We're all familiar with NFTs at this point. We mostly see them as Twitter profile pictures or screenshots in Discord, so what exactly are NFT galleries?
There are two main types of NFT galleries, in-person galleries (such as Quantus Gallery) and metaverse galleries (such as Spatial) — each type has its own unique benefits, which we'll dive into, below.
In-person NFT galleries
The in-person gallery helps validate NFTs as legitimate pieces of art. You're presented with the art in the same way you'd be presented with non-NFT art, but on a screen rather than on a canvas. Some people are saying the gallery environments are helping the traditional art world start to take NFTs more seriously.
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As a result, in-person NFT galleries act as a bridge between the NFT digital native audience and the older traditional art world. One of the co-founders of Quantus Gallery, Ryan Marsh, told me, "A lot of the clients from a traditional background want to come down and see it in person. They can resonate with it a lot better that way — rather than on an online market, the metaverse, etc. They feel a lot more at ease seeing it on the wall."
Quantus Gallery acts as a middle man for artists transitioning into the NFT world offering technical support as well as helping sell their artwork.
NFT galleries in the metaverse
Just like in-person galleries, metaverse galleries act as a platform for artists the display their work. This time, however, they offer a unique benefit that only the metaverse can offer.
Not all NFTs are just ape profile pictures, some are ultra-detailed 3D worlds that are best experienced when you can explore them with your own autonomy. Metaverse galleries enable this form of exploration, allowing users to enter their artwork and experience it from inside the piece.
This is an incredible benefit to 3D world digital artists who have previously struggled to display their work to potential buyers. It's also a great experience for the viewer as it's a medium that we've been denied before such technological advancements.
Some artists will display their work at established metaverse galleries (such as Sotheby's virtual gallery in Decentraland), this will guarantee that they are given a notable platform that can bring traffic to their artwork as potential buyers.
Independent NFT galleries
However, some established NFT galleries will take up to a 60% commission on any sold work. This has led to artists such as abstract NFT artist, Nanda Khiara, has creating their own galleries in Spatial.
Spatial makes it fast, easy, and affordable for an artist to create their own gallery. You can either go with their free package which gives artists most of the tools they need or pay $25 a month for a "more curated and controlled experience". Setting your gallery up could take less than a day and is a great alternative to making your own metaverse from the ground up.
"I could create my own Metaverse gallery but, you know, a week in web3 is equal to three weeks in web2." Nanda told me, "I don't want to spend time creating another gallery when there is a gallery already existing."
That being said, Coinbase NFT partner, Jessica Yatrofsky, disagrees with allowing galleries to take a commission. Anywhere she has had her artwork displayed or any galleries that she has curated there has been no commission involved, purely doing it to platform herself and other artists.
"There's not been enough time in this [NFT] space to have a proven track record — it's only been about two years. If someone's going to take a commission off of my work, and I have more experience than them, that really doesn't make sense." Jessica told me, "I'm not completely opposed to it but it just kind of goes against the ethos of what decentralized platforms are for NFT artists."
Instead, Jessica displays her artwork in metaverse galleries that don't take a commission. But what do these galleries get out of it?
Should digital artists use NFT galleries?
If you want to mint your artwork as an NFT, then NFT galleries are clearly a great place to display your work - but by no means are they essential for the success of a digital artist.
Jessica pointed to Twitter as being a de-facto gallery for NFT artists. "I jump on anyone's Twitter first to find their work. I don't even go on to their Instagram, that's of no interest to me. Twitter is the social media platform that everybody's using to share their work, share information, and gather an audience."
As the digital art world continues to mature, the lines of what a gallery is will continue to blur. If Twitter is becoming a gallery, soon NFT marketplaces like OpenSea will start to feel more like a gallery.
Technological advancements will continue to enable artists to create in different ways. Nanda has expressed interest in playing with smell in digital art (which, of course, isn't possible quite yet) and Jessica likes the idea of digital art combining with augmented reality.
NFT galleries create a space for digital art to push itself to the limit for the ultimate form of expression. In the future, NFTs will no longer be known for Twitter profile pictures but layered pieces of art that you can explore in the metaverse, augmented reality, or in-person.
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