Vexx’s SuperRare drop has eyes on crypto culture
Vexx’s first drop on SuperRare is a dynamic NFT merging the physical and digital mediums to create a hybrid work that will continue to evolve over time. Since starting out as a Youtuber six years ago, the 23-year old artist has accumulated 3 million Youtube followers and 825K Instagram followers. In his videos he provides viewers with access to his work process and unique worldview. He has a massive community supporting his work, and for good reason. People may wonder what the hype about Vexx is, until they watch one of his videos and realize his talent and individuality are undeniable. Never taking the obvious route, Vexx is constantly challenging his audiences to look at the world in a more creative light–he is a storyteller both on paper and on screen. He explains how before NFTs existed, artworks used to have a beginning and an endpoint. That’s all changing now as dynamic NFTs can be programmed to evolve long after they leave the artist’s studio.
“My first collection was an introduction for me to see what’s possible. More of animating my works on paper. The second drop, ‘METADRAGON,’ was a big one because it’s the first time I paired the digital with the physical. It was an eye-opening moment, seeing how art can come to life in so many different ways because of NFTs and the possibilities of smart contracts.”
The NFT medium reinvigorated Vexx’s artistic practice, opening up new channels of experimentation and expression. Though he’s only been officially active in the NFT scene since April of 2021, his past drops have made headlines. His first 1/1, “METADRAGON,” sold for $41,000 and was paired with an accompanying sculpture.
“MOON” by Vexx
Having stayed true to the physical format, Vexx is finding new ways to bridge the physical and digital works in his second 1/1 NFT, “MOON.” The NFT will feature original music from Belgium producer Chuki Beats. Like in his previous drop, the auction winner will receive a physical sculpture in addition to the digital artwork. A product of a months-long, labor-intensive process, the final digital statue is a colorful skull-like face, hand-painted with acrylics and sculptured with a laser cutting technique. In the place of the eyes are two paper-thin, 17-inch screens. Vexx has written his own smart contract that uses WiFi to communicate with the screens to show the real-time changing price of Ethereum and Bitcoin. Similar to a game, each animated eye of the sculpture represents a different coin, and when Bitcoin hits $100,000 and Ethereum hits $10,000 the lucky collector is programmed to get air-dropped two additional 1/1 NFTs. He has hinted at other future surprises that will be released alongside important crypto milestones.
Vexx describes the airdrops as another way the artwork continues to evolve past its point of purchase. By gamifying NFTs–part of a trend that’s paving new ways for creators to interact with their collectors and audiences–Vexx is exploring the possibilities that smart contracts offer. Blockchain, and specifically smart contracts, have the ability to radically change the way we experience art. Games, like movies, novels, and paintings, are often made up of stories, and when the gaming world and the artworld intersect, we are bound to soon encounter new methods of interactive storytelling and art experiences.
Vexx unveils “MOON,” the sculpture.
“‘MOON’ is a commentary on the whole culture of Crypto, where everyone is saying ‘oh we need to hit this price target, we need to hit that price target.’ I think there is a bit too much of that in the space, it’s more interesting to focus on the technology and what people are building instead of these numbers we are giving. I’m leaning into it and celebrating crypto culture, but also questioning it.”
Vexx’s edge in the space is his ability to synergize physical and digital art practices. Every single person who bids on “MOON” will receive a signed print from the artist. For some creators, it’s either digital or physical, but Vexx insists the magic happens in the collision. His first NFT series is titled “Blending Realities,” and that’s exactly what his artworks achieve. By not giving up his physical practice like other digital artists, he is utilizing smart contacts in order to pioneer new modes of hybridity between the two realms. While becoming a prominent player in the NFT medium, he continues to make works on paper, on city walls, and his works have even appeared on a billboard in Times Square. He doesn’t limit himself as he continues to document his projects on his Youtube channel. His channel, therefore, has become a kind of timeline that captures how art is expanding both conceptually and technically with the introduction of blockchain technology.
“I was interested in the dynamic that the artwork can change. Before NFTs, it was hard for artwork to change once it was finished. But now, being able to program your artwork means it can have it’s own lifespan. It’s always changing, and the future airdrops make it more of a whole story rather than one finished picture.”
There is a famous quote attributed to Leonardo Da Vinci: “A work of art is never finished, merely abandoned.” With artworks coming alive on the blockchain, innovative artists like Vexx can utilize dynamic NFTs to make their works remain in a mode of creation forever. Back in the late 1950’s, the Minimalist movement was making headlines. Many people were quite upset with the presentation of large industrial objects that showed no trace of the artist’s hand displayed in galleries and sold for enormous amounts of money. Artists like Donlad Judd would simply send instructions to fabricators that would then deliver the works straight to the galleries. In turn, galleries had to expand physically to hold these massive sculptures, similar to the way screen technology has been evolving in the past two years. Minimalism, much like the NFT movement, was a turning point in the narrative of art history, as it raised questions about what art is and what it is not. The movement challenged the boundaries between the mediums and transformed the art market into how we know it today. But instead of the artist providing instructions to the fabricator, NFT artists are providing instructions to the computer. Dynamic NFTs are opening up a completely new understanding of the relationship between art, space, and us viewers.
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