Building a Creative Business with NFTs
New Tools for Creatives
Jen Stark is an award winning artist with collections in the Smithsonian American Art Museum among others. Her art is addicting; the sculptures, murals, and digital prints inter-weave vibrant colors in often hypnotic illusions. Her newly announced Digital Paint collection exemplifies how artists are using NFTs to change their relationship with customers and build enduring businesses.
Stark said in an interview that she was initially drawn to NFTs because they seemed "so abstract and crazy." Two words that also describe her artwork. In Digital Paint, she built an interactive canvas where collectors become artists in creating 5,000 unique pieces.
This is Stark's tenth NFT project, so she has an existing customer base. She attracts them to her new project by offering a 50% discount and early access to purchase before the public. This is done via an allowlist, which is a registry of accounts owning her previous collections at a specific time. The owners are verified by querying data on the blockchain.
Allowlists help convert casual fans into true fans; to turn passive one-time buyers into repeat buyers and evangelists. These true fans are the engine of a creative's business, as described in Kevin Kelly's 1,000 True Fans. With allowlists, artists can maintain touch-points with past customers and continually offer value over time.
This benefit can translate into higher demand for her past projects. Collectors will buy the older NFTs to get allowlisted for the new NFT. Her past projects COSMIC CUTIES and GIFT GOAT show higher sales and prices since she started promoting Digital Paint around January 15.
In addition to benefiting the seller, this benefits Stark who will receive 10% royalty on the secondary sales via OpenSea.
Finally, Digital Paint carries a fun mystery about future benefits. What future experiences, allowlists, or access will the artist offer to her collectors? Will collectors be able to physically display the artwork in their houses? How will collectors value this piece as NFTs become more entrenched in virtual worlds and social media?
Jen Stark is a pioneer for creatives using NFTs. "What I love is the provenance on blockchain," she said in an interview. "You can always direct [benefits] back to you... In the normal art world, if you sell artwork, that's it. It's gone. Some of my fine artwork I don't even know where it is right now. Could be a sculpture in Idaho or Turkey. I have no idea."