Tezos India Art and Culture( TIAC) is empowering artists with the usage of blockchain technology.
NFT art by Cyber Shakti

The buzz around NFT(Non-Fungible Token) does not seem to die out. The concept has especially piqued the interest of art enthusiasts. Recently, supermodel Bella Hadid launched her CY B3LLA NFT collection that features artwork created from 3D scans of her face and body. In another venture, American rappers Snoop Dogg and Eminem took the internet by storm by entering the metaverse and rapping in 3D avatars of their NFTs at a popular awards show. In the art space, world-famous graffiti artist Bansky released a new collection of tokenized NFTs providing the owners with a chance to mint a physical piece of his art. The list of creative personalities entering the world of NFTs is long with the likes of Kate Moss, Lindsay Lohan, Cara Delevingne and more joining in. 

The concept is also gaining momentum in India where we have organizations like Tezos India demystifying NFTs and more in this realm. The non-profit organization recently came up with its art and culture vertical called Tezos India Art and Culture( TIAC) to empower artists with the usage of blockchain technology. We talk to Varun Desai, head, of Tezos India Art and Culture( TIAC) as well as artists Nitant Hirlekar and Cyber Shakti who have been minting NFTs with their association with Tezos. They reveal to us all the reasons why artists should convert their art into NFT. 
 
 
How is Tezos India promoting art and artists? 
Varun Desai:
NFTs have been around since 2019. But initially, there was a lot of effort required to understand them. With the Tezos ecosystem, the process of onboarding has been streamlined and simplified. Tezos blockchain ensures negligible carbon emission and a low cost of uploading an NFT. We are creating tutorials for the artist to understand the process and are holding workshops in cities like Calcutta, Ahmedabad, Kochi, Hyderabad and many more for in-person training. Artists are being helped on aspects like how to mint an NFT, build an audience, break artwork into editions etc. We are also globally associating with major art festivals like Art Basel and intend to do the same with Indian art festivals to spread awareness of NFTs and Web3 technology.
What are the advantages of blockchain technology for artists? 
Varun Desai:
I’ll explain this with an example: If I put my artwork on social media like Facebook or Instagram, somebody might copy and use it but when you publish it on a blockchain as an NFT, you create provenance because the work is connected to a contract. It is a tool for self-publication by which you add more value to your artwork. Moreover, if you are able to move your audience from the real to the NFT world, then you stand a chance of making an alternate source of income. 
 
 
How is NFT a better medium in terms of monetization?
Nitant Hirlekar:
I’ve been into generative art for almost a decade. It is based on coding. I observed that there were very few mediums to present my artwork so venturing into NFT has helped me a lot in terms of making an income and amassing an audience. After joining the NFT community, I have sold more artworks in the last year than I have sold in the last 10 years. With NFTs I have sold around 500 artworks last year which is an encouraging number. One of the primary reasons why an artist must come and mint NFTs is that there is the possibility of entering a smart contract. Under this contract, an artist is able to commission on the secondary sales and the subsequent sales of their artworks. For instance, what used to happen in the previous scenario is that if I am an artist, I had to sell my works through an art gallery. I used to get money after the first direct sale but in case the buyer sells it again, I would not get anything in return and neither would get to know who are the secondary or other future buyers when art is in resale. In NFT that has changed. If someone is selling my work for the second or third time I will get returns as well. I will get a certain percentage of money that I agreed upon during the making of the contract. That money will directly come in my NFT profile wallet. Even the commission that is to be paid to the NFT platform is lower than the commission to be paid to the art gallery in a real scenario. 
 
 
Can copyright issues be solved in NFT space?
Nitant Hirlekar:
Copyright issues are barely there in the NFT space. Both the buyer and seller of NFT work will know one another as there is a strict verification process involved. We can say there is a greater provenance written for every artwork on the blockchain. 

How has been your experience with the way Tezos India is educating artists in the NFT space? 
Cyber Shakti:
I’ve been creating NFT art on Tezos since March 2021. On this blockchain platform, the barrier to entry for an artist is very low. Moreover, the NFT community is prospering in India, so now is the time to enter the market, make relevant connections and meet artists to collaborate with. As artists, we need to interact with our surroundings and get to know about new technology. Platforms like Tezos India are making great strides in this direction through hand-holding artists.
 
 
What’s there for performance artists? 
Cyber Shakti:
The world of NFT is open to all. For example, if you are a poet or writer you can use blockchain platforms that can help you mint your writing as NFTs. In that sense, NFT is a great way to help artists find their voice and gives them a lot of control in terms of licensing their work. 
Mail: priyamvada@newindianexpress.com
Twitter: @Ranapriyamvada

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