The growth of NFTs has created a host of new opportunities. Digital art lovers now have a way to build unique collections of their favorite artists. Art investors can buy rare works and sell them for a profit. But most important of all, artists have a new way to make a living out of their talents.
Ben Mauro is a designer and illustrator who has created digital art for video games including Call of Duty: Black Ops and Halo: Infinite, as well as for the Peter Jackson movie The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
Before the blockchain-enabled artists to prove provenance and authenticity, digital artists like Mauro had few ways to earn from their creativity. Mauro would either work-for-hire on behalf of a video game company or a big movie, or he would sell his knowledge and skill by making online tutorials. Neither of those options, though, enabled him to create his own art and generate revenue.
“I never had a way to value those original creations I would do for myself,” he told The Nifty Show. “If I wanted to make more income on the side, those creations were never valued.”
As cryptocurrencies started to take off, Mauro began trading and when Cryptokitties launched, he realized that the blockchain could offer more than the opportunity to buy and hodl digital coins. As 2020 drew to a close, some of Mauro’s friends were already selling on Superrare and he started to see that the blockchain was creating a new kind of digital art market.
“Once I kind of understood what was happening, I was like: ‘This is the moment I’ve been waiting for my whole artistic life,’” he said. “It’s a pretty incredible time. As a creator you become the master of your own domain by selling your art direct and on the blockchain.”
Mauro is now selling a collectible series on Viv3 that draws on his ideas of alien evolution. The set consists of 21 original creatures divided into three tiers of common, rare, and legendary works. Only 50 collectors will be able to own a whole set.
Viv3 gives artists like Mauro the ability to create packs to sell on the platform and takes a small share of the sales revenue. Unlike Ethereum-based platforms, there are no gas fees for buyers and there are also no transaction fees for artists, both of which can stand in the way of a sale. Mauro recounts trying to bid $500 on a painting only to find that the platform was trying to charge him a $4,000 gas fee.
During a decade of learning, growing, and creating for movies and video games, Mauro—like many other commercial artists—has always created for himself. “Now, for the first time, I can turn it into a cool project and collectible series,” he says.
It’s a whole new world of opportunity for talented digital artists.