Digital Transformations: How Women Are Forming Networks In The Metaverse And Shaping The Cultural Landscape

Mar 30, 2023 | Art Insights

Written By: Chiara Atoyebi

Atoyebi, Chiara. Meeting At The Precipice. 2023, digital art of colored pencil drawing. Courtesy of the author, Washington, DC.

Things are looking up in the art world. During the pandemic, I remember sitting in on several meetings with cultural institutions around the globe, actively looking to make changes. While women and BIPOC representation remain lower than men, money is always an issue, and the good news is the art world is working hard to right the wrongs embedded in its gender pay inequities. According to Mary Ann Sieghart, author of the best-selling book, The Authority Gap: Why Women Are Still Taken Less Seriously Than Men, and What We Can Do About it. “Art by women is literally undervalued. The highest price achieved by a contemporary female artist is $12.4m, while it is $91m for a man. If a painting is signed by a man it goes up in value, signed by a woman it goes down.” This is staggering considering that 54.8% of all artists are women, while 45.2% are men — and when you examine the representation of BIPOC artists in the space, the numbers are abysmal. However, the numbers are trending up in acquisitions of work by women artists and artists of color. In fact, we are at a unique point in history where technology has democratized art in a way that allows all women to create their own opportunities, build their own tables and make a lot of money doing so. Going forward, economics needs to be on everyone’s radar.

Photo by Andrea De Santis on Unsplash

Have you ever considered making an NFT? At the height of the NFT craze, some looked a bit cartoonish and unpolished, but today artists are merging their creativity with tech and creating ephemeral, thought-provoking works that offer a glimpse into futuristic exploration. Gary Henderson, of The Digital Marketing Blog, reported that “the NFT industry hit a record-breaking high of 10.7 billion in sales in the third quarter of 2021 alone and it doesn’t look like the NFT craze is slowing down anytime soon.”

Organizations like Women Rise Art, co-founded by Maliha Abidi, showcase over 10,000 digital works in the blockchain space. Considering my long-term creative goals involving preserving and restructuring community environments, this is of interest to me. If there is a feeling of hesitancy surrounding tech — you’re not alone, but it’s worth exploring.

In 2021 the ArtTech Foundation held a parallel session that revealed how technology offers a personalized experience to both artists and collectors in the age of globalization. So, it’s worth it for artists to explore these new technologies in order to get their work in front of a younger art-collecting audience and to level the financial playing field by establishing new norms.

Even more exciting is the multitude of ways women use this space for creation, community building, preserving cultural heritage, and closing in on the gender pay gap. Communities such as Women in Web3Unstoppable Women of Web3, and Africa-based Black Women Blockchain Council are committed to bringing women up to speed with the integrations like Blockchain, the Metaverse, and Web3. Here are a few reasons that this should be important to you as artists. Within twenty years, the Metaverse will be more established, and users can create and immerse themselves within these augmented and virtual reality experiences.

There are quite of few pioneering women in the space at this time, and more are encouraged to enter thanks to the generosity of the women in these spaces. Blockchain technology empowers women in art by operating within decentralized networks and selling directly to buyers. Although, you are not limited to selling solely to buyers. NFT galleries are popping up like wildfire, and opportunities are endless. Those are just a few reasons you should incorporate tech and NFTs into your art practice.

Not too long ago, Donald Trump threatened to destroy Iranian cultural sites and we witnessed the destruction of cultural heritage in Ukraine due to the ongoing war with Russia. The idea that somebody could destroy a nation’s cultural heritage within minutes should sound off alarms for everyone. Now, more than ever, we need to think about preserving art and documents and preserving the integrity of rapidly developing information and experiences. To me, that’s reason enough to start creating personalized digital documents and NFT art in order to preserve what matters to me the most.

So what do you think? If you are using AI, digital art, NFTs, or are operating in Web3 I would love to learn more. Leave me a note in the comments. How do you feel this affects or will affect your art business and/or practice? Also, please share this article and let’s continue the discussion.

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