On Art and CryptoArt: The new paradigm brought by NFTs.
Lately, every time I enter Facebook and see a big artist posting his usual artworks, I notice that these artworks are accompanied with a link to a marketplace platform, where the piece is being sold, or even auctioned for cryptocurrency. I can’t help the smile that lights up my face at seeing this. Even though NFTs have been in existence for several years now, it is no secret that their boom began last year. Many artists have started selling their work through a new breed of virtual marketplaces such as Foundation, SuperRare, and Zora; platforms that utilize the Non-Fungible Token (NFT) technology.
This is a technology that allows artists to create a unique token which represents one of their artworks, a process that is called minting. Minting registers the artwork as an NFT to a system of records called a blockchain.
That’s where the crypto part comes in. These blockchains are also the technology underpinning cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. In this sense, cryptoart is a category of art related to blockchain technology and also a way of making digital art unique and therefore valuable; it’s a way of making digital files (digital art pieces) one-of-a-kind.
These are rare digital artworks, sometimes described as digital trading cards or “rares”, a concept based on the idea of digital scarcity, which allows you to buy, sell, and trade digital goods as if they were physical goods. Thus, many people (including myself) agree that NFTs are changing the way art is perceived, sold, and even owned. This is a topic I inevitably discussed with Argentinian photographer, digital artist, and beginner NFT artist/crypto artistVictoria Whitime.
Victoria has been a member of the Hive Community since last year. It has been quite an experience for her, as it would be for anyone who arrives at a platform where likes give you cryptocurrency. The Hive Blockchain operates as a decentralized cryptocurrency-based rewards blogging and social media platform, that is compatible with the creation of DApps. This offers countless possibilities and opportunities for content creators, artists, and even entrepreneurs. Victoria is one of those artists who have found a place in Hive for expression that aligns with her ideals. She is a talented artist for whom this experience has changed her perspective and offered a place for artistic experimentation. After digging her artworks since I found her last year while scrolling on the trending page, I really wanted to have a chat with her about her experience with both art and cryptoart. As a fellow Hive member, I contacted her to begin discuss this. She accepted and we chatted for quite a while on a Zoom call
Hi Victoria! How are you today?
Hi! I’m good and you?
I’m fine! First of all, I’ve got to ask you: how is Whitime pronounced? This is something I’ve always wondered and I had to ask this before we properly start our chat.
Well, there’s no specific way to pronounce it, it’s actually wordplay of the words white, time, and with, so I’d like to leave the pronunciation free to each person, to how they perceive it and me.
How old are you?
I’m 27 years old.
Where were you born and where do you live now?
I was born in the city of Marcos Juarez, located in the southeast part of the province of Cordoba, Argentina. This is a town that is very much about field work, land farming, you know, agriculture. Now I live in a little town called Las Flores in the Andes Mountains, in the province of San Juan, near the San Juan-Chile crossroads
Regarding photography and digital art, how did you learn what you know and how to do what you do? How long have you been doing it?
I consider myself as still being in a learning process and forging my way. Many of my skills were given to me thanks to time invested, practice, exploration. Since I was a child, I had space to express myself. I was born in a free family that encouraged some of my interests. My first artist model was somehow given to me by my maternal grandmother; one of her artworks is part of my collection.
As a teenager I ended up surrounding myself with musicians and artists. My time in the big city gave me countless experiences. At an artistic and cultural level, I was part of independent art spaces. Along with beautiful people, we founded a space for artistic activism and sex-positive education. In addition, my high school studies were focused on art, design, and communication. My teachers, Pablo Daga, Mariana Bolero, and Silvina Franco encouraged me to study art. I studied at the Film School of the National University, where I learned the techniques of audiovisual production and direction. I also studied at the School of Photography of the Provincial University, where I learned the theories, processes of registration, and most importantly, to think through art.
Previously, you told me that you left the big city with a view towards artistic exile, why is this?
Yes, about 3 years ago I left the big city betting on a new way of life according to my needs and ideals. In my last years there, I felt that the city demanded me to adapt to certain logics that did not allow me to develop, not only at an artistic level but also as a citizen and individual. I needed the harmony that silence and space meant for me, to distance myself from all stimuli and concentrate on my artistic work, in an autonomous and sovereign way. It is an ongoing project from which I’m learning a lot.
Why produce art outside the academic, institutional, and private circuit?
I hope that the reason why, that is in each one of us, is the cause that motivates us to do so. Mine is because they are systems based on ready-made art, on irrefutable works. The fact that they are man-made systems, that they are based on a vertical structure, is far from my reason for producing art.
Why photography and digital art? What do you like the most about each of them?
With photography, on the one hand, it is because of the solitary gesture of contemplation, and on the other hand for its self-portrait functionality, which for me, is an exercise of vital importance. I began without a vocation, seeking to expand what I was learning in film school, and I found out a multifaceted profession. I am grateful for the possibility of seeing the world and capturing that vision in an image. Digital art because it symbolizes a limitless universe to create, it is a work that I do in solitude through exploration, and that ritual is an unlimited experience.
Now, diving into the crypto topic and seeing on your profile that you joined Hive ten months ago, taking into consideration that you told me by email, “the cryptoworld and its logic of power decentralization is for you a synonymous of coherence”; how have these ten months that you have been on Hive been so far?
The time within Hive means a lot to me, since it is my first approach to the cryptoworld. It is a completely positive balance of the desire to keep learning and growing. It is a place to show my art and a new way to promote and profit from it. This blockchain gave me the opportunity to start experimenting with NFTs because of the structure and advantages Hive has in comparison to other blockchains and cryptocurrencies. I have been experimenting in the world of NFTs for almost a year now. I came to Hive through recommendations and was motivated by my search for coherence in artistic production and diffusion.
What are your thoughts on decentralization? Why is it a “synonym of coherence” for you?
I believe that decentralization is a fair and harmonious arrangement that contributes to community development and this does not apply to the competitive system that many of us have been taught. For me, it is a synonym of coherence because it leads to the recognition of each person’s role within the community, and through their contribution they can grow individually and collectively, without one being opposed to the other. It is somehow a way to take responsibility for one’s own existence and grow in collective harmony.