Talks about the metaverse have been on the rise ever since Mark Zuckerberg shared his vision on the social network’s shift into a virtual world where people can socialise, work, and play.
But as we’ve previously explained, Facebook’s founder didn’t come up with the concept; it’s been around since 1992, believed to have been coined by author Neal Stephenson in his science fiction novel, “Snow Crash”.
As the concept undergoes construction for a potential widespread adoption one day, it is mostly understood that NFTs will be the currency of the metaverse. And this would suggest why NFT fans are so keen on investing hundreds of millions in owning digital assets today, in preparation for Web 3.0.
Did you know: Web 3.0 is built upon the core concepts of decentralisation, openness, and greater user utility.
To own NFTs, however, one would need to “purchase” them via cryptocurrencies. However, this space requires lots of education and investment knowledge for one to understand the various concepts and ways to reap its benefits.
Hence, Sebastien Jurkowski wants to lower the barriers to entry for the average Joe to get into the crypto world. He’s hoping to do so via his platform, Artlab.live (Artlab).
Going from digital to physical and NFT realms
First, Sebastien came to the realisation that not every artist has art for sale. Additionally, most aren’t equipped to create digital certificates (NFTs) of their artworks.
So, Artlab steps in by creating limited edition prints or collectible figurines and handles its logistics while also attaching an NFT to the artwork purchased.
For example, Artlab’s first artist on the platform, photographer heartpatrick, has never sold artwork in any form to the general public. Yet, he’s been producing digital photography for 15 years with thousands of photography compositions created, and some 75,000 followers on Instagram have often requested to buy his art.
Now, Artlab and Patrick are working together to bring his digital work into the physical and NFT realms.
On the buyer’s end, they can pay for the works using cash instead of crypto, as Sebastien acknowledges that Malaysia has yet to see widespread adoption of the latter currencies.
Once purchased, Artlab will transfer the ownership of the NFT to buyers who can showcase the art on an NFT marketplace like Opensea.
To put it simply, you can buy the artwork on Artlab, and its NFT replica will be showcased on Opensea. “Here, the buyer pays cash and gets introduced to NFT, it is a good way to get people into crypto,” Sebastien reckons.
Bringing artwork to life
To bring digital artworks to life, certain reproductions are outsourced.
“For physical reproduction of digital photography, we work with an art printer in Malaysia, Giclee Art. We have another studio partner for canvas, and the rest is done in-house,” Sebastien explained. In terms of artworks like figurines or sculptures, he is looking for 3D printing services too.
Because Artlab handles most of the labour in reproducing physical artworks and creating NFT replicas of them, it seems like there would be a hefty cost for an artist to pay for the platform’s services. But Sebastien shared that artists are simply charged a 10% commission on each NFT sale.
“That commission is programmed directly in the NFT and shared between Artlab and the artist, since the NFTs are on the ETH blockchain, the proceeds are automatically transferred to Artlab’s ETH wallet whenever an after-sale is made,” Sebastien elaborated.
“The great advantage of NFTs is that they are there for everyone to see with the complete ownership history and price, where anyone can bid on. This makes art a liquid asset.”
Artlab is still in its early stages and has so far generated revenue below RM10,000. Though it’s early days yet to comment on the traction of the site, Sebastien shared that it managed to get its first sale 2 weeks upon launching on December 1, 2021.
Bootstrapped with a capital of RM25,000, Sebastien runs Artlab as his side hustle while continuing his full-time job at an interactive multimedia studio, Contraststudio.
“Right now it is a do it all by myself game, so this comes with some costly mistakes and a lot of learning,” Sebastien shared. “It is exciting overall and I’m eager to see where we are in 1 year, [and the next] 5 years.”
At the moment, there are 12 artworks listed on Artlab’s shop. They consist of photographs from heartpatrick, along with the same artist’s miniature series of works.
Sebastien is in talks with different artists to onboard their works, and he’s welcoming more artists to contact him via his social channels if they’re interested.
Other than that, he is planning a public art exhibition for 2022 with an interactive element to showcase the works that are featured on Artlab.
For now, he is primarily targeting Malaysians, Singaporeans, and those in the US, and Europe to buy and sell on Artlab, so worldwide shipping is available too.
The whole idea of the metaverse and NFTs being used as currencies in it is so that people can essentially “own” digital assets that they believe will increase in value over time. Once an asset is of a higher value, they can then opt to auction it off to make a profit.
But these concepts may still be hard for many of us familiar with the tangible world to wrap our heads around. Therefore, it could be said that Artlab plays a different role from other NFT marketplaces.
It’s enabling more people to understand the concept of digital asset ownership via physical artworks, making one’s entry into NFTs and the metaverse a lot less daunting.
Featured Image Credit: Sebastien Jurkowski, founder of Artlab.live