Lana Denina, a Montreal-based artist, has made over $300,000 selling her paintings as NFTs since February 2021.
Her artwork was available for purchase on a variety of sites. She'd only started studying about them a month before. CNBC Make It speaks with the 24-year-old. "I was mind blown," she says once she started researching into it. "I didn't know anything about blockchain at the time," she says.
In the digital world, NFTs are "one-of-a-kind" assets that may be actively traded as any other property, and yet have no physical form of their own. The digital tokens might be compared to ownership certificates for virtual or actual goods. "Non-fungible" basically indicates that it's one-of-a-kind and can't be replaced.
Bitcoin, for instance, is fungible, meaning you can exchange one for another and get precisely the identical item. A one-of-a-kind trade card, on the other hand, cannot be duplicated. You'd get something altogether different if you swapped it for a different card.
Denina was immediately fascinated by the concept and its capacity to serve as a certificate of ownership medium for artists. "Traditional galleries are like the old world," Denina explains, because there isn't much diversification. “I never felt fully attracted to it, especially as a woman of color.”
She notes that, contrary to traditional art marketplaces, NFTs and Web3 enable artists to develop their own galleries and decide their preferred pricing online. NFTs also allow artists to receive royalties on secondary sales of their work. Denina earns 10% of the total.
The artist began by selling one-by-one NFTs of her paintings, but eventually expanded to include whole collections in her listings. Single works are one-of-a-kind, non-generative artworks, but collections are frequently generative and designed to be collectibles.
Her most recent collection, the Mona Lana, was released in November and sold out in a matter of weeks. Denina painted 500 distinct pictures of ladies for the Mona Lana series. She claims that each photo was created using code with 112 distinct features.
Denina explains that in her art, she embodies people of color and Black culture, which has struck a chord with many in the NFT community. Clients who say they opted to get their first NFT after witnessing her work make her exceptionally pleased.
She aims to give a percent of purchases to Cyber Baat, a DAO collective that promotes African artists, and to women's shelters in Canada after the Mona Lana collection reaches 100 ether in volume traded. She's almost there now, with a volume exchanged of 99.5 ether.
Although Denina notes that while she is doing so well in the NFT market and that this is distinct from the traditional market, there is always work to be done in terms of diversity and assistance.
“As a young woman of color in this space, it has been 100 times more hard to be respected and seen as equal as the other bros of this space,” Denina tweeted in November. “However, I’ve also met incredibly supporting, extremely intelligent and talented people.” “I hope to inspire more creatives who look like me to step a foot into tech,” she says. Denina collaborates with a partner but does all of the artwork alone. She didn't say if the earnings are shared.