Free the birds

NFTs are the wake-up call the creative industries never knew they needed

It’s easy to dismiss NFTs as another money-making fad, but its sharp rise in popularity is a good reminder that art really knows no boundaries.

Technology has touched every sphere of society, and digital art has been an under-appreciated movement for decades. The rise in NFTs – rather than depreciating art – in my opinion, makes it feel even more integrated and accepted into the scene. And that can only be a good thing.

Even “non-digital” artists are excited by the change and embracing this new currency.

Just look at Damien Hirst. He released his latest collection of art through Heni on Instagram this month. He said he’d accept cryptocurrency for payment, before saying how much he loved the crypto world and is proud to put his belief into Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH).

NFTs could also have the effect of democratising the space for art-collectors and lovers too. After all, physical pieces that are “re-born” into the digital era, could be sold by artists and galleries at a lower price than the original, making them more accessible to a wider audience.

It’s also an investment opportunity for young collectors, because when you buy digital art through NFTs you’re getting an authentic limited edition that is sold to you directly by the artist or gallery with a permanent digital record.

Of course, it’s one thing owning art, but most of us are used to enjoying it from a distance in galleries or museums. But due to recent events, the art world has adapted in this direction.


When galleries were forced to close their doors, owners and organisations had to shift to showing the art in a digital way through “viewing rooms”, digital exhibitions and virtual tours, for instance.

As a result, viewing and appreciating art through a computer screen has become the new normal.

So, rather than resisting the trend, traditional galleries and curators should rise to the challenge of creating physical spaces that present digital art in the best light – alongside traditional pieces.

Yes, we’d all love to be able to step right into the MOMA gallery in New York right now. But times have changed. When this shift happens, who cares of the art is oil or pixels? As long as it moves us, stops us in our tracks and makes us sit upright from our sofas, that’s really all that matters.


Nick Vaus
Partner & Creative Director @ Free The Birds