A history of cryptoart: In conversation with artist Panter Xhita
Staring at the work of Argentinian artist Panter Xhita is like looking through a peephole into intimate moments from the cultures around her. There is an insightful vulnerability, an honesty, that evokes human connection. Her individual works are often part of a larger composition, and her recent open edition drop on Nifty Gateway, “A history of cryptoart,” is no exception.
SuperRare Magazine sat down with Panter to discuss “A history of cryptoart” alongside the artwork she’s working on for this month’s SuperRare top collector badge.
Shadows of a cliché: Astronaut (Panter Xhita, 2021) on SuperRare
SuperRare Magazine: Hi Panter! Can we start by talking a little bit about the POAP you’re creating for SR’s monthly top collector badge?
Panter Xhita: Yes! Here goes:
I will try and summarize the themes as much as possible. It is not easy because I have been working on many concepts in these last two years and also the size of the work has to be small due to the format. But this idea seemed to me the most appropriate to introduce my work to all the future POAP collectors.
I am going to work with nature–maybe plants being born from a technological device. In this way I will represent the two times in which we all live in this space: the slow pace of our own human nature, and the frenetic pace of the internet.
This idea also tries to represent the inner movement of what appears to be still. How our culture grows within these new technologies. How the human continues to evolve towards unsuspected spaces. How we cling to new objects and, from there, we use our creativity to continue growing.
SM: Very exciting. And this is coming just on the heels of your highly discussed drop on Nifty Gateway, “A history of cryptoart,” correct? Can you give me a little background on the project? Where did the idea come from? What will it look like? And what are your goals for it?
PX: Sure. I’ve been a full time crypto artist for two years now. And since my beginnings, I always had a great interest in the history of this space. I found it amazing to have the possibility of being able to chat with all the artists who built this space. Being able to send a message to Matt Kane, Josie, Coldie, Gisel Florez, Carlos Marcial, or XCOPY and receive a response (and even forge a friendship with some of them) is something invaluable and that many people will surely envy in the future!
In the first months, I spent whole nights studying their works to understand, through their art, what I was getting into. And also how could I forge my own path as they had already done, or as they were doing. I needed guides in a place as abundant, heterogeneous, explosive and decentralized as this one.
Later on, I began to write my reflections on their work. I started a weekly Twitter thread where I tried to think out loud and with input from friends about the work of these OGs in our space. And that was fun.
But it wasn’t until living in Mexico that the idea for “A history of cryptoart” occurred to me.
Before dedicating myself to cryptoart, I graduated in Visual Arts in Argentina. I studied all the great artists and their work in bad photocopies (in black and white) and, of course, dreamed of seeing all those works live.
And cryptoart gave me that opportunity. Cryptoart made me fulfill all those nearly forgotten dreams, and now I’ve been traveling the world for over a year as a digital nomad. That’s why I also feel in owe to this space and I am always thinking not only how to grow here, but also how to help grow the space itself.
So when I was living in Mexico, I rushed to see the works of Rivera, Orozco, Siqueiros and all the Mexican muralists. And seeing these large murals was when the idea came to me: to represent each one of these important artists who built our space in a way that was both personal and collective…and massive!
That is when “A history of cryptoart” was born.
And my goal with this work is simple, but I’m sure it will take time: I want to ensure that each person (builder, artist, collector) who enters this space from now on knows on whose shoulders they are standing. To let them know that the foundations of their houses were built by other amazing artists that were here before.
SM: That’s amazing. I think it’s a really important project. We recently interviewed Pindar Van Arman, and he was talking about how, when he was in art school, he’d dream with his friends about how amazing it would have been to be part of a movement like Impressionism, and how he never thought he’d be lucky enough to be a part of something similar until cryptoart came around.
Can you tell me a little about the format of the project? Will it be a single piece? Or are you releasing pieces for some or all of the 90 portraits? Open edition?
PX: “A history of cryptoart” is divided into three sides (left – central – right). And if you get the three sides, you can then claim the whole piece undivided.
The drop was an open edition and open for 24 hours on August 29th.
I chose this system so that everyone had a fair chance and could get, if not all, at least a part of our history.
SM: And what have you learned from the opportunity to interview such important members of the cryptoart community?
PX: I think the most important thing I learned from many of them is not a concept, but an attitude, a way of seeing the landscape. I learned not to rush, but look for stable and organic growth, to have fun, prioritize making friends, and, of course, making sales! But not to create with sales primarily in mind. I learned to not surrender in front of difficulties, to be patient, and to show everybody who you are and what your story is through your art.
SM: Has cryptoart provided opportunities for you as an artist that previously seemed unattainable?
PX: Before cryptoart I was a waitress in a small town in Argentina. It was hard to find time to create because the Argentine economy is super difficult and I had to work all day.
Today, I am a full time crypto artist. I travel the world as a digital nomad and spend all day thinking about art and interacting with thousands of friends who are as interested in art as I am.
This would have been impossible without cryptoart. That’s why I live it with passion. It gave me every opportunity. And I don’t want to lose any. Because I know how rare those are in the rest of the world.
SM: Why do you think it is important that we record the early history of the cryptoart movement?
PX: So that the extractive spirit does not prevail over the constructive spirit in this community.
I think it is important to tell every newcomer that this is not an infinite space financed by some big company. It is a space built and maintained by everyone. It is a space like any other that (if we do not take care of it) has a risk of failing. And to take care of it, it is necessary to know its history and honor its builders.
This space was built with a revolutionary spirit. And it would be very sad to see it get lost in the clutches of influencers and big brands.
Which does not mean denying growth either. But look for the healthiest way to grow. And because of that, I think it is good to remember the initial values of this space. And I want this piece to play a role in that.
SM: What’s next for you as an artist?
PX: I got two things in mind until the end of this year:
- Keep studying and thinking of ways to add more value to “A history of cryptoart” collectors.
- Finish my collection, “Augment Reality,” to be minted in SuperRare – probably just one or two more pieces to finish the concept.
After that, probably some crazy holidays to recharge the batteries and find inspiration for a future concept.
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