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Physical NFT Art, or physical Art NFT?

Hugo P
Hugo P
2021-06-21
There are more and more ways to make your NFTs appear in the real world. What possibilities are available today?
There are more and more ways to make your NFTs appear in the real world. What possibilities are available today?

You probably haven’t been able to miss the media hype surrounding the increasingly crazy prices Crypto Art auctions have been reaching. As a traditional artist you might wonder how you can be part of this non-fungible token revolution when your work is essentially physical.. and the reverse is may also be true, an artist who produces NFT art might want to additionally market these works as a physical piece or as a gift to reward the owners of the NFT version. 

In this article we look deeper into these processes, from the tokenization of works, to selling through to the different hardware you can use, let’s go!

Tokenisation of a Physical Artwork into an NFT

If you want to be a sure fire success with your future Collectors, you’d be well advised to prepare a “tokenization plan” before minting your works on the blockchain. This plan will help you set up a scarcity model before embarking on your NFT adventure.

Digitise the Artwork

Before tokenizing your artwork, you’ll need to digitalise it in one way or another, but getting a perfect rendition isn’t always so easy and this step can be more laborious for artists who wish to achieve an exact rendering of their work on the blockchain, especially in terms of colors. There are also a few other details to consider:

  • The Size
  • The Canvas : Wall, Wood, Glass, Metal, etc
  • The Technique Used: Painting, Felt, Engraving..

There are many different ways to proceed but the easiest is to take a picture of the work with your smartphone camera.

No doubt this could be a challenge if your work is painted on three sides of a wall like the NFT of “The Last Judgment” of Michelangelo by PBOY (photographed in 4D for sale). But in any case, it will be necessary to use a latest-gen smartphone for the best quality image.

If you have the opportunity to use a high resolution digital camera, even better but beware of the color settings!

physical NFT art pboy

If the surface of your artwork is flat and it is portable, you can simply scan with a 2D scanner specifically made for artists. As a rule, these devices are made to faithfully reproduce the colors of the drawing. If your sheet is too large for a basic scanner, ask a professional whos scanner will have a much larger surface area.

Once your work is digitised, its necessary to correct the colors which don’t always reflect reality. For this Youtube is full of all kinds of tutorials, most often made with Photoshop. As usual you can also ask for professional help, why not find someone on a platform like Fiverr?

It all depends on your needs and especially your ambition in the blockchain art world, you need to ask yourself the right questions from the start to get the best chance if standing out from the crowd.

Bare in mind that once an NFT is minted on the blockchain it’s no longer possible to modify it, so if you want to make a name for yourself in the long run its advisable to produce quality NFTs from the get go. If your NFT is meant to remain the same for a very long time, it will have to be perfect before you mint it!

Selling the Physical Art and the NFT

As mentioned, it’s important to establish a roadmap to determine the offer you will make to your future Collectors. The physical work and the NFT can be separate or together, the value differs depending on what you intend to do with one or the other. Again it is up to you to create an original rarity system to make the painting and/or NFT stand out and be as collectible as possible.

In March 2021, a group of private investors and NFT fans named ‘Burnt Banksy’ purchased Banksy’s “Morons” for approximately $100,000. The group minted this work in an NFT before burning it while filming themselves (proving that the physical work was indeed destroyed). A few days later, the NFT was sold for 228,69 ETH (about $380,000)

physical NFT art banksy

Below are some examples of how to give value to an NFT and/or to a physical work. However the possibilities are endless, it is up to the artist to use their own creativity:

  • Sell the physical work with the NFT.
  • Destroy the physical work after having minted the NFT (proof of destruction provided)
  • Mint the whole physical work as an NFT, then separate the physical work up into several pieces to sell each part to several different collectors.
  • Sell the different stages of your creations progression, mint the part that is finished as and NFT and sell each part of the physical work as it progresses.
  • Sell the NFT with a physical copy, as Beeple was able to do (we talk about this below)

Converting NFTs to Physical

Buying or creating a collection of NFT artworks is great, but keeping them in a wallet is much less fun. The Superchief Gallery in New York exemplified this by being the first real life gallery in the world to exhibit NFT art.

We should also talk about the inescapable Beeple who is far from being on his first attempt to create physical NFTs. At the end of 2020 he released his “BEEPLE: EVERYDAY” collection of physical tokens sold in a pack including a high-resolution screen, a signed certificate of authenticity, a sample of his hair (or so he made us believe) and a cleaning cloth. More recently, between late April and early May 2021, he is replicating the same physical non-fungible token sale for his spring/summer collection. We don’t have more information about the content of this pack yet.

All this goes to show that an NFT can be appreciated in real life by the collectors who own it. But how can you do the same and with what? We’ll see below!

Infinite Objects: the timelessness of digital art

With Infinite Objects, your frame will be reserved for one and only one NFT. The way the company has designed these frames fits in perfectly with the blockchain and NFT ideology. Once out of the box, the digital work turns on by itself and becomes immutable.

The screen only turns off when it is put back in its box, somewhat like animated Hogwarts frames only more colorful. To further support their popularity in the world of NFTs, the two physical collections of Beeple, mentioned earlier, were produced with the Infinite Objects framework.

On the back of each frame you can find a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist with the number associated with it. Infinite Objects also places a holographic authenticity badge and magnetic plug to recharge the frames (very minimalist). A QR Code leading to the NFT and other information can appear on the back as shown on the recent physical prototypes of NBA TopShot created by Infinite Objects.

Token Cast: The open source solution to build your digital frame for NFTs

Token Cast will help you push the limits of your creativity with a client that allows you to build the interface of your dreams with any screen. Based on an Amazon FireStick or their Android application, the customisation of the code and thus of your digital boards is unlimited (Github available).

The more tech-lovers out there will undoubtedly prefer using the Raspberry Pi application from Token Cast. But don’t worry, you don’t need to be a professional coder, far from it. A customisable interface will be provided after the installation of the application. Here is a small preview:

physical NFT art token cast

Conclusion

The transformation of physical art into NFTs or the transfer of NFTs into the physical is defiantly down to the imagination of each individual creator. However, there are a few basics to consider in terms of how the art will be displayed. The key is to know the image you want to reflect to your collectors.

The tokenisation of a physical work of art is already well developed with the many marketplaces allowing you to create them. On the contrary, the solutions to make an NFT physical are still very young and expensive and undoubtedly need to be expanded on further.

Nor have we mentioned Meural and Qonos, which are two providers of similar digital frames. Their approach is oriented towards simple images and not NFTs, which means you are able to display a copy of an NFT and not the original you have in your possession.

There is certainly a real marketplace for digital frames that is being formed thanks to the advent of NFTs. Perhaps in future we will see more players emerge with new innovations that bring change to the world of non-fungible tokens. Only time will tell..

Image credit : https://beta.cent.co/RendarMark/+o50nv1

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