You probably haven’t missed the media hype that relays the increasingly crazy prices that crypto art auctions are 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. The reverse is also true. An artist who produces NFT art might want to market those works as physical to immortalize the best of them or even reward their owners. 

From tokenization to selling and the hardware to use, let us explain everything in this article. Let’s go !

Tokenization of a Physical Artwork into a NFT

If you want to be successful with your future collectors, you’ll have to prepare a “tokenization plan” before minting your works on the blockchain. This will allow you to set up a scarcity system and many other things that you could not do with physical art.

Digitize the Artwork

Before tokenizing your art, you’ll have to digitize it in a way or another to show it to the world. But digitization isn’t easy and nevertheless this step can be more laborious for the artists who wish a perfect rendering of their work on the blockchain, especially in terms of colors. There are also a few details to consider:

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

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

This could be difficult if your work is painted on three sides of the 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 prefer a last-generation smartphone.

If you have the possibility to use a high resolution captor camera, it is even better but beware of the color settings!

In case the surface of your work is flat, you can simply scan it with a 2D scanner specifically made for artists. As a rule, these devices are made to reproduce the colors of the drawing. If your sheet is too large for a basic scanner, ask a professional with a much larger surface.

Once your work is digitized, it is necessary to correct the colors that do not 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 and 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.

 Keep in mind that once an NFT is minted on the blockchain it will no longer be possible to destroy or modify it. So if you want to make a name for yourself in the long run it will be better to produce quality NFTs. If your NFT is meant to remain the same for a very long time, it will have to be perfect before minting!

Selling the Physical Art and the NFT

It is 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. 

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

physical NFT art banksy

Here are some examples to give value to an NFT or/and to a physical work. However the possibilities are endless, it is up to the artist to use his creativity to stand out from the crowd:

  • Sell the physical with the NFT
  • Destroy the physical work after having hit it in NFT (proof of destruction provided with)
  • Strike the whole physical work in NFT, then separate the physical work in several pieces to sell each part to several collectors
  • Sell the progress of the creation, mint in NFT the part that is finished 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 it below)

Converting NFT to Physical

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

We can also talk about the inescapable Beeple which is not at its first try with 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 these hairs (so he makes 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 to say that an NFT can very well be appreciated in real life by the collectors who own it. But how to do the same? With what? That’s what we’ll see right now!

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 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, it’s sort of like the animated Hogwarts frames only more colorful. To further support their popularity in the world of NFTs, the two physical collections of Beeple that we mentioned earlier were produced with the Infinite Objects framework.

On the back of each frames you can find the certificate of authenticity signed by the artist with the number associated with it. Infinite Objects also places a holographic authenticity badge and a 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 NFT

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 customization of the code and thus of your digital boards is unlimited (Github available). The more technophiles will undoubtedly prefer to use the Raspberry Pi application from Token Cast. But don’t worry, you don’t need to be a professional of code or electronic circuits, far from it. A customization interface will be provided to you after the installation of the application. Here is a small preview:

physical NFT art token cast

Conclusion

In conclusion, the transformation of physical art into NFT or the transfer of NFT into physical is up to the imagination of each individual. 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 tokenization of a physical work of art is already well developed with the many marketplaces that allow to create it. On the contrary, the solutions to make a NFT physical are still very young and expensive, it needs to be deepened. I did not mention Meural and Qonos, which are two other providers of similar digital frames. Their approach is rather oriented towards simple images and not NFTs, which means that you will be able to display a copy of an NFT and not the original you have in your possession.

It’s a real marketplace for the digital frame that is being formed thanks to the advent of NFTs. Perhaps we will see new players emerge or 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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