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

In the art world, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are on the rise, these tamper-proof digital certificates that attest to the authenticity and uniqueness of a digital object. More and more artists, gallery owners, collectors create, sell and buy them. These virtual works also reach 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 that question in mind, we traveled through Art Jakarta 2022, Indonesia’s leading contemporary art fair, which this year has reserved a special place for NFTs. There was a room where the artists could be seen in the creation process. In front of their screens they worked, as we can see the graphic designers working on specialized software. Several galleries have also offered digital artwork or images with an NFT. The “physical” medium of exposure of these digital images varies slightly. Here we find a screen with static images that scroll, there a screen with a work in motion.

The artist I Nyoman Masriadi

Left to right: Hero vs. Hero, 2013; Red Ax 2018, Old Master (Anger of Samuro), 2016 © I Nyoman Masriadi – Photo Agung Sukindra. Courtesy of I Nyoman Masriadi

EquatorNFT and I Nyoman Masriadi, an internationally recognized Indonesian painter, offered a collection of NFTs called “Samuro’s Judgment”. They offered limited variations of 50 copies. Now they are exhausted. Specifically, the artist took one of the characters from his paintings, “Samuro” and digitized it with the help of a team specialized in animation. The result is a 10-second animation in which the samurai interacts with his new owner through gaze, body movement, a cartoon. After a few months, the buyer also gets a background of his choice, so customization is possible, hence the idea of ​​”co-creation” between the artist, his technical team and the collector / spectator.

Samoro Masriadi
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 make each of its creations recognized as unique, authentic and traceable because it is associated with a unique and non-interchangeable digital code or certificate of authenticity. However, the artist made around fifty copies, each unique with its own blockchain code or blockchain. It works like photographs or serigraphs, essentially as reproducible works: limited copies bearing the signature to establish the artistic and market value of the work. The NFT makes it unique and traceable. Its digital certificate indicates that it is indeed the artist’s original work. It also indicates who sold it, who bought it, for how much and when.

Furthermore, for those who remain skeptical or prefer a physical work, at a later time, they can buy a signed and dated print, to hang and display. But nothing prevents the collector from contemplating or interacting with his work in the OpenSea digital space, materialized on the screen of his laptop, computer or smart TV. You can also imagine projecting your new acquisitions, as you do with video art works.

The Franco-Vietnamese artist Kongo

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

Cyril Kongo, an internationally renowned French-Vietnamese artist, is an important figure in graffiti. From Paris to New York, from Hong Kong to Bali, Kongo is a cosmopolitan artist. The Paris metro, the Hermès square, the canvas or the virtual art, Kongo does not hesitate to change media. His imagination, fueled by hip hop and street-art, is reflected in an aesthetic research around calligraphy and color. His paintings of him on brightly colored canvas exude a singular energy and summarize well the mantra he has adopted: “style and flow”. The letters intertwine and overlap, forming abstract and joyful wholes.

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

Kongo, also curious and ready to get out of his comfort zone, has embarked on the world of NFT. Not being a tech pro, he collaborated with an entire 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 gives life to the letters. The collector thus sees his letter come to life, his hair moves.

Here is the example, certainly anecdotal, but nevertheless concrete, of two artists with two completely different universes and graphic languages, who embrace NFT with results that are completely consistent with their styles in form and content. Interestingly, these two artists, ready to dive into the developing world of NFT, are already close to pop culture. Whether it’s 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 equation with cryptocurrencies. An NFT, artistic or not, remains a financial asset, which can be exchanged or pledged at any time. Dematerialized, volatile and without specific territory, this market raises many questions. Indeed, NFT legislation is still lagging behind and conflicts over intellectual property, copyright and reproduction rights are already opposing creators, collectors and hackers. But this is changing! In Singapore in particular, an NFT has been recognized as a property worthy of protection and locked in litigation. A first in this field that could create emulation in other countries, thus making this investment safer.

For further :

Cyril Kongo – Instagram: @OFFICIAL_CYRIL_KONGO @dgalleriejakarta

The Nyoman Masriadi Instagram: @nyomanmasriadi

A video to discover the artist I Nyoman Masriadi

Art Jakarta – instagram @artjakarta

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