What Is NFT Art? (How Does It Work)


Non-fungible token (NFT) art refers to digital assets stored on a blockchain that represent content or even physical items. Art mediums that NFTs can represent include digital drawings, paintings, music, film, poetry, or books. NFT art allows artists to sell or rent their artwork beyond the physical world. This article will explore NFT art and how you can get involved in the NFT market.

Read more: What is an NFT? Your Guide to Non-Fungible Tokens in 2023

What is NFT art?

NFT art is a digital asset that the buyer owns and can sell or trade on a blockchain platform. The sale of NFTs is a means of selling digital art without building an extensive social network. Blockchain transactions take place on NFT marketplaces, reducing the obstacles of self-promotion.

To buy or sell NFT art, you’ll need a digital wallet to purchase cryptocurrency from blockchain platforms like Ethereum or Bitcoin. Take a look at common terms you need to know for entering the NFT art world:

Terms Description
Blockchain Blockchain is a ledger that keeps a record of transactions. These ledgers are tamper-proof and record the time of each transaction.
Cryptocurrency Any form of currency that is digital and used for transactions is cryptocurrency. In the virtual world, cryptocurrency is used and transactions are recorded on the blockchain.
Ethereum (ETH) Ethereum is a blockchain network you can use to make transactions, communicate, and build apps and organizations while maintaining control over your data. Ethereum is not only a payment network, but it also offers games, social networking, and financial services.
Bitcoin (BTC) Like Ethereum, Bitcoin is a blockchain platform you can use for making purchases, selling, and trading. Bitcoin is also the name of the cryptocurrency that fuels the platform.
Crypto wallet A crypto wallet can be physical or digital. It’s used to hold the private keys that give you access to your cryptocurrency as well as spend, send, and receive cryptocurrency.

What’s the difference between NFTs and traditional art? 

NFT art and traditional art vary in many ways. In some cases, NFT art can be more profitable because the artist can set the commission percentage. Unlike traditional art, it can be resold with the artist earning a royalty each time. Some of the other notable differences include:

  • Selling venues: Traditional art can be sold online, in art galleries, and through auction houses. NFT art is sold online at NFT marketplaces.

Advantages of NFT art

Digital art often costs less to produce than traditional art. Traditional art requires materials that can be expensive, such as paints, brushes, and canvases. Digital art requires a minimal investment to get started. Programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator provide the tools to create digital art, and drawing tablets and apps are also available. 

Traditional art requires replacing materials as you use them, which isn’t required of digital platforms. Digital art offers more freedom to manipulate color without damaging the paper or canvas. Other advantages include: 

  • A new way to generate income

  • Opportunities to receive royalties on future sales

  • Less risk of digital art getting damaged

  • The upfront cost to join an NFT marketplace is lower than traditionally selling art.

Disadvantages of NFT art

One of the most glaring disadvantages of the NFT marketplace is its stability. Since the value of NFT art can be influenced by factors like public opinion and social media trends, it can take time to gauge the profitability of your investments. Here are a few more potential drawbacks to consider:

  • Legal rights. Purchasing an NFT that represents another asset does not necessarily give you ownership of that intellectual property (IP). For example, you can own an NFT of a video clip from a sports game. However, people can still download and share the original clip without infringing on your rights.

  • Ethical dilemmas. Plagiarism and art theft have led to artist complaints surrounding the NFT market. For example, after digital artist Qing Han passed away in 2020, her art was stolen and sold as NFTs against the wishes of her family.

How to create NFT art from traditional art

If you’re a traditional artist interested in displaying your work in the NFT marketplace, you can do so by converting your artwork into a digital format. Here are some ways to convert traditional art into NFT art. 

Once you’ve converted your art, you can list it on an NFT marketplace. You can sell copies, such as limited editions, but each is a digital asset the purchaser owns.

When your digital artwork is ready, you will need to select a blockchain and market and set your selling rules. 

How to sell NFT art

To embark on a career in the NFT digital art marketplace, first understand the digital art market and the digital economy. It may be beneficial to have the following skills: 

  • Social media skills to showcase your artwork 

  • Ability to create digital art

  • Knowledge of software like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign

Job outlook for digital artists

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for artists, in general, is projected to grow by 6 percent from 2021 to 2031 [1]. The NFT artist’s career outlook depends on the amount of artwork sold and the price it sells for. You can earn royalties on subsequent sales if the buyer resells the digital art.

As of May 2021, the median annual wage for craft and fine artists is $49,960, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) [1]. Glassdoor’s data for digital artists in the US reveals an average annual salary of $59,409, with an average range of $40,000 to $98,000 [2].

Read more: Careers in Blockchain Technology: Solidity Developer

Learn more about NFTs

To help you get started in the NFT art space, consider learning more about non-fungible tokens and the marketplaces. Decentralized Finance Primitives from Duke University is a course that can help you learn about non-fungible tokens. 

If you’re just starting in digital design, try the Graphic Design Specialization offered by the California Institute of the Arts.