For more than five decades, the Leipzig painter ANTOINETTE has been standing at her easel in her studio every day, working on her paintings. In the past, she would never have imagined finding her works in the digital world, although she has been successfully posting about her art on Facebook and Youtube for years. Her experience with creating art NFTs could be summed up with the words: Traditional, analog art meets “Non Fungible Tokens.” Or: Why it took a call from Hollywood to open the door to a new world. But first things first.
Media coverage of ANTOINETTE
ANTOINETTE’s paintings are monumental, such as the “Altar of Europa,” a 100m2 pencil drawing. After the completion of this work in December 2020, there was a lot of media attention. The “heute journal” of the ZDF reported. And the news agency “Reuters” put the artwork in context with the fair “Art Basel“, the auction house “Christies” and the NFT artist Beeple.
First experience: Hollywood calls!
The news coverage was followed by what is usually considered a joke: Hollywood called! More precisely, a production company that operates as a digital service provider of blockbuster productions. Whether there was interest in marketing the “Altar of Europe” as an NFT work of art? Video conferences were arranged with ANTOINETTE. And at the end there was the question if she would destroy the analog artwork. Destroy it to increase the exclusivity of the NFT. Something similar happened with a painting by street artist “Banksy”: buyers set fire to one of his artworks to make it an NFT (see our list of crazy NFTs).
Destroy your own art for an NFT?
ANTOINETTE did not think twice. Destroying her work, painted in many hours, was out of the question. That was a bridge the artist could not and would not cross. “For me, a work also lives through the material and the work I spent,” she says. In the case of “Altar of Europe,” that’s three years, plus many square meters of paper and about 1,500 pencils and crayons. Destroying all that for a digital file – no, no way.
She had no experience with NFT art
However, her interest was aroused. The possibility of producing NFT art and posting it on a reputable platform – why not? Until then, the artist had no experience with NFT art. ANTOINETTE and her team read up on digital “literature” and watched YouTube tutorials. “These first steps in the digital art world are actually not easy,” ANTOINETTE says.
Set up NFT plafform and social channels
First, she set up an Ethereum wallet. Then she searched for an NFT art platform to offer her images. The choice fell on the platform “foundation.” However, to offer a work there, one has to be invited by the active artists. “I put an application online,” she says. The chances of being accepted increase if one is active on Twitter and Instagram. “So I still had to open the appropriate social media channels.” No sooner said than done, even “if it’s more difficult with a notebook than with a smartphone,” she reports. Her experience up to that point: no sooner have you activated the right utilities than it also works for people from the “old world.”
The experience report becomes exciting
The artist then published posts on Twitter and Instagram. “I made contact with other artists this way for the first time ever.” One day came an offer from a Mexican colleague, enthusiastic about ANTOINETTE’s work. This cleared the way for her to join the “foundation community”. Done, now the NFTs can start! You would think … But now the experience report on the art NFTs is really exciting.
Which picture comes into question for the NFT?
The question arose: How does an analog artist publish a work of art? And above all: Which picture comes into question for it? Most of the other offerings at “foundation” were created on a computer and for digital reuse. In terms of design and aesthetics, they have nothing to do with ANTOINETTE’s art. That’s when she got the idea: “How about we post the intermediate photo of a really spectacular painting as NFT?”
ZDF report about ANTOINETTE and the “Altar of Europe”.
Preserving digital art for posterity
A snapshot, as it were. Let’s imagine that a photo exists from the studio of Leonardo da Vinci. On the easel, the “Mona Lisa” – but only partially completed. That would be a sensation! Because the finished picture is always an overpainting of the intermediate state. This intermediate state is thus destroyed, which brings us back to the proposal from Hollywood. “For us, that was squaring the circle,” says ANTOINETTE. You get an analog work of art as a unique digital piece for posterity. And the artist has no problem with its “destruction” because this is part of the actual creative process.
ANTOINETTE’s NFT is waiting for buyers
So ANTOINETTE had herself photographed working on her latest work. Its dimensions are typical for her: 1.5 meters high and 4 meters wide. A drawing with colored pencil on paper with the title “Beauty”. All that was missing was the prize. ANTOINETTE’s experience report shows: The pricing process is unusual. “We set the file, which is generated as an NFT on foundation’s platform, at a starting price,” she says. Once the first customer accepts that price, the NFT goes into a 24-hour auction. “If the painting is later resold, I, as the artist, get a share of the additional proceeds.” ANTOINETTE has since completed the original painting. The NFT is waiting at foundation for a buyer. Sometimes it just takes a call from Hollywood to dare to tackle subjects and techniques that previously seemed foreign and unattainable.
Further links to the topic
- Instruction guide for the creation of art NFTs
- Art tokens: return and risk
- Don’t digital artists need galleries?
Interview with ANTOINETTE
For me, the digital world is an extended mouthpiece, a double translation of my mouthpiece, the body. So what I express with my hands goes once through me and once through electrical lines to my audience, better, my collectors.
I rarely and little work on the computer or with the cell phone, but I do it occasionally. I reduce my hand tools as much as I can because I believe in beauty and meaning. And it takes almost nothing. For me, the focus is on the creative process, not on showing off mastery of a making technique.
Joy that the NFT is on the platform. And excitement to see if it will take effect, sell, and thus become an indelible part of the digital world.
The main incentive is the enormous reach you can achieve. And of course the idea of establishing direct contact with buyers completely independently of the analog art market. I can earn a royalty from the resale. That makes it easier for me to start with a lower entry price than selling an analog artwork.
ANTOINETTE and her digital paintings