If you follow NFT news, you might have noticed that they have played an interesting role in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. First, there was the Ukrainian government documenting the war’s progression through NFTs. Then there have been a plethora of NFT projects, both privately and officially launched, that are raising funds to support Ukraine.
The latest development with regards to this is one that sparks discussion about the value of art and NFTs as a whole. Artist Peter Seaton, who operates under the pseudonym CTO, removed a three-story mural he had designed this year. The image, which showed a Ukrainian and Russian soldier embracing, was controversial, to say the least.
But that isn’t the reason why Seaton has opted to remove it. According to him, the decision to remove it has more to do with NFTs.
The Value of an NFT
As he explains, his decision to remove the mural (by painting over it) will increase the value of the NFTs he is selling online given that the image is now rarer. The Australian artist has also addressed critics of the mural, including Vasyl Myroshnychenko, the ambassador of Ukraine to Australia and New Zealand.
“A recently unveiled mural in @Melbourne showing a RU and a UA soldier hugging is utterly offensive to all Ukrainians. The painter has no clue about the RU invasion of Ukraine and it is disappointing to see it done without consulting the Ukrainian community in Melbourne,” Myroshnychenko tweeted earlier this month.
When Seaton announced that the mural was being taken down, there was some speculation that he did it because of the backlash he had received, But he quickly clarified this on social media, responding to one user by saying that it was to increase the value of the 12 NFTs he had listed for sale.
He also touched on the wave of criticism he had received regarding the piece, claiming that others had misinterpreted his message.
Speaking to Crickey, an Australian publication, he said, “It’s their perception of the work that has hurt them. Because it’s a CLEAR SYMBOL OF PEACE to most people.”
He also told The Age that war often dehumanises the opposition and that he is trying to bring a human element to both sides of the conflict.
Regardless of his true motivations, it is no secret that the rarer an asset is, the more that can be commanded for it. Many NFT collections have different price tiers depending on the rarity of the asset and Seaton’s work has certainly gained attention since the mural went down, with five in total being sold.
This does indicate, however, that many artists are aware of the economics of NFTs and even as many more creators are making a living through them, there is an intersection between the old and the new. Many mural and graffiti artists have developed followings over the years and more of their works are, naturally, becoming NFTs. And while you can paint over a physical mural, the works live forever in the digital realm.