Terrigal gallery trials NFTs

Kerry-Anne Blanket, director of the KAB Gallery at Terrigal

Kerry-Anne Blanket, director of the KAB Gallery at Terrigal, is the first on the Central Coast to trial NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens).

The Australian contemporary art expert said she was excited to venture into the unique market space.

“An NFT is a certificate of ownership of a digital artwork that is completely unique and whose authenticity can be traced and verified through blockchain technology,” Blanket said.

“Purchased and sold in NFT marketplaces using cryptocurrency, this tracing of ownership via blockchain is not dissimilar to good provenance of an original, tangible artwork changing hands over time.

“The difference is that blockchain is an encrypted, shared database that is decentralised, which means no one person or group owns it, and the transactions are permanently recorded and viewable to anyone.”

While NFTs have been around since 2014, it was in 2021 that they truly “arrived” in the art world and saw works sell for tens of millions of dollars by some of the world’s most lauded auction houses.

“In my mind, NFTs are simply another art medium you’re able to own and invest in – like an oil painting, photograph or sculpture,” Blanket said.

“That being said, while the arrival of NFTs has the ability to change the way we invest (in) and enjoy art, there are, like any form of investment, risks involved.”

Blanket said while you might “own” the artwork file, it doesn’t mean that other people can’t see and download the same image from the internet, or even print it and display it on their wall.

“Only you, as the owner, have the right to sell your NFT, but anyone can keep or print a copy of it,” she said.

“Art has always been reasonably subjective, and the NFT world is no different.

“An NFT-based artwork could be a digital photograph, a picture made with digital media on a computer, a video, a piece of music, or even a physical artwork converted into digital form.

“We’ve seen anything from tweets to GIFs and memes being sold as NFTs and it forces us to ask the question, as we have through many points in time, of what exactly constitutes art.

“For example, once upon a time, Pop Art was looked upon with disdain by art traditionalists, whereas now it’s very much an acceptable and valued form of art.”

Much like traditional art, NFTs can vary significantly in value, Blanket said.

“Some are sold for just a few dollars, while a few have been auctioned off for tens of millions,” she said.

“It’s such new territory – but like any type of art purchase, you’re taking a risk – the value can go up or down over time.”

Blanket believes that NFTs have the potential to bring significant growth to an already strong market.

“Depending on how they are embraced, I see NFTs as a great opportunity for artists, gallery owners and art lovers,” she said.

“Art has always evolved as society moves forward and I see this as another natural progression.”

Blanket believes she is the first art dealer in an Australian gallery to sell NFTs alongside traditional artworks in a physical gallery.

As well as the Terrigal gallery she has one in Sydney and an online gallery that ships all over the world.

“I have artists dipping their toe in the market by reproducing tangible paintings as digital files through photography and selling those as NFTs,” she said.

“But we’re still offering the buyer the opportunity to own both the NFT and original, hand-painted artwork and I think we’re going to start seeing a lot more of that in the future.

There are discounts available on original artworks to those buying NFTs.

“This is an opportunity to bring two markets together.

“I have eight unique artwork NFTs, each to be sold in gallery as well as originals.”

Terry Collins