Why do NFTs look like… that?

Originally published in The Spinoff. Image by Bianca Cross.

They’re pitched as digital art, but they usually look like ugly gamer avatars. How come? For IRL, Josie Adams finds out.

If you know anything about NFTs, you know most of them look like shit. They were sold to us as digital art, and while a few hotshots out there – Beeple, the estate of Rita Angus – are making big money living this dream, most NFTs don’t look very arty. They look like ugly gamer avatars.

NFT representation on social media is steadfastly in the profile picture genre: head and shoulders, facing left to right, plain background. They’re usually either highly-pixellated, or extremely smooth and round-headed. There will probably be 7,776 very similar versions of whichever NFT you buy, each with a tiny tweak to make it “unique”. But why do so many NFTs look like this? Is it actually bad art, or are we being a bit harsh?

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