Deeep, an artificial intelligence (AI) art fair in London, England, paved new ground for the burgeoning market.
The AI art and NFT exhibition took place between 14-17 October. Decrypt attended the exhibition and spoke with Jake Andrew, a traditional artist who recently embraced non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as a means of bringing his art to life.
“It was the fact that you can create something which isn’t static. You can create a physical painting, that’s great, but it doesn't convey the energy of music, it doesn’t convey the energy of people’s voices,” Andrew told Decrypt.
“Painting, I love it, it’s always going to be my main way of creating work, but the NFT space opens it up,” Andrew added.
Andrew’s optimism about NFTs is shared by Deeep’s co-founder, Stephane Lebenson.
“AI art and NFTs have ceased to be outlier curiosities and novelties, having now established a firm place in the history of art and steadily revolutionized the frame of what is considered valuable and collectible art,” Lebenson said in a prepared statement about the event.
NFTs and AI
The show isn't exclusively focused on NFTs, and not all of the works on display were NFTs. Instead, it took as its theme the broader question of AI's role in art, through exhibiting art that is either created using AI and machine learning, or that depicts humanity’s relationship with AI.
One example being the art collective Obvious, whose Edmond de Belamy portrait—generated entirely by AI—was sold for $432,500 at an auction held by Christie’s in New York in 2018.
“The past few years have seen exponential developments in the field of AI art and NFTs,” said Deeep co-founder Erin Lait in a statement. “We recognize and embrace this tech-driven art movement as a new frontier of art with amazing possibilities,” he added.
But how are traditional artists taking to this supposed tech-driven revolution in their industry?
Artists embracing NFTs
Jake Andrew, for one, came from traditional art. Other than the new creative tools NFTs give him, he told Decrypt that the NFT community is one of the biggest appeals of the industry.
“The NFT community is mad. I love it. It’s the most welcoming, inclusive space I’ve ever been a part of,” he said.
Andrew also said NFTs help artists open up new monetary opportunities to finance their career. “People have bought my physical work for years, and now they’re moving into the NFT space—financially, NFTs open up a whole different market,” he added.
Obviously, NFTs—and AI generative art—have a technological angle that traditional art doesn’t necessarily expose artists to. Although Andrew said bridging that gap might be easier than you think.
“Every art friend that I have that isn’t in the NFT space, they say they don’t understand it until you talk to them—I think it’s just a conversation that we need to have with people,” he concluded.