NFT Art Exists Digitally. Collectors Want To Put Them On The Wall
Kanebridge News
Share Button

NFT Art Exists Digitally. Collectors Want To Put Them On The Wall

Storing art on a hard drive isn’t doing it anymore for collectors.

By Kelly Crow
Thu, Feb 3, 2022 12:46pmGrey Clock 4 min

Art collectors and cryptocurrency investors went wild last year buying art that exists only in the digital world. Now, Desiree Casoni, a collector in Key Biscayne, Fla., is trying to figure out how to hang all her new purchases on the wall.

Ms. Casoni owns more than 500 digital artworks with her investor husband, Pablo Rodriguez-Fraile. Bored of swiping through their collection on a cellphone or laptop, the couple initially retooled a few television sets throughout their home, but that meant downloading files onto thumb drives and plugging them in. Ms. Casoni said they next dabbled with digital picture frames designed to run looping slideshows of family photographs, but said some of these models didn’t allow them to resize or crop images.

“I don’t want to look like we live in Best Buy, with chunky black screens all over,” said Ms. Casoni.

The couple even experimented by setting a projector on a plinth in a corner of their living room and pointing it at a blank canvas hanging on a facing wall. When they turn the projector off, digital pieces such as “Elephant Dreams II,” a surrealist pink landscape by Andrés Reisinger and RAC, disappear. When it does, the white canvas alone “looks minimalist,” she said.

Collectors spent $21 billion trading digital art and collectibles last year, up from $67 million in 2020, according to digital-analytics firm DappRadar. Most of these digital artworks were attached to NFTs, or nonfungible tokens, which act as vouchers of authenticity on the blockchain for virtual goods, such as digital art.

As it turns out, those adventurous enough to buy the most cutting-edge digital media still crave some kind of real-world way to show it off at home.

Collectors say they want their physical frames and displays to match the “wow” factor of their digital art. Stephen Zautke, an investor building a house in Puerto Rico, said he plans to blanket a wall in the entry of his new home with a 6-foot-square, micro-LED screen. It is specifically designed to show highly detailed images—in his case, Refik Anadol’s digital 3-D tank of sloshing colors, “Quantum Memories Probability.”

Art adviser Yvonne Force Villareal recently advocated the same wall-size screen idea on her Instagram account, posting a video extolling the vast screen in the studio of her artist husband Leo Villareal, who just released a series of NFTs.

Steven Sacks, who runs New York’s bitforms gallery, said he has been inundated with calls from collectors seeking to frame digital works. Mr. Sacks said he tells them it is possible to get an 8-foot-wide television screen for around $14,000, though custom jobs by digital signage companies can top $150,000. He said he doesn’t recommend converting ordinary TVs that might cost a couple hundred bucks into art displays because it diminishes how the artwork is perceived.

“You shouldn’t want to turn on the football game after you click off your $100,000 artwork,” he said. “That does a disservice to the art.”

So is keeping your NFT collection locked on your cellphone, says Aaron Cunningham, a Berlin-based developer who is selling framed spots within his digital museum, Musee Dezentral, where people can exhibit their digital art. “It’s one thing to look at it on your phone, but great art needs to be elevated beyond the swipe and like,” Mr. Cunningham said.

One startup, Framed, is selling NFTs that mimic ornate picture frames. They are formatted to attach to other digital artworks so that the pair can be posted together. Tokenframe, meanwhile, lets collectors upload their NFTs directly to its physical frames. “At this point, the world is so inundated with NFTs—how can you differentiate yours to signal its worth?” said Sven Palys, Framed’s founder.

Major collectors and artists say the answer, perhaps ironically, is to go for an even more analog look. In another area of Ms. Casoni’s Florida living room sits a blue device by Swedish designer Love Hulten that evokes a vintage arcade game, only the screen shows a video-sound piece called “I Miss You” by the artists Vini Naso and Yambo. The image depicts a floating couple in an embrace, and people can turn the device’s knobs to zoom in or out.

Mr. Hulten and artist Lirona collaborated on “synth#boi,” a limestone piece whose round screen is attached to a synthesizer keyboard. Press the keys, and portions of a cheery robot face illuminate the screen. Mr. Hulten said he designed his display “in symbiosis with her art piece.” The edition of 10 quickly sold out at roughly $65,000 apiece.

Mike Winkelmann, who goes by Beeple, is another artist known for teaming with a partner to build displays for his tokenized art. In the past, he enlisted New York-based Infinite Objects to encase his work permanently within sheets of clear acrylic, objects the company calls video prints. Infinite Objects said it has shipped more than 50,000 units by him and other artists since it launched two years ago.

Recently, when Mr. Winkelmann wanted to go bigger to create his first sculpture, “HUMAN ONE,” the artist used mahogany to build a boxlike structure around a quartet of LG TV screens, which he positioned vertically. The revolving result ended up looking something similar to a phone booth, but with screens projecting a video of a man in a space suit walking in a loop. (Infinite Objects said it recently launched its own line of larger screens.)

Ryan Zurrer, a digital-art collector based in Zug, Switzerland, paid $28.9 million for “HUMAN ONE,” but he hasn’t had it shipped home yet. He already has another 80 NFT artworks but displays only a handful at home. He cites environmental reasons for not running screens all the time.

Mr. Zurrer keeps eight pieces by Mad Dog Jones, Mr. Anadol and Beeple lined up on a shelf behind his desk in his home office. To be able to turn them all on with the flip of a light switch, he had to sync them using a hidden “bucket of wires.”

The rest of his home? It remains NFT-free, he says, “until my wife finds one she likes enough to live with.”



Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

Americans now think they need at least $1.25 million for retirement, a 20% increase from a year ago, according to a survey by Northwestern Mutual

Related Stories
Face It, That $6,000 Vacation Isn’t Worth It Right Now
Why Inflation Erupted: Two Top Economists Have the Answer
By GREG IP 24/05/2023
How Did Hyundai Get So Cool?
By SEAN MCLAIN 23/05/2023
Face It, That $6,000 Vacation Isn’t Worth It Right Now

Vacationers scratching their travel itch this season are sending prices through the roof. Here’s how some are making trade-offs.

Thu, May 25, 2023 3 min

Capri Coffer socks away $600 a month to help fund her travels. The Atlanta health-insurance account executive and her husband couldn’t justify a family vacation to the Dominican Republic this summer, though, given what she calls “astronomical” plane ticket prices of $800 each.

The price was too high for younger family members, even with Coffer defraying some of the costs.

Instead, the family of six will pile into a rented minivan come August and drive to Hilton Head Island, S.C., where Coffer booked a beach house for $650 a night. Her budget excluding food for the two-night trip is about $1,600, compared with the $6,000 price she was quoted for a three-night trip to Punta Cana.

“That way, everyone can still be together and we can still have that family time,” she says.

With hotel prices and airfares stubbornly high as the 2023 travel rush continues—and overall inflation squeezing household budgets—this summer is shaping up as the season of travel trade-offs for many of us.

Average daily hotel rates in the top 25 U.S. markets topped $180 year-to-date through April, increasing 9.9% from a year ago and 15.6% from 2019, according to hospitality-data firm STR.

Online travel sites report more steep increases for summer ticket prices, with Kayak pegging the increase at 35% based on traveler searches. (Perhaps there is no more solid evidence of higher ticket prices than airline executives’ repeated gushing about strong demand, which gives them pricing power.)

The high prices and economic concerns don’t mean we’ll all be bunking in hostels and flying Spirit Airlines with no luggage. Travellers who aren’t going all-out are compromising in a variety of ways to keep the summer vacation tradition alive, travel agents and analysts say.

“They’re still out there and traveling despite some pretty real economic headwinds,” says Mike Daher, Deloitte’s U.S. transportation, hospitality and services leader. “They’re just being more creative in how they spend their limited dollars.”

For some, that means a cheaper hotel. says global search interest in three-star hotels is up more than 20% globally. Booking app HotelTonight says nearly one in three bookings in the first quarter were for “basic” hotels, compared with 27% in the same period in 2019.

For other travellers, the trade-offs include a shorter trip, a different destination, passing on premium seat upgrades on full-service airlines or switching to no-frills airlines. Budget-airline executives have said on earnings calls that they see evidence of travellers trading down.

Deloitte’s 2023 summer travel survey, released Tuesday, found that average spending on “marquee” trips this year is expected to decline to $2,930 from $3,320 a year ago. Tighter budgets are a factor, he says.

Too much demand

Wendy Marley is no economics teacher, but says she’s spent a lot of time this year refreshing clients on the basics of supply and demand.

The AAA travel adviser, who works in the Boston area, says the lesson comes up every time a traveler with a set budget requests help planning a dreamy summer vacation in Europe.

“They’re just having complete sticker shock,” she says.

Marley has become a pro at Plan B destinations for this summer.

For one client celebrating a 25th wedding anniversary with a budget of $10,000 to $12,000 for a five-star June trip, she switched their attention from the pricey French Riviera or Amalfi Coast to a luxury resort on the Caribbean island of St. Barts.

To Yellowstone fans dismayed at ticket prices into Jackson, Wyo., and three-star lodges going for six-star prices, she recommends other national parks within driving distance of Massachusetts, including Acadia National Park in Maine.

For clients who love the all-inclusive nature of cruising but don’t want to shell out for plane tickets to Florida, she’s been booking cruises out of New York and New Jersey.

Not all of Marley’s clients are tweaking their plans this summer.

Michael McParland, a 78-year-old consultant in Needham, Mass., and his wife are treating their family to a luxury three-week Ireland getaway. They are flying business class on Aer Lingus and touring with Adventures by Disney. They initially booked the trip for 2020, so nothing was going to stand in the way this year.

McParland is most excited to take his teen grandsons up the mountain in Northern Ireland where his father tended sheep.

“We decided a number of years ago to give our grandsons memories,” he says. “Money is money. They don’t remember you for that.”

Fare first, then destination

Chima Enwere, a 28-year old piano teacher in Fayetteville, N.C., is also headed to the U.K., but not by design.

Enwere, who fell in love with Europe on trips the past few years, let airline ticket prices dictate his destination this summer to save money.

He was having a hard time finding reasonable flights out of Raleigh-Durham, N.C., so he asked for ideas in a Facebook travel group. One traveler found a round-trip flight on Delta to Scotland for $900 in late July with reasonable connections.

He was budgeting $1,500 for the entire trip—he stays in hostels to save money—but says he will have to spend more given the pricier-than-expected plane ticket.

“I saw that it was less than four digits and I just immediately booked it without even asking questions,” he says.


Self-tracking has moved beyond professional athletes and data geeks.

Take a look at what the capital has to offer.

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop