Should digital art be metaverse first?
Culture, X-Article

Should digital art be metaverse first?

Article brought to you by the SOPRG gallery operating in Somnium Space metaverse – on behalf of the gallery – Milan & Gustavo.

Metaverse art is one of the main things driving metaverse adoption, as it provides something to do with ease inside its confines. Meaning business logic for the metaverse is still somewhat scarce, except for the arts. For users, the main thing to do is watch art. Whether that is in the form of a concert or an art exhibit, experiencing art is one of the main use cases for the metaverse. This is partly because the people developing and providing the assets to populate the metaverse are artists themselves. So, it stands to reason that the first uses for the metaverse are art-related.

This begs the question of whether digital art should be conceived primarily for metaverse viewing. If people can purchase art because they thought it would look great in their house, then perhaps the same can apply to the metaverse. If people want to hold digital art in the form of NFT as a flex, and the place to have it stored —and flexed— is a metaverse property, then digital should try to make people understand how it would look in digital real estate.

Metaverse driving digital art

Some top-tier fashion brands have adopted the practice of having their products showcased in the metaverse. Gucci, for example, is already present in the Roblox metaverse and famously sold a digital purse for $4,115. What catches the eye most is that the purse is not an NFT, so it has no transferability and no use outside the Roblox metaverse. Like an ultra-expensive Fortnite skin. Others —like Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton, Nike, or Burberry— have leaped into the metaverse.

Nikeland, by Nike on the Roblox metaverse, is a place where people can play minigames that they invent while in it. The idea is to gear up with Nike digital sportswear and play whatever fun games one might think of, with almost total creative freedom. Like a child on a playground constantly suggesting new games. What is been described is a crossover between two of the main use cases for the metaverse: gaming and fashion. Because e-sports is such a profitable sector, it makes sense for Nike to make inroads through its sportswear design expertise. If e-sports are a sport, then Nike should avoid missing out.

Fashion is important because it allows people to customize their metaverse experience and be as unique as possible. If people are going to start using the metaverse in some form that is similar to real life, a key aspect of it is that no two people are 100% alike. Customization is going to be key and this will most likely come in how we make our avatars look like, how we dress them up, and what our real estate looks like on the inside. In short, artists are going to shape how the metaverse is going to look. Perhaps constantly.

Metaverse art galleries and museums

Art galleries have behaved traditionally —in some sense— the same way a platform does. That is, they have connected artists with collectors, collectors with curators, and have generally been the place where interesting art-related things happen. So, why shouldn’t this be the case in the metaverse? It would be one of the places where you can get traffic without having to do the additional sales pitch of the metaverse, although some of it still needs to be done. Art has been at the core of Web3 development, especially with the emergence of NFTs. In a still primitive metaverse setting, perhaps the art galleries that get in earlier will get ahead and make a name for themselves.

Indeed, the metaverse is still nascent, people still need to adopt it, and more ways of using the technology have to be understood. Art galleries have everything in their favor to contribute to its more mainstream adoption. Just like fashion brands are contributing in their way by allowing people to personalize their avatars and have branded experiences.

Jiří Školník, Czech painter – NFT art

Should artists do metaverse-first art?

If we follow this logic of what the use of digital art will be, then the answer is yes. Because a person should understand how that piece of art will look in this metaverse setting, be it a house that the avatar will inhabit, an item inside the house, or something else.

The metaverse is the most obvious way for people to end up enjoying digital visual art. NFT artists that are interested in producing art that can be viewed in engaging ways should consider doing art to be viewed in the metaverse, and not just stored in a cold wallet. At the end of the day, it’s not the same to create a physical, real-life installation to be put in a public space, as it is to produce art for closed settings.

Art and the metaverse are intertwined, especially as the development of the spaces, landscape, public spaces, and real estate will be done by artists. Moreover, many of the use cases for the metaverse are art-related. Whether it is concerts, digital runway fashion shows, or just viewing an art gallery (e.g. our SOPRG).

All the best for the coming Christmas – SOPRG team from Prague

December 13, 2022

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