If you are a longtime fan or new follower, you may have noticed that I’ve started exploring Web3 and NFTs in more depth after my first NFT back in March 2021. To give a good background, I sat down with my team to answer some questions. If you’re interested, check it out and join the conversation on the official Obey Discord link HERE!
5 Questions with Shepard Fairey – NFTs
1. Have you done NFTs previously?
I started experimenting with Web3 and the NFT space last year with a 1/1 genesis piece that sold at auction with Verisart and Super Rare in March. The piece titled “Obey Ideal Power” sold for 90 ETH on Super Rare. In April, I followed that up with a collaboration, “OBEY 4:22” with acclaimed hip hop producer Mike Dean, which offered higher and lower priced editioned works offering fans and collectors different price tiers and options. In July, my wife and I bought several properties on Satoshi Island in CryptoVoxels to begin exploring the metaverse, and in September we launched the small run OG Obey collection which references the original “Andre the Giant Has a Posse” sticker I created in 1989. The OG Obey NFT can be used as stickers in CryptoVoxels or simply collected and traded as NFTs. Many of these were given away to friends and early supporters in a similar manner to how physical stickers are given away and have since become valued collectables.
2. Why are you pursuing NFTs right now?
Larger scale generative works are becoming an interesting way for many fans to get a 1/1 piece of art by an artist that might normally be outside of their price range. I’ve always played with scale and repetition as a core part of my work, and I love to re-work old motifs or patterns, into newer pieces to create something perhaps greater than the sum of the parts. The technological advances in this new artistic genre are giving artists options to explore art in ways we may never have imagined possible. For example, I’m releasing 7,400 Degenerate / Regenerate generative NFTs that I carefully developed with a team of collaborators led by my wife Amanda and friend Sean Bonner. It would take me years in the studio to create 7,400 unique pieces of tangible art, but over the course of several months we have created these 7,400 generative pieces, a process that I have found to be inspiring and an incredible acceleration of my foundational processes of combining images.
3. What excites you most about NFTs and Web3?
In addition to the art aspect, we’re very interested in the utility NFTs can facilitate and already have special channels in the newly launched Obey Discord server exclusive for people who hold my NFTs (as well as a space for people who own physical art as well), and have plans for additional perks in the future which might include exclusive art drops, merch and events – virtual and real world.
As an artist, I also love that I can authenticate my digital work through the blockchain similarly to how I do so with my fine art pieces. When I began exploring NFTs earlier this year, I committed to offer the same level of verification. To date, all of my NFTs have come with a Verisart COA and this practice will continue with Degenerate / Regenerate.
I’m excited about all of the potential right now and expect to continue exploring it more in the future.
4. Tell us about Degenerate / Regenerate.
The pieces in the Degenerate / Regenerate collection pull visual elements and illustrations from my classic poster designs while incorporating actual scans, elements, and textures from my larger works and murals. Within this new body, there are even a few pieces with a special puzzle trait that will unlock other bonuses in the future. I called the project “Degenerate / Regenerate” to speak to the obvious manual deconstruction and programmatic reconstruction of the generative artwork, as well as referencing the accusation “degenerate” often thrown at artists and punk rockers who choose to make their own new thing rather than follow previously laid out paths. In the Web3 community, the term “degen” is self applied by many exploring cryptocurrencies and new forms of exchange, commerce, and means of investing which don’t fit into what has normally been accepted by the traditional financial world.
“Degenerate / Regenerate” plays with these labels and concepts in contrast to the notion that digital scarcity and the perceived value of NFTs as legitimate art is still very much being questioned by many in the traditional art world.
5. How did Degenerate / Regenerate and your Web3 platform come together?
Since January 2021, Sean and Amanda have been working closely to think about how my art and my Obey project should be thinking about Web3 and brought the idea of a generative project that repurposed existing artwork and iconography to create new pieces.
Sean then brought Jacob DeHart, Mike Mitchell & Mitch Putnam into the project after the success of The Visitors, a generative project they worked on together earlier this year. We think they are one of the best teams in this space and have deeply enjoyed working with them on this project. A true creative partnership, their technical and artistic contributions have improved the project further, truly demonstrating the collaborative nature of Web3. I’m always excited to collaborate, but especially when I’m teaming with people who share my philosophy of connecting with an audience without outside interference or mediation. Web3 offers self-empowerment and community empowerment.