“Show Me the Way”. How Does the NFT Phenomenon Affect the Visual Content Consumption Culture?

NFT in the majority of cases is discussed by collectors, avid crypto enthusiasts and traders. The opinions of content producers about their attitude towards the industry are not often heard. Cryptopostman decided to provide a rostrum for artists and talk about their creative path, the dynamics of the industry and upcoming projects.

Our first interviewee was Rustam Usmanov, 3D artist, art director of the NFT metaverse Chatex Robots. Rustam created a metaverse consisting of 99 unique 3D art, worked with a number of brands, among which Campina, Fruttis, Landlibe, Polyplastic group, Geeek club, Kellogs, etc., was a speaker at cryptoart events and supervised the work of emerging artists. Read about the prospects for the development of the industry, a new culture of consumption of visual content and the path of becoming a digital artist in our material.

Tell us about your introduction to NFT?

My acquaintance with NFT happened in the framework of interaction with Chatex. We started working on the Chatex brand and character concept in the summer of 2020. NFT was out of the question then. Towards the end of the year we started discussing the NFT project. By this time, I was starting to notice news about the NFT, about the grandiose sales of some of the works. Nevertheless, I didn’t really get into what was happening. It was only after the New Year that we started discussing the 99 NFT Chatex Robots project. In the spring, we got down to serious planning. Then I already plunged headlong into this topic. At that time, the market was already full of all kinds of NFT art. This community has been developing for a long time, but it received a great public response during this period. Among my acquaintances involved in art, graphics, design, few people were fond of NFT. Some did not even know about this phenomenon, some were just entering the industry. And some are just now beginning to actively explore this topic. I just did one NFT immersion consultation just the other day. We can say that I myself did not go the way of an NFT artist, as we developed one large project, and launched it together with Chatex. And therefore, it is incorrect to consider this project as the author’s original art, although in it I was as free as possible in my creativity. Now I want to try myself at NFT independent production. I have a lot of ideas. Then all the experts said that in just a few months this market would be blown away, but, as it turned out, it was quite efficient. We still see a lot of sales, the launch of new projects, so I think it’s never too late to start something new.

Are you planning to release your new work as an NFT?

I thought about it. All my work somehow comes down to some kind of collection, but due to the fact that in the process of creating 99 NFT Robots I was responsible exclusively for the visual part, I missed the opportunity to work with the platforms, the opportunity to mint something with my own hands. It’s not hard to learn, though. Therefore, all my developments are still on the sidelines. I have many other projects that I want to implement, so for now NFT projects are fading into the background. But the idea of ​​creating my own collection does not leave me. I would like to implement my current project related to patterns in fabric so that it is exactly what is sold. It is not clear how, from a legal point of view, I can make both an NFT and a finished product out of it. Perhaps you need to sell it as an NFT, and then sell it to the brand, as some kind of author’s illustration, as the right to its exclusive use. But for me it is more important to bring this project to life, and not to sell it to NFT.

Is NFT a fleeting hype or art of the future?

He has both those and other properties. We see how many people on HYIP post something that does not quite fall under the definition of “art”. It is on sale, we see how quickly it is gaining popularity, but, on the other hand, we see how quickly interest in it is blown away. Nevertheless, I see great potential for creativity, for the development of interesting authors, for the freedom of creativity to stimulate people to create. It may soon go beyond art. Because NFT can sell any digital content. While we are talking more about pictures, many are already launching exclusive content for their games in the form of some characters or body kits for these characters as NFTs. In my understanding, any digital content can enter this industry. What will come of this is still unknown. There can be a huge variety of varieties of this content. These may be individual videos that were not included in the film. Tarantino is doing something similar now. Also, there may be some sound recordings not included in the album. These can be new audio recordings, some kind of diagrams or drawings. Literally anything that can be converted to digital content. Most likely there will be a lot of competition among the sites. Behance, for example, also launched the NFT minting feature.

Many people in the industry have their own vision for the development of NFT and a huge number of fresh ideas. An acquaintance of mine wants to make a chronology of events in the world, for example, in 10 days, arrange it in a kind of poster, create a sequence of blocks, as in the blockchain. It will be some kind of recorded history that can be continued. It will be absolutely real. You can literally feel it. There are many ideas, and we have yet to see how this all transforms.

Does NFT give you creative freedom?

With the advent of the Internet, creative people have a huge scope for self-realization. We see how many bloggers compete with brands, launch their clothing lines, their own merchandise, since they have a channel of influence, a large audience. Previously, it was given by brands, at the expense of their accumulated audience. With the advent of the internet, you can safely sell your art. The advantage of NFT is that you get paid for the pixels. It used to be very difficult because you had to sell your unique content. For example, your own tutorials. But it was interesting only for amateurs who wanted to spend their time and learn something. That is, this is a small part of the audience. Now you can sell your work to people who are not versed in art, but who want to join it. In this regard, you can well compete with brands. We can see that so far artists are leading in terms of NFT sales coverage. Beeple is still # 1 and has nothing to do with brands. And at the same time, the brands themselves want to look more individual in this get-together. Not all beautiful and glossy bulges sell well. Someone can draw some kind of pixel art, and the demand for it will be huge, due to the specifics of the community. I think that sooner or later each direction will have its own audience. Further we will see the connection with social networks, since people want to show their property, partly to brag about it. If earlier we could invite someone to visit, show what canvases of brilliant artists we hang, now, due to various factors, this desire is not closed. People will realize this need when there is up-to-date information in social networks about which NFT he owns. In the minds of people, this will have a certain value.

Should beginning artists mint their NFTs?

I cannot give any criteria for assessing, because the same rules apply here as in the art world. You cannot somehow limit someone in the possibility of self-expression. Because even a child can draw something really interesting. In my opinion, the possession of some kind of technique is not paramount. It could even be digital photography. You don’t have to be a digital artist to do this. It all depends on creativity. I would encourage artists to think about how to make something truly unique, rather than trying to reproduce something that pays off well. A person is more likely to buy something authentic than a copy. The only advice is to try to express yourself as interestingly as possible, to think about an idea, to think about a technique. If you find it difficult to implement your idea in some complex technique, think about how to make it easier. There are no magic formulas. It is just like in the world of ordinary art, it is a mirror of society.

What will be the main vector of NFT development?

For me, NFT is one of the directions for the development of visual culture. I think it will develop. But the more people there are in this environment, the more difficult it will be to gain an audience. Youtube is a prime example of this phenomenon. It is already much more difficult to gain an audience there than at the beginning. With the rise in popularity, commerce will come to the industry, people will start buying targeted NFTs. All of this will change anyway, because there will be more supply and demand. As in any market economy of different levels, artists will offer their work. It will be more difficult for novice designers to sell their work, just as it is quite difficult for novice bloggers to promote their work now. At the dawn of YouTube’s development, the audience was smaller, but there was also much less content.

In general, I like to watch the development of visual culture. Many people believe that at some point people will stop making design and art, they will be replaced by neural networks. I cannot say anything concrete on this score. I’ve seen what neural networks are doing. It looks impressive in some cases, but I am still amazed at what people do. I don’t think that absolutely everyone will stop doing creative work and transfer this sphere of activity into the “hands” of machines. Nevertheless, nowadays most products, interfaces, anything requires visual content. And people consume a lot more visual content now than they did a few years ago. And this, accordingly, forces the industry to develop and hire more and more designers so that people bring their vision, because many products are in one way or another related to animation, illustration, and visuals in general. Against this background, some content may not have enough space. There will definitely be a struggle for human attention. 24 hours reality will not change in 10 years, and we will be able to consume more content due to the fact that the routine will become less and it will be more automated, gadgets will become faster. For example, it is already impossible to find childhood films on the Internet. Despite the fact that the Internet remembers everything, if we are talking about specific old content, games, then something definitely loses support and is stored on someone’s hard drives. Not everything is uploaded to the network. Therefore, we are losing outdated content. And, most likely, more popular content will crowd out less popular content.

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