Lana Denina has earned over $300,000 from selling her art as NFTs, or nonfungible tokens, on various platforms since February. However, she had only recently begun to understand what they were.
“I didn’t know anything about blockchain at the time,” the 24-year-old admits to CNBC Make It. She began looking into it, and “my mind was blown,” she says. “It was truly revolutionary.”
Denina, a painter, was immediately impressed with the technology and its ability to serve as a vehicle for proof of ownership for artists. “Traditional galleries are kind of like the old world,” Denina says, referring to the lack of diversity. “I was never completely drawn to it, especially as a woman of color.”
Unlike traditional art markets, NFTs and Web3 enable artists to create their own galleries and set their own prices online, according to Denina.
Denina, who is based in Montreal, Canada, began by selling individual NFTs of paintings she had done, but soon expanded to listing complete collections. Single works are one-of-a-kind, non-generative pieces, but collections are frequently generative and intended to be collectable.
Her most recent collection, the Mona Lana, was released in November and sold out in a matter of weeks.
Denina painted 500 distinct pictures of ladies for the Mona Lana collection. She claims that each portrait was created using code with 112 different features.
“It shot off like a rocket. “I was taken aback,” Denina admits. “I’m not sure if I struck it rich. For me and my girlfriend, it was a huge success. We put a lot of effort into this project and were quite pleased with the results.” Denina collaborates with a partner but does all of the artwork herself. She didn’t say if the profits are shared.
Denina explains that in her art, she represents people of color and Black culture, which has struck a chord with many in the NFT community. Customers who say they opted to get their first NFT after witnessing her work make her very happy.
“They really wanted to get an NFT when they saw the Mona Lana,” she says. “They were looking at other initiatives before that, and maybe they didn’t feel adequately represented.”
Denina plans to donate a percentage of sales to Cyber Baat, a creator DAO collective that promotes African artists, and to women’s shelters in Canada after the Mona Lana collection reaches 100 ether in volume traded. She’s now close, with a volume traded of 99.5 ether.
Denina is doing well in the NFT space and believes it is different from the traditional market, but she believes there is still more to be done in terms of diversity and assistance.
Denina tweeted in November, “As a young woman of color in this environment, it has been 100 times harder to be accepted and considered as equal as the other dudes of this place.” “However, I’ve also met folks who are really supportive, extremely intelligent, and extremely brilliant.”