NFTs are supposed to be different from traditional media sales, but why do platforms dominate the discussion for artists? Platforms are the most common means of purchase and discovery of NFTs since the technical and logistical hurdles from directly building a web experience and working with a new medium are considerable. Most artists entering the NFT space feel that they need to pick a platform to use that resonates with their aesthetic and values.
Making your own marketplace as an artist allows complete creative control of the presentation of your work along with ownership of your brand. ZORA hopes to make this experience less scary and allow different levels of integration with your own brand and experience as a curator, marketplace, or artist.
Having the freedom to display and sell your work outside of the dominant format of endless thumbnail feeds should be a given. Ironically, the notion of crafting a presentation space that has personality feels like a throwback to an earlier incarnation of the web. Independent publishing and distribution have a rich history in the world of print — think back to zines and cassette label ads. In formats like these, an immediacy of expression resonates with an imperative for circulation.
Illustration Becka Saville
From its inception, the open web has promised and facilitated a similar mode of publication. But the problem of including a web-native mode of distribution was answered with e-commerce and all the other Web 2.0 trappings that creators and those who wish to give them visibility have had to trudge through. In many ways all of this has created a barrier for a larger set of creators to engage meaningfully with the medium — for many, it’s quite simply a pain in the ass, and if you want to do anything unique, it's expensive.
When we created the doge auction site there was something both familiar and completely new in its simplicity. The editorial and visual context afforded to those incredibly influential images served as an engaging frame. The thrill of the auction — visible in real time to anyone who visited the site — was palpable. And the components used to power that auction just worked. All of this in a small, easy-to-digest repo that is open to the public. Another artist quickly forked the repo and remixed it for his own NFT auction site, jawn.fr. This gesture encapsulated the energy and excitement of taking representation into your own hands — crafting the context that allows you and your community to render creativity at its highest fidelity.
Interacting with blockchain data can quickly become incredibly complicated. In a space that moves rapidly from all sides, this alone can be a barrier to entry. On the front end, pinning down the changing data in order to write a reliable presentation layer can be a challenge, especially when working to iterate to the manic pulse of the crypto world.
At ZORA, we are working to identify the pain points and offer a variety of solutions to give all creators, curators, and developers in the space the freedom to realize their wildest ideas.
What does creating your own marketplace mean to you?
Illustrations Becka Saville