What is NFT art?

Assuming everything goes the way it has lately for digital artists selling their work right now in the form of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. Maybe then. Ludy has spent a couple of decades creating digital art and virtual-reality pieces and teaching the brave new world of new media at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; last spring, after years in the city, she left Chicago for her dream state, New Mexico. She’s a significant figure in digital art. She’s not wading into NFTs to get rich quick.

That said, depending on what happens this month, after her first pieces of NFT art are auctioned — well, let’s put it this way, Ludy might have a lot more money in the bank.

Maybe you’ve heard: In the past month or so, the art market for NFTs — that is, purely digital images or videos, with none of the tangible existence of traditional artwork — has exploded. Yet, NFT also operates via cryptocurrency. Which is something of a volatile question mark. And yet, the possibilities ... Ludy’s first NFT, titled “Fire Beach,” is a snapshot of a polygoned peacock. It was expected to go up for auction alongside a work by Beeple, an artist whose NFTs have gathered more than $69 million recently, making him overnight one of the most expensive artists in the world. Sales from the auction go to the Open Earth Foundation, a nonprofit advocating for sustainability in the tech world. But after that, sales of Ludy’s next NFT, to be auctioned through the NFT site Foundation, are for-profit, and there, the market is not merely promising.

And you know it’s a gold rush because Ludy is sharing this over-hyped moment with such acclaimed digital artists as NFL tight end Rob Gronkowski (who has sold $1.6 million in NFTs), Lindsay Lohan (who sold an NFT of her face for $17,000) and the rock band Kings of Leon (which has made $2 million on NFTs). An NFT of Nyan Cat — that old internet meme of a Pop-Tart feline farting rainbows, created by a Texas illustrator — went last month for $580,000. Now the NBA is selling NFTs of game clips. An NFT of an early video posted on the now-dead social media site Vine sold for $17,198.

For income, she teaches, freelances, takes commissions; for years, she’s had a small side-hustle centered on the digital retouching of horse photos. It’s a living. But the promise of the NFT market now, she said, has also opened up new chances to explain the potential of her first love.

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