NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens), these tamper-proof digital certificates that certify the authenticity and uniqueness of digital objects, are on the rise in the art world. More and more artists, gallery owners, collectors are creating, selling and buying them. These virtual works even reached record prices. But specifically, how do artists create virtual artworks? How are they presented on the internet and in the real world?
With this question in mind, we visited Art Jakarta 2022, Indonesia’s major contemporary art fair, and this year it has a special place for NFTs. There is a room where you can see the artist in the creative process. They work in front of a screen, and we can see graphic designers developing specialized software. Some galleries also offer digital artwork or images with NFTs. The “physical” exposure medium for these digital images is slightly different. Here we find a screen with a scroll of static images, a screen with moving pieces.
Artist I Nyoman Masriadi
EquatorNFT and I Nyoman Masriadi, internationally renowned Indonesian painters, which provides a collection of NFTs called “Samuro’s Judgments”. They offer variants limited to 50 servings. They are exhausted now. Specifically, the artist took a character “Samuro” from his paintings and digitized it with the help of a team specializing in animation. The result is a 10-second animation in which the samurai interacts with its new owner through gaze, body movement, and speech bubbles. After a few months, the buyer also gets the background of their choice, so customization is possible, hence the idea of a “co-creation” between the artist, his technical team and the collector/viewer.
The properties of NFTs allow each creation to be considered unique, authentic and traceable because they are associated with a unique and non-interchangeable code or digital certificate of authenticity. Still, the artist made about 50 copies, each with its own blockchain code or blockchain. It works like a photo or silkscreen, and is basically like a reproducible work: a signed limited edition to establish the artistic and market value of the work. NFTs make them unique and traceable. Its digital certificate indicates that it is indeed the original work of the artist. It also shows who sold it, who bought it, how much and when.
Also, for those who are still skeptical or prefer physical pieces, in a second step, they can buy signed and dated prints and hang them up for display. But nothing stops the collector from thinking about or interacting with his work in the OpenSea digital space, which is embodied on his laptop, computer or smart TV screen. One can even imagine projecting their new harvest, as is done with video artwork.
French-Vietnamese artist King Kong
Cyril Kongo, an internationally renowned French-Vietnamese artist, is a major figure in the graffiti world. From Paris to New York, from Hong Kong to Bali, Kongo is an international artist. Paris Metro, Place Hermès, canvas or virtual art, Kongo does not hesitate to change the medium. His imagination is nourished by hip-hop and street art, reflected in aesthetic studies around calligraphy and color. His brightly colored paintings on canvas exude a singular energy that nicely sums up the mantra he employs: “Style and Flow”. Letters interweave and overlap to form abstract and joyful compositions.
Kongo, who is also curious and ready to step out of his comfort zone, has stepped into the world of NFTs. He’s not a tech professional, but worked with the entire team to create Safari Alphabets. In this series of 26 virtual pieces, each piece represents a letter, a small character with cute and colorful animal skins. Lucky collectors then receive “vitamins,” a code that brings the letters to life. Collectors are thus horrified to see his letters come to life.
This is an example, anecdotal of course, but concrete, of two artists with two worlds and completely different graphic languages, and their embrace of NFTs results in exactly the same style as they do in form and content. Interestingly, these two artists who are ready to dive into the developing world of NFTs are already close to pop culture. Whether it’s I Nyoman Masriadi’s comics and video games, or Kongo’s doodles, they’re ready to test the limits of art.
Cryptocurrency related NFTs
Another aspect of NFT artwork is that they are equivalent to cryptocurrencies. NFTs, art or not, are still financial assets that can be exchanged or pledged at any time. Dematerialization, volatility and a market without a specific domain raise many questions. In fact, legislation on NFTs is still lagging behind, and the conflict of intellectual property, copyright and reproduction rights is already fighting against creators, collectors and hackers. But this is changing! In Singapore in particular, NFTs have been recognized as property worth protecting and freezing in litigation. A first in this field that can be replicated in other countries, making this investment safer.
To go further:
Cyril Kongo – Instagram: @OFFICIAL_CYRIL_KONGO @dgalleriejakarta
I Nyoman Masriadi Instagram: @nyomanmasriadi
Discover the videos of artist I Nyoman Masriadi
Art Jakarta – instagram @artjakarta