A Non-fungible Token (NFT) is a digital token that is used to represent a unit of value on a blockchain. They are used to denote ownership of one-of-a-kind digital data such as images, videos, and 3D objects. Despite their expanding popularity and increased trading prices, little is known about the views and experiences of Irish digital artists toward NFTs. This research examines the values afforded to Irish digital artists using NFTs and discusses the outcomes of an exploratory qualitative research study in which five NFT creators were interviewed about their experiences, opinions and concerns of this nascent technology.
The majority of our participants expressed enthusiasm for the underlying technologies and how they empower individuals to express their creativity and explore novel business models. Their enthusiasm, however, was dampened by their descriptions of the numerous challenges they encountered, as well as the complex issues that the NFT ecosystem presents.
The research also points to issues with NFTs, including the environmentally unsustainable process of NFT creation on the blockchain. Additionally, concerns with the commodification and financialisation of digital art are identified as limiting the critical potential of the digital realm as an inherently dynamic and potentially uncommodifiable mode of production and artistic expression.
The research argues that NFTs have benefited Irish digital artists. Our artists attest to the fact that NFTs inspired and revitalised them, enabling them to find a realistic marketplace for their creative labour and therefore being transformative to their practice.
Visuals from this Project
with kind permission from artist Eoin O'Connor
with kind permission from artist Maia Mellier
with kind permission from artist Olga Evenden