NFT artist and collector OSF: ‘NFTs are just a medium’

NFT artist and collector OSF: ‘NFTs are just a medium’

One of the pioneers of the crypto art scene, London’s House of Fine Art (HOFA) gallery is one of the first places to showcase NFT artwork in a physical space back in 2021.

Back then, it took a somewhat conservative approach, focusing on prints of CryptoPunks alongside physical sculptures and NFT-related work.

This time the ‘Beyond the Screen’ exhibition is the digital element, with vibrant screens showcasing eye-catching animated work by the likes of XCOPY, OSF and DeeKay. But the word “NFT” is nowhere to be seen.

NFTs are “just a medium,” said NFT artist and collector Ovie Faruq, also known as OSF, who showed Decrypt around the square. “It’s just like I have my painting on an oil canvas, or do I have a photograph? Or do I have a screen that displays digital art? It’s just a canvas; it’s just a mechanism to act,” he added.

Ultimately, he argued, “people will start buying NFTs without knowing they are NFTs. And those are the kinds of things that will get us over this, like the stigma attached to it.”

“We have not used the word NFT at all for this event,” OSF added. “Focus is meant to be, this is digital art; we want to show it in a way where people can resonate with it.” That means shifting the focus away from prices and speculation and onto “masterful artists,” he added.

It is somewhat ironic, then, that OSF’s own contribution to the exhibition, “Super Fan”, inadvertently predicted the current PEPE-led memecoin market frenzy. The digital artwork, which OSF drew “two or three months ago”, features a “sort of lonely character” obsessed with Pepe the Frog, and surrounded by market charts showing green and red lights.

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“It’s probably similar to a lot of people in crypto culture,” OSF said. “Maybe, like, the covid era too. It’s meant to be a bit satirical.”

“Beyond the Screen” at HOFA. Photo: HOFA

Also featured in the exhibit is XCOPY’s “MESCO TETRO” — “which none of the Americans got the reference to, but apparently all of us do,” OSF said, while admitting that “I still don’t know if maybe it’s based on Tesco plastic bags.” The work was one of the last XCOPYs to be minted on the shared SuperRare contract, he added. “In the old days, they had one shared contract, so all the artists would emboss this contract. After SuperRare allowed artists to emboss their own superb contracts, XCOPY announced that he would mint four final pieces on the split SuperRare contract. “He sold one of them, he gave one of them away – so someone made about £300,000 from the giveaway – and this is one of the was unsold,” OSF said.

Other artists whose work appears in the exhibition include animator DeeKay and photographer Cath Simard. “She does these crazy expeditions and hikes, super dangerous things, and she captures his moments and uses composites to create a final image,” OSF said.

What the exhibit aims to showcase, OSF said, is that within the NFT art space, “there are people with genuine intentions who are trying to achieve noble things. It’s being dragged down by this association with crypto-bro culture; it’s not that any of these the artists here are about.”

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“Beyond the Screen” runs at House of Fine Art until 26 May.

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