I was one of the lucky ones that knew early on what I wanted to be when I grew up. Even so, whenever someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I had to pause. It’s very difficult to decide on a career with so much uncertainty. In honesty, the statistics online are dismal. They note that only ten percent of art school graduates make a living from their artwork.  A study in late 2017 demonstrated that three-quarters of artists made $10,000 or less per year from their art and close to half made no more than $5,000 a year hence the popular phrase “starving artist.”
It used to be that if you were serious about making art your life, you needed to move to New York or London. The internet changed that and allowed artists to make their masterpieces from anywhere in the world with an online presence. It was still very hard to get the attention of galleries, museums, and art magazines.  One reporter noted that the fine art world was very exclusive with only a small number of artists allowed to succeed and only their work considered valuable. One collector shared that if an artist is great then in a hundred years or so their work will be valued and recognized. It’s a little disturbing that in this model, the artist is normally dead by the time they are recognized. I’m sure Vincent van Gogh would have preferred to have the global recognition before he passed away.
With the introduction of social media, some things changed in the art world. Artists from around the world could share their work online even if they had never had a gallery showing. Followers could learn about the artist’s message and share their favorite pieces with friends while expanding the artist’s reach. At the same time, the social channel keeps everyone posted on an artist’s latest work and followers can provide immediate feedback to the artist whether they can afford a painting or not. Soon some followers become collectors and then the artist has a stream of income and may gain the attention of a gallery. If an artist is lucky enough to get a significant number of followers, they also start getting the attention of the media and companies that want to collaborate with artists.
With the introduction of NFT, everything changed in the art world. NFT stands for Non-fungible token and is part of the Ethereum blockchain. Ethereum is a cryptocurrency like bitcoin. There have been a lot of articles about NFTs but I find a lot of people still don’t know much about it or how it works. We see article after article about a celebrity, a founder or a company selling an NFT. For example, the founder of Twitter, Jack Dorsey. sold his very first tweet. One would think that stories about these recognized people would encourage the masses to learn more about NFTs but I don’t find that to be the case. 
In the NFT world, you purchase the digital version of the artwork. This opens a world of possibilities. It has changed the art world permanently and nothing will ever be the same again. Artists shouldn’t let the learning curve of getting their art on this platform discourage them. Collectors shouldn’t shy away from the ability to collect art that connects with them in this new format.
The speed at which NFT galleries can launch a new artist is unprecedented. The NFT art community is mostly kind and very supportive. The community brings together painters, photographers, musicians, animators, celebrities, etc. Those that have had some success help other artists join the community and help guide them and even promote their work. I am always attending NFT calls on an App called Clubhouse to help others navigate this new world. There is more collaborations between artists than I have ever seen. It is an international community and at least in the NFT world, it seems the world has no borders. I’ve been in this space for a year, and it has been an incredible experience. I’ve had the opportunity to work directly with other artists, collectors, charities, celebrities and had my work exhibited digitally around the world.
If you want to be an artist when you grow up, the good news is it’s getting a little easier. You have a higher chance of making a living doing what you love and can stay true to who you are as an artist. In my opinion, the NFT digital art world has leveled the playing field more than anything else. We all tend to avoid things that are uncomfortably new but sometimes new is good. Artists and art collectors that have joined the NFT space may even say it’s pretty great.

Ali Sabet (@sabet) is an Iranian American contemporary artist and a recognized name in the NFT art world. He is one of the artists selected as NFT Royalty for his work in helping other artists and collectors join the platform. He is recognized for his paintings of confident and beautiful women, the unique love language he incorporates in his art and his Pixopop (@pixopop) characters. Sabet uses Japanese brushes, Sumi ink and vibrant colors in his paintings to create sophisticated designs that inspire hope, compassion, perseverance, and love. A few of his NFT galleries: https://hoo.be/sabet
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