After seven years in hiding, NFTs are the preferred choice for artists to put out their work globally. Credit where it’s due, all the eyebrow-raising bids at NFT auctions and a bevy of A-list celebrities and personalities hopping on to the bandwagon has aided a change in the discourse of art and how we interact with it.
Raghava KK, also known as NFT-Punk’s digital art, La Petite Mort (part of The Orgasm Project), raked in a whopping amount of $94,500 (Rs. 71,87,197.50) at Boundless Space, an online group auction by Sotheby’s and Burning Man. The bidding for his phygital (an artwork that has a digital and a physical copy) piece initiated at just $100, and ended up with him becoming one of the top five bids during the auction out of the 150 featured artists. The phygital piece was curated in collaboration with neuroscientist Abhijeet Satani, data scientist Harshit Agrawal, and material scientist Ben Tritt.
Interestingly, KK is not the only Indian artist creating waves in the NFT world. Celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan, Manish Malhotra, and Yuvraj Singh have also been inducted into the metaverse. Bachchan auctioned his father’s iconic poem “Madhushala”, Khan joined hands with BollyCoin, a Bollywood NFT marketplace, to launch his own NFT collections. Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan, Rohit Sharma have also hopped on this ever-growing trend. However, the real monarchs of the NFT spectrum are local artists across the country. After a stupendous run in 2021, let’s look at the biggest Indian artists that have materialised the NFT hype, and made a name for themselves in the global markets.
Vinay Kaushal is a renowned musician and composer who launched his NFT art, Moral Boxes Triptych ‘Trapped,’ last year. A three-part series, the NFT art draws parallels between society and greed through a stimulating combination of dance and music.
WazirX, India’s biggest NFT marketplace, suggests that his work is one of the most talked-about NFTs on the platform. The art features contemporary dancer Ria Bunglowala and melodies from Kaushal’s critically acclaimed debut album, Naked on a Train.
Abhishek Bhaskar aka Abhishek ABVERSE Bhaskar created an NFT artwork named Metavoice. With an aim to bring to light India’s rich legacy of culture and music, he created the world’s first-ever beatboxing generated digital art that uses human-produced sounds.
One of India’s leading beatboxers, an award-winning architect, productive artist, and researcher, Bhaskar wants the world to know about two genres of Indian music, specifically — one being Tapanguchi, recognised for itsfree-natured beats, and the other being Maharashtrian music genres like Lavni, Bhaleri, and Pavada. Bhaskar has been the brand ambassador of Adidas Originals and JBL, and has organised several beatboxing workshops alongside names like Ranveer Singh, Virat Kohli, and Chris Gayle, among others.
Ishita Banerjee, an Indian origin artist and creator based in Canada, incorporates her life experiences to create vivid art. Her version of the fourth avatar of Vishnu has been one of the most expensive and highly popular NFT artwork marketed on the WazirX platform.
It sold for Rs 2.66 lakh (13,112 WRX). Banerjee’s other digital abstracts include NFT artworks on Kali and Phoenix — two of her other most pricey NFTs sold for INR 2.49 lakhs and 2.42 lakhs, respectively. Her artwork titled In My Head was sold for 23,313 WRX, making it another of her highest-sold works.
AMRIT PAL SINGH
Pal Singh earned over $1 million in about nine months by selling 57 non-fungible tokens. His NFT artwork, titled the Toy Faces, is a hit amongst collectors.
The NFT consists of cartoon-like 3D portraits of various people and characters, including Malala Yousafzai, Steve Jobs, Frida Kahlo, and more. Each of the Toy Faces NFTs sold for at least 1 ether, which sums up to $4,706 at current prices. Pal Singh also creates Toy Rooms, which is an assemblage of 3D illustrations displaying different rooms.
Kanthraj N is a Bengaluru-based watercolour artist who auctioned 12 of his original, award-winning paintings under a NFT named My Life’s Work, last month.
The artwork collection was the world’s first physically-linked NFT collection where the pieces of physical art were shipped to the highest bidder, with ownership of all 12 tokens transferred to them as well. The auction was also the world’s first on-chain NFT.
Raghavendra Rathore became the first Indian designer to release some of his personal art and brand memorabilia into NFTs.
Launched with the purpose of raising awareness about his NGO, Raghavendra Rathore Foundation, the first NFT was sold out within 10 minutes of its launch. Proceeds of the same went to the RRF funds to help better the lives of small communities via mentorship programs, cultural experiences, and scholarship opportunities.