If you haven’t noticed by now, there is an NFT revolution. Fashion brands like Gucci, Givenchy and Louis Vuitton have already jumped onto the metaverse with their NFT ventures. Meanwhile, Grimes has raked in millions of dollars selling her collection.
This past week alone, American labels like Altuzarra and Kim Shui have released their own versions for sale during New York Fashion Week. Other new players to the scene include Ambush which released 2,022 NFTs of its popular POW! jewellery design on Valentine’s Day.
The iconic Pow! ring kickstarted the fortunes for high-end jewellery label Ambush when it was founded in 2008. For the latest phase into the metaverse, the brand is debuting its Pow! “Reboot” NFT collection.
This community-sourced effort invites users to contribute photographs – 3,000 of these works will be minted as NFT tiles and compiled as virtual patchwork by well-known coder and digital artist Zach Lieberman with the contributors maintaing full ownership rights of their individual tiles.
If all this talk is putting your mind in a glitch, let’s start with the basics: What exactly is an NFT? Those three letters simply stand for non-fungible token, a one-of-a-kind digital token that’s stored on a blockchain that can be sold or traded.
And if you’re curious about that other term “blockchain”, think of it as a collection of records or digital ledger of who owns the token down the road.
Last Nov, Givenchy created a set of 15 NFTs with the graphic artist Chito who also collaborated with the label for a series of printed designs for the Spring 2022 pre-collection.
NFTs can range from music to photographs, videos, drawings or even fashion garments in digital form. Branding itself as the world’s first digital-only luxury fashion brand, Singapore-founded label Republiqe has made a name for itself coding digital collections and auctioning NFT garments.
Which brings us to crypto art, a megatrend in the NFT world. Mike Winkelmann, aka Beeple, is arguably the biggest name on the market. His NFT series Everydays: The First 5000 Days sold for US$69 million (S$93 million) at Christie’s.
Gucci’s NFT collaboration with Superplastic, the leading creator of animated celebrities, is aptly named Supergucci.
Crypto artist Pak, whose identity still remains a mystery, is another head-turner in the scene. The artist’s NFT piece The Merge generated US$91.8 million (S$124 million) in sales in Dec 2021, topping the list of most expensive NFTs in 2021.
“I think crypto art is trending because of the huge numbers attached to such things,” said Singaporean crypto artist Hunn Wai. “People who bought cryptocurrency also want to consume and buy cultural artifacts that speak of their domain (in the digital world). So they are the ones pushing the market.”
Coach launched its first collection of NFTs featuring eight Coach Holiday animals from the house’s Snow City digital game during the 2021 Christmas season.
Given their sudden boom, NFTs are also a commonly misunderstood concept. “The news that reaches the masses about NFTs are the more extreme anomalies, where memes go viral or a jpeg gets sold for millions,” said Kristal Melson, a local illustrator who designed LoveBonito’s first NFT.
“Those instances are out of reach for many − it’s very saturated now because the barrier for entry is low.”
LoveBonito’s first NFT – titled Tiger Bloom – was launched last month in collaboration with artist Kristal Melson and Chan + Hori Contemporary.
While making one’s mark in the crypto art world isn’t easy, we’ve got Singaporean visual artists who are doing impressive work and making the global community sit up and take notice.
Here are four talented local NFT artists on our radar.