In an age where digital creativity is flourishing, showing your work in progress has taken on a whole new meaning, especially in the realm of NFTs. These distinct digital footprints have created a thoughtful conversation for artists and collectors alike. But why should you be interested in sharing your work in progress, and how can this benefit both artists and collectors?
What is a Work in Progress?
Throughout the history of art, artists often shared their works in progress with close friends, patrons, or fellow artists to gather feedback or showcase their skills. Seeing an idea transform through multiple sketches has been a draw to art lovers for centuries, which is why exhibitions have sometimes featured an artist’s final works alongside the initial drafts.
With social media’s dawn, this process has become increasingly social, allowing artists to share their evolving pieces with a global audience of friends, patrons, and strangers alike. Platforms like Instagram and Twitter have created opportunities for visual artists to engage with their followers by showing incremental progress of their work. They can also talk through their concepts and provide context and inspiration that adds even more value to the final works.
The Role of the WIP in NFTs
In the NFT world, as in the traditional art world, most of our attention goes to the final artwork. The journey from concept to completion is often lost. However, a work in progress can often be just as powerful and meaningful as the completed piece.
And it is not always the end product that conveys the artist’s vision and creative process. Sometimes it is the steps taken along the way. “It’s a temporary oddity that the NFT world treats process like a secret formula while it’s a common discussion in contemporary arts,” Patrick Amadon, a painter and glitch artist wrote on Twitter. “Feel free to ask artists, it’s important information.”
With NFTs revolutionizing digital art, the work in progress has become even more relevant. We can’t see brushstrokes, layers of paint, and other discernible details of craft. It takes time and effort to understand the difficulties that digital, generative, and AI artists overcome in the process of making art.
The work in progress can help bridge this gap, giving us a better understanding of the creative process and bringing us the full story behind an NFT. It helps strengthen trust between collectors and artists, with both sides seeing how much thought, research, and skill went into each piece. Showing artworks in progress allows us to appreciate how an artwork has evolved, giving insight into what inspired it and why certain decisions were made.
The artist duo MABLAB also expressed on Twitter the importance of sharing “your work process and how the medium plays a role in delivering your message, the ideas and influences behind your work, some of the technical and intellectual aspects that construct the concept of your work,” as an important part of being an artist.
And for many digital art creators, the WIP serves as an opportunity to engage with their audience. Some artists use polls to ask their communities for input on which version of a work they should mint.
Sharing Value with Collectors
A WIP provides artists with an opportunity to not only monetize their creative journey but also to create a sense of closeness with collectors. They can watch the art evolve and feel that they’re a part of it. It makes the artwork and artist more memorable, creating a greater emotional attachment with the collector.
At the same time, collectors can feel that they are receiving something of value in return for their purchase. They get to be part of the creative process, sharing in its success or failure as it develops. This provides them with a sense of ownership and helps build trust between creator and collector.
It Pays to do the Work
The life of an artist is one filled with challenges, achievements, and lots of work. When a collector acquires a final artwork, they are buying years, decades of trial and error, of experimentation, of mixing colors and pushing through the trenches. The WIP not only acknowledges this work, but also brings it to life in illuminating detail.
Many successful artists share their processes, whether in diaries or in social settings. It’s this self-reflection that helped them to become so successful. So don’t be afraid to share. Embrace it, post it, and find that sweet spot between working and sharing that pushes you to be the most inspired artist you can be.