one recurrent topic of many specialized workshops for aspiring cryptoartists.
Here's a short list of some of the most popular 3D NFT artworks:
NFT video art is another cross-genre phenomenon. Video nft themes range from memes and Japanese anime, to realistic video art. Some popular crypto projects issued promo videos by renowned artists that later on were sold as nft videos.
Connected with the phenomenon of NFT video art is the emergence of web3 films and animation studios.
Among the most popular NFT video examples we find:
While usually included as part of the NFT art category, music nft is a phenomenon which is expected to grow massively in the coming years, to the point of becoming its own niche.
It's important to note that there are already specialized web3 marketplaces that help artists interested in learning how to sell music as nft pieces. After Spotify's announcement of token gated trials for some platform services, it's not difficult to imagine this web2 behemoth becoming the top music nft marketplace that helps musicians monetize their songs rights.
For those eager to know in more detail what is a nft music platform and who are some of the top artists of this genre, here you have a short list:
NFT AI art is an artistic genre that combines text-to-image models, GANs and other sorts of artificial intelligence deep learning algorithms, with blockchain technology.
AI art nft projects like Braindrops, which act as AI nft generator platforms, have helped popularize the genre. And with the recent boom, AI generated NFT artworks by artists like Claire Silver or Helena Sarin have reached stratospheric valuations.
While there are specialized platforms like Braindrops that help with drops of AI generative art NFTs, as of yet there is not a single succesful AI art marketplace for secondary sales. Most AI art for sale is to be found in generic NFT marketplaces like Opensea or LooksRare, and also in NFT fine art platforms like Superrare. But with the growing interest in the genre, we will probably see several artificial intelligence art nft platforms launching on the market soon.
Among the most iconic AI NFT art examples we find:
The landscape NFT genre has become pretty popular lately thanks the "neo-precisionism" works of the artist Grant Riven Yun. His artworks often feature life in the Midwest, where he lives. Another top selling artist associated with landscape NFT art, and more specifically with nft landscape photography, is Cath Simard.
Among the most popular examples of landscape NFT art we find:
One of the most frequently asked questions by rookie NFT collectors is how to price NFT art collections - or more specifically, what proxy of the market price we can use for something that is not a single artwork but a series of pieces. We believe the right answer lies in the floor price - the lowest ask price among all the items of a given collection - because it is highly resistant to market manipulation.
That being said, on NFT Price Floor you can also check the price of single items. Usually, the most expensive nft art pieces have been created by renowned artists like Xcopy, Beeple, Fewocious, Dmitri Cherniak or Tyler Hobbs. As a curiosity, the most expensive nft art sold ever was "Everydays: the first 5000 days" by Beeple. It reached a valuation of 69.3 millions of dollars in Christie's. As we can see, NFT monkey art price - that's how critics like to call NFT art - can be equiparable to that of the finest traditional art pieces.
One of the biggest problems that traditional collectors face once they decide they want to start their NFT journey, is the fact that first they need to find where to buy nft art, and then learn to use a self-custodial crypto wallet.
There are several general art marketplace platforms like Opensea or Looksrare, and also more specialized marketplaces like the cool NFT art website Superrare. That being said, the best experience for users buying nft art is offered by aggregators like the one we have integrated in our own platform, NFT Price Floor.
An interesting emerging phenomenon is NFT art finance, that is, the possibility of using your NFTs as collateral in lending solutions, in order to leverage long positions or short assets.
Collectors want to know where to sell NFT art for two main reasons: either they get bored of the items they are holding or they lose confidence on them as investment. The platforms where you can sell nft art are also those where you can make your purchases - e.g. Opensea, Looksrare and other NFT art gallery marketplaces.
If you are an artist and want to learn how to sell art as NFT you can try to submit an application to popular platforms like Art Blocks or Braindrops, or simply try to be accepted in specialized marketplaces like Foundation and Superrare.
The process of selling NFT art on these platforms is pretty smooth and straightforward for collectors, but if you are an artist you will have to decide if you want to use your own contract, mint your works and manage other settings. It can be a cumbersome process initially, but if you want to learn how to sell NFT art for free there's no way around it.
It's really important to also note that NFT art for sale is very abundant and markets tend to be highly illiquid, so don't expect to make a quick sale unless you set a price way below the floor of the collection or equiparable pieces.