Australia’s largest online art gallery is bringing NFTs to the masses with curated collections of digital fine art by renowned artists.
Bluethumb Digital, a new curated NFT marketplace showcasing the cream of the crop of Australian digital artists, launches this month with their Genesis Drop (more on this below) featuring big name artists, like Marble Mannequin – who has a mind-blowing 4.2 million followers on TikTok – along with Bluethumb favourites branching out.
NFTs – or non-fungible tokens – utilise blockchain technology that allows digital artists to sell unique tokens of ownership, offering buyers a permanent record of ownership linked to an artwork. In art world terminology you can think of an NFT a bit like a certificate of authenticity and record of provenance.
Why is Bluethumb going into NFTs?
This year Bluethumb is celebrating its 10 year anniversary and throughout its history of supporting Australian artists, Bluethumb has led the way in making selling and collecting art as accessible as possible through technology.
Co-founders (and brothers) George and Edward Hartley have now decided to take the next step with Bluethumb Digital to welcome more artists into the Bluethumb family and help more artists go full-time; Bluethumb’s core mission.
“For years we’ve wanted to add digital art to Bluethumb,” says Co-Founder George Hartley. “Some of the most interesting new art in the last few years has been in digital and video and we actually have hundreds of artists already on Bluethumb who do some digital work. The problem is we haven’t been able to work out how to sell it and now NFTs have solved that for us.
“The explosion of NFTs in the last 18 months has been amazing to watch. OpenSea didn’t exist as a company two years ago. It is now the world’s largest art company by sales. There are obvious questions with the fast rise of NFTs around how much is driven by speculation and how much is collectors. But having been a crypto-user since 2015 and having started to collect NFTs last year, with the joy of collecting and discovering brilliant new digital art and the explosion of amazing new talent, I’m confident that NFTs will make up an important part of contemporary art going forward.
“Whenever we plan something new for Bluethumb the only question is: does this benefit our artists? Bluethumb Digital does and will into the future. I’m excited about the new art that we will be introducing to our collecting community.”
Is the Future of Art in the Metaverse?
Mysterious Al, part of Bluethumb’s Genesis Drop and renowned for putting on art exhibitions in unusual locations – including derelict warehouses, old factories, disused shop-fronts and more recently a fairground ghost train – now has his eye on the metaverse.
“I think all artists need to be thinking about the future of our work, and how it can exist in the metaverse,” says Al, who rose to notoriety in the early 2000s alongside contemporaries like Banksy through the explosion of street art.
“If all the biggest brands and galleries in the world are thinking about this, we should too! The NFT scene has enjoyed a thriving yet niche audience, but popularity in this work is skyrocketing and the doors are about to be well and truly blown off. I’m excited to be doing my first curated NFT drop with Bluethumb, as part of a collection of ‘crossover’ artists who are making work in both the physical and digital space.”
Helping Artists and Collectors Crossover to the Digital Space
Another crossover artist part of Bluethumb Digital’s Genesis Drop is Lucy Lucy, a multidisciplinary artist who explores the evolving folklore of the feminine. “The NFTs realm has allowed me to expand my work by creating animations which are new to me,” explains Lucy. “I love the possibilities they offer in the storytelling of my practice.”
Future planned drops designed to help more artists start their digital journey include a collection of generative artworks by Bluethumb’s Indigenous artists and an all female artist collection to counter the male-dominated scene.
It’s not only artists being given the opportunity to crossover. As Bluethumb has done for traditional art, Bluethumb Digital will make collecting NFT art easier than ever with the aim of demystifying the scene with easy to understand comms and simple payment methods using soft wallet technology (you can pay by credit card). Collectors will also be able to choose to have their artworks arrive in a digital frame to display in their home.
What Is the Genesis Drop?
The Genesis Drop is Bluethumb Digital’s first – and most important – collection. Any Genesis artwork held will give the owner priority access to future collector pieces in Bluethumb Digital drops, plus other exciting benefits across Bluethumb’s physical and digital offerings. The Genesis collection is expected to be highly collectable and sought after.
Dropping late February. Click here to sign up for the whitelist and get priority access.
Founded in 2012, Bluethumb represents more than 17,000 emerging and established artists from Australia and works with 25 of Australia’s most remote Aboriginal owned and operated not-for-profit Art Centres to give you access to more Australian artists and their art than anywhere else in the world. It has sold more than 60,000 original Australian artworks to everyone; from first time art buyers to established collectors and Australia’s finest architecture firms.
Co-founders George and Edward Hartley started out in 2012 with a mission to empower Australia’s artists and open up the world of original art to everyday collectors. As a small business with no funding, the odds were definitely against them. “Established art galleries and those in the industry scoffed at the notion of buying art online, of treating all artists equally and allowing collectors to trust their own judgement,” says Edward. “We thought it made sense and launched anyway.”
“But more than that we didn’t want Australia to have to wait until our artists made it into an exclusive gallery to discover their art,” adds George. “Musicians had SoundCloud as a platform to manage their music careers, but artists had nowhere to sell their art online.”
Bluethumb invests into building technology and opportunities that improve the lives of Australian artists and Australia’s arts ecosystem.