Hermine Bourdin is a Self-taught sculptor based in Paris, France. Hermine creates works inspired by the feminine lines of the female body. In her work, Hermine seeks to represent full, proud sensual women. Her work is currently on view in various galleries in Paris, Nice, Berlin, NYC, Copenhagen & Hangzhou. Hermine is currently designing a metaverse where she will premiere her work alongside a group of collaborators in the space. 

 

Your practice is a very formal art form. When did you begin sculpting and why? 

 

I was passionate about sculpture from a very young age. Being a sculptor was a crazy dream I had read and I studied the work of many great sculptors but I had never acted on it. It was only after a big loss in my family that something clicked in my mind and it dawned on me that time goes by so fast…I decided to make the jump and turn this passion into a full-time practice. I had many sketches and ideas of shapes so I started to test various materials to find which medium could work the best for me. I started to take lessons in stone carving, metal welding, plaster moulding, etc. I didn’t know if this envy to sculpt was just a whim or if I was able to produce anything exchangeable for real, I had never sculpted in my life. But the more I was putting energy and time into it the more this envy became stronger and I knew it was it.

 

What artists do you admire and are there masters you studied that moved you to become an artist?

 

There are so many artists I admire. I would put Camille Claudel at the top of the list and August Rodin, their work is so alive and intense. The Rodin museum is by far one of my favourite places in Paris. I also admire a lot Constantin Brancusi and Barbara Hepworth, Louise Bourgeois Marisol Escobar and Fernand Léger, the list is endless! I also had the chance to meet Laurence Brice in Biot who was the daughter-in-law of Roland Brice, the ceramist of Fernand Léger himself and I learned a lot from her. 

 

Are there personal experiences from your life that you draw on that influence your work?

 

Cinema has been a big source of inspiration for me. My parents made me watch many classical black and white movies and I remember loving the Italian films of the Cinecittà, especially Fellini and Visconti. I recall seeing the figures and shapes of Anita Ekberg in La Dolce Vita and thinking ‘Wow, that is a real woman.’ I’ve always admired curvy actresses like Sophia Lauren, Claudia Cardinale, Josephine Baker, Maryline Monroe, those ladies still inspire me today. I’ve always admired curves rather than sharp angles and that’s what made me want to sculpt this way using plump sensual feminine lines. 

 

When I started to sculpt, it was instinctive. It felt very natural to show feminine forms because to me this was the feminine shape is perfection. I think a sculptor always tries to sculpt perfection, at least to their eyes. Some see perfection in angles, squares, or geometric forms, some see perfection in imperfection like with Wabi-Sabi for instance. To me, perfection is found in full, voluptuous, curvy feminine shapes. My women are proud, generous, and protective, at least that’s what I try to portray in my work. 

 

Could you expand on your inspiration to work in the medium of sculpture? Was there a moment you felt called to pursue this passion for working with your hands?

 

When I was a kid I lived with my aunt and uncle who were craftsmen and farmers, they would do everything themselves, everything was handmade. Living with them for several years I developed the skills of the art of how to use my hands through making cheese, farming, gardening, winemaking, etc! At Christmas time my aunt would make us sculpt figurines using clay. That’s when I first encountered this material that I loved so much. This medium remained dear to me but it was only later that I went back to it. I had the idea that clay wouldn’t work for the shapes I had in mind, that it was too soft and saggy but, it turned out to be the best material for me, a very familiar warm medium related to my childhood. So after trying out stone carving and metal welding I returned to clay and I found it was a very sensual medium, very feminine moreover. I recall a specific instance when I was a teenager having just moved to Paris, I had a friend whose father was a sculptor and I remember being in awe visiting his studio, it felt like this weird déjà vu.

 

How did you arrive at these unique figurative shapes? What was and what is your process from conception to completion?

I spent hours sketching the sculptures of Rodin and Zadkine or the abstract work of Brancusi, they inspired me a lot. I realize that it’s by sketching that I started to want to sculpt and give life to these drawings. Sketching is a key part of my work.

Every piece starts with an idea and once imagined, the shape is drawn before beginning a long dialogue with the material, doing and undoing the work until each piece comes to life into a perfect balance of curves and movements. Then I start the meticulous process of adding the finishing touches giving each piece its unique sensual texture. 

Can you elaborate on your choice of materials and how you decide to use a particular material and its significance in your pieces?

To sculpt in sandstone is very related to what I try to represent, thriving free voluptuous women. I see every woman as a potential sculptor or shaper of life, one can distinguish a womb within the opening of the pieces, but one can also see Earth, homogeneous to my material of choice, and how this same Earth that nourishes us.  

I’m also working with plaster, wood and I want to do some bronze casting as well, I want to explore many new materials but sandstone will always remain first. 

 

Your pieces feel evocative in the sense that they can elicit an emotional response to the way we view the female body, fertility, beauty, and sexuality. How do you view your work through this lens? 

Since I’ve always been inspired by feminine forms and shapes it was very natural to represent them in my work, and that’s how I wanted to communicate these ideas without words. The message I put forth in my work is my ode to all women. I want to show the beauty of women’s shapes and curves, I want each of my pieces to be very sensual and thriving. I think women should be proud and free, and that’s what makes them glowing and beautiful. Sex is of course an important part as well. I wouldn’t find any pleasure in sculpting very dry and thin figures because to me love, beauty and voluptuousness are synonymous.

 

 

Because your sculptures are modeled off of and celebrate the female form do you consider your work as an expression of female empowerment?

I think that’s why women often relate to my work because there is a female empowerment message. I hope my work inspires women to feel more proud, and beautiful. Everything starts with this state of mind. 

 

One of my recent works is a series of 3 pieces together called Sisters where I address sisterhood between women. In this work, I revisited The 3 Graces, this three callipygian Mythological sisters –  goddesses of charm, beauty, and fertility. I created each piece in a different hue to stress the beauty of every skin colour and they are exhibited at the König Galerie in Berlin as part of the Messe 3 this August 2021. 

 

You recently brought your physical sculptures into the digital realm. What was your interest in creating NFTs from your sculptures?

 

It first started when I began issuing Certificates of Authenticity registered on the blockchain with Verisart. That’s when I fell into the rabbit hole of this amazing universe that is NFTs. I quickly wanted to try creating my own and started to 3D scan my work. 

 

I think NFTs are creating brand new opportunities for sculpture. That enables me to animate and play with my physical works. The result of a piece as a traditional sculptor is static and cannot be changed once done whereas NFTs allow me to play between static and kinetic, giving motion to stillness. 

 

I also love this idea of making an NFT for each of my pieces, it’s like capturing the soul of each physical work and giving it another life that I find very interesting. It’s also a way to put my sculptures in different environments, change the colour, etc. I find it very exciting. Learning how to properly use software to achieve these results is challenging but worth the struggle! I mainly mint on Hicetnunc because the Tezos blockchain is quite green and that’s important to me. 

 

Tell me more about what you’ve been doing in the metaverse!

 

I’m very passionate about the metaverse and I decided recently to create a virtual world together in collaboration with Alissia Spaces.  It’s all happening on an island where you can see the sculptures in bigger sizes, scattered here and there. The idea is to give another scale to my work.  I like the fact that you can enter this world from your computer without having to download anything, you just visit my website and can access it from there. 

https://herminebourdin.com/virtual-world 

 

When entering the world, you’ll find yourself at the top of the island, inside the gallery I showcase NFT and 3D renders of my sculptures. You’ll be able to teleport at different locations of the island if you wish to see those huge sculptures closer. I am in love with Land Art and my biggest dream would be to make public art one day. I think art shouldn’t be only in galleries or in a luxurious apartment but should be outside, available to everybody and dressing up our streets, parks, and public squares. For instance, some of my favorite monumental sculptors are Jaume Plensa or Alicja Kwade, Manolo Valdes, Prune Nourry. I admire their creations. So this virtual world is a way to share a version that is fun and limitless.

 

This virtual world is also a place where I can show my latest collaborations with other artists. I am now working on a series of physical and NFT work with a French tattoo artist, she will tattoo several of my physical plasters and we will create a series of limited edition NFTs that I’m very excited about.

 

To learn more about Hermine, check out her NFTs on Hicetnunc, visit her website, and follow him online:

 

Instagram: @herminebourdin

Twitter: @BourdinHermine

Website: https://herminebourdin.com

 

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A great deal of what may be valuable in the future will be understood best by those most familiar with digital culture. “Digital Natives” are nothing new, and surely some of us here are “Digital Natives.” Those who grew up with access to the internet have inevitably become the tech-savvy generations.

There’s no sign that technology will stop, and I doubt that it will go away. The young generation is growing up right in the middle of the technological revolution. It will be possible to collect rare digital art pieces, just as one might collect sports cards growing up in decades prior. 

While engaging with this emerging trend early is crucial, the top priority is to learn more about future potential and not just make money. This is rather an exploration of diverse areas impacted by technological innovation previously regarded as unachievable or considered unrealistic.

The NFT revolution will impact countless industries in an unprecedented way. There will be many deep dives exploring what NFTs can be, the least of which is as a fun way for brands to interact with their consumers. A physiotherapist from New York, understanding the concept of ‘NFTs’ and ‘Smart Contracts,’ Dr. Kellen became the first medical practitioner to employ NFTs and Smart Contracts for the benefit of his patients (source: NFT Kids Magazine).

As the world enters the era of digital arts for kids, a new magazine highlights today’s youngest and most promising digital artists and explains how parents can navigate the recent craze of NFTs.

 

 

The ‘NFT Kids Magazine’ 

On August 31st, 2021, NFT Kids Magazine released its first issue – an online flipbook. Original art and exclusive content from successful kid artists make up the first issue of NFT Kids Magazine: including Nyla Hayes, a 12-year-old Twitter sensation who has now sold more than 65ETH ($172 000) worth of artwork from her ‘Long Neckie Ladies’ collection. Bruno Urli, also featured, is a 16-year-old from Germany who recently sold his first 3rd art piece as an NFT for 1.5ETH ($4k).

“For the newcomers in the NFT scene, NFT Kids Magazine is the new gateway guiding parents and novices on how to navigate and understand their 1st NFT baby steps.”

Claira Soazandge

The Founder

Founder and editor-in-chief of NFT Kids Magazine, Claira Soazandge, is a French-born British author from Madagascar, based in Seoul, South Korea. She was previously co-editor of a youth publication in London. Claira started the magazine after seeing her son who was a 12-year-old photographer build an online following. He became the magazine’s co-founder.

In addition to Claira’s work as the first children’s story published in an NFT form, she is also one of the first magazine publishers offering NFT advertising on Opensea.io.

“Twenty years on, it is incredible that I can now tap into the knowledge and experience I learned as a teenage editor and share them with my son and other children to help showcase their art. NFTs will change the self-publishing game and how we view copyrighting. Now, artists can take control of their creations and find another way to reach the masses. We plan on having fun with NFTs in different ways so our readers can enjoy discovering our content.” 

  • Claira Soazandge

 

Meet Some Of The NFT Kids: The Artists

Sevi  – “The exceptional work of Baby Banksy, the 9-year-old autistic prodigy Sevi from the Philippines, who is rapidly being compared to the street legend and has sold art for 1ETH ($2.6k).“ -NFT Kids Magazine

Nine-year-old Sevi is an autistic boy from the Philippines that discovered a love for art. At the age of 2 years old, Sevi, one of four kids from a family in Manila, was diagnosed with autism. 

 

As early as January 2018, he attended weekly art therapy classes and loved them so much that he has since painted every week. In addition to being in therapy regularly, Sevi’s focus, attention, patience, comprehension, verbal communication, and other abilities have improved since starting to paint. Sevi took part in his first art exhibition in March 2018. As a crypto artist, he gained fame three years later, in March 2021, and he has since sold NFTs to collectors from Asia, North America, and Europe.

 

Since then, he has participated in several exhibitions, both on-site and online, and some of his art has been sold, including some commissioned pieces which are used to fund his therapy.

 

Laya & Eli – Laya from India is already displaying advanced 3D tech design abilities, and three-year-old Eli showcases his collaboration with Diverse, a well-known female DJ from London.

 

Christopher – Christopher, 12 years old, an NFT Kids Magazine dropper, a young Spacepreneur, and an aspiring astronaut. Christopher has worked on campaigns with Nasa, Airbus Space, and Defense; and represented the US as a diplomat. Christopher has even interviewed Sir Richard Branson regarding recent travels in space in July 2021 for NBC News.

 

Children today are growing up digitally. That is a fact. Thus it’s imperative that they learn the importance of digital use and citizenship early in a world where technology is an everyday part of life while having fun creating art. 

 

LINKS

Links to NFTkidsmag: https://linktr.ee/nftkidsmag 

Publisher: wonderwillowtales.com

NFT Opensea: https://opensea.io/collection/nftkidsmagfroncover

SOCIAL MEDIA

Instagram: @nftkidsmag 

Twitter: @nftkidsmag

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Black Dave is a Charleston, South Carolina-based freelance creative, recording artist, visual artist, and producer/engineer focusing on traditional and non-traditional means of promoting his products. Having established himself on/off the Blockchain and through the NFT space, Dave is a multidisciplinary creative, citing anime, rap, hardcore rock, streetwear, & sneaker culture as his influences.

 

How do you define yourself as an artist?  Do you differentiate how you see yourself and your art inside and outside the NFT space? 

Lately, the way I define or introduce myself is by saying, “Hey, I’m Black Dave, and I’m an overall creative person.” I was on an episode of the podcast, An Untold Narrative with David Filar and we were talking about how we’re in the “slash generation” where everyone does multiple things and has no clear one-skill definition of themselves. I feel like I live in that. The types of people I look up to, like Pharrell and Kanye and Virgil Abloh and Childish Gambino, have always been fighting to be outside of the box they put them in, and they do great things if you let them work outside of it. I’ve been a photographer since 2012, and I’ve also worked in music, design, video/film, and a bunch of other random and interesting things. Whatever I think is cool, I just try to learn how to do it. 

 

Your music is unique in that you rap about other art forms such as Anime. Can you speak to your inspiration to specifically reference Anime in your music? 

 

To me, there’s sort of a requirement to rap in an authentic way or at least a way that appears authentic. So when I think about music, I try to just think about the things that inspire me or what I like. I think lots of artists try to rap about things they think other people resonate with —  and the success of it sort of lies on if they were convincing or not, but if I just go with what I know, I can’t be found out at a fake, because I’m about the culture that I talk about.

 

 

You started a newsletter called The Black Dave Report. Your newsletters are very vulnerable and diaristic. What motivated you to share these private thoughts and musings?

 

My “blogging” journey or whatever started all the way back with a live journal and Blogspot. I used to think I was pretty funny, so I would write these somewhat comedic blog posts intended to help me pick up girls. People who read what I wrote said that I write just like I talk, which I guess isn’t how most people write…? I considered that a compliment and just would randomly write about whatever was on my mind. I started a substack blog, which is where The Black Dave Report is hosted, long before getting into NFTs, but I shifted to that topic once I realized that people cared about what I had to say in the space. I’ve been enjoying myself, and I believe being open and honest is the key to success, so I try to do that as much as possible.

 

Speaking as both a rapper and a visual content creator, what do you think about the words “utility” and “value” concerning NFTs? 

 

Utility is a current NFT buzzword. The thing I hate about buzzwords is that they are often super important, but everyone runs it to the ground and ruins it. I try to think a lot more about the “intended effect” as opposed to utility in the way many have been so far. I ask myself, “what’s the intended effect here?” So I can create with that in mind. Sometimes the intended effect is to hold a high secondary value. Sometimes the intended effect is entertaining, and that’s it. Sometimes the intended effect is to build community or provide identity or attendance to an event or whatever. We get so wrapped up in token-related mechanics and calling that utility, but the utility can be so many things, and you can make something that does nothing but looks cool.

 

You started the Black Dave discord? What do you feel this provides/can provide your community of followers? 

 

The discord channel was actually something I had planned on doing long before NFTs when I was just trying to make beats on twitch and convince people to watch me do that. My NFT journey ended up surpassing my twitch journey, plus a few other hiccups on the twitch side, but NFTs breathed a new life into my discord. The main goal in my discord is to provide space for 2 types of people: the people who support me financially and the people who like what I like. My whole goal with the Black Dave brand, especially in NFT, is to make something that symbolizes what “cool” is and what people will want to watch for as a source of trend and taste in the space. I imagine a space filled with great taste in either anime, music, art or fashion. Right now, we’re still very early despite having about 150 people in the channel so far, but my goal is just to have a really chill spot where you not only are supporting me, but we’re doing for each other. My favourite channel in my server is the #mental-health one because I feel like we can just talk through things and connect more there, as people, not as artists or entities or avatars or any of that. I’ll also be airdropping people shit. NFTs. My social token is $BLKPRTY. Other random currencies. I’m gearing up for anime and movie nights, as well as DJ sets from myself and the homies. Join up if you’re into it!

 

Tell us about your recent NFT drop! 

 

My latest drop is my second music drop in the NFT space. I’ve done a few other things to warm up, but music is my ultimate goal. I’ve been exploring what being a musical artist can look like in this space, and this is my next attempt at that. With this drop, I released 2 songs, each in a limited run of 25 editions. One song is an upbeat, on-brand song called “Kaioken 10,” and the second is a lyrical exercise over a throwback sample called “Appreciate it.” I took the approach of releasing a pair of different songs because the centerpiece of this release is an auction for a token that represents receiving a rap verse from me. In my exploration of what sustainability looks like, I think being able to receive a bit of support upfront to grow and increase in value with an offering of something on a future date is a possible solution. Trying to think about this in a way that avoids the whole securities conversation and making sure that the people who support me on my path have no ownership or decision-making power is super important to me. Also of note, I’m continuing my series, Manga Tears, which I think of as a curation of how manga represents different types of emotions and a new series of 3D works I’ve created called “Isolation.” If you collect any visual NFTs, they come with downloads for both songs as unlockable content.

 

In your latest drop, “Kaioken 10″ and “Appreciate It” two rap tracks make references to the NFT space in the lyrics and feel sonically influenced by metal and other musical genres. So how did you arrive here artistically? 

 

My personal musical journey starts in middle school, where I was initially introduced to the Wu-Tang Clan — my first album I bought of my own accord was Wu-Tang Forever, the double-disc. I got into nu-metal and pop-punk and bands like Linkin Park and your common warped tour bands as well around the same time, so I was digging into both at once. I also used to do this thing where I would buy CDs based solely on their cover art, so I ended up getting lightly into electronic music, but chill stuff. Thievery Corporation and M83 and stuff. I joined my first punk band in high school, playing bass guitar, and got into music production. I worked on an electronic music project with a friend called Robo Reptar that evolved into a full-on band before I settled into my last band from 2008-2013ish called EVA. Afterward, I started rapping more formally. All of these influences informed the style of music I make now, as well as being into anime for the last 20+ years. I’m sort of thankful that most of my musical taste came from my own decision-making and not that of my parents…you can catch me sometimes even saying that I don’t listen to music that’s older than I am, and honestly, there’s very little I listen to.

 

 

To learn more about Black Dave, check out his NFTs on OpenSea, visit his website and follow him online:

 

Website: https://blackdaveblackdave.com/links 

Twitter http://twitter.com/blackdave

Instagram http://instagram.com/blackdaveblackdave 

Music http://soundcloud.com/blackdaveblackdave 

Opensea: https://opensea.io/assets/blackdave002

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SUMMARY

A collaborative drawing project created by Alex Alpert and 55 brilliant NFT artists was released recently, raising funds and awareness for Mental Health. The piece of art, titled “Drawn Together,” began as a doodle in the center that artists added to, each imparting their interpretation of mental health through their artwork. It was minted as an NFT, enabling the project to achieve its purpose of raising awareness while giving 100% of profits to a good cause. 

 

“My greatest goal as an artist is to de-stigmatize mental illness and raise awareness around mental health. As someone who has struggled with depression and lost close friends to suicide, my art has always been inspired by expressing how I feel when I can’t communicate it through my words.”

 – Alex Alpert

 

 

About “Drawn Together” 

 

A drop-in event presented by Obtainable.io, “Drawn Together,” featured 55 artists from around the world – all coming together to promote a message of mental health awareness. 

 

To encourage people to donate to charity using a token-based system, the drop worked in collaboration with Charitas, a platform for the community to reward charitable initiatives. It was also agreed upon that Charitas would match the amount raised from this drop. 

 

Each sale of each artist’s contribution separately, as well as the auction proceeds resulting from the NFT final auction, benefited NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, an organization that specifically works to advance mental wellness. 

 

“We believe in the community more than anything.” –Obtainable

 

An initial doodle by Alpert at the center of the page marked the beginning of the artwork. Additionally, the same drawing was sent to the artists globally, who added their take on mental health. Each of the 55 artists’ contributions was minted as NFTs and included in the final collective drawing. Almost USD 30,000 worth of ETH has been raised from the art pieces since they were listed on Friday (06/04/21).

 

Artists’ Struggles With Mental Health

 

Covid-19 has been designed to test how we usually deal with grief, according to the American Psychological Association.  Besides being quarantined, the disruptions include the loss of family members and friends due to this pandemic. 

 

“Our current era is marked by our systematic inability to cope with what now has become nearly 18 months of a global health and financial crisis, with added chronic stressors that see no end.  The “Drawn Together” project has evidenced how the utility of art serves as a conduit for healing. From the hallways of Clubhouse to the communities formed on Twitter Spaces, Telegram, and Discord; they have provided Alpert and fellow artists with a 360 Metaverse. An alternative and simultaneously integrated virtual space that offers people an opportunity to share art, document the experience of living through epic chaos, and forge an NFT project like “Drawn Together,” that not only sheds light as a beacon of hope to normalize that everyone is hurting but moreover, to provide relief and healing modalities through the arts, for those who are most struggling with emotional and occupational distress.” 

                 – Dr. Lemny Perez psychologist, writer, and NFT artist 

 

Many of the artists involved in “Drawn Together” talked about their struggles with mental health in Clubhouse rooms. Those who were passionate about the cause bonded together under the umbrella of camaraderie. Additionally, dozens of artists expressed interest in participating in future iterations of the project.

 

About Alex Alpert

 

“As I started bringing my art into the NFT space, the potential for collaboration and philanthropy was immediately clear. On the Clubhouse App, I expressed to other NFT artists that I wanted to pass around a digital canvas where they could add a small drawing, building off of the other art and expressing what mental health meant to them. The project instantly gained traction.” 

  • Alex Alpert

 

The New Jersey-born Alpert has always drawn and sung. He studied singing at Syracuse University and spent most of his free time drawing. A modeling agency discovered him after he graduated from school and he moved to Los Angeles. Having worked as a model for several years, he decided to move back to the East Coast where he began to focus seriously on his art once he settled in New York City.

 

“I’ve been drawing for my whole life. It’s always been an outlet for me as someone who struggles with depression. It’s been a way for me to communicate when I feel that I can’t with my words. I truly believe that NFTs can be used to create a positive impact, and this new market and technology is enabling all of us to elevate the conversation about mental health through our artwork.“

 

About NAMI

 

A mental health organization that aims to build better lives for millions of Americans who suffer from mental illness, NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization. Its vision is a world where people living with mental illness can lead fulfilling, healthy lives in a caring community.

 

Mental illness is complex,  affects individuals and families at all levels. NAMI provides advocacy, education, and support so that individuals and families can build better lives.

“What started as a small group of families gathered around a kitchen table in 1979 has blossomed into the nation’s leading voice on mental health. Today, we are an alliance of more than 600 local Affiliates and 48 State Organizations who work in your community to raise awareness and provide support and education that was not previously available to those in need.” _NAMI

 

LINKS: 

Alex Alpert: 

https://twitter.com/alexalpert6?lang=en

https://www.instagram.com/alex.alpert/?hl=en

 

NAMI: 

https://www.nami.org/Home

 

Charitas: 

https://charitas.fund/index.html

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Who would have thought Jackie and Kelso from That 70s Show would be early adopters in pioneering an animated NFT show called Stoner Cats? Although the name does fit the roles they both played as actors back in 1998. 

 

Despite Ashton’s involvement with cryptocurrencies for nearly a decade, it was Mila Kunis who originated the idea to create the animated NFT show Stoner Cats.  Mila explains on their YouTube channel that while stuck in the same house with Ashton during covid, she overheard what others were saying about how digital art was being sold as NFTs. Mila finally asked her husband if she could create an animated show as an NFT, to which Kutcher replied “Well, yes you could!” Fast forward to yesterday’s complete sell-out of Stoner Cats NFTs in 35 minutes.

Stoner Cats Teaser:

 

 

Low-effort Celebrity NFT Cash Grab?

 

While some in the NFT community would view this as yet another celebrity cash grab, there is much more nuance to be understood here.

First of all, the project has an absolutely insane lineup of all-star talent voicing the characters of this adult cartoon including Jane Fonda, Seth MacFarlane, Chris Rock, Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, and Vitalik Buterin himself.

The all-star lineup doesn’t end with the celebrity cast, former CryptoKitties creative director Mack Flavelle is leading the effort along with the animation team of Chris Cartagena, Sarah Cole, and Ash Brannon.

This breaks the low-effort celebrity cash grab narrative that in my opinion is really just rooted in a disguised form of jealousy amongst some of the louder voices in the space.

There is already a mockery NFT project looking to capitalize on all the buzz Stoner Cats is generating that I won’t even mention here.  In my own view, I choose to celebrate the success of others instead of criticizing it, regardless of how successful they were previously.  The last time I checked, it takes quite a bit of effort and work to become an accomplished celebrity and to deal with all the haters that inevitably come with it.

I spoke with a few other prominent NFT community members within the WTF Dao to get their opinions. 

Bryan Brinkman had some insightful nuggets he shared with me.

“I may be an optimist, but as an animator who has worked in the industry, I’ve seen how hard it is to get a network to approve an idea that doesn’t fit into the mold they are looking for. This space is all about decentralizing and removing gatekeeping and this could prove to be a way for creators to do that.”

 

“I see this project as a rough roadmap for how creators can bankroll and build a community around their ideas in the same way Kickstarter and Patreon have. The difference here is that as an investor, you hold the value you invested in the Non-Fungible Token. As a supporter, you can help the project grow in value and increase the return on your investment. It’ll be interesting to see how the next wave of projects learn from what did and did not work in this one. I see future examples as having more utility and ownership of the content.”

 

“This project signals a new wave of “Celebrity NFTs”, prior to this we had some musicians, athletes, and actors joining the space, but none of them had the star power that this project brings. We are now going to see celebrities and influencers that have access to major networks late night and daytime talk shows being able to promote their NFT projects and that is going to onboard a massive wave of new interested collectors that I think will rival the boom we saw at the beginning of 2021.”

Bryan’s comments really just confirmed my own observations about what this project was really about. If you are a builder or creator in this space, the selling out of this Stoner Cats NFT project is likely to inject an enormous amount of interest in NFTs, which is a net positive for creators in this space over the long term.

 

Animated NFT Show Stoner Cats
Photo Credit: Stoner Cats – Baxter – Voiced by Ashton Kutcher

Failure to Launch and Gas Problems



This project was not without its own set of challenges and problems, I was in the Stoner Cats discord when its failure to launch on the original drop date prompted a flurry of anger and frustration along with an overwhelming amount of keyboard warriors with no manners saying things they would not dare say to another human face to face.

 

The very next day after the team worked tirelessly to fix the issues with the smart contract, they launched on time, however, there was so much demand for these Stoner Cats that gas prices on the Etherum blockchain skyrocketed north of 500 Gwei from less than 30 prior to the launch. 

 

I myself had a transaction that failed after 40 minutes of waiting.

According to data from Dune Analytics over $700,000 USD was lost in failed transactions. 

 




I also got to speak with another WTF Dao member, Kai Turner, founder of the Meebits Dao, Experience Designer at Netflix, and Product Content Innovation lead and Advisor to NFT42.

This is what he had to say:

 
“Funnily enough, I pitched a similar idea to the now-Dapper Labs CTO when I was at Sony Pictures Entertainment suggesting that CryptoKitties should do something exactly like this in 2017.  So it’s notable that the former CryptoKitties Creative Director is leading the effort because maybe he saw similar potential in the space.”

 

“In terms of the creative concept, I think they could have set a higher bar.  It does feel like someone has asked: What does the crypto community like? Cats and Weed! However, even though these are hackneyed themes within our niche, they might be slightly novel to the broader adult animation audience– so given the names, especially Seth McFarlane, attached — there is still a lot of potential for this to become a quality piece of entertainment.”

 

“Finally, with the NFT release, lots of complaints about the launch, but for us who have been in the space for a while, we’re used to the gas spikes.  Although I think we do need a better model for oversubscribed drops than just pushing the contract and website live – Top Shot is pioneering models here out of necessity. So if it’s queues or tickets or waitlists 

 

just telling the community to pay a 200% premium on gas is not good enough anymore. 

 

Gas isn’t my main concern though – I think the drop could have provided more variation than the same characters, the characters associated with characters in the show could have been the rarest ones, but why not build out a Stoner Cats universe of all the cats in the world?  Even if they don’t make an appearance in the show in season 1 — there is future potential for them to! — maybe as a community reward/competition.”

“Overall, I’m enthusiastic about the project and the hope that it will set a new model for funding content – but like Kickstarter projects in the past, I’ll believe it when I see it … the execution of the final product is what matters most.” – Kai Turner

 

Animated NFT Show Stoner Cats
Photo credit: Stonercats.com



Key Takeaway


For me, the general takeaway is that despite all of the problems with the initial launch, the gas wars, lost funds, and the hate being hurled at celebrities for “daring” to use this nascent NFT technology; this project looks to be a major success in proving NFT’s are a better way forward for creatives in the entertainment industry. 

The idea that celebrities and all of Hollywood would not eventually be beating down the door to enter into this space is a short-sighted sentiment. There is a tremendous opportunity for those who are open to seeing the importance of this very moment in history as the future infrastructure for nearly all forms of entertainment media, is being built now.

NFTs will continue to empower more creators and break down some of the very entrenched middlemen in the entertainment industry.

Studios and publishers have carved predominantly predatory relationships with creators, but this new model of funding creative works via NFTs will force them to innovate and alter the way they interact with the true creators of value behind all types of intellectual property.

I see a future world where the consumers of entertainment experiences will also be the stakeholders, contributors, and even the co-creators themselves, where the fans can have a more intimate connection and even ownership of the stories they love without all the bureaucratic bullshit, all brought to you by Non-fungible Tokens.

 

Animated NFT Show Stoner Cats
Photo credits: Stonercats.com

Featured image credit: Stonercats.com

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In anticipation of Unit London’s upcoming exhibition, ‘NFTism: No Fear in Trying,’ our Editor in Chief, David Cash recently had the opportunity to interview Brendan Dawes on Clubhouse to discuss Dawes’ work and their experiences in the NFT space. 

 

‘NFTism: No Fear in Trying’ will be the first exhibition hosted by Institut, a platform being launched by Unit London, that will be “the first NFT platform exclusively led by art-world professionals.” Founded by Joe Kennedy and Jonny Burt, the platform is dedicated to “exploring new digital art forms” and “showcasing high quality and expertly curated artworks”. 

 

Bringing together 100 artists from both digital and traditional backgrounds, including Brendan Dawes, Miao Ying, Olive Allen, IX Shells, and more; Institut hopes to create a “crucial bridge between the traditional art-world and emerging digital communities by offering print editions alongside NFT artworks.” 

 

Brendan Dawes, a prolific UK-based artist within the Contemporary Art and NFT spaces,  is known for his work with generative processes bringing together elements of both art and science in the pursuit of creative imagery both on screens and in print.

 

While Dawes and Cash both recognized some of the risks associated with generative art, after recent controversies in which randomizing characteristics have led to collectibles accidentally depicting racist and sexist scenes, they both conceded that this artistic realm is still very much in its infancy, and has a long way to go. 

 

The first viral controversy associated with generative art was in regards to a release by Missfits University, in which some of the female characters generated were depicted with “crying eyes” and “tape over their mouths.”  Artchick.eth referred to some of these collectibles as depicting a “college rape scene”. Though these characters were generated randomly, and according to the Misfits team: “any implied meaning was unintentional,” this still does bring into question why these attributes were options at all. “We need to put a lot more consideration into how we go about ‘randomizing’ elements of NFT artworks,” Cash affirmed. 

Dawes’ limited edition project with FieldNotes exemplifies a more innocuous application of generative technology. As opposed to generative art based on characteristics, in this context, Dawes made use of generative technology to create intricate snowflake patterns. Through the use of generative code, Dawes was able to create 99,999 distinct memo book covers, each adorned with its own distinct snowflake pattern, so that each cover would be completely unique. 

 

Dawes describes the joy of producing works that “couldn’t be made any other way” through the coding processes involved in creating generative art. Dawes explained his artistic process of beginning with a pencil and paper sketch to set an intention and watching the work evolve through the process of visualizing code, creating code, and eventually producing a final result. 

 

Citing his inspiration as ranging from Jonathan Glazer to E.E. Cummings, Dawes emphasizes the multidisciplinary nature of his work, and how emerging technology, within the NFT space, serves to accommodate this. Cash echoed this sentiment, describing his process as “reaching out to take from the zeitgeist of the world whatever it is that one might find themself inspired by.”

 

Dawes’ recent project, The Pandora Variations, exemplifies this multidisciplinary essence.  Bringing together the work of composer Logan Nelson, choreographer Charlotte Edmonds, and Dawes’ own generative work, this collaboration brings us through five distinct, yet interconnected phases: Hatred, Jealousy, Turmoil, Sickness, and Hope. Taking inspiration from the Greek mythological tale of Pandora’s box, this work plays into mankind’s perpetual questioning of our existence. Describing the project as “an analogy for the year following the outbreak of the pandemic,” Dawes acknowledges the inevitability of pain and loss while maintaining a sense of optimism that the one thing left at the end of all these various stages of adversity is hope. Previews of two of these five stages can be found on this Sotheby’s lot page

 

Joining the NFT space, just around one year ago, Dawes venerates the expansion of creative possibilities that come alongside technological development. Through minting their work as an NFT, artists can now directly sell to collectors, through the use of smart contracts. As Dawes explained on Clubhouse, this allows for artists to have greater agency over their sales as well as an ameliorated connection with their patrons. 

 

“I like to do things I don’t know how to do because it’s more interesting for me,” Dawes relates. Fueled by curiosity, Dawes’ work ranges from print, to motion, to physical installations: “The fun is in the learning,” he describes. 

 

Dawes’ work exemplifies the intersection between art and science, in displaying how emerging technologies can be used to produce work that might otherwise never come to fruition. We look forward to seeing all that he continues to contribute to this emerging space, through and beyond his work with Institut.

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Sarah Richardson is a Little Rock, Arkansas-based artist and has been practicing calligraphy for over seven years. Sarah is the author of Copperplate Calligraphy from A to Z: A Step-By-Step Workbook for Mastering Elegant Pointed Pen Lettering and has taught over 200 students the copperplate style of calligraphy. She is a member of The International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers, and Teachers of Handwriting. In addition, she has studied calligraphy with Harvest Crittenden (Master Penman), Nina Tran, and Heather Held. Sarah has also has done on-site calligraphy for Goop, Tiffany and Co., and has recently been exploring the world of NFTs with her mosaics and other collaborations in digital spaces. 

 

How did you begin your artistic journey as a Calligrapher, and did you find you were a natural from the beginning or did it take time to discover and develop the skill for this very specific medium?

 

In 2014, I was working as an administrative assistant at a private wealth management firm, and in my free time after work, I’d pursue creative projects like painting or taking acting classes. One of my friends from college had started practicing calligraphy and sent me a quote he had penned in the mail. In the age of texting and Twitter, a calligraphed snail-mailed work of art was pretty novel. I expressed my interest in learning how to do calligraphy, and he sent me pens and started teaching me over the phone. At the time, I was using a broad edge pilot parallel pen and enjoyed it, but soon after, I took my first pointed pen class in person, and I knew that was it. I practiced every day. I don’t think I was a natural, but I enjoyed being able to express myself through quotes, so I kept with it. I took a few more classes and studied from books, and applied myself every day. Before I knew it, I was going to the annual calligraphy conference (It’s a thing! www.iampeth.com) and writing a book on the subject. 

 

I would imagine Calligraphy to be a very meditative art form. Could you speak to your process and the state you step into when you are creating and writing? 

 

Calligraphy can be very meditative, and there’s a physical process to it as well with warming up your hand and arm and having a correct posture. If it’s a quote or I’m filming a calligraphy video, I like to work in silence or have classical music playing in the background (I know, very cheesy, but it helps!) However, if I’m working on a large envelope order for a wedding, I’ll have Schitt’s Creek or a podcast playing in the background.

 

Can you speak to the sacredness of your calligraphy practice, and do you feel a connection to its history, specifically your influences? 

 

The messiness of my desk would beg to differ about any sacredness, but I’m trying to be better about this! I do have a sort of reverence for the work of Master Penmen in the past, though. My favourite books to study are those with specimens from the late 1800s and early 1900s, sometimes referred to as the Golden Age of American penmanship. This includes The Zanerian Manual, F.W. Tamblyn’s Home Instructor in Penmanship, and editions of The Business Educator. I think they are our best instructors.

 

Do you find inspiration outside of calligraphy? Are there other art forms that you want to explore that you haven’t? 

 

I’m inspired by architecture, history, and music, but I think the thing that really lights my creative fire is human rights. I’m often told I should keep my politics out of calligraphy. Calligraphy rides that line between craft and art. I’d love to explore painting portraits. 

 

Coming from a very traditional background as a Calligrapher with an extensive and rich history, what are your thoughts about your work existing as an NFT on a digital platform?

 

I love it! Instagram helped bring calligraphy to so many people that hadn’t come across it before, and the art form experienced a kind of renaissance. With NFT technology, we have a way to mark the provenance of these images and videos and have more assurance that this art won’t be lost to history. While texting, speech to text, voice messaging, etc., is amazing and helpful in so many ways, it’s important that the written word with the human hand does not disappear. 

 

Could you talk about the inspiration behind your NFT mosaic works and how this project began? 

 

I had seen other designers create digital mosaics and decided to learn by taking a class on Skillshare from Molly Suber-Thorpe (who is also a calligrapher). Not only do I love the way they look, but I also love the tedious and meditative nature of creating them. I love that, like calligraphy, they can simply be decorative, but they also are a medium through which you could say more. When I learned about NFTs in February, I was so excited because these projects were purely digital. I think the decorative arts have a place in the NFT world and like to say that I’m designing floors for your home in the metaverse.

 

Are there any new projects, collaborations, or NFT drops you are currently working on? 

I am currently working on completing my alphabet “fauxsaic” collection on Bitski.com/sarahscript. I first loved their site design and had heard good things about their team from a friend, so I applied. At the time I was onboarding to Bitski as an artist, I was getting nervous about being in the crypto world, and Bitski provided a kind of bridge to crypto while still getting paid in FIAT.

 

You’ve worked commercially with luxury companies like Goop and Tiffany & Co. while creating an artistic practice in the NFT space. Do you differentiate between the two? If so, what is the difference in your mindset? 

 

On the one hand, calligraphy is the stable side of my work, while the NFT side is a little riskier. I’m careful not to put all of my eggs into the NFT basket, not only because of the risks associated with cryptocurrency but also because I still just love putting pen to paper.

 

To learn more about Sarah, check out her NFTs on Foundation, visit her website and follow her online:

 

Website: sarahscript.com https://www.sarahscript.com/ 

Instagram: @sarahscript https://www.instagram.com/sarahscript/ 

Twitter: @sarah_script https://twitter.com/sarah_script

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You probably wouldn’t believe me if I told you that 70 years ago, your government rounded up homeless kids and then started using them for scientific experiments before blasting them off into space. Of course, this never happened, yet it did happen to man’s best friend. Exactly 70 years ago today, the first attempted flight to space carrying two such dogs returned them both safely back to earth, while other launches resulted in canine deaths. Nearly 100 dogs have been to space from different programs, and in 1957, Laika (nicknamed a “Muttnik” in reference to her being mixed-breed and the first spacecraft, Sputnik) became the first living being to die orbiting the earth. Laika’s involuntary act of courage is commemorated today with Cosmic Paws, a generative art collection of NFTs celebrating the illustrious history of dogs in space.

“This is all about the love of two things, art, and space,” says Mike Mongo, astronaut teacher and author of the children’s book, The Astronaut Instruction Manual. “The Muttniks led us to space. They get to be part of our future as well as our past,” Mongo emphasized. An official ambassador of ULA-supported Johnny Appleseed in Space and founder of The Humannaires Initiative, Mongo has owned and trained dogs since he was a child and loves space as a source of inspiration. “Creators are collectors,” he said. “We don’t get to generative NFTs and collectibles without comic books and trading cards,” Mongo reminded us. “I collected comic books and Garbage Pail Kids. I will always collect street art and stickers,” he said.

 

Cosmic Paws
Cosmicpaws.io

 

 

The Cosmic Paws project team consists of Mongo, subtractive, TSStarfish, giovignone, and friends cryptotts (NFTs-for-good), @rogersdev, @buildestroy7, @withaerial, @PurpLeTariat, @kas__vegas, and @QuantumVariant. Inspired by Moebius and Final Space, the creative team spent a lot of time and consideration for the visual aspects, like lines in the background and color differentiation. In addition, the dog’s mouth, teeth, and ears were inspired by Laika herself. “All of who have been working on it, we’ve been working together for over a decade, and well all love each other’s work,” he said.

If randomly generated collectible NFTs were rated by their visual aesthetics alone, Cosmic Paws would certainly vie for Best in Show. Noteworthy differences that separate this project aesthetically from many of the other randomly generated NFT projects are that Muttniks aren’t 8-bit designs; they’re also female. “This is something I haven’t seen much of, which is a very female point of view,” says Kyle Schember. “I think it’s really fun. Let’s hope the art speaks for itself.” Each Muttnik will cost .06Ξ each, and none of them will be gifted or given away; this is an entirely random collection that affords anyone a fair and equal shot at something rare, even if it takes a year to sell all 10,000 of them.

 

Cosmic Paws
cosmicpaws.io

 

Another interesting aspect of this sales process is that each potential collector can perform a REgeneration to discover what their Muttnik will look like in advance of minting the NFT to the blockchain. Until now, collectors typically purchase randomly generated NFT collectibles sight-unseen at the point of minting, or they’re forced to patiently await the NFT reveal date. For Cosmic Paws, you can generate a different Muttnik over and over until you like something. You might generate a Muttnik you lovespin again anyway, and get a Leika you don’t like very much. “When a Muttnik is REgenerated and not claimed, there is practically zero chance that version will be seen again,” Mike Mongo emphasized. You may really like your Leika even if it doesn’t look rare, yet nobody will know if it’s rare until the entire project is revealed. This strategy can captivate collectors as they continue to calculate the supply of rare based on the scarcity of Muttnik attributes that have already been minted. Unknown possibilities present an intriguing gaming aspect for crypto art flippers to become collectible art REgenerators.

But waitwhere’s the utility? “What we do know, is how to write on the blockchain, and we figured out the random generator, which was really, really tough,” says subtractive. To reward its community and cultivate a creative arthouse of space dogs, the first 5,000 Muttnik token holders will begin a voting process to select a remix artist from the community while a “Paws in Space” selection committee of top collectors considers the next project from a list of dog space heroes. The winning community artist is announced and onboarded to use the Muttnik regeneration platform for a Laika V2 Muttnik remix. “We will onboard them to do their own collection, through our platform, then wash, rinse, and repeat again,” says subtractive. “ We can work with artists who don’t know how to do this so artists in our community can be the next in line to produce the next round,” he said. “You have full permission to print, do t-shirts, do whatever you want with it.”

 

Cosmic Paws
cosmicpaws.io

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Damian Hirst, one of the world’s highest-selling artists, is part of the NFT space.  Yes, you heard me correctly – I was, at first, confused. Though upon further research into the specifics of his newest drop, my confusion slowly blossomed into intrigue. After his first NFT release with Heni Leviathan allowed him to sell over 7,000 prints grossing him over 22 million USD, he is unsurprisingly back for another go of it.   Soon, Hirst will, most likely, sell out his entire new collection of 10,000 physical pieces that people can “apply” to buy at $2,000 each, which he has aptly entitled “Currency.”

 

All 10,000 pieces come with a red-pill, blue-pill scenario as their principal value add.  Do you choose to be shipped a hand-painted physical piece by Hirst himself? Or would you prefer to keep the NFT as a purely digital token?  This conundrum leaves many other art collectors and me in the crypto space asking ourselves: why not both? However, this seems to be the point of the collection: to assess the buyer’s relationship with a piece that exists simultaneously in both the digital and physical worlds. Thus, asking the buyer to decide which medium they deem more valuable for themselves.  While there are 10,000 physical pieces that have been hand-made to pair up with every NFT, the buyer can only choose to claim one.  

 

 

The pieces are derivative of his iconic “spot paintings” which he has been doing since 1988. This could be seen as a positive by some and negative by others.  While this is, arguably, his most famous motif, it has become quite a mainstream signature of the Hirst brand.  In his book On the Way to Work, Hirst describes his exploration with his spot paintings as “a way of pinning down the joy of colour.” By tediously embellishing art paper with thousands of seemly random colourful dots, Hirst aims to “create […] structure, to do those colours, and do nothing” simultaneously.  Blake Gopnik, of the New York Times, explained this sentiment in slightly more detail in a piece for Gagosian:

 

“The Spots were fundamentally about abstraction as reduced to its most basic components: color, form, and placement. You could say that they represented an attempt to reach Abstraction Degree Zero.”

 

Damien Hirst
Damien Hirst

 

And now, 10,000 of us have the opportunity to bring an authentic, handpainted derivative of this iconic series into our homes through this NFT launch.  Though this drop may be Hirst’s attempt to further break into the increasingly thriving NFT market and thereby the wallets of the crypto-whales this space knows and loves, it seems as if this drop is targeting a far more mainstream audience.  Making the pieces available through Heni.com, powered by palm.io, the same chain that fueled the sold-out Space Jam drop, the pieces are meant to be accessible to as wide of an audience as possible.  Available for purchase directly with FIAT, interested buyers can “apply” to purchase one of the pieces.  And; despite the site mentioning that owners of “Cryptopunks, Hashmasks, Meebits, BAYC, and Art blocks” would be prioritized, it still seems that the drop targets non-crypto-native art lovers. This makes quite a lot of sense for Hirst, considering that still under 1% of the world is fluent within this NFT space and has an active wallet from which to purchase.  Especially considering he has an audience of over a million fans across his socials to tap into within the traditional market and a healthy collector-base of some of the most significant living collectors in the entire traditional art world.  

 

But this is NFTS.WTF, and we’re not just talking about the traditional art space here. So we wanted to delve into some of the specifics of this drop from the community’s perspective, especially after mainstream outlets have already begun spreading misinformation as per usual.  Such as one article citing that this drop’s blockchain was “99 percent more energy efficient than either Ethereum or Bitcoin” since it is run on a POS chain (lol). 

 

To better gauge the response from the NFTfi community about such a significant artist making his next sizable leap into the NFT space, I asked a few leading members of the WTF DAO what their thoughts were in regards to this historic drop: 

 

Silversurfer 

According to NFT collector and DAO member Silversurfer, he’s planning on “buying one [piece] to keep as an NFT and one to keep as a physical” if he can get in.  Furthermore, he “personally think collectibles from actual artists are more valuable than apes/punks/cats and much cooler.”

 

When chatting with other DAO members about the drop in more detail, he also touched on another valuable point.  That in his eyes, “the point of the experiment is to show everyone what is valued more, the physical or the digital?”  And I agree.

 

Brinkman 

According to artist and NFT aficionado Bryan Brinkman, he thinks that “it’s certainly going to be interesting to see if the 10K model works at that price point.” Brinkman points out that “Meebits did 5K at 2.5eth, so it’s possible, but most 10K projects are sub .1eth,” in contrast with this collection which sits around 1eth.  Despite this, Brinkman said that he “signed up” and that “its certainly tempting to own an affordable Hirst that isn’t a ‘print.’”  He believes that “it’s a cool bridge from the old work to the new,” but he also thinks that “it’s not fully diving into the space,” since “the NFTs feel like a checkout mechanism to buy his physical work.”  

 

I quite agree, and though I appreciate Hirst’s work, this does seem like a lot of exposition to still just get a physical piece.  Granted, at a much lower price point. Though, according to Brinkman, he thinks “he could have done this project, but as a generative art NFT on artblocks and made just as much.” Brinkman believes that “the fact he’s doing [a] physical shows his reluctance towards the NFT space, and his need to appeal to his traditional collectors which honestly, is a safe move.”

 

And he’s right! While Hirst is “a big name,” most “people in this space care about Apes and Punks, not Koons and Hirst.”  Brinkman aptly mentioned that “there have been MoMA artists on SR flying under the radar for 1-2eth” for quite some time.”

 

J1mmy Eth

The collector and founder, formally known as @j1mmy.eth, has quite a legendary digital art collection.  From being one of the largest holders of Bored Apes to founding Avastars and Nameless, amongst other institutions in the space, he has a great perspective on the climate of digital art.  According to Jimmy, he purchased “some of his prints from the HENI thing a few months back.” However, despite Hirst’s reputation, Jimmy doesn’t necessarily “agree with the method/experiment/use of NFTs that have to be ‘traded in’ for ownership of a physical.”

 

Furthermore, according to Jimmy, “it shows a lack of understanding of the tech” since NFTs in-and-of-themselves “are proof of ownership, and [his] belief is Palm or anyone working with a person new to NFTs, like this artist, should try to explain how this all works and how it makes no sense to burn proof of ownership to receive an item.”

 

Instead, Jimmy suggests that Hirst and the team at palm simply mark pieces “as redeemed in metadata and include additional information about said redemption.”  Without doing this, questions such as “is it burned?” or “is it traded in?” quickly arise. 

 

Jimmy stressed the fact that when a piece is “burned [it] isn’t really burned, it still exists, just [as] a dead address.”  So when this happens, an “owner is just relinquishing ownership of something, not ACTUALLY burning it.”  Because of this, they can’t simply say that “the supply is actually reduced” since “the ownable supply is, but not the total NFTs in the collection.”

 

Giovanni / Fragcolor

Giovanni Petrantoni, founder and CEO of Fragcolor chimed in to agree with J1mmy.  Staring that this burning situation “opens up a scenario where people can fork a network if [they] really wanted to revive an NFT trade.”  Following up that they are “sure that given enough value, someone might play this card one day.” 

 

Giovanni also wanted to clarify that “the chain needs all of the transactions to regenerate itself, always” and that “it’s immutable.” So the burning simply “sends something to an unusable address,” stopping the trade and allowing “the network [to] become the owner, you might argue.”

 

In this case, Giovanni would recommend simply marking the tokens as “redeemed… [as a] more elegant [option] than burn.” 

 

Conclusion

These are excellent points to consider for anyone thinking about purchasing one of the limited edition pieces in this collection. While Hirst is more than a reputable artist in the traditional art space, what we’ve learned is that the crypto space moves quite differently.  I am sure that this drop will be a success, but I also believe that Hirst and his team still have quite a lot to learn about this space, and I look forward to seeing how his next drops will even further integrate the power that NFTs can unlock for the creator and consumer.  While this drop is an exciting and psychological journey into the thought process of the collector, I believe that Hirst can go further, especially within the realms of unlockable content and additional value adds through granted access.  

 

However, this is only his second time attempting a drop within this space, and he’s been functioning at the highest levels in the traditional art world for over three decades.  So, I’ll cut him some slack.  And actually — I’m considering buying one — are you?

 

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Ishita Banerjee is a Canadian artist and creator. Ishita moved to Canada from India in 2010 to pursue a full-time art career under the name Soul Curry Art. With a specialization in visual narrative art. She trained as a classical fine artist. Her art is an assimilation of her life experiences, largely influenced by her relationship to impatience and impulsivity. Ishita merges imagination and memory to create vivid and bold abstracts, people, faces and non-traditional portraiture, rendered in strong colour, motifs and details. Her work is deeply inspired by the Cubist style of art, unconstrained, and breaking free of traditional rules of perspectives.

Inshita Banerjee
Inshita Banerjee

 

You’ve made a career in the field of broadcast design and book publishing and as a lecturer at the Delhi College of Art. How did you arrive in the visual arts? 

I started my art journey by going down the traditional art school route. Pursuing a Bachelor’s in a Fine Arts degree and then a Masters in Fine Arts […] helped me delve deep into the various techniques, methods and materials of art. Art College helped sharpen my artistic instincts and also helped me understand and accept critique. Working as a lecturer in art and design opened my mind into teaching art, mentoring students and helping them to appreciate and approach design projects with an artistic vision. My many years in the broadcast design space introduced me to design software, motion design, animation and post-production techniques. I was able to visualize art concepts, branding and network designs for some of the world’s largest broadcasters. Through these experiences, I felt my art horizon-broadening and I was able to embrace multimedia experiences in my own art practice in the contemporary art space.

 

How did your journey with cubism begin and what attracted you to this style of art?

My final year MFA dissertation was on the sociology-cultural impacts of the Cubist art movement and that propelled me into learning deeply about the art philosophy of Cubist Art. Drawing upon Paul Cezanne’s emphasis on the underlying architecture of form, Cubists used multiple vantage points to fracture images into geometric forms. Figures were depicted as dynamic arrangements of volumes and planes where background and foreground merged. This was an aspect that fascinated me. Positive and negative spaces were unified and the same objects were broken and represented in multiple vantage points. I loved playing with the human face, breaking it apart, exploring how our narratives as humans and emotions flowed and fit into one another’s. I found myself experiencing and experimenting with this style over and over again until it became my signature style.

 

Where do you draw inspiration from?

Human interactions, emotions, moods, and feelings inspire my work. I love abstracting these feelings and associations. Depicting people and nature in their tempestuous forms plays a big role in my work. Actively seeking out gnarled, broken, rocky, cyclic, layered, and grungy aspects of nature, I try to find the beauty in the bizarre, the unexplained.

 

Through my art, I strive to give tangible forms to complex emotions like grief, longing, loss, love, suffering. The interplay of human relationships, whether with one’s own self or with others is a recurrent theme in the pieces I make. Threading lines, textures and markings in my work tell the story of the passage of time, the inter-connections of forms, both tangible and abstract.

 

As a woman how do you feel about your place in art history being part of an art movement traditionally occupied by men? 

Cubist artwork is often associated with a very “aggressive” style and has long been a space dominated mostly by men. In my early days, working under my brand name of Soul Curry Art, many people often mistook my work to be that of a man’s.  However, the universal feelings of love, longing, and loss that I explore in my artworks are free from the constraints of gender. All-encompassing abstract moods, feelings, and associations, find their way into my artworks and I soften the hard planar angles of this art form. I continue to be fearless in my use of vivid colours, bold faces, and compositional choices. I think my art perhaps is an act of striding confidently and making my presence felt in a male-dominated field. 

 

As you moved into a digital space with your work did your process change? 

I continue to straddle both traditional mediums and digital mediums in my artworks. Most often, my pieces begin on board, canvas, or paper. I work in acrylics, archival ink, gouache, and markers. I love textures, play on light, and the balance of positive and negative spaces. I use collage techniques and layer photography in some of my work as well. Some of my artworks are natively created on Procreate and I love the ease of having my studio at my fingertips with drawing and painting digitally. I’ve been able to push myself creatively after experimenting with uniquely digital artworks. Adding motion, light and music also have been a learning experience and the resulting art pieces have been a sheer joy to create.

 

Inshita Banerjee
Image by Inshita Banerjee

 

What has your experience been so far specifically with your NFT’s featured on several platforms? Do you feel inspired to continue creating in this space?

Recently making my foray into the NFT space, I have been successful at selling my NFT’s on Foundation and OpenSea. My genesis piece “Shiva” was sold within a few days along with a number of other pieces already in the secondary market.

 

Being in the NFT space absolutely inspires me. It fuels a fire not just to create, but to experiment, learn, grow and evolve. Actively seeking out what I can do in this space rather than what this space can do for me, it has been a very rewarding few months, creating, connecting, and building a community. Collaborative projects and bigger ideas are what I’m working on next. Working with other artists, musicians, and developers to realize larger projects. I also want to showcase new and emerging artists from underrepresented communities, work towards curating NFT exhibitions and continue to push boundaries in my own work. I hope to never stop learning and playing through my art.

Inshita Banerjee

 

Ishita Banerjee

Website: soulcurryart.com

Instagram: @soulcurryart

Twitter: @soulcurryart

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The LGBTQIA+ community has always been known for innovation, so it’s no surprise that there were high-profile auctions and IRL events involving NFT technology during New York City Pride. From the world’s first pride-themed NFT to an expansive “Digi/Physi” drop from wunderkind Fewocious at Christie’s – the NFT community continued to expand its footprint. Here’s a look at some of the NFT showcases that took place in the Big Apple last week – and insight into ongoing/upcoming auctions and events.

 

FEWOCIOUS x Christie’s

A seven-day auction ended a few days ago at Christie’s, featuring artwork by 18-year-old LGB[T]Q+ community member, Victor aka FEWOCIOUS. The collection features a limited edition of five pieces, which span Victor’s life from ages 14 to 18. The artist candidly documents his life throughout his artwork, including emotional struggles that have matured him way beyond his years. The visceral nature of his story was discussed on Clubhouse with rooms led by resident drop moderator Farokh Sarmad and on Christie’s website.

 

Fewocious at Christies

 

One of the most powerful and inspiring pieces in the collection is “Year 5, Age 18 — I Taught Myself How To Fly.” The piece marks the beginning of the next chapter for the young artist. According to Christie’s notes, FEWOCIOUS created the artwork after he had moved from his hometown of Las Vegas to Seattle. The relocation was made possible by his very first drop on Nifty Gateway.

 

By allowing his community to get up close and personal, FEWOCIOUS has been able to bring his art to life through multiple senses. The inclusion of a physical art piece, physical trunk, and archival drawings was an excellent example of pairing the digital with the physical.

 

The five pieces in Hello, I’m Victor (FEWOCiOUS) and This Is My Life, which Decrypt is calling crypto art surrealism), sold for a total of $2.16 million.

 

Christie’s continues to innovate, jumping in early into the NFT space and also redesigning its auction formats. Their ability to reinvent has resulted in a number of record-breaking sales. In fact, their 20th and 21st Evening Sales included bidders from 29 countries and “realized sales of more than $691 million over the course of two nights in New York.

Madame Vivien V at XO Crypto by Fiona Aboud

 

XO Crypto

What the hell’s an NFT? Luckily some insight was provided to members of the LGBTQIA+ community this pride at the Blockchain Center on the Upper West Side. Although the center isn’t quite open to the public, approximately 150 guests received a sneak peek at this Pride social. The event, in partnership with NFTs.tips and La Casa Arthouse, presented a showcase of 30 LGBTQIA+ artists who are part of the NFT space. The event was billed as an educational social and included information on NFTs for varying knowledge levels. XO Crypto also featured a live raffle done utilizing the POAP (proof-of-attendance protocol) wallet. The prize was a limited edition pride-themed Satoshi is Homeboy shirt from Brooklyn-based Satoshis closet.

 

Visual Artists featured included David Cash, Handiedan De Verbeelding, Midwestmisfit, Yiliang Yang, Yosnier, Klara Vollstaedt, Diana Sinclair, Ksenia Salion, Sam J, and Brendan Miggins. The artist’s work is on display in a Cryptovoxels gallery provided by Madrid-based Zardoz Club. A closing part for the show is planned for mid-July.

 

 

PLAYBOY & NEON GOLD x Nifty Gateway

Playboy also dropped a series of digital art pieces for Pride with Nifty Gateway. In addition to three images of David Bowie that were taken from a 1976 Playboy, there are also collaborative pieces with many prominent LGBTQIA+ musical artists. Troye Sivan and 3D Artist Jason Beyer have collaborated on a digital a/v series entitled BLOOM2021. Charli XCX created 1700 B.C. (XCX) with Australian artist Sewah Attafuah. The Knocks have collaborated with moistbreezy, and Pabllo Vittar’s drop included works made with Nico Panda and Dutch digital fashion house The Fabricant.

 

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Kira Nam Greene is a New York-based painter. Greene’s paintings explore feminism, materialism and beauty. Her recent series and NFT Women in Possession of Good Fortune was featured as part of the EVERY WOMAN BIENNIAL 2021 at Superchief Gallery in New York City. 

 

You came to painting in a really interesting way, I would love to hear a bit about your artistic background, specifically where and how you grew up and how you feel that shaped you as an artist?

I grew up in Korea in an environment where everyone was very academically oriented with very typical Asian parents. I was expected to become a doctor, a lawyer or a professor but I was already interested in literature and art growing up. I actually studied political science specializing in political economy and then came to the United States to get my Ph.D. Everybody had really high expectations and I was in a field that was dominated by males in Korea. So the expectations were that I would come back and do very meaningful things there. But, somehow, being in America changed my view and after living here for a while I decided I didn’t want to go back to Korea. My background was very academic. I think my approach to art has also been affected by that. I read and I think a lot and that’s kind of my natural inclination to try to combine that natural instinct I have with research, focus, labour and more spontaneous expressions as well.

 

How would you describe your creative process?

I am really connected to materials because I had this very long period of immersion in art. So I would go out of my way to find out more about a new medium that I was interested in by either asking people, watching videos or reading books. The materiality of each medium is very important to me and I have two tracks in terms of material exploration that I’m interested in. One is works on canvas or panels that involve oil painting. But I’m really interested in what other materials I can bring in to make the surface as variable and diverse as possible. I use a lot of acrylic paint, acrylic wash, and mixed media material. Even within oil painting, I use different techniques. I’m invested in realism and I use very traditional mastery techniques with glazing and underpainting. The other track is working on paper. I’m interested in watercolour and coloured pencils, particularly from a feminist point of view because those are the materials that were relegated as “women’s materials.” Of course, it has changed over the years but because of that, I try to use these materials on paper to highlight the inherent beauty of those mediums. Trying to make these works on paper the same scale as the works on canvas so that it’s not a drawing but a painting. Going against the inherent bias that watercolour or colour pencils are more of a “crafty women’s material,” and in hopes to erase that history in a more profound way. 

 

 

What was the genesis of your series Women in Possession of Good Fortune?

The original genesis of this work happened in 2017, after the women’s March and Trump’s election. Like everyone in New York, I was disparaged essentially. I went to the Women’s March as a last resort of ‘what can we do?’ And then I came out of it with a resolve to connect with other women and a venue to meet in collective action. I started thinking more deeply about the power of women and how women are portrayed in society. So I decided to make portraits of the women in my life who are powerful, who are creative and who are in possession of their good fortune. And along the way, when I was trying to figure out how to portray these women as powerful as possible, I drew on art history, specifically the connection to Holbein’s painting The Ambassadors. This portrait of two French ambassadors that Holbein painted in England. There are many portraits of male intellectuals and high-ranking officials of the time where they were shown with symbols and allegories of their professional successes where you would see the scientific instruments and books. Whereas, paintings of women were traditionally done as portraits depicting marriage and presented as trading cards just to show the beauty of the women and to show that they were marriageable. So, I tried to kind of flip that coin and show women in a position of professional success, surrounded by their personal history and put symbols and allegories of their professional successes. All the elements of these paintings are very personally related to who they are as professionals, as human beings, as mothers… Both their professional history and personal history are woven into the painting. 

 

This is where my research comes in because I tried to figure out how to translate their personal history into visual allegories or metaphors or symbols, and I did that research for each painting. The title of the series itself comes from Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice, where the first line of the book is “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Jane Austin was a total feminist in thinking about the situations of women in the 17th and 18th centuries, England. I thought about the men in a position of good fortune, meaning rich men that women have to marry and what that meant to be able to maintain a societal and a professional position. I wanted to flip that on its head and designate that these are women in a position of good fortune and their fortune is not only in their professional successes but also a position of power, possession of personality, and of polish.

 

Do you consider yourself and your work a form of activism?

As a Korean American woman and immigrant, my perspective has always been in the interest of inclusion and diverse representation of power. So defining the term powerful in a different way, because there’s another feminist point of view of power that needs to be expanded, not only residing in the economy and political power but unless you expand that power in other areas, society won’t change as much as we want it to change. So this is one of my endeavours in terms of portraying such a diverse group of women, but it’s also not just women, the piece that was minted for the Every Women Biennial, the subject that was portrayed, they are a gender-fluid person, not a woman, so their pronouns are they/them. I think age is also really important. A lot of painters tend to paint people in their age groups. I wanted to paint a really diverse age group and say that these are all my friends, these are all the people that I care about. I like to think of myself as a cultural worker rather than an activist. I am a person who works to move the culture in a different way than where it is. So in that sense, it includes activism, but I’m not like a vanguard of social activism where I go out on the street and protest and organize events. I participate in marches and organizations when I can, but I’m most invested in ideas and changing culture, which is through my art and trying to move conversations in a way that can make people more aware of what’s going on and expand the conversation.

 

 

I’m curious how you feel about bringing your physical paintings onto an NFT platform, and what your experience has been so far? 

This is kind of a dilemma, a curiosity, and I don’t know what to think of it. This is something very new, so I am curious about the possibility of more democratic distribution of images and the idea of NFTs and cryptocurrency in a utopian interpretation that there is no middle man, you engage directly with your audience and there’s no institutional involvement. This utopian idea is probably not the reality, but the possibility is there. I don’t know where it’s going but I’m curious who might respond to my NFTs versus my physical paintings and how my paintings translate to a digital image.

 

 

Kira Nam Greene

Website: kiranamgreene.com

Instagram: @kiranamgreene

 

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