Israeli Comic Writers Explore New Worlds With Their NFT Collection

Five years after they rose to fame and achieved international success as acclaimed cartoonists and comics creators, Israeli couple Maya and Yehuda Devir have taken their art to the next level.

The couple, who have two children, decided to offer their visual works in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), a type of blockchain-based product that has taken the art world by storm.

Technology provides digital creations with a kind of certificate of authenticity, giving ownership to something that could otherwise be endlessly replicated. Like cryptocurrencies, NFTs are highly speculative investment tools, each backed by a creative work or action, and represented by a unique – or non-replaceable – digital token captured in the blockchain’s ledger.

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This new type of encrypted digital artwork has become extremely popular and some have sold for millions of dollars. There are NFTs of photos of Golda Meir, bible verses and a digital copy of Chaim Herzog’s signed oath.

NFTs can be used to trade representations of physical objects, such as photographs or a painting, or digital creations, such as audio files, videos, or other types of creative work. The NFT becomes a kind of unique collectible card whose value can rise or fall according to demand and thus can be exchanged for cash or other NFTs, or kept as a collectible with associated swagger rights. (Owning an NFT is not the same as owning the item, and therefore a buyer has no control over the reproduction or license, which allows the original work to continue to be reproduced or disseminated online).

The emerging NFT space also has detractors and critics asking important questions about its long-term legitimacy and viability — questions the Devirs say they seriously considered before jumping in.

They teamed up with Israeli PickCherry, a marketing firm specializing in the blockchain space and founded by TV celebrities Rotem Sela and Assi Azar, along with Ido and Smadar Regev, another married couple, whom the Devirs are dating. business partners.

The couple told the Times of Israel via video conference this week that he initially received mixed feedback on their NFT initiative from their community of followers, which number in the millions on social media.

“We Knew That” [l’espace NFT] had a mixed reputation and was completely unregulated, we thought it was a bit risky,” Maya explained. But as they slowly and methodically focused on discovering more, they said they loved the focus on community and the creating something completely new.

Illustration by Maya and Yehuda Devir from “One of That Days Volume I”. (Credit: Courtesy)

For half a decade, the Devirs have captivated audiences on sites like Facebook and Instagram, posting often funny and telling illustrations taken from intimate moments in their everyday lives as couples, newlyweds and then new parents. (One of their most recognizable early illustrations is “My Hot Wife,” an exaggerated depiction of a shared shower where the high temperature causes Yehuda Devir’s face to “melt”).

A selection of these works went viral a few years ago, opening up a world of possibilities for the Devir culminating in the publication of two comics (One of those daysVolumes I and II), merchandise, coveted appearances at leading creative and entertainment conventions, influencer awards and a fan base dedicated.

The pair have a server on Discord, a group chat platform originally designed for gamers, where many online communities come together and interact with people around the world during special events such as “game nights, cooking sessions, open mic nights, mental health checks.” . ‘ said Maya.

“Our community has changed our lives,” she explained, and Avenue NFT is a way to give back, they explained.

When the couple first became interested in NFTs, they quickly realized that we could give our audience something precious, something that they could own, it’s like a gift to them.

Yehuda and Maya Devir, spouses and Israeli cartoonists. (Credit: Courtesy)

The Devirs took the time to develop a concept for their NFT collection, ultimately opting for a visual idea based on kissing their characters “to reflect love and affection,” Maya said. like fire and ice or prisoner and policeman.

“Every room and every couple [dans les NFT] tells a story, it’s really a philosophy about relationships,” she explained.

The result is a collection of 10,101 (“That’s a cool number! It’s a binary number too”) coins with built-in surprises.

Fans who purchase the works will further discover that they are not just any NFTs, but utilitarian NFTs, or NFTs that have practical value or offer an experience beyond art. One of Devir’s partners is Israeli-founded hospitality and experience company Selina, a co-working and lodging company targeting millennials and Gen Z travelers and workers, or the “digital nomads,” in dozens of properties across North America. – and South America, Europe and the Middle East.

Selina’s lobby in Cancun, Mexico. (Credit: Selina)

Some of the 10,101 NFTs the Devirs offer in their collection, called “xoxo”, come with free nights at Selina properties around the world. Other brands offering other services or products are also involved, there are invitations for face-to-face meetings with the Devir, online courses, drawing supplies and other derivative products.

Maya said the couple preferred “utility products” that would appeal to a wide audience. “We haven’t been on vacation in four years since our oldest was born. For many of our fans it’s probably the same – busy lives between family and life [et le travail] and they need rest. We wanted to give them something that we would have loved to have given ourselves,” she said of Selina’s choice.

New creations

For the Devir, their entry into the NFT space is not only a good business opportunity, it is also an opening to new worlds and an evolution of their art.

“We feel like we have rediscovered art. It gave us the opportunity to create new things,” Maya said.

“Think of it like acting,” Yehuda said. “When a comedian suddenly decides to act in a drama, people pay attention. As if Jim Carrey wanted to make a film about the Holocaust. For the actors it is an evolution, a growth, an expression. We can keep making [tomes] of “One of those days” for the rest of our lives – so what? We wanted to try something new”, and explore new technologies.

The couple admits to working excessively and putting a lot of effort into new and old projects. It took them five months to put together the collection and they talk about it enthusiastically.

In another analogy, Yehuda likens the launch to “prepare a delicious dinner for your friends, and you can’t wait for them to taste it.” †

“It’s a masterpiece,” Maya said.

One of 10,101 pieces in the new NFT collection by Israeli cartoonists Maya and Yehuda Devir. (Credit: Courtesy)

Both hope that the move to NFTs is part of a long line that will explore new worlds and new art forms in the future.

“We’ve been together for 13 years, we’ve grown together for better and for worse, we’ve been through a lot together,” said Maya, who met Yehuda while they were both doing their military service.

In the coming years, they hope to “remain productive in life and at work,” Maya said.

Shoshanna Solomon contributed to this article.

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