In three words, how would you characterize the digital art market at this point in 2023?
Emerging, uneven, and promising. This segment has been around for many years, but it has always remained a very small portion of the contemporary art market. However, artists are building for the long term.
What do public sales figures not tell us about what’s going on in the market for digital art?
The press usually highlights auction records, which can be overwhelming for digital art, as sales are often linked to cryptocurrency ups and downs. Collectors of physical artworks are slowly adding this medium to their collections and young people are buying in, but both efforts will take time.
What shifts in the digital art market have surprised you most this year?
We are in a situation similar to that of 2020, where the market is in search of the next wave of collectors. There is a risk of oversupply, but also a great opportunity to get in while prices are not yet very high.
What trends are worth watching closely?
Blue-chip collections, especially in the generative art category, are maintaining high prices. AI art is also developing as a genre, as well as other categories, such as literary NFTs, performance art on the blockchain, digital sculpture, and metaverse architecture. Finally, the new wave of digital artists is bringing renewed attention to historic computer artists, such as Herbert W. Franke, Frieder Nake, and Vera Molnár. Galleries have started exhibiting these pioneering works alongside new digital works, allowing collectors to see a larger art history. This is a great way to build the future on a strong base.
How are digital art collectors approaching their investments differently in the wake of crypto winter?
While many crypto art collectors have slowed down, it seems to be mostly due to an oversaturation of works. This creates tension for digital artists who are not yet widely recognized or supported by a core collector group.
What new and emerging technologies could impact the future of the digital art market?
The current blockchain technology still needs to be explored further, and a service layer, such as asset security, insurance, backup services, and display options, needs to be developed to onboard the next wave of collectors.
AI is definitely going to make this happen faster. Besides, decentralized governance and new ways to organize artist collectives, exhibitions, and documentation are not to be underestimated. Many museums, for example, are looking at ways to use DAOs to get their communities to the next level.