Well, it’s somehow November already and time for a look back on the top NFT projects and releases of October! Read on below for my curated list of the month’s best and brightest; you might find something you love, too.
‘Contractions’ by Loie Hollowell
Available on Art Blocks
This new series of NFTs by New York-based artist Loie Hollowell is her first foray into the medium, and continues the artist’s ongoing investigation into biomorphism, sexuality, and spirituality. Hollowell uses autobiographical material from her own bodily experiences of sex, pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and motherhood to explore her relationship to these identities and stages of life and womanhood. The 280 unique works are based on Hollowell’s sculptural ‘Split Orb’ paintings, and take the viewer on a journey through the abstract landscape of the body as it prepares to give birth. The subtle variations in hue, tone, light and saturation are a reflection of the artist’s changing state of mind and body throughout the visceral and harrowing process of labor. Created amid increasing restrictions on reproductive healthcare and the reversal of Roe v. Wade in Hollowell’s native United States, the NFTs speak to personal and shared experiences of pregnancy and childbirth. 25% of net proceeds from the ‘Contractions’ NFT sales will be donated to Midwest Access Coalition, a practical abortion fund, and ARC-Southeast, which provides funding and logistical support to individuals seeking reproductive care in six states in the American South.
‘Maame (The Queen My Mask as my Shield)’ by Serwah Attafuah
Exhibited as part of the group show ‘To Play and Win’ at Spectrum Project Space, Western Australia, this work by Australian artist Serwah Attafuah addresses the show’s themes of navigating life and contemporary complexities like a game of chess, using strategy, power, memory, and logic. The piece is in Attafuah’s signature afro-surrealist style, imagining a future or parallel world where larger-than-life figures, especially women of color, reign supreme and exude their power without apology or repression. In particular, as the title suggests, the work examines how the mask of the ego can be used either as a shield or a sword. In this image, the mask is lowered to reveal the blazing and commanding face of the black woman behind it, proudly displaying her strength and authority. As the artist claims in her statement for the exhibition catalogue, “The queen is within you, rule the board.”
‘Synthetic Cascades’ by Paul Milinski
The latest collection from Melbourne-based digital artist Paul Milinski explores movement, time and the natural world through the visual motif of running water. Although simplistic at first, the exquisite moving images reveal themselves to be constructed from billowing, draped fabric rather than a natural water source, confounding our expectations of what we see when we look at a landscape. It’s picked up in the name as well, highlighting the tension between synthetic and natural elements in Milinski’s richly imaginative works. This style of art and design, particularly for NFTs, appears to becoming enduringly popular among collectors, as artists like Alexis Christodoulou, Joe Mortell, Jenny Mijiang, Six n Five and Camille Boldt enjoy continued prominence in the space. The sense of escapism and beauty from the chaotic, decaying world around us is a welcome reprieve, and could even comprise a call to action to preserve the untouched beauty of nature, even if it’s through more synthetic means.
‘Letters’ by Vinnie Hager
Vinnie Hager’s genesis NFT collection consists of 1000 hand illustrated 1 of 1 pieces, an impressive feat in itself. The pieces are all uniquely and cleverly titled (like ‘Black Leather Jacket’, pictured, and ‘Rugged Again’), and fall under a rarity chart. The top 10 rarest pieces include special color palettes and animated works, and have collectors paying up to $50,000 for a single NFT. This collection is the ultimate expression of Hager’s idiosyncratic and hugely popular doodle-style, which creates a pattern of hieroglyphic symbols across a striking background. Sometimes the symbols are clear and recognizable, like envelopes and hearts, and other times they seem much more abstract and biomorphic. The artist has a knack for combining tongue-in-cheek humour and self-awareness with an earnestness for art and design that makes his work so admired and desired. At its core, the collection brought an instant smile to my face, both knowing and appreciative.
‘Smoke and Mirrors’ by Justin Aversano
A humanist and social entrepreneur as well as the CEO and co-founder of Quantum Art, Justin Aversano captures the moments, faces, and communities that surround him, and brings them together through the lens of his camera. For his debut on Nifty Gateway, the artist photographed 78 sets of artists, astrologers, psychics, tarot readers, and other forms of mystics from around the world, each one representing one of the tarot deck (pictured is the Ten of Cups). Through the project, Aversano hopes to create an immersive and extensive survey of magic and mysticism in the world, areas in which the figure of the artist has long played a central role. The black and white photographs will be converted into colorful silkscreen paintings, thus combining elements of the real (photographic) and the surreal (painting) to foster a dialogue between the characters of the works, where their powers and the significance of their presence in the world become clearer. The project is ambitious and unique in its scope and aim, to raise the collective consciousness of humanity through a greater awareness of and sensitivity to the mysterious and powerful forces that guide and shape our lives.
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