Into Focus: Re-Imagining The World of Digital Art With Josh Dechant

The brainchild of established Tezos builder and developer Josh Dechant, aka “CodeCrafting”, is a self-styled “creator-centric” platform.

Originally published at Tezos Commons News

By Stu Elmes


1,100 words, 6 minute read

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Blockchain-powered NFTs have brought significant changes to the world of art. They’ve also opened a promising door to new revenue streams, media, and marketing models for an entire generation of digital artists, empowering them to wrest control of their work and careers from the dubious gatekeepers of the “traditional” art game.

The process of these changes hasn’t been a smooth one by any measure, and there have certainly been road bumps along the way, but the overall trajectory of this new emerging artistic paradigm has been a tremendously positive one for digital artists all over the world.

Here in the Tezos ecosystem, a rapidly-growing community of artists, disillusioned with the unworkable gas fees associated with more globally-recognized chains, has found a new and promising home. The Tezos ecosystem’s second-to-none stable of lively NFT marketplaces, welcoming community, and cutting-edge creator platforms have made it a massively appealing option for those looking to establish themselves and their work in the exciting world of blockchain-powered art.

But, as those operating in the global NFT art space know all too well, there’s still much work to be done. We’ve, as yet, barely scratched the surface of the true potential of this game changing technology. Questions surrounding the nature and implications of tokenized digital art creation/ownership abound, and the day when all the stakeholders involved in this emerging economy feel secure and comfortable with their place within it has yet to dawn. But don’t fret because we are getting much closer.

Enter: #

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The brainchild of established Tezos builder and developer Josh Dechant, aka “CodeCrafting”, is a self-styled “creator-centric” platform. Its focus is on creator sovereignty and interoperability in the service of empowering artists in the Tezos Ecosystem. This project is a recent Tezos Commons Small Grant Program recipient and is nearing completion as of this writing.

To learn more about the “what” of, this post by my colleague and friend William Mackenzie is a worthwhile read. Of more interest to me - after my recent conversation with Josh Dechant about the ongoing rollout of this fascinating new platform — was the “why”.

Why now? #

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As I’ve already mentioned, the Tezos ecosystem has already become home to a thriving community of artists and creators. New tools and plaforms to support and incubate this community are being rolled out at breakneck pace, and significant progress has been made toward making Tezos THE premiere destination for those looking to establish themselves in the NFT arena.

With such bonafides behind it, I was genuinely curious why Josh felt that a platform like was such an important priority. So, I asked him…

I’ve been working with artists here in the Tezos ecosystem for about a year and a half. A lot of times, artists will say “I want to do X”, and the answer generally is, “sure, you can do X, but you’ll need a developer to write you a custom contract, because there are no contracts that exist right now that can do that — or at least none that are open-source.” is, in some ways, a no-code platform for artists where the contracts will allow them to do a lot of things and be able to put things together. Things that, previously, they would’ve needed a smart contract developer to do. Now it’s something they’ll be able to do on their own by clicking a few buttons.

Of course, such utility is only a means to an end. The philosophy behind and the creators’ needs hopes to address, comes from a much deeper and more introspective place.

Josh believes that as things stand in the NFT and digital art arena and the speculative foire surrounding it, something important has been lost. One needs only to glance briefly at the “ manifesto” Josh published earlier this year to understand where the true motivation for building out this platform comes from. In it, Josh calls for a “return to focusing on art”, something he believes is essential to the robust, sustainable growth of NFT-based art in all its forms.

If you remember the early Hic Et Nunc days, it was pretty focused on art. It was also clunky and difficult to use. People have fond memories of that. Over time, marketplaces evolved. In my opinion, as marketplaces evolved, they evolved toward being focused on collectors. The primary user has become, obviously, the collector. Most marketplaces are like that. They’re focused on collectors. I wanted to focus on creators. A platform made for creators and what they need.

Let’s Get Sovereign #

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As the digital art/NFT space has taken on a bigger role in the lives of today’s emerging digital artists, the opportunity to carve out a comfortable and lucrative niche within it is very real. It’s exceedingly easy to understand why this path is such an appealing one for artists establishing their careers, as it presents a level of sovereignty that only the elite in the art world could’ve ever hoped to attain even a few short years ago. In Josh’s view — and in the world of, such sovreignty is much more than just a “nice to have”, it’s absolutely essential for the growth of the medium. That’s why he and the team building out have made creator sovereignty a key point of focus.

It will be an open protocol that anyone can use, and anyone can build on. Neither I nor anybody else can decide to shut it down. If you mint stuff there with the self-sovereign contracts, you will actually be the admin of your own contracts. This means that you’re in control of what happens. It’s a free and open system for people to use.

Paradigm Shift #

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Make no mistake, the rollout of an open-source, free to use creator platform with ZERO platform or service fees and 0% cost to sell baked into its DNA in perpetuity is a big deal.

What Josh Dechant and the team are building here represents a significant departure from the NFT creation and selling model we’ve all become used to in the space.

What this means for the future of NFTs and digital art in the Tezos ecosystem remains to be seen, but’s philosophical underpinnings and intriguing applications present yet another reason for artists and their audiences to continue flocking to Tezos in the days ahead, and that’s a development everyone involved in the Tezos ecosystem should be very excited about.