PFPs or “Profile Picture” NFT art is the art of community. Regardless of whatever fiat valuation PFP NFTs have on any particular day or any given time, these digital assets are a new form of art that does so much more. As long as you invest wisely (aka spend only what you would feel comfortable losing), individuals seeking to experiment in Web3 as creators and/or collectors must experience the power of the profile-picture NFT trend.
So, what makes PFP NFTs so special? PFPs are a form of digital artwork NFTs with UTILITY. They can unlock access to a new type of emerging community.
UTILITY as defined by Merriam-Webster is: fitness for some purpose or worth to some end. 2 : something useful or designed for use. 3a : public utility. b(1) : a service (such as light, power, or water) provided by a public utility. (2) : equipment or a piece of equipment to provide such service or a comparable service.
While the traditional art world attempts to make sense of the NFT digital art landscape, there is also new territory being defined from within. Some avid NFT/PFP collectors may not consider community on its own a strong enough argument to support the definition of utility — and I totally disagree. Sure, some PFP communities provide more utilities than just the “community” — but if you think PFP NFT collections are just a bunch of HYPE and a waste of money… you are missing the point. We need to see what Web3 can do and this is just the beginning…
Wikipedia recently announced NFTs will not be classified as art.
If you consider art as a way to define the process, product or experience of creative expression, Wikipedia’s conclusion is questionable. Either way, whether or not the PFP NFT can be categorized as traditional or digital art isn’t relevant. Of course a new market that disrupts traditional marketing schemes and sale funnels would solicit an outcry of disapproval and maybe even a little fear-of-missing-out from the benefactors of the old ways.
By being represented on the blockchain, NFTs by nature continue to challenge the definition of art. However, NFTs have also simultaneously spawned a new wave of digital identity utilizing PFPs. Once an individual is able to assume a digital identity that’s part of a “collection” a community can emerge. The PFP NFT is just one piece of the puzzle. What the PFP trend has created is an individual digital asset with utility because it’s part of a bigger picture.
In this light, the PFP movement actually represents an exploration of digital identity and the art of community building.
Wikipedia defines “Community art”: Community art is a community-oriented, grassroots approach, often useful in economically depressed areas. When local community members come together to express concerns or issues through this artistic practice, professional artists or actors may be involved.
Based on the definition of “Community art” it seems safe to say that anytime a person assumes a digital identity in the form of a PFP, and that PFP collection has a collective mission, any impact generated by that community is art or “community art”.
Roadmaps which outline charitable donation metrics like Women Rise by the Artist and Founder Maliha Abidi provide a great example of the NFT PFP community impact possibilities:
2.5% of sales will goto Malala Fund — At 25% sold milestone
7.5% of sales will goto multiple organizations supporting gender equality, girls education and mental health in marginalized societies — At 75% sold milestone
5% of royalties will be used to support the ‘Women Rise’ club and the ‘Activist’ club on an ongoing basis.
Now that we covered WHAT PFP NFTs are in terms of art, utility, digital identity, and community, the question is HOW are these communities gathering?
If you are already a PFP holder (aka hodlr), you know that NFT PFP collections market themselves for the most part on Twitter. Twitter is where you can jump into the conversation and navigate how you want to participate in the space.
Once you’ve followed a PFP collection on Twitter, do your research, and want to commit to the project, you can join the Discord channel to connect with the other community members. The organization of the Discord channels varies based on the community and certain channels may only be UNLOCKED by proving ownership of the coinciding PFP NFT.
To recap… Twitter → Discord → Proof of NFT Ownership = Community Access
So what happens next? The answer to that question depends on which community you decided to join. Some communities seek to create a positive social impact (ex: Women Rise) and provide opportunities to holders to participate in a DAO or Decentralized Autonomous Organization voting experience to make decisions together. Other communities like Fierce NFT or Queens of the Night may invite you to experience exclusive events in the real world or throw a party in the metaverse.
PFP communities are uniting to create an impact.
Some examples of how “Real World Impact” occurs include: Roadmaps with Charitable Donations, DAO decision making, Personal and Professional Connections, In-person Gatherings, Metaverse Parties and more!
Twitter → Discord → Proof of NFT Ownership → Community = Real World Impact
The possibilities right now are defined by us — web3 adapters co-creating and experimenting. This process of defining our digital identities and coming together as a community to build new dimensions of reality is art.
My PFP Philosophy: The Community is the ART created by our collective Digital Identities solving real-world issues
Regardless of if you agree or disagree, this movement is real and PFP holders are gaining power and influence capable of transcending the Web3 audience. So it’s up to you to decide whether or not it’s worth it to participate and also — maybe build the future.
The above image features select PFPs from my collection of female-led NFT projects from left to right: WOW Pixies, Fierce NFT, Alpha Girl Club, Women Rise, Fame Lady Squad, Crypto Chicks