Style Living Self Celebrity Geeky News and Views
In the Paper Shop Hello! Create with us

Monster mashup, or how public spaces could now coexist with NFTs

By SCOTT GARCEAU, The Philippine STAR Published Apr 25, 2022 5:00 am

NFT engagement is a big deal now. For Art in the Park, which is built around mass accessibility, how does this focus on public spaces coexist with a world of non-fungible tokens that are bought and sold mainly on people’s cellphones and devices?

For Migs Antonio, aka street artist Digital Monsters, it’s a smooth transition. No stranger to NFTs, his “Monster Mayhem MegaMash (Part 2)” expands the concept with more collaborations, including generative NFTs (new monsters created by random algorithm configurations) and all kinds of incentives for buyers to hold on to the art in their “digital wallets” to earn status points and exclusive prints.

Digital Monsters with an art print

It made me think about how street art has now found its way into phantom wallets and blockchain ledgers. High-end collectors like Snoop Dog now scoop up Bored Ape street art NFTs and trade with others in the rarefied community. Where does the accessibility of public art begin to split off into something that feels more like… exclusivity?

“I don’t really differentiate my Distort Monsters and street art from NFTs,” Antonio says. “For me, it’s just been a really cool way to get the work out globally.”

Still. It’s a far cry from spray-painting public walls. As Antonio notes: “For someone who started out as a vandal, basically, it’s really surreal.”

He outlines the “Monster Mayhem” NFT setup through three ongoing release “Waves.” Each involves minting (a method of paying for the art to find its way into your digital wallet), and the NFT value increases if you hold onto the investment longer.

“A lot of people get into NFTs now with the intention of just flipping them, right?” he says. “But that's something that my team and I are trying to change. We want to really promote NFTs as collectibles, like proper artworks. We want to push different types of utilities.” Utilities are perks that you get for holding onto NFTs. The longer you hold the NFT in your wallet, the more perks you get like exclusive access and certain colorways, say, for the Digital Monsters toys.

Accessibly priced at P9,500, Digital Monster’s online concept takes off from Blind Boxes, where buyers don’t know which of the 100 unique prints and NFTS they’ve purchased until the giclee prints are delivered to them. That’s part of the appeal for Antonio. “For this project, the NFTs are generative. For ‘Monster Mayhem,’ I have a partner in charge of the tech side, he created an algorithm that assembles unique monsters based on a number of different traits that I designed… Even I don't know what they are going to look like when we generate them. So I'll be like, ‘Oh, design X number of bodies, X pair of eyes, noses, mouths, backgrounds,’ and certain designs are rarer than others.”

There are also utilities embedded in the NFTs, with status levels like “Diamond” and “Legendary,” making the blind items more valuable. The pitch can sound a bit like someone offering a timeshare plan, but for Antonio, the end of the rainbow does promise “more revenue” for artists through resale of digital works with “verifiable” provenance. “It’s the beauty of blockchain technology, actually. Everything is open source. You can see who actually owns things and see the movement of assets from one wallet to the other.” For “Monster Mayhem,” he says “we set the royalties at a standard of seven percent.”

The irony is that the digital sales fuel the physical artworks. Antonio notes that making the three-foot resin sculptures on display at Jaime Velasquez Park was only possible thanks to the First Wave of “Monster Mayhem” sales. “The NFTs feed into paying for the sculptures,” he explains. Of course, the physical sculptures will be sold as well.

One great big blockchain of life for today’s artist.