The digital art renaissance – NFTs explained

YOU’VE SEEN music artists D Block Europe dip their toe in the market, Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter recently sold his first ever tweet via the bourgeoning medium and last month Beeple became the third most expensive living artist following the sale of his piece titled “Everydays: The First 5000 Days”, but what a lot us don’t know is what NFT’s (Non Fungible Tokens) actually are.

Seen by those in the know as just another step in the global march towards the tokenisation of the world, NFT’s aren’t a particularly new phenomena but the take up in interest over this digital asset has ramped up over the past few months due a few high profile acquisitions.

Coupled with a growing interest in crypto currency the advancement of those who want to collect NFT’s be it for art, music or whatever else the digital smart contract can facilitate for it’s users, the future is looking bright for those who have been invested in the space long before it became vogue.

Densetsuno Leo Gami

Indeed, not everyone who is an NFT art aficionado is welcoming of the new consumer interest, the fear being that commercial entities will inevitably follow and with it a corruption and erosion of the virginal essence of the tokenised art form will be induced.

This is an area of the metaverse which has been fiercely protected by it’s guardians for a long time.

Artist Densetsuno Leo Gami admits he traverses the spectrum between the internet as we know it and the seemingly inaccessible platforms that house some of the more quintessential offerings NFT enthusiasts are au fait with.

He spoke with Lifestyle to bridge the gap between those in the know and those who are just sauntering into all things Nonfungible Tokens.

Lifestyle: Can you succinctly explain what NFT’s are for our audience, especially those who have just come across them and are trying to understand what the fuss is all about?

LeoGami: NFT’s are a by product of Ethereum smart contracts and what that has enabled us to do, is track the ownership and value of a digital asset and because of this what we are witnessing right now is like a renaissance. Similar to what happened back in the day when people started putting their money behind art in order to maintain the value of their liquidity, we’re seeing the same thing now happening to digital assets. So videos, images, sound all of those things are currently being traded on platforms right now.

Densetsuno Leo Gami and John Boyega

L: Tell us about your own journey into the space, how long have you been producing NFT’s and what got you started?

LeoGami: My career in art started about seven years ago. I had my first exhibition in the American Embassy for Black History Month. I then co-founded a gallery platform with a few of my friends and we put on a series of exhibitions, one of those was in the Tate called Impact Of Africa. We also did an unveiling of never seen before pictures of Bob Marley taken by actress and entrepreneur Esther Anderson which we hosted at the Hospital Club in London. Off the back of that I started a digital gallery on Instagram which was called digital artists portal where I was posting all of my favourites artists pieces of work and then last year I started hearing a lot more noise about NFT’s. I didn’t understand everything that was happening but in January I had an epiphany which is when I changed the name of my platform to NFT_Community.  

L: Talk about some of your early work?

LeoGami: The first portrait that I was known for, which was exhibited at the US Embassy, was a portrait of John Boyega wearing the Star Wars Jedi hoodie. The reason that I did that was because at the time I was looking for inspiration for myself and I happened to see that the Star Wars cast was announced and I saw that John was on there. Him being from Peckham and me being from Brixton I took inspiration from that. Someone from area has reached the level of acclaim in his craft that I would like to reach for myself. So I thought maybe by painting him some of that inspiration, some of that vibration would seep into me, so I gave it a go.

L: It’s still very early in terms of mass adoption of NFT’s, what do you see as factors that will increase interest and I know you don’t have a crystal ball but where can this all go, what are the possibilities?

LeoGami: I feel that NFT’s are here to stay. I feel that we are going to see a lot more integration of NFT’s especially in the arena of fashion and video games. Some games already use NFT’s but I am talking about in-game currencies, tradeable items within games and so on. We’re seeing the genesis of an online economy that will open the doors for a lot of new content creators and people who can enjoy the benefit of these NFT’s. I was on a site yesterday where you can put on a virtual reality headset and walk through a digital gallery where you can observe NFT’s and you can bid for them right there and then. The potential for it is very scalable. I thin we’ll see a lot of pioneering work coming from different industries where NFT’s are concerned.

L: How does Densetsuno LeoGami quantify the value of any NFT’s purchased, what makes one more expensive than another?

LeoGami: I would say that answer is two-fold. One aspect of it is people with a large following already online, so artists that have built their communities and people already want their work, as soon as they put themselves on the blockchain we’ve seen them do really well. Then you have people like Furious, who is a seventeen year-old young boy who created a digital piece of art which depicted his state of mental health and it connected with people. He is now one of the top selling crypton artists. So it depends.

L: Without getting too complexed explain minting and reproducing NFT’s to make money or boost the profile of the original artist.

LeoGami: The term minting really refers to putting your work on the blockchain. Once you have listed your work on the blockchain a smart contract is created which enables Ethereum to track the owners of the artwork and also track it’s value, how much someone has bid for it. The beautiful thing about that is your getting real time data on the value of your artwork as opposed to getting an appraisal from a professional. When you mint a piece of work as the artist you are able to retain ownership over the royalties, you could retain up to 20 per cent, so if it’s resold you can earn a passive income. That’s really where the value is.

L: You have some of your own works coming out soon, where, when and how can people grab an original Densetsuno LeoGami?

LeoGami: We haven’t got a date for the drop just yet but we are putting a collection together which is going to be a combination of work that I have done in the past and one new piece which I am minting, to find out more about the drop follow me on Instagram @LeoGami and also follow @NFT_Community. 

Follow Densetsu No LeoGami and The NFT_Community here:

Full interview with Densetsuno LeoGami available below:

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