Televisions have grown in size, quality, and technical capability. When they’re not in use, though, they’re empty and unappealing – a blank space in a home’s interior design. The average size of televisions sold in the United States grows by two inches per year, with standard displays now available in sizes up to 86 and 98 inches diagonal – to say nothing of the larger-scale LED walls now entering the residential market. These displays are in operation for less than five percent of their lifespan. Why are they sitting idle when they could instead be an enriching part of users’ lives and home designs? As screens have gotten bigger and more sophisticated, they’ve also been at the center of an exciting cultural renaissance: the rise of NFT (non-fungible token) art. NFT art is an ideal solution to the design problem of the big, blank screen. Just like traditional artwork, NFT subject matter spans all tastes, from restful nature scenes, to provocative satirical and intellectual works, to abstract forms. Any screen can be instantly elevated into a gorgeous digital canvas, with artwork to suit any home or personality.
Other media – literature, film, music – have already fully embraced digital transmission, leading to vibrant cross-pollination of ideas and diversity of creativity. Visual art has trailed other forms because artists have historically produced unique physical objects, a “one of one” that cannot be shared. Now, thanks to the rise of NFTs (non-fungible tokens), digital art has emerged as one of the principal mediums of this generation’s top artists. Many are embracing the power of animation in their work, including both breakthrough digital artists like Beeple (Mike Winkelmann), and established world-renowned artists such as Urs Fischer, Damien Hirst and Daniel Arsham.
Digital art makes art collection more accessible to a whole new generation, giving artists an opportunity to reach a passionate audience. In contrast to physical works, people can access digital art instantly, either through NFT marketplaces like OpenSea and MakersPlace, or dedicated services such as the Blackdove digital art gallery. Collectors no longer have to weigh purchases for years, as they consider whether they want to live with a piece forever. They can support the artists that speak to them immediately. They can also rotate the pieces they display gracefully and easily, supporting a broader array of artists, and refreshing the visual landscape of their homes.
The rise of digital art is an opportunity to re-imagine screens, not just as a workplace tool or television, but as the medium for a dynamic art installation. That’s a monumental shift in perspective, from utilitarian tool to vehicle for cultural enrichment. For dealers, this application could open a path to sell larger screens to a broader profile of customer: not just those interested in sports, gaming, or movies, but those who are passionate about entertaining, interior design, and the arts. With digital art, all kinds of users can derive more enjoyment out of both their screens and their home environment. And crucially, this application is possible with practically any screen.
Any smart TV can download apps for the management and display of digital art. Some, such as Blackdove, will also allow users to support artists and discover new works through purchase or subscription. Even legacy “dumb” displays can become digital art installations through the integration of an art server. The highest-quality dedicated art servers can both house users’ NFT collections locally and connect to digital galleries to access cloud-based collections and discover new works.
For those consumers who are specifically interested in digital art as a standalone installation, there are certain applications where a specialized, dedicated display is recommended. For example, many works of digital art are produced in portrait aspect ratio. Standard displays should only be hung in landscape orientation; they are not properly designed for heat dissipation when hung vertically. When recommending displays for digital art applications, make sure you understand the nature of the works the customer wants to display. Only use commercial-grade models for always-on or portrait-oriented applications.
Up until now, the preference for larger and larger displays has been at odds with the aesthetics of sophisticated interior design. Now, thanks to the digital art revolution, these screens can offer thoughtful enhancements to an elegant home. It’s not going too far to say that, far from being a problem, screens leveraged for digital art applications enhance their owner’s quality of life.
“Art is a universal truth,” says Marc Billings, co-founder and CEO of Blackdove. “We will live better lives when we can experience more art. Digital art and NFTs are now part of how art enriches our lives.”
By Dan Mikesell is the President of Blackdove