Top tattoo artists are highly sought after, their work is displayed on the world’s most visible real estate: LeBron James’ shoulders, Scarlett Johansson’s back, Post Malone’s face.
But you can not hang tattoos in a gallery or auction at Sotheby’s. They live and die (unless previously removed) with their owner. It also means that the most popular tattoo artists are still paid by the hour, just as many decorated the rush of sailors and cyclists during their apprenticeships.
Artists are usually not paid by the hour, says Scott Campbell, 44, a tattoo artist in Los Angeles who inked Robert Downey Jr., Jennifer Aniston and Marc Jacobs. ‘Musicians are not paid by how long it takes to create a song. You will never go to a gallery and think, ‘How long did it take the artist to paint it?’ I will pay him for his time. ‘”
Mr. Campbell, who works with fellow tattoo artists such as Mark Machado (known as Mr. Cartoon) and Brian Woo (Dr. Woo), wants to change this comparison.
This week, Mr. Campbell an online marketplace, All at our best, where tattoo artists can present their designs as permanent, tradable products in the form of NFTs.
To refresh: An NFT, which stands for non-fungible token, is basically a digital stamp of authenticity that can be bought, sold or traded like a cryptocurrency on a blockchain. This is far from the tattoo world, where the stars of the field limit their earnings from about $ 1,000 per hour for a session of one to three hours, even if they are not working on Hollywood stars.
In this new market, customers will buy the exclusive rights to the design of the tattoo, rather than the tattoo itself. “I’m selling you an idea instead of just a few hours of my life,” he said. Campbell said, who has been blurring the line between tattooing and the visual arts for years, displaying his tattoo-inspired sculptures and paintings at galleries and art fairs. . “The NFT is basically a digital baseball card.”
As owners, buyers get a guaranteed lock from the tattoo artist – no small thing, because the best tattoo artists can be almost impossible to book for those out of the track around a famous person.
But it is not mandatory. Some owners may choose to preserve their virgin skin.
In theory, NFT tattoo owners might even instruct another tattoo artist to apply the ink while still using the work as an original pedigree. (Copying tattoos without the permission of the artist is a big problem.)
At the beginning, All Our Best will feature only a handful of well-known artists: Mr. Campbell, Mr. Cartoon, Dr. Woo, Dirt, Sean from Texas and Tati Compton. Mr. Campbell plans to expand the roster and eventually open up the market for any tattoo artist to sell work.
He is not the only tattoo artist who sees opportunity in blockchain. An artist in Portland, Me., Named Brad Wootenfor example, sell photos of digitally designed tattoos as NFTs.
The earning potential is significant. Prices for the first round of NFT tattoo on All Our Best range from $ 1,000 to $ 10,000. The blockchain technology also enables artists to make a 10 percent royalty every time a work is resold.
Customers can also make a profit if the work appreciates it, as opposed to the current setup where ‘the only thing they get out of the deal is an Instagram message and some bragging rights,’ he said. Campbell said. “They actually have something they can hold on to and pass on to their children, that has a life if only that thing on their arm that is going to be sunburned and vague anyway.”