Since NFTs burst onto the artistic landscape 18 months ago, we’ve taken our time, working closely with artists and collectors to consider how Avant Arte can engage with NFTs both thoughtfully and meaningfully. We want to work with them in a way that’s consistent with our principles around quality and curation, and one that furthers our mission to make discovering and owning art radically more accessible.
We’ve watched NFTs capture the attention of communities and individuals who had never collected art before, or who didn’t have exposure to it because of the same barriers that we know make art’s potential so much greater than its current impact.
We’re passionate about the opportunities that this technology unlocks. Beyond the fundamentals of authentication, provenance, utility and the ability for artists to benefit from the growth in value of their work after it has been sold for the first time, we’ve been inspired by the new wave of artists making digital work. These artists are now given much greater autonomy, with a route to follow their artistic inspiration and develop a market for their practice beyond delivering briefs for commercial clients.
The market for digital assets is nascent and volatile, and we’re certain there will be many more wild swings in sentiment from where things stand today. But we believe strongly in the capacity of NFTs to empower artists, facilitate rich collector experiences and engage artistic communities around meaningful shared interests. We’re incredibly excited to introduce them to our creative marketplace for the first time.
An unhelpful divide currently exists between ‘physical’ and ‘digital’ art, which we believe prevents valuable dialogue and discovery. To bridge it, we plan to support artists who work with NFTs in creating physical works of the highest quality – drawing on our leading physical creative production and fabrication capabilities. Similarly, we’ll work with artists whose practices have centred on mediums like painting, sculpture or performance to explore NFTs and the communities that surround them. We believe that NFTs provide new ground for artistic expression, as well as exciting ways to engage and connect new audiences of art lovers around the world.
Our first releases will be collaborations with trailblazing artists NessGraphics, Ix Shells and David Rudnick. Spanning world-building, generative art and intricate on-chain dynamics, their works demonstrate the incredible diversity of approaches to NFTs and the creative output they enable. In the next few weeks, we’re also excited to announce collaborations with FVCKRENDER and Pplpleasr.
American artist Alex Ness (he/him) was born in 1995. He currently lives and works in New York.
Alex Ness, aka NessGraphics, creates cyberpunk dystopian futures. He is the mastermind behind some of contemporary culture’s most iconic visuals, including Diplo’s 2019 Coachella Set, Lil Nas X’s 2020 Grammys performance and Megan the Stallion’s Good News (2020). Off-brief, Ness' apocalyptic imaginings address an unsettling question.
What would a society look like if everything was based on technology?Alex Ness
Our first collaboration with NessGraphics continues his easter egg-packed, unfathomably detailed Neuralink series. Debuted as a limited edition NFT, collectors of the first release will enjoy priority access to the artist's first ever sculpture – on the horizon for late 2022.
Itzel Yard (she/her) was born 1990 in Panama, where she continues to live and work.
Itzel Yard, aka Ix Shells, is a leading figure in generative art, an artform which uses algorithms to create itself. The results are palpably rhythmic and infinitely complex. In her own words – "I play drums with my mind." Conceptually, Yard is fascinated by the social possibilities of public space, collaborating with numerous collectives and communities to support the diversification of a white male-dominated landscape.
My hope is that this sets a precedent for women doing more work in the community. I try to make people see what I see in the work.Ix Shells
Our soon-to-be-announced collaboration with Ix Shells follows 2021 work Casco Viejo – a saturated abstract composition inspired by the paved streets and plazas of Panama City. The work was amongst the first made available via Sotheby's Metaverse.
Graphic designer David Rudnick (he/him) was born in 1986 in London. He is now based in Ghent, Belgium where he works from a collaborative studio – Terrain. Rudnick reinvents past tropes and codes to establish new visual systems. His ornate typefaces and dawn-of-the-internet visuals have become synonymous with millennial subcultures and their tendencies towards political resistance.
We’re not ‘saving’ the world. But what we are doing, all of us cumulatively, is creating and re-creating the world of the now.David Rudnick
A multimode collaboration with David Rudnick will sit within his 177-work Tomb series, documented in the first ever print publication of his work – Index.
Each Tomb entails an optical data disc drawn pixel by pixel using the trackpad of a 2012 Macbook Pro. Together they form eight 'Houses' – each one a discrete body of work underpinned by different contracts, behaviours, interactions, mechanics and accompanied by unique physical components. SHADOW and TERRA will form the basis of our collaboration.
Artworks and images courtesy of NessGraphics, Ix Shells and David Rudnick.