House of Fine Art gallery (HOFA) in London has launched its first NFT exhibition. As founder of ARTCELS – a platform where subscribers can buy shares in an NFT-backed portfolio of blue-chip art from the likes of Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst – HOFA is one of the few galleries in the world to helm individual fine art pieces to an NFT.
Dubbed Matter & Form, the exhibition of 16 works features pieces by emerging artists like Gregory Siff, Jan Kaláb, Zhuang Hong-Yi and more. Complementing each physical piece in the gallery is a still or animated NFT, which will be sold through three major digital-asset marketplaces – MakersPlace, Rarible and KnownOrigin. The butterflies in Bran Symondson’s Beat of a Wing Draco sculpture, for instance, comes to life in its NFT video.
An acronym for “non-fungible tokens”, NFTs are units of unalterable data stored on the blockchain. A 10-dollar bill, vice-versa, can be broken down into smaller denominations and is therefore fungible. NFTs usually represent cyber files like digital art. While NFT ownership doesn’t mean exclusive rights to the respective piece, as everyone can still copy the file, an NFT proves authenticity and allows for bragging rights akin to owning a signed copy of an artwork.
For artists, meanwhile, NFTs are particularly favourable as they allow trade without a middleman and, potentially, receive royalties with every resale.
Though linking art to NFT is not a complicated process, the nascence of this digital currency in fine art and the segregation between NFT- and art collectors make it hard for art galleries to justify the leap. HOFA, however, has recognised cryptocurrency as a form of payment since 2018 and has been steadily attracting niche collectors with interests in both worlds.
“Our new crypto-artworks will break new ground for collectible digital contemporary fine art,” said HOFA and ARTCELS co-founder Elio D’Anna. “It’s part of our ongoing effort to diversify the options available for art investments while also welcoming a new and enthusiastic cohort of young, affluent investors.”