Life on a Gradient: Q&A with NFT artist Krista Kim
Since NFTs have come the forefront to art, artists need only create great artwork… The Sovereign Artist. If this is happening in the art world, then it will take over every industry.
The first exhibition at SuperRare Labs’ NYC popup gallery is built around the theme of “Visions From Remembered Futures”: an exploration of humanism in the world of Web3. Curated by Mika Bar-On Nesher and An Rong; the artworks on display meditate on the human condition and its relation to machinery in the ever-evolving digital age.
One such featured artist is celebrated digital artist and theorist Krista Kim, whose NFT piece “Mars House” sold on SuperRare in 2021 for a record-smashing 288E ($512,000). Mars House is considered the first NFT digital house in the world. For this installment of SuperRare Magazine’s Curation Corner; Popup Gallery Manager Arianne Lapidus sat down with Krista Kim to parse her thoughts on Digital Humanism, the role of art in the decentralized web, and the exploding world of NFTs.
Artist Krista Kim
About Krista Kim
Krista Kim is a leading Metaverse artist and founder of the Techism movement (2014), whose work explores the concept of the digital consciousness. Her interest in digital technology and its revolutionary effects on human perception, media, social structures, and communication had led her to work in both digital and physical realms. Having developed her signature language of shifting gradients using digital software since 2012, her works on glass and plexi hypnotize its viewers into a trance of tranquility while her video works provide meditative experiences of color and light.
Most recently in 2020, Kim continued to explore the creative potential to utilize screens as digital instruments of well-being by creating ‘Mars House’: a completely virtual environment using her digital zen philosophy as the first “Metaverse home” for sale as an NFT in history. The piece received global acclaim and in March 2021 was the highest-grossing sale on an NFT on SuperRare.
In 2014, as a response to society’s over-reliance on technology, she started the Techism Movement, a philosophy that recognizes technological innovation as an artistic discipline, encouraging artists to promote digital humanism for our digital culture.
Krista Kim’s Continuum installation was featured in Times Square every midnight in Feb 2021. She was chosen by Louis Vuitton as a #Louis200 visionary in celebration of Louis’ 200th birthday; Krista is contributing Metaverse Editor for Singapore Vogue; Top 30 Most Influential People of the Metaverse by Read and Write Magazine; Architectural Digest AD100, NFTy50 by Fortune Magazine. Kim made an iconic collaboration with Lanvin in 2018. In 2021, Kim collaborated with Mercedes Benz EQS and she was part of the “Proof of Art” exhibition at Francisco Carolinum Museum (Linz, Austria). Kim was creative director for the Utah Jazz NBA Team, “JazzXR” campaign, the first Sports Team Metaverse NFT in history. She was also in a curated auction by Steve Aoki at Sotheby’s and a curated auction for Christie’s by nftnow. Mars House is exhibited at the Hermitage State Museum, “Ethereal Aether” in 2021. Her work in on exhibition at Palazzo Strozzi for the “Let’s Get Digital” exhibition, May 17 – July 31, 2022.
Q& A With Krista Kim
AL: Your record-breaking piece “Mars House” is featured in our Visions from Remembered Futures show at the SuperRare gallery. What inspired you to make this piece?
KK: I created Mars House during the height of the COVID lockdowns from February to May of 2020. While under quarantine with my two kids in my condo in Toronto, I began to daydream about my dream home to visit in VR. I decided to design and build it after researching the Samsung wall, which launched that year. I wanted to create a house, where the ceiling and floor are a uniform LED screen substrate, displaying my meditative artwork, as a complete, meditative experience.
I have been creating VR meditative immersive experiences since 2018, so I wanted to visit and experience the home in VR. I chose to build on Unreal Engine.
AL: What role do you see digital architecture playing in our future?
KK: Architecture will never be the same. The Mars House brought the world’s attention to NFT real estate, architecture and the Metaverse. I love design, and with the global pandemic, I designed anti-microbial furniture in glass. I wanted the furniture to be sustainable.
We are still early, but very soon, our hardware will be so advanced, that the fidelity of digital architecture will become indistinguishable from reality. Meaning, that Virtual Reality will become hyper real, and Augumented Reality will enhance architecture with a digital layer of interactive experience.
Creating a new architectural project in real life will be experienced on-site in AR; transforming the decision making and creative process of development planning. We will purchase the digital twin NFT of our physical homes. Digital Twin NFTs will serve as a deed of ownership in the future.
KK: I don’t agree with the current land grab of Metaverse platforms. I think it’s a bubble. I believe the future will be driven by experience economies; where communities will be activated through meaningful, immersive, ticketed experiences in beautiful spaces that are surreal and imaginative. I think it is silly to recreate shopping malls in the Metaverse. People want to be inspired in the Metaverse, and only art can deliver that outcome.
AL: Do you find there are connections between the confines of COVID isolation and creation of a digital home?
KK: COVID has accelerated digitization on every level. It is because of the COVID lockdowns, that I created the Mars House—a house of healing and meditation in the Metaverse. This house was my VR escape from the confines of my condo in Toronto. It was a truly liberating exercise under confinement, and it was extremely beneficial for my mental well being. So may artists created great works of art during COVID.
AL: In your manifesto on Techism (2014), the digital humanist movement that you defined and created, you state; “Techism is not a movement that stands in opposition to older practices…Artists can decide when and which practices to adopt and discard with each phase of creation.” What practices or inspirations do you implement in your work, and which do you eschew?
KK: I am interested in the leading edge of the Metaverse, technology, life-extension, well-being, community building, government, blockchain, and education. I aspire to co-create with leaders of these fields, to integrate the power of art to change our world for the better.
AL: You’ve collaborated with several storied fashion houses, such as Louis Vuitton, as well as being an editor for Vogue Singapore. What is the appeal of the Fashion Industry for you? Do you think these established brands will drive innovation in the Web3 space?
KK: Art is driving innovation in the space, and the major fashion brands are following. Everyone is watching what the art NFT community is doing and learning how to create a new world. That is why it is our responsibility to create with absolute integrity, ingenuity, and passion.
“The Continuum Tour” on display in Times Square, NYC. February, 2022.
KK: I am building worlds in the Metaverse. My new start up, 0.xyz, is launching very soon. I have teamed up with the best team of Web3. Futurists, Artists, Innovators, Philanthropists, Scientists, Professors, Gurus, Tech leaders, and Institutions. We are creating a Metaverse of culturally-uplifting experiences. Pioneering innovation in education, health, wellness, luxury, art, and travel. We believe in a future Metaverse that is high-fidelity, artistically groundbreaking, humanist, and a new frontier of human civilization. I am promoting the sovereign-being of Web 3 and the Metaverse, in an open, interoperable and decentralize Metaverse.
I am also continuing my vision of the Continuum Tour, which displayed in Times Square in February of this year. It is currently showing in Milan at Cardona Square in Milan until June 19th. The next stop will be revealed soon.
We’re so glad Krista Kim stopped by to give us all more insight into her thoughts and ideas for a Web3 future. Join us next time in Curation Corner for another deep dive with a rule-breaking, genre defining, SuperRare Artist.
Arianne Lapidus is a writer living and working in New York City. She has worked in several artistic mediums, from costume to graphic design. Arianne is a new entrant to the world of Web3 but finds that it aligns perfectly with her fixation on the intersection of technology, artistry, and design. You can find her musings on Web3 on Twitter: @arianne_tweets.
SuperRare editor Oli Scialdone considers the social experience of provenance and its relationship with community in the Web3 space.