NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are on the rise in the art world.

NFTs (non-fungible tokens), these tamper-resistant digital certificates that attest to the authenticity and uniqueness of a digital object, 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 fetch record prices. But concretely, how do artists create virtual works of art? How are they presented on the Internet and in the physical world?

With this question in mind, we traveled through Art Jakarta 2022, Indonesia’s premier contemporary art fair, which this year gave a special place to NFTs. There was a space where you could see artists in the creation process. They worked in front of their screens, as we see graphic designers working on specialized software. Several galleries also offered digital artwork or images with an NFT. The “physical” exposure medium of these digital images varies a bit. Here we find a screen with static images scrolling by, there a screen with a moving work.

The artist I Nyoman Masriadi

From left to right: Hero vs. Hero, 2013; Red Ax 2018, Old Master (Wrath of Samuro), 2016 © I Nyoman Masriadi – Photo Agung Sukindra. Thanks to I Nyoman Masriadi

EquatorNFT and I Nyoman Masriadi, internationally recognized Indonesian painter, offered a collection of NFTs called “Samuro’s Judgment”. They offered variations limited to 50 copies. They are now exhausted. Specifically, the artist took one of the characters from his paintings, “Samuro”, 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, speech bubble. After a few months, the buyer also gets a background of their choice, so customization is possible, hence the idea of ​​”co-creation” between the artist, his technical team and the collector/spectator.

samoro masriadic
Launch of Samuro’s Judgment, I Nyoman Masriadi’s first NFT project, at Art Jakarta 2022 © I Nyoman Masriadi/ EquatorNFT

The characteristics of the NFT ensure that each of its creations is recognized as unique, authentic and traceable as they are associated with a unique and non-interchangeable code or digital certificate of authenticity. Still, the artist has made about fifty copies, each unique with its own blockchain code or block chain. It works like photographs or serigraphs, in fact as reproducible works: limited copies with the signature to establish the artistic and market value of the work. The NFT makes it unique and traceable. The digital certificate indicates that it is indeed the original work of the artist. It also lists who sold it, who bought it, for how much and when.

In addition, those who remain skeptical or prefer a physical work can, in a second step, purchase, hang and display a signed and dated print. But nothing prevents the collector from thinking about or interacting with his work in the OpenSea digital space, materialized on his laptop, computer or smart TV screen. You can even imagine projecting your new acquisitions like you do with video art.

French-Vietnamese artist Congo

kongo graffiti artist
Kongo Mania, mixed media on French linen, 200 x 300 cm, 2019 © Cyril Kongo, Courtesy of D Gallerie, Jakarta

Cyril Kongo, Franco-Vietnamese artist of international fame, is an important figure in graffiti. From Paris to New York, from Hong Kong to Bali, Kongo is a cosmopolitan artist. The Paris metro, Place Hermès, the canvas or virtual art, Congo does not hesitate to change media. His fantasy, fueled by hip-hop and street art, is reflected in an aesthetic exploration of calligraphy and color. His paintings on canvas in bright colors radiate a special energy and well summarize the mantra he has adopted: “style and flow”. The letters intertwine and overlap, forming abstract and cheerful sets.

Congo artist NFT
“S” and “R”, NFT from Alphabets Safari series © Cyril Kongo, Courtesy of D Gallerie, Jakarta

Kongo, also curious and ready to step out of his comfort zone, has started the world of NFTs. Not being a technical professional, he worked with a whole team to create the Safari alphabets. In this series of 26 virtual works, each work represents a letter, a small character with the skin of a cute and colorful animal. The lucky collector then receives “vitamins”, a code that brings the letters to life. In this way the collector sees his letter come to life, the hairs move.

Here is the example, certainly anecdotal, yet concrete, of two artists with two universes and completely different graphic languages, embracing NFT with results that are completely in line with their style in form and content. Interestingly, these two artists, poised to dive into the evolving world of NFTs, are already close to pop culture. Whether comics and video games for I Nyoman Masriadi or graffiti for Kongo, they are ready to test the limits of art.

NFTs related to cryptocurrencies

Another aspect of NFT artwork is their assimilation to cryptocurrencies. An NFT, artistic or not, remains a financial asset that can be redeemed or pledged at any time. Dematerialized, volatile and without specific territory, this market raises many questions. Legislation on NFTs is indeed lagging behind and conflicts over intellectual property, copyright and reproduction rights are already opposing creators, collectors and hackers. But that is changing! Particularly in Singapore, an NFT has been recognized as property worthy of protection and frozen in court. A first in this area that could create imitation in other countries, making this investment safer.

For further:

Cyril Kongo – Instagram: @OFFICIAL_CYRIL_KONGO @dgalleriejakarta

I Nyoman Masriadi Instagram:@nyomanmasriadi

A video to the artist I Nyoman Masriadi. to discover

Art Jakarta – instagram @artjakarta

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