It’s time for another monthly roundup of the web’s juiciest NFT offerings for July. I’ve curated a list of my top five new and exciting NFT artworks, including why I love them and where to find them.
‘Lucid Memory’ by Suzanne Saroff
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Considering notions of time, impermanence, life, death and surrealism, Suzanne Saroff merges unlikely objects in her fluid, ‘still life’ works. These strange yet fascinating vignettes re-imagine the historic tradition of memento mori and vanitas through a contemporary medium. The genre of vanitas or memento mori paintings, made famous by the likes of Dutch painters Hans Holbein and Pieter Claesz, used symbolic imagery to draw attention to the transience of life, the futility of pleasure, and the certainty of death. In Saroff’s piece ‘Lucid Memory’, the symbolism of the raw egg and flower recall the fragility and impermanence of life, which is solidified by the ominously spreading black ink that envelops and chokes them. There is a slight irony here, too, in the fact that the work, as an NFT, exists permanently and immutably on the blockchain, in contrast to the fleeting life cycle of the subjects it depicts.
‘Life and Death II’ by Unlimited Dream Co.
This piece similarly explores the idea of vanitas, the abundance and fragility of life, and the duality between all living things and their inevitable end. In a vibrant, bursting-off-the-screen composition that looks viscerally real, juicy fruits, flowers and leaves are interspersed with the smooth, white bone of skulls, reminding us that behind all of life is the pallor of death. Incredibly, this work and the others by Unlimited Dream Co. are created first of all from pen and ink drawings by the artist (who remains unnamed), and then transformed into a vivacious 3D render by advanced AI technology. The merging of man and machine, particularly in art, has been a topic of great contention recently, with DALL·E 2 recently being released to certain creators for exclusive use. Regardless of your position on that debate, there is no denying that this work is an example of the triumph of collaboration between an artist and AI; the piece could not exist without the creativity, precision and imagination of both.
‘Me Against the World 002’ by Eleven
‘Me Against the World’ is a collection of four unique 1/1 artworks that explore feelings of loneliness, emptiness and isolation. This work, the second in the series, immediately conjures a sense of being overwhelmed, at odds, staring into a void that seems endless, impenetrable. Eleven’s works are instantly recognisable by their subdued yet potent colour palette, poster-esque simplicity and granular texture that recalls a time gone by. It captures a distinctly contemporary predicament in a historical visual lexicon, drawing a line of continuity between classic sci-fi publications and visual media, and the still-lost humanity of today, which continues to search for light, solace and a place in this world.
‘The Computer Centre’ by Diberkato
A self-described ‘retro pop artist’, Diberkato combines influences from past and present, East and West, anime and pop art to create a unique ‘Pulp Epic’ version of the world. For their first collection on Nifty Gateway, The Many Lorna Theory, the artist presents a deeper look into their imaginative world, a multiverse in which the only being to exist across multiple realities is a ‘Lorna.’ The myth of the self is removed and reduced to a singular entity – Lorna – thereby challenging the cult of personality that persists across contemporary cultures. How do we define and understand ourselves if we do not exist – or if only one version of ourselves exists? This interrogation of the institutionalisation of self-hood is explored through acid-bright colours, a crisp and classic drawing style, and allusions to both western Pop art and Japanese anime. In creating an artistic style entirely their own, Diberkato imprints their unique identity on the blockchain and circumvents the endless reproduction of self associated with contemporary society within the bounds of social media and photography.
‘Phoenix Rising’ by Jason Seife
For his genesis NFT collection, renowned designer and artist Jason Seife has created a work that reflects his journey into the medium of NFTs, and illustrates how his paintings have inspired a completely new area of focus within his artistic practice. In his physical works, Seife creates incredibly intricate mosaics, like tapestries or porcelain designs, that confuse and delight the eye with their level of detail. For his NFT collection, the artist breathes new life into an original work by animating each individual element – flowers blossom, birds take flight, the canvas comes alive. The movement and gentle undulation of the design adds another layer to the already complex composition, and is a compelling example of an artist’s interpretation of their traditional practice in a digital, NFT format.
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