NFTs for Artists and Collectors

Welcome to the exciting brave new world of NFTs.

I created this article as an organized outline for reference. For each topic I offer my own insights, then I provide instructional links from experts in the field to support your own journey. So with that, let's dive in to the world of NFTs. 

Note: All links provided below will open in separate windows, so you can track your progress through this article easier.

What is an NFT?

NFT is an abbreviation for non-fungible token, now described by Miriam Webster as "a unique digital identifier that cannot be copied, substituted, or subdivided, that is recorded in a blockchain, and that is used to certify authenticity and ownership (as of a specific digital asset and specific rights relating to it)." If that mouthful isn't clear as mud, then try my own lighter explanation; NFTs are digital collectibles that can have relevance in the real world. The certificate of ownership is stored permanently and can be sold or transferred at any time only by the current owner. 

Here are my first two NFTs I had posted on Mintable...

Eternal Counting (Currently not for sale)

Blinking Owls (SOLD for E0.3288)

And here is my first NFT on OpenSea, released Dec 9...

Breakaway (Available for E0.37)

Why make NFT art?

There's obviously a ton of detail that comes with the process of creating this type of art and then successfully listing it via all the tools and exchanges you have to learn along the way, of which none of that has anything to do with 'making art' part of the equation. So having a purpose behind what you are doing can help you power through the process when it gets tedious and confusing. My purpose that carried me through was the promise that I could reach more people with my art by animating my paintings and I could focus further on those works since there is a proper marketplace for them now. And I promise you, the second time you go through the process, you'll be much more savvy.


The Marketplace

Once you are creating and posting works for sale in the marketplace, you'll quickly notice all the student-grade copyright-infringing hello-world stuff out there. Every project lives on. So once you do learn how to make NFTs, you'll want to find a curated experience to be a part of and ideally one that is green. Luckily for those of us who dig technology and love mother earth, the new Ethereum 2 blockchain for NFTs (Releasing April 2022) is going to be more efficient, and there are companies like that are promising both curated and net-zero experiences via carbon credits and staged minting. 

In some ways it still feels pretty early for the awareness of the marketplaces despite sales having been taking place for over four years now. Artists and collectors have been actively creating and selling for a while. And as of this publishing I have also sold the Blinking Owls NFT and I have collected NFTs of other artists myself. The market place is very real and the money is very real that people are spending. This space is growing exponentially daily.

Marketplaces are developing their own flavors now, and they are no longer all equal, despite the underlying technology being similar. I have just begun to dig into the list below and have actually bought NFTs from both Mintable and OpenSea thus far. Once I have learned the differences I may swing back and write a set of super brief high level reviews for artists and collectors. However, there are so many good writers on the topic out there, I may default to their genius and retreat to the studio to make more of my own NFTs!

Marketplaces I frequent thus far...

Here is the possible future of curated experiences that are green...

And here are my current profiles (As of Dec 9, 2021)...

My Mintable Profile (Where I published and sold Blinking Owls)

My OpenSea Profile (Where I'm building my latest portfolio - Nothing for sale yet)


Making NFTs

Making NFT's as I mentioned is a tedious process the first time you do it. For instance, I spent many hours learning the process and hooking everything up for my first NFT via hunting on the internet for tutorials. The second NFT I published took about a minute once I had my content ready for flight. Now that I have a third NFT on the way this week, I feel I have a basic grasp of the workflow, and I feel that the resource below is a great kick-off point.

If you are interested in beginning your journey towards making NFTs, you might like taking the path I did via the how-to: Minting a Gasless NFT on Mintable.


Gas Fees and Pricing your NFTs

The gist of the process is you make your art, and you post it for sale in the marketplace and when a collector buys it, they will pay the gas fees for minting the item to the blockchain if you had not minted it already. What are gas fees? It's like shipping and handling of old. You are always paying for the processing time and infrastructure while transacting. That overall charge is referred to as Gas Fees. So if you sell and NFT for 1 dollar US and it's staged as gasless until it's minted (similar to Mintable), then the charge might be to the collector 201 dollars; 200 for the gas fees of a one dollar item. Keep this in mind when you price your own work. Personally, I set my prices similar to my smaller paintings at current market value of 1,500 USD. In my case, the collector will pay about 1700 and I will see a proper profit for my own taxes and operations. 


Collecting NFTs

There are already numerous reasons why people collect things; for pleasure, nostalgia, or for investment. The NFT world is catering to any and all collector desires. The fine art market is roughly only 12% of NFT's right now world wide. The largest amount of collecting is happening in sports memorabilia and community-focused NFTs like Bored Ape Yacht Club or Crypto Punks, where you buy a membership into the community along with the avatar art. In the case of BAYC, they have created an entire virtual world for you to participate in and just this week we saw Adidas enter into their world with cross-marketing. These communities and the pixelated avatars that represent their members are the primary world we think of when we think of NFTs. 

In the fine art world, houses like Christie's are coming online and selling NFTs, the days of full gallery representation in the space are coming. However, the fear of how to manage IP and ownership issues still persist in many traditional galleries, as was apparent by the recent NFT talks I virtually attended at ART Basel Miami this week. While some are dragging their feet, others are thriving. For instance, the world famous Pace Gallery has created PaceVerso a marketplace specific to NFTs where they just sold Studio DRIFT & Don Diablo's "Block Universe" for $500,000 at Basel this week.


Buying NFTs

You can go as far down the rabbit hole of crypto as you like when collecting NFTs. Some people prefer to just have a collection and they use traditional credit cards to pay. Others pay with Ethereum, that has been bought via an exchange then placed into their wallets for usage for NFTs. 

If you need help buying an NFT (not just one of mine ; ) then Coinbase has you covered with How do you buy an NFT?

Displaying NFTs

NFTs are merely the contracts for the artwork. Once you purchase an artwork, you'll have the option to download the art to display it. There are a few products out there thus far with the intent on displaying NFTs. Tokenframe has an integrated experience with your wallet so you can display your tokens directly. They have everything from tabletop frames for $333 to 49 inch wall mount displays for $2,222. Samsung's The Frame carries large scale monitors for gallery and home or office display. Canvia is another company that makes digital display frames as well. All of these displays come with their own collections you can access as well. So if your NFT collection is budding, you'll have plenty of amazing art to enjoy meanwhile. How cool is that!?


Creating and collecting NFTs is an exciting new way to engage in the art world. Finding ways to make your art relevant and engaging in this new space is also an exciting proposition for one's practice. I look forward to sharing more insights as I develop my own portfolio and collection. 

About the Author

American artist Don Wesley creates animated NFTs as companion collectibles for his canvas paintings. His work relies on our collective love and curiosity for nature. Drawing from his lifetime of experiences with birds, Wesley imbues his subjects with human qualities, placing them in scenarios we can relate to. Don Wesley's full-time practice is located on a small farm along the Skagit River in Washington State. He has work in private and public collections throughout the country and is currently on the Washington State Public Arts Roster. 

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© 2021 Don Wesley Design.