Digital Art Revolution: Balkan Karışman on NFTs

How would you describe your work to someone who is not familiar?

By using real images and manipulating them, I produce a kind of work called “generative video art”. This approach, also called “Generative”, enables random selections from infinite results. In this way, I can reach the final state of the work by screening, which makes the process more exciting for me. In this sense, we can call my works “digital new media visuals based on trial and error”.

Can you share with us the main motives that are effective in the editing and construction process of your works?

I think this method I use serves my content well. My art can be considered postmodern in terms of technique and medium. My design aesthetic is influenced by de-constructivist architecture, glitch art, and op-art. Regarding the content and main motives of my art, I make spatial manipulations that can trigger discussions on the idea of ​​infinity, and then I want to question our perception of time. Although we perceive otherwise, time has no beginning or end. Time is looped and endless, just like in my video art. My works go round and round in cyclical order, regardless of the presence of the audience. This consciously chosen approach helps me convey my art by just constantly reinterpreting the continuous ordinaries rather than being declarative. In this sense, the works of art can be pieces that exist on their own.

What is NFT and how does it work?

Non-Fungible Token (NFT), in its shortest definition, is a unique digital asset. In a sense, we can think of NFT’s as validating images, music, data, web pages, 3D objects, and similar data on the blockchain with smart contracts. In this sense, we can see a similarity between NFTs and collectors’ items. I liken them to the pokemon cards I used to love. There is data describing the features of the card on it, it has a visual. The card has no fixed monetary value and can change hands from person to person.

What role do you think NFT will play in the next generation of “collecting”?

NFT platforms create a more liberal market for collectors, making it easier for both the collector to reach the artist and the artist to the collector. It removes the local boundaries of artists and allows them to meet with other artists from many different parts of the world in common selections. In this way, I think it ensures that the collections are in diversity.

What are the reasons behind you preferring this platform as an artist?

The reason why I prefer digital art platforms and NFT as an artist is equal opportunity, I think this reason is common for most young artists like me. While the meeting of artists with their collectors in the conventional art market requires intermediary institutions; NFT digital art platforms can eliminate these bureaucratic stages and bring the artist together with the audience in the fastest way possible. This provides the opportunity for talented artists who are just starting out and who have not yet made their name to be heard, to show their work in a global way.

What kind of problems did you encounter with both your art and the NFT platform? What methods have you developed to overcome these problems?

The first surprise, especially for new beginner artists, will be transaction fees. When I researched why these transaction fees were given beyond the financial aspect of the work, I found that these fees were paid to crypto miners and that these miners were spending a lot of electricity by using powerful computers. This problem both made my conscience hurt and made me question the ecological effects of the existence of the system. Fortunately, not every network is harmful to the environment, and it doesn’t come with transaction fees. I’m trying to work with more such platforms.

What did you find on the way to this point? What do you hope to find for the future?

Until I got to this point in my NFT process, I still have a long way to go tho, though I’ve found that the art I make attracts, arouses curiosity, and is appreciated by people from different parts of the world with very different tastes and collections. I also witnessed the creation of an art community through digital art platforms. The digitalized artistic activity also enables global collaborations. NFTs are preparing our place in the virtual reality and game worlds, where we will be much more intertwined in the future. I believe that NFTs, the most talked about event in the art scene, will appear in many more areas that we cannot predict for now, and I look forward to where these areas will take us.

What have you learned from your mistakes so far? What advice do you have for those just starting out?

When I first entered the platforms, I had a hard time positioning myself as I was unsure of the asset and economic value of my work. It took some time to get used to this system, which does not work as in the art scene in Turkey. Retrospectively, I realize that I hurried up to sell my first works due to the excitement created by this new trend. But at the moment, I believe these processes should not be rushed and artists should be patient. I recommend to beginners that they should think about why and how they want to exist in this field, and not let the record sales shared on social media affect them emotionally.