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Mainstream Indian artists enter the NFT World

Paresh Maity is the first senior artist to issue non-fungible tokens.

February 27, 2022 / 11:36 AM IST
A total of five large older Paresh Maity abstract works will go under the hammer on March 4. The NFT + Physical asset will be priced at $110,000, and the NFT-only asset at $5,000.

A total of five large older Paresh Maity abstract works will go under the hammer on March 4. The NFT + Physical asset will be priced at $110,000, and the NFT-only asset at $5,000.

It was bound to happen sooner or later. Leading contemporary artist Paresh Maity has made the first move, by taking the call to issue a rare collection of art NFTs on WazirX NFT Marketplace. The collection will drop on March 4.

Paresh Maity said: "By going digital, (I) can reach out to an entirely brand new segment of art lovers and collectors worldwide. That audience may not be aware of traditional auctions and how art gets sold in the conventional sense.”

A total of five assets will be auctioned on Wazir X NFT Marketplace using the Binance network and the mint currency will be BNB. Of the five assets, three are physical paintings by Maity with corresponding NFT tokens while the other two outings are going to be represented by NFT alone. The NFT + Physical asset will be priced at $110,000 and the NFT-only asset at $5,000.

NFT or a non-fungible token is a digital signature that is unique - it cannot be replicated and is designed to purchase real-world assets like wine or art, and serves as built-in authentication that gives proof of ownership of the asset, especially when it is digital.

"NFTs reside on blockchain, and blockchain technology, which is the basis of web 3.0, is built on participation from blocks of people. Which means it is a community-laid decentralized technology. Hence it is individual artists who have led the blockchain or the NFT revolution. It was important for the WazirX NFT marketplace to gather these NFT artists under one roof and build a strong community," Vishakha Singh, VP, WazirX NFT Marketplace, said.

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Business of art NFTs

How do you get an NFT? Cryptocurrency can be used to buy NFTs from an NFT marketplace, in this case WazirX.

In terms of the mechanics for a creator, Singh explained: "The creator drops the NFTs or an NFT collection, prices it at X amount, and sells it via either a fixed model or the auction model. Once the collector collects the NFTs, the creator earns 95% of the revenue and the rest of the 5% goes to the platform as transaction fees."

If the collector sells these NFTs in the secondary market at a profit, the creator gets a royalty percentage that he or she may have set during the minting of the NFT. This means if the creator has set a 15% royalty, then once a collector sells the NFT in the secondary market, the creator will get 15% of that value and so on from the subsequent sales as well.”

Also read: Celebrity Homes | At artists Jayasri Burman and Paresh Maity’s house, songs of parrots and a special place for Durga

 

NFT art for Pavan Lalls story 1

Changing with the times

The way socio-business circles are moving to the digital world has gone to show how indispensable phones and computers have become in how anything can be sold on a digital platform. Food, travel, work, you name it... it can be done on the internet and online, Maity said.

Using the digital screens also means a multidimensional picture that is unlike anything that a real painting can prove or project, Maity said. “Objects and forms in digital art can be dynamic and move and create a unique experience," he added.

Aparajita Jain, founder of Terrain, an NFT marketplace based in New Delhi, said that people may be more comfortable with hanging something that is on a physical frame even if it is a Samsung one; the point being that the very medium of art, as well as the mode of viewership, is changing.

Is Maity concerned about how the auction might play out, “Not really, as long as I do what I can the rest is up to the collection audience and those who love art."

Collectors see the move as positive.

"I think NFTs are here to stay and are not a fad. Two reasons they make a lot of sense - first, because it's a great way to establish provenance, and artists are also likely to prefer it because they can get royalties - today an artist doesn't get royalty when a secondary sale happens, but with NFT, every time an asset is transferred, there is the potential of a royalty being paid to the artist," said Akshay Chudasama, managing partner at law firm Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. As an art aficionado he said he would invest in a new canvas that was linked to an NFT as long as he likes the work of art itself.

More to come

Maity won't be the only top artist to go NFT

Terrain founder Jain said that by April she will be conducting an NFT auction that will include works by artists such as Jitish Kallat, adding that there are also some who need convincing. "The NFT will stand the test of time because it is based on blockchain which is a solid technology and we are moving to a more advanced and creator-led version of the Internet."

Digital art, of course, is another ball-game even though it exists already. "I already have some video art and that can be a hologram for a video in a loop. Some artists have a physical work with a video looping over it and that also opens up possibilities even further," Chudasama said.

The point one must remember is that as an asset class and that the underlying art work must be solid and is the critical key.

“In many ways this is also about creating a new language with art that is dynamic and moving,” Maity said. "It wasn’t something that I thought about earlier, now I am."



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Pavan Lall is a senior journalist based in Mumbai.
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