by SAMANTHA ARGONZA
FOR THE nine-year of their annual contemporary art showcase, Art Fair Philippines brought an online edition of the event. Alongside digital art displays, the fair introduced the significance of unique online files called Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) in owning crypto artworks.
Founders Trickie Lopa, Lisa Periquet, and Dindin Araneta assured that the growing Filipino audience has continued to learn from the fair’s workshops. This was an opportunity to introduce them to the development of crypto art in digital media.
The virtual fair can be accessed for free from May 6 to 15 through their website, Art Fair Philippines.
Under the ArtFairPH/Projects section is the NFT 101 showcase titled “Welcome to the Metaverse.” It is an alternate reality created with NFTs and digital artwork presented by the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI). It was also co-curated by Tropical Futures Institute, a Cebu-based multi-disciplinary think-tank and studio, and Narra Gallery, the first Filipino digital art gallery.
The virtual tour of this online shared space was guided by the curators Chris Fussner, Colin Goltra, and Gabby Dizon last May 8. This tour offered viewers a peek of the five-floor Narra Gallery and their designated collection on each floor via an avatar. It mainly displayed crypto art, a form of NFT.
Towards the coming-of-age crypto art journey, The Flame presents you to some noteworthy art pieces in the collection:
Connected by Max Quest
This three-dimensional art piece, filled with fluid and well-blended neon colors, focuses on two fingers of separate hands. It appears to be a modernized version of Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam. Representing hope and unity, its background resembles a computer’s circuit board as the light beams through the center.
Goltra mentioned that in the industrial crypto world, this image signifies the unification of the two realms: the digital media and the crypto dimension. From exchanging digital goods to fixing relationships, it also suggests that good communication is just a tap away.
Blue Wave by AndroidJones
With the use of Photoshop, Zbrush, and Corel Painter, this cyberpunk artwork brandishes a humanized version of computer technology. The wirings and graphics are brought to life with vivid colors and matte textures. The clean visuals emphasizing a head accessory help us define clearly what artificial intelligence (AI) is.
Blue Wave belongs to Android Jones’ “Artificial Awareness” series. It is also considered a psychedelic artwork as it appeals to senses, emotions, and thinking –– ideal for a quarantine meditation.
Wooden Rabbit by Totemical
Narra Gallery’s special Zodiac Series features 12 animal artworks made by 12 different artists. This includes the piece Wooden Rabbit by Justin Totemical. Digital painting and 3D animation allow the piece to have hyper-realistic features.
The interplay between softened and crisp carvings of the flowers and solid wood engravings of the rabbits’ bodies also accented the piece’s naturalness. Rabbits in the Chinese zodiac symbolize cautiousness as traditionally portrayed through meticulously crafted wood sculptures.
Perhaps, this can be the cure to our impatience and mental clutter. Additionally, the use of wood as the medium suggests the timeless connection between traditional medium and contemporary artistry.
Lunah Moon III by Shavonne Wong
NFTs can be used in fashion as virtual assets. Wong, a fashion photographer, designed this realistic 3D model through the use of the Blender application. It is an extreme close-up of a woman with rose flowers blooming out of her face tattoo.
The dominant white vignette surrounding the hazy and pale reds and greens create a surreal atmosphere as the model’s soft eyebrows soften the mood. Its clear reflection in the eyes and the vivid details of skin imperfections also add emphasis to this sparkly dreamy scene. This represents a rejection of harsh beauty standards.
Koi by Sevi
The artwork shows a type of carp famous for its lineage and coloring. To add weight and intensity to the subject’s texture, Sevi uses his brushes and hands to create this masterpiece. The painting becomes an avenue for personal freedom.
The undefined lines of the koi mark its motion in the blue water as shades of blue in the background show the depth of the koi’s environment. Sevi was five years old when he created this fifth piece after taking up art therapy. He is among the youngest recipients of the First Mint Fund (FMF), a public fund for crypto artists to create through NFTs.
Unlike cash with physical form, cryptocurrency is a digitized currency that made crypto art possible. Other than digital art, it can be used for music, gaming, collectibles, and virtual assets. Future jobs are expected here as the creative economy flourishes.
It also encourages us to innovate technologies and create this open and accessible virtual space to survive economically even during a pandemic. Moreover, according to Goltra, it is a “tool of empowerment”, catalyzing a cultural movement.
The crypto world space has become more essential and influential for both traditional and digital artists. Besides, the exploration of cultural themes in this alternate reality has just begun, which reminds us also to be responsible in technology implementation and be critical in cultural exchange. F