Artist Amani Lewis curated an exhibit for the LiveArt digital marketplace that features physical artwork alongside related non-fungible tokens, or NFTs.
This first primary market art exhibit for LiveArt includes an in-person display of works by 13 young contemporary artists at the Sperone Westwater Gallery in Manhattan, all of which are available for sale through LiveArt Market starting Tuesday, June 29.
NFTs, which are subtly animated versions of physical art, are hit on the LiveArt platform.
The exhibit, titled “When Two or More Are Reunited”, is a nod to the biblical passage in Matthew 18:20, which Lewis (who uses gender-neutral pronouns) finds peaceful, and which, to them, speaks of ‘spiritual harmony. which results from the community.
As they explain, when people come together with a purpose, be it family, friends, or coworkers, the energy they have opens up the spiritual realm. “It’s unlocking things that are invisible to the eye,” says Lewis, who is 26.
The passage is relevant because all of the artists whose work is shown are related in one way or another to Lewis, Lewis’ partner, or to each other, sometimes in surprising ways.
“A lot of us are friends and lovers, and we are influenced by each other,” Lewis says. “I want to see what happens when we put everyone in the same room – what kind of energy will be there and what kind of feelings.”
By including NFTs – which are unique digitized tokens encrypted on the blockchain – alongside physical works, LiveArt intentionally gives traditional artists access to a sector largely dominated by digital artists and illustrators.
The company created its own platform, rather than relying on existing platforms such as Nifty Gateway or OpenSea, to ensure that NFTs were created to meet the needs of traditional artists and collectors, says Boris Pevzner. , CEO of LiveArt.
“This is the market we seek for all types of products we sell: secondary, primary and digital,” says Pevzner.
The NFTs discussed in “When Two or More Come Together”, for example, include smart contracts that incorporate resale royalty rights throughout the life of the NFT.
The exhibit is also artist-focused in the way artists are paid, as each will receive 70% of the price paid, instead of 50%, which is a typical gallery arrangement, Lewis says. The 50-50 arrangement is “something we’re all tired of,” they add.
In addition, each artist deposits their work directly on LiveArt Market and sets the price, LiveArt said. Associated NFTs will be offered over several weeks starting Tuesday, at specified prices or via an online auction.
For the participating artists, almost all in their twenties, working with NFTs opens up another way for them to work. As Lewis said in a press release on the show, “It’s a new way for me to think about this interplay between the tangible and the intangible, which I think about a lot in my job.”
Many of the works in the exhibition feature portraits, are bursting with vibrant color, and have a certain digital sensitivity. While not necessarily intentional or conscious, Lewis says there is “a digital thing going on in almost every work of art.”
Lewis and artist Stephen Arboite, for example, “both have this very digital color collage effect,” they say.
Lewis’s work, for example, begins with a photograph that they redraw and edit using Photoshop. They then screen print the image using layers of color on a canvas, then Lewis paints over it with “paint, pastel, glitter, you name it”.
For “When two or more come together,” Lewis created Céleste Kiki: Ode to Lit Liv, 2021 from a photograph of a woman named Kiki taken by photographer Lit Liv, who, like Lewis, is based in Baltimore. The multi-layered image is rich in deep purples, oranges, greens and browns, with digital green butterflies fluttering around.
that of Adrian Armstrong
Tyla, a portrait of a black man who appears to be wearing colorful 3D glasses and a printed blazer, is rendered in three color sets: one who paints the blazer and glasses in red tones; another where the blazer is blue and the glasses are yellow; and a third where the blazer is brown and the glasses are yellow. The NFT version moves the single image from a color palette to a color palette.
For Lewis, an interesting aspect of NFT art is the opportunity it creates for artists trained as illustrators and graphic designers, who tend not to have as much artistic freedom in their work as it usually is. made for others. “NFTs allow these people to play and be creative,” they say.