Mural painter Sneha Chakraborty on her journey as an NFT artist

The exhibition was offline, a physical experience that you can experience through your phone.

Mural artist Sneha Chakraborty tried her hand with NFTs last year, and she hasn’t turned back. Sneha’s artistic journey follows business management, ending it midway, and travelling the world as a cabin crew. This experience introduced her to beautiful architectures to sketch and finding her solace in painting. Presently, her career contrasts are being a traditional mural painter and a digital NFT artist. She is one of the earliest and leading artists of the developing NFT sphere in India, and her art exhibition with WazirX was the first of its kind ever. Analytics India Magazine got in touch with her to learn about her journey exploring NFTs, the NFT community in India, tricks for NFT newcomers and the state of NFT crime. 

“Traditional art gave me a lot, and I was doing good. It was fun and games, and everything until the whole talk of NFT started happening in the world. And then being an artist, of course, I was quite intrigued, but I was in a very comfortable space,” Sneha said, describing her plunge away from traditional art. “That time when WazirX got in touch with me, they were looking for a traditional artist, liked my profile and wanted me like a spotlight artist. Once I got into it, and once I started learning about NFT, it started coming from a very honest space.”

Sneha’s WazirX showcase

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NFT: A merit-based platform

Sneha discussed the real point that drew her more and more into the NFT space, “It is such an open space. As a traditional artist, I had to rely on other people to sell my canvas; I had to rely on a middleman or curators to showcase my artwork. Here, NFT is providing a space where there is no middleman anymore. There’s just the buyer and the seller; the buyer likes your work and collects it. And when you get to mint, you’re getting a free space. Since the beginning, artists have needed to have a name or some work done, but NFT is a 100%  merit-based platform.” 

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“Now I also do my traditional art because that’s where I come from, but I’m not just putting myself in a box; I want to explore, and digital art form has been fun and very creative. It’s a new space. With NFTs, you get so many things, the direct buyer and seller aspect and the royalty that we get with that, which is just a blessing for artists like us in today’s generation. And it’s just for the iceberg right now. This merit-based thing was missing in the art world all this while. NFT is like a revolution, something that has never happened before.”

The digital journey

“I had this iPad for a long time, but I did not have the pen to create digital art. So, last December, when I was in Bangalore painting a mural project, I thought, let me get the pen to see what can I do. I started working on one digital art, and it was so meditative that I didn’t stop. So I started working on an art and not an NFT. Additionally, digital is a very forgiving platform for me because I travel for my work, and I can’t carry my canvas all the time. So I create an NFT because I work on an artwork, and then if I feel enough people will be able to connect with it, I start minting. Mostly I use the platform of WazirX because the minting fee is very low there, and it is an Asian platform.” 

The NFT community

The NFT movement is still quite new and developing in India, and at the forefront of this advancement is the community of creators driving the innovation. Sneha spoke about the supportive community and the importance of having the backbone while starting with NFTs. “The movement was basically launched in India, and the first platform that I minted was on WazirX. They introduced us to fellow NFT artists, and we created this community on WhatsApp, where we used to talk about everything. We were constantly sharing without any aspect of jealousy because if I don’t grow, you can’t grow either. So you have to have something to fall back on. 

You can’t really move alone, and the NFT world exactly does that. It is a new industry, so we have to hold each other’s hands.” 

An NFT exhibition

“Last year, I had an exhibition, called Embers, where I had created 11 paintings of eight women I had met while travelling. The exhibit collaborated with the gallery, WazirX’s platform and me. It was the first kind of exhibition that had been done in India. (With the help of a friend), we added an extra AR layer to the story, showcasing the paintings to add an augmented reality layer. Essentially, you just put your phone on the painting, and you can see the painting come to life and see a new story forming on your phone. We added this AR on Instagram. The exhibition was offline, a physical experience that you can experience through your phone. But we had a huge turnover of people interested in seeing the actual event. Those online could open my Instagram account, use the filter, and see the whole experience on their computers.”

A common notion with digital paintings, especially in comparison to physical, is questioning the value they add. Addressing this, Sneha shared an event with one of the collectors of her NFT that was in a low stage in life and was cheered up and affected positively by the NFT painting. “There’s a positive side to the Metaverse; it is the future technology.”

Frauds in NFTs

Sneha holds this optimistic view about the Metaverse while discussing NFT frauds. “When you’re creating something, there’s always some loophole. People misuse the platform. But the positive side to NFTs is that in this world of blockchain, everything you do is very transparent. So there’s a ledger format. Meaning if I am the original owner of the artwork, then I am the one who owns it. Even normally, you can see the transparent ledger, so it’s not that difficult to find out who is the original creator. 

And there are certain things that you won’t be able to do with a duplicated image because of the resolution. So eventually, people will be able to figure this out. But there will be laws and regulations coming out of it. We have just started, we don’t know what is going to happen, but the Web 3.0, as we say, it’s, it’s a lot better.”

Sneha’s tips to NFT enthusiasts

“If you want to be an NFT artist, just uploading an artwork won’t help. It is in trend right now, and everyone wants to get into it. If someone is interested, they have to join the community because they have collectors and sellers. You have to talk to them; you have to talk about your artwork to connect with many collectors on the NFT platform. So if someone wants to maintain NFT, it’s better to get into a community,” Sneha said, following this up with her tips to newcomers in the space. “What I would suggest to anyone interested is to do your research. NFT sounds intimidating, also, being an artist, we are very comfortable in the space that we are in. But I would suggest this space for you, this is good for you and will only give you many possibilities in the future. Find a platform that you connect with, and then start minting. Fail once in a while because that is important for success.” 

“I believe that NFT is the future. It is the next big thing. In fact, it is the present because it has already started. For the first time in my life, things are working in the best way for an artist. I have the power to see who is buying my art, the power to negotiate directly, to keep the royalty with myself. There are so many good things I am getting because of NFT. And when so many artists right now feel the same way, this has a very solid ground that is not going to break.” 

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Avi Gopani
Avi Gopani is a technology journalist that seeks to analyse industry trends and developments from an interdisciplinary perspective at Analytics India Magazine. Her articles chronicle cultural, political and social stories that are curated with a focus on the evolving technologies of artificial intelligence and data analytics.

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