World Famous street artist Kaws is embracing the metaverse with his latest. Three separate but intertwined endeavors launch his latest show, “New Fiction.” The show will open like a gallery show at Serpentine Gallery in London. However, it will also be available on Fortnite, a metaverse-like world and in augmented reality via Acute Art which he has done collaborations with before.
What does this mean for you, the budding artist? Here’s our takeaways for how Kaws is embracing the new technology and new ways of doing business.
1 – Greater Reach Across the Metaverse
With Covid still ravaging the world, there’s only so many people that can fit in a physical gallery. An estimate is about 35,000 people see the typical show at Serpentine. This number could rise and fall depending on the fickleness of the virus, the weather, and the desire of people who have been locked away for two plus years to travel.
Fortnite and Acute Art AR allow fans to check out Kaws’ work from the comfort of their own home. There are almost 400 million Fortnite accounts. Travis Scott was able to put on a concert for 12 million fans in one swoop on Fortnite. Given Kaws’s wide market (see next point), he would be able to reach beginner collectors at all income levels. To even sell a keychain would be a win given the marginal cost to deliver the experience is zero.
2 – Cultivate your Fans at All Levels
Kaws does a great job of reaching out to every age level with toys to limited edition prints, every income level from shirts to original canvases, and every type of collector with a wide array of pop culture references. In this instance, Kaws covers all the bases with established collectors going to galleries, the more tech savvy using technology either at the gallery or at home, and the younger generation who is more accustomed to the metaverse.
Some artists know that the future lies in the youth where they started with Roblox, then graduated to Fortnite (watching the Travis Scott or Ariana Grande concerts), and then perhaps to the upcoming metaverse. While the future for NFTs remains unknown, if the metaverse lives up to the hype, perhaps NFTs will become the new future of art.
3 – Easier to Change Things
Art is expensive. Jeff Koons, one of the most expensive artists in the post war and contemporary space, spends millions of dollars on fabricating his work before it even sells. While digital art is not inexpensive, it is always easier to move around bits and bytes than it is atoms. Artists can iterate much easier and much cheaper than if they had a physical medium they had to create on. Art shipping which is always a neglected but substantial part of the costs will be saved by shipping bytes for free through the Internet.
In addition, like a startup, gallerists or the artist themselves can take feedback from the audience to optimize the experience in real time. In addition artists can repurpose the same assets across the different mediums, which was the original promise of NFTs in the metaverse (interoperability).
Are you an artist? What are you doing to embrace technology and the metaverse? Did some things work better than others? How did your existing older fans enjoy the experience versus some of the younger ones? Was it worth the economic cost or was it difficult to recoup your financing? Is working across the different mediums easy or difficult for you? Drop us a line and let us know what you think of the metaverse experience for seeing visual art.