Elise Swopes does both Brooklyn and Chicago proud.
As an artist, she enjoys landscape work — usually featuring big city skylines like New York City or Atlanta. Then, according to her website, she “uses water and light as a paintbrush; snow turns into speckles, street lamps become glowing orbs, and water droplets take on abstract forms as she edits on the go using an array of mobile apps.” Today, the 32-year-old New York-based mixed-medium artist has turned her love of (non-fungible tokens) NFTs into a side hustle of epic proportions — and it’s made her more than $200,000 richer.
Elise Swopes told CNBC that after her first NFT sold for more than $17,000 in March 2021, she knew her life was going to change.
“And it has ever since then. It’s definitely brought me a lot of opportunities,” she said.
The good thing about Swopes’ NFT sales is that she doesn’t just make money from the actual NFT sale itself. Rather, each time one of her NFTs gets resold, she makes a royalty between 10 and 15 percent. In turn, too, Swopes says she supports other Black artists in the NFT market, like Brittany Pierre and fellow NFT success story Lana Denina. She also said she supports the Black NFT Art Collective.
“When I make a sale, I make sure that I’m giving back to the community that’s giving back as well,” said Elise Swopes.
She continued: “Because there’s a cycle [of support]. But I have also found quite a bit of difficulty with the [NFT] community as far as representation of people of color and Black women specifically.”
The NFT world, on the surface, may seem like a welcoming place for Black artists. But the reality is a bit different.
Elise Swopes Makes Good Money on NFTs — But Not Every Black Woman Does
A recent report by Bloomberg revealed that if you’re a woman in the NFT world — let alone a Black woman — you’re not likely to make a lot of money.
“Over the last 21 months, female artists accounted for just 5% of all NFT art sales, though, gender was unknown for 16% of transactions,” reports the outlet. “They also made much less money for their work, too.”
Elise Swopes, herself, acknowledges that she’s an anomaly in the NFT world.
“There’s obviously a ton of advance opportunity for white men, and we’ve seen them continuously get more sales. Women have barely made any sales in the last 21 months,” she said to CNBC.
While that’s the reality, there is something we can do to help.