Featured artists at Seattle’s new NFT Museum that opens this weekend chat about the emerging tech

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Sold NFT art by Blake Catherine.

Non-fungible token (NFT) sales have skyrocketed over the past year, rising from $94.9 million in 2020 $24.9 billion in 2021. The emerging technology, powered by data stored on a blockchain to identify digital assets, has attracted interest from early adopters to traditional media, along with Marvel Comics and DC Comics. launch NFT versions of classic comic covers.

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NFT art sales have been a big driver of that growth with some digital pieces being sold for millions of dollars,

So what’s the whole hype about? We spoke with the artists showing in the new NFT Museum, a traditional brick-and-mortar museum that aims to highlight the work of artists who create NFT artwork, to learn more.

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The museum, which opens on Friday evenings, currently operates from neon salt water, Charles Peterson, And Robbie Trevino, artwork from the collection of Aaron Bird, a Seattle entrepreneur, and artist representation firm H+ Creative Will also be on display. Title Initial is a Los Angeles resident blake catherine,

Unfortunately, if you want to attend the museum’s opening weekend, nearly all tickets (priced from $175 to $200) have sold out as of this writing.

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“We are overwhelmed by the outreach and support from the community and are certainly excited to have two sell-out events to contribute to startup costs for the museum,” said Peter Hamilton, longtime Seattle tech exec who worked as startup leader Jennifer. Helped launch the museum with Wong.

Read on to hear more from Katherine, Peterson and Saltwater about the current and future state of the NFT art; What got him interested in NFTs in the first place; And this Environmental effect of the technology behind NFTs. Responses have been edited for clarity and brevity.

Seattle NFT Museum on First Avenue in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood. (SNFTM photo)

GeekWire: Why are you interested in NFTs?

Blake Catherine: This area first came to my attention when I looked to other artists I had seen to sell works in an almost gallery-like sense. I was no stranger to commissions or business/brand collaborations, but previous projects like this have gone through an emotional and financial rollercoaster, and many never saw the light of day. When I realized that my work, especially my animated work, could very rarely be sold as an artist, I thought it didn’t hurt to try. I have had the privilege of being successful and developing a mentor-like relationship with many collectors. This has enabled me to give back to both more indie artists and a range of nonprofits, which I intend to continue.

Charles Peterson: Because it’s another medium that I can do my work there and sell it. It is also a way for my work to be stored on the blockchain and available for all to see, even if one person owns the NFT. Other than in museums, this is rarely the case in the traditional arts sector.

neon salt water I see an opportunity for digital artists to be recognized and to make a living from their practice, and to place their content in the digital realm where it was supposed to exist when it was created. Digital prints are only really available for still images, and can sometimes be a departure from the original medium if colors are not accurate, etc. Now video and moving images can exist and have a platform that elevates them.

GeekWire: How do NFTs help your art endeavors?

Blake Catherine: I would love to say that it gave me complete freedom; Alas, I’m clearly a workaholic and fully booked with client-related projects (laughs).

That being said, it gave me the power to control who I work with. When I live in calm waves year-round, I am able to devote hours of work entirely to improving my craft, both technically and conceptually. This balance has led to developing more efficiently as an artist.

In addition, I have been able to finance many long-term projects and pay their reasonable rates to associates of various skills, creating healthy collaborative relationships and passing on financial security in an organic way. On a final note, I feel so blessed to be freed from the constant reliance on social media to “see” my work; Rather than rush for an algorithm to complete a task, I let it marinate to pixel perfection.

Charles Peterson: Believe it or not, artists, like everyone else, need money to make a living. Shocking, I know. This has the potential to reach a lot of collectors who really want to buy a piece. I’ve never bought anything from Instagram with “likes”, but I certainly could with NFTs. That said, my physical print sales are usually due indirectly to Instagram. It’s a different mindset and way of interacting with art. Currently I only sell archival grunge era work, but looking to the future, NFT will be a great platform to showcase new and other lesser-known archival works. It’s also without the hassle and expense of expecting someone other than your friends to put up a show and pay for all the expensive framing you do! Sure, it costs mint (damn gas!), but at least the piece is really out there for the likes of versus on the market.

neon salt water: Neon Saltwater is about a world I’ve built with over 400 rooms to date; Aside from my physical work, this is experienced digitally most of the time on Instagram. NFT allows me to place my little fictional world of Neon Saltwater in the digital realm, but now with more awareness of digital art, it has room to grow to provide greater reach.

Images taken by Charles Peterson are being offered as a non-fungible token.

GeekWire: How do you feel about the long-term future of NFTs?

Blake Catherine: It is too early and there is still a lot to develop, mature and improve. First, there’s an onboarding process just to enter the space that is, often, driven by exclusionary technology/finance language. This seems like unnecessary gatekeeper I hope it gets wiped out.

Furthermore, the main blockchain, Ethereum, needs to be completely moved to a more energy efficient Proof of Stake (PoS) process. However, today there are alternative green ranges, such as Polygon, Solana and Tezos; For artists eager to enter space in a carbon-conscious and eco-friendly way, I highly recommend reading about them.

Aside from these criticisms, and viewed through an optimistic futuristic lens, I really hope it continues to empower creatives of all backgrounds to build their own craft and defenses. From writers to musicians to fashion designers, the list is possible every day. From an artist’s point of view, the technique is truly inspiring, and will continue to fascinate; Being able to change artifacts over time through coding, creating interactive tasks that respond to gestures, etc. There is much that has barely been discovered, or has yet to be uncovered. The partnership of artists and developers to make these experimental works is what fueled such a fun digital playground. I can’t wait for the surprises to continue.

Charles Peterson: I think they are here to stay. It is indeed a medium that attracts the younger generation, and they will be the ones to take it forward. Last year’s craziness will subside as people realize that running is exciting, but marathon runners will win the race. I’m actually one of the first “old school” photographers to enter the space extensively, but soon we’ll see a lot more traditional fine arts and documentary photographers, and other artists join in. It would be sink or swim time, as the quality of work on offer would improve.

neon salt water: I think like anything it will change and transform, and it will be interesting to see what this means for NFTs.

“Put Me in a Movie” from NeonSaltwater.

GeekWire: Criticisms of NFTs include the environmental impact of the technology behind them, as well as concerns about the work of some artists creating NFTs being pirated. Have any of these concerns influenced your decision to create NFT art?

Blake Catherine: Absolutely reasonable concerns. For myself I make an offset for each Ethereum mint, in addition to donating to various global and local nonprofits to help my immediate and greater community in whatever way I can. Even as it moves to POS, I will continue to make these contributions; If I can work, eat and sleep comfortably, then it is only right that I donate extra for a better future. I also enjoy collecting (as well as occasionally working with) green chains like Tezos, and I expect these areas to thrive and advance carbon footprint priority on all paths. I’ve been meaning to look into Solana as well, but I’m currently in client mode, so haven’t done the proper research yet to comment.

As far as art theft is concerned, I think there is a special place in hell for anyone who takes the hard work of others for a quick dollar. …in my experience piracy takes off pretty fast, and unfortunately this is just a constant problematic area so many of us will have to keep an eye out since we first started sharing work online. Perhaps with all this shiny, fancy technology this is taking place, we can make a proper IP security blanket, because it’s totally unjust to the actors who have to navigate these crimes.

Charles Peterson: Yes, environmental concerns are huge, and one of the reasons I went with Phosphene initially to represent myself in the NFT field. They are committed to giving back to the environment with a portion of their fee. Now that I start molding myself, I’m looking at setting up a carbon offset initiative as well. I think this is something every successful NFT artist should have…

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