There's no other field more subjective than the art industry. It’s as diverse as the people who create it and so it’s wildly audacious to try and predict with any amount of certainty what the art landscape will look like in, say 10 or 20 years. But nevertheless we will try to peak a glimpse into the future and try and see what some of the trends might be.
Digital Art is the Present, and The Future Holds Something Bigger
In the digital age, art has transformed into more than just paintings and sculptures; it's now an amalgamation of visuals, videos, interactive experiences and soundscapes created on computers or with technological tools. Computers and the tech that come with them have made it incredibly easy for anyone to create art with a few clicks and keystrokes.
Wherease before artists were limited by their tools, technology has opened up the possibilities for creativity to endless boundaries, as new innovations and inventions continue to change how we create art.
We can already see glimpses of this with VR/AR technologies being used in conditions where the artwork becomes interactive and alive. Some museums have started using virtual and augmented reality to afford interactive and highly immersive experiences of viewing art. Others are using data and analytics to assess audience reactions, which could pave the way for a completely new definition of art.
Blockchain and Digital Collectables
In addition to opening up the realm of new creative expression, digital art also provides artists unprecedented opportunities to monetize their work with digital collectables.
Digital collectables through blockchain technology allow for ownership of digital assets and are a great way for creators to track the ownership and authenticity of their work. Instead of selling a digital artwork once and then having it copied and redistributed without the creator's permission, digital collectables provide artists with a way to track their artwork's authenticity and copyright.
Accordingly, blockchain technology allows for transparent tracking and sales of artwork. It works because each artwork is given a unique digital identifier and stored on the blockchain for secure tracking. The artist can track what happens to their artwork after it's sold, which was almost impossible before blockchain technology, allowing the artist to receive royalties from secondary sales.
It also has the ability to give people more access to art according to Mariana Custodio, an online contemporary Art Gallery and Art Advisory Platform. Before blockchain, only a few weatlhly patrons and art brokers could source and buy quality art. Blockchain has changed all this as it cuts out third-party intermediaries.
As blockchain technology becomes faster and more secure, more industries will adapt it into everyday transactions – including the art community, benefiting both the artist and the collector.
The "Social" Treatment
The future of art is seen from the perspective of a new generation that has grown up with access to technology, social media and other digital tools. While connectivity is social media's most significant contribution, it has also birthed a new kind of art: social media art. Social media is now the mainstream platform for artists to showcase their work, interact with fans and monetize their content.
Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook have enabled artists to easily share their work and quickly find an audience without relying on galleries or external networks. The result is a more fluid exchange of ideas between creators and audiences while providing direct feedback that didn't exist before. For example Dan Lam, gained worldwide fame through the use of her Instagram channel. She was working at a community college when Miley Cyrus noticed her art on Instagram, messaged her and bought one of her pieces. Her career exploded and she was about to exhibit at the Art Basel ion Miami, one of America’s top galleries.
The social treatment of art will ultimately transform the industry in its entirety in the foreseeable future. For one, this avenue is changing the way people view art. In the past, the only way for artists to get validation was by displaying their work in a gallery. But now, social media art is levelling the playing field and allowing aspiring artists to make it big on their terms.
If artists focus on establishing an online presence, they'll have everything needed to showcase their work, build a following, and even sell their work.
The social treatment also relieves artists of the unjust commissions that dealers and agents charge. Social media allows them to find sponsorships and brand deals, which are becoming more common with the rise of influencer marketing.
The art world has traditionally been dominant by European and western culture. However, with globalization, better technology, and cross-boarder communication, there will likely be more divesere voices driving the conversation. There are a lot of emerging artists who are black, Latino, Asian, and LGBT who will become more center stage. According to Senegalese artist and curator Modou Dieng who was interviewed for the BBC says, “the future of art is black.” The Black Lives Matter protest is just one of the many influences that is fueling this change, according to Rise Art.
Musuems are also understanding that there is more to art than the traditional western influences as well and that diverse voices need to be heard. In Wales, the National Museum Cardiff has commissioned a group of contemporary Black artists to create art celebrating Black People in Wales as part of a new PITCH BLACK programme. Also Birmingham’s Aston Hall is collaborating with Don’t Settle, a project which empowers young people of colour to change the voice of heritage, on a new permanent exhibition. More museums will partner with local artists who can bring different perspectives and their unique voice to the art community.
Covid has been the catalyst for collectors to more more online. Online auction sales by Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips generated $370 million in the first half of 2020, which was more than five-times higher than the same period in 2019. Going forward, we can expect museums, art galleries, and auction houses to increase their online presence, with a stronger social media presence, VR fairs, and showrooms in the metaverse.
The rise of digital tools and technologies is making changes in the art world possible, freeing up artists to be more creative and expressive. In addition, these changes give the artist more control over their art and career, allowing them to be heard and appreciated for their art in ways never realized before.
The idea of digital collectables, blockchain technology, and social media art are all forces that are having a significant impact on art and will no doubt be continue to be influential in the future.