How do Fine Art #NFT s fit within today’s multi-generational art collections? Between Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z, what generation can benefit from collecting #NFTart?
A 🧵 by a multi-generational art gallery …
WheelHouse Art was founded 33 years ago in 1990 as B. Deemer Gallery by a Baby Boomer. It was, by and large, a traditional art gallery that exhibited traditional art. It grew into a very successful gallery developing a client base of the same generation, now ~59-77 yrs old.
This is a generation that grew out of the post-war American economic boom. Home ownership was a foundational pillar of the American Dream. In many regards, it was a more important than education. Graduate HS, get a house, start a family.
Home ownership was a primary source of wealth creation, and it also acted as a social signifier of wealth. Buy your first home, build equity, grow into a newer, bigger house, and continue the process until retirement.
Many who were of means to buy bigger homes soon turned to collecting original works of art. Graduating from prints and reproductions to one-of-a-kind paintings and works on paper. The work was bigger, of higher quality, they were beautiful, & were also signifiers of wealth.
Where are many of these collectors now in their life journey? In homes packed full of artwork collected over the past 30-50 years. Most have run out of wall space or even feeling the pinch of downsizing as they move into smaller spaces preparing for their golden years.
Then comes Gen X, born 1965-80. They have generated more wealth than their parents’ generation had at the same point in their lives, but they also have more expenses. Student loans from greater higher ed push, childcare for 2 working parents, etc.
Gen X are home owners w/ less disposable income. Art collection is not limited by wall space, but by how they prioritize finances or attention. Collecting is a more targeted activity, searching for work that fits perfectly within a specific space physically and metaphysically.
After Gen X, you have Millennials (~ 27-42 yo) and Gen Z (~ 13 - 26 yo). These are adults just coming into their own or just beginning to hit their stride professionally. This also marks the 1st time a generation is earning less than their parents did.
Whether by choice or circumstance, younger generations are living a more transient lifestyle. Less ownership of material goods. More rent than own homes. Less car drivers, more ride sharing. Even music listening has shifted away from albums and CDs to streaming services.
Growing up with hyper-visual and cynical social media hot-takes, these young adults have developed a sense of the absurdity of chasing boomer dreams.
Art is not as much about material collection as it is about an experience that can be quickly and easily shared & understood.
So can NFTs really offer meaningful value to each of these distinct generational experiences?
For starters, NFT art isn’t limited to a specific style.
NFT basically just means the artwork is a digital asset using blockchain technology to provide provenance.
“NFT art” can be whatever any artist wants it to be, like painting or drawing.
Some work is beautiful, some meaningful, some conceptual. Some work can be subversive, and some are memes. One thing inherent to what we primarily regard as NFT art is the digital nature of it.
Digital art is as wide open aesthetically and conceptually as any other media. But it does have unique abilities, such as motion/animation and the glow of light that casts outward from the display of a screen, as opposed to the need to be lit from outside like paintings.
Another unique ability of NFT art is its transportability. This is something that can be of particular value to someone who lives a more transient lifestyle.
If you’re 26 & move to SF to intern for 6mo, then get a 1yr contract to work in Tokyo, then go to London or Chicago after that, you don’t want to pack a whole painting collection to move around with you. Your NFT collection is available anywhere you go w/ internet, though.
When you prioritize collecting by finance and fit, NFT artwork steps up. Physically, there are more display options than ever before for just the right size for your space, and you can easily change what’s on view to fit your mood.
And despite attention grabbing headlines of record sale prices of NFT art, there is actually a significant amount of reasonably priced work available. Ex: WHA has paintings by Madison Cawein that sell for $25k, while his photography sells for $2500 & his NFTs are $525.
And what about boomers?
Well, just because their walls are full doesn’t mean their desire to collect suddenly ended. With just one display, they can have access to 10s, 100s, or 1000s more. Collections are no longer a time capsule but living, growing reflection of life.
Until recently, there have been barriers keeping many outside of the most ardent crypto-collectors from participating in this growing world of digital art collection. We are working to make it easier everyday.
For starters, you don’t have to buy cryptocurrencies to buy NFTs.
WheelHouse Art has a growing collection of NFT art and artists available on our website that can be purchased with a credit card or other major forms payment.
And while we want collectors to enjoy the intrinsic value of the art, all NFTs purchased through WheelHouse Art is available to share and sell on OpenSea as soon as it’s purchased should collectors enjoy more active collection turnover.
Developments in digital art displays also make it easier to view and share art collections. WheelHouse Art sells displays by both Canvia and Tokenframe, and can install and help you set them up.
If you’re curious about Fine Art #NFTs, #DigitalArt displays, or how they may fit within your established art collection, please come by to visit us. “All Today’s Parties” group exhibition featuring NFT x physical art is on view thru Feb 18, 2023.
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