NFT art is a powerful platform that more artists should embrace, according to Agatha Art, a 22-year-old freelance artist and architecture student from the Philippines. For this to happen, however, a lot of education is needed to dispel the fear of the unknown.
"The NFT movement is still unaccepted by a great number of artist communities, especially in the Philippines. Honestly speaking, there is a huge division between NFT artists and non-NFT artists, and I believe this issue needs even more attention than ever.
"Speaking from a 1/1 artist's point of the view, the platform that this space can give to artists is amazing. It will not only provide you with the tools and all the information you need to kick-start your career, but also you will be able to meet people who are willing to support you every step of the way. Artists will be able to create something on their own and by their own. There are no constraints on what canvas size you should use, no one can order you around to revise a piece for the nth time, and no one is controlling your time but you," Agatha told Digital Life Asia.
Birth of an artist
Describing herself as "somewhat in between a spirited and shut away type of person", Agatha basically dreamt of becoming an artist since she was a kid.
"To be an architect is what I have always wanted, so it kind of led me to do art as well, thinking that it’s what I need to master first to achieve my dream job," she said.
It was her parents that instilled a passion for art in Agatha.
"My mom liked to teach me how to do simple calligraphy and one time, my dad showed me how to draw still objects. According to my parents, I was really great at copying almost anything when I was little. I would memorize Disney songs very quickly, copy anime characters well, and learn school lessons faster. So I think because of that it became a hobby of mine to copy whatever my parents drew and from there, move forward to more complex things like drawing Barbie, anime, and so on. That pretty much is when I realized art is my talent," she said.
Flair for fantasy
How would Agatha describe her art style and who are her influences?
"My art style is in the semi-realism spectrum and it always has to be 'fantasy'. I may be an adult now but I am still such a geek on fantasy movies, books, and characters. It fascinates me so much that my artistic visual library, later on, became full of elves, fairies, mermaids, and such. Also, I love, love, love illustrating women and giving emphasis to their delicate body structure (every curve is just so perfect). The artists that I look up to are Ross Draws and Trung Bui -- both are semi-realism artists who also mainly draw females," Agatha said.
It was in 2021 that Agatha started her web3 journey, after a Filipino developer encouraged her to explore the NFT space. She said web3 proved to be life-changing, as she liked the community and made new connections inside and outside the Philippines.
"The NFT space for me before was like another dimension where artists can thrive and shine on their own stage. It made me independent. The difference between web2 and web3 is huge. What hooked me really is the people whom I have made friends with and the support it has given me and my work. Web3 really changed my life and career so quickly and insanely that I barely remember how 'web2 Agatha' was like two years ago," she said.
One community that Agatha truly loves is Aswang Tribe, whose NFTs are inspired by Philippine mythology. The name of this community itself is derived from the mythical aswang, which is the name given to a variety of shapeshifting evil creatures in Filipino folklore.
"I joined the Aswang Tribe in October 2022 when I was chosen as one of their featured artists. The entire journey from receiving the notice to creating and finishing the banner was a banger experience. I can’t put into words how much I love being there," Agatha said.
"I feel really grateful to Aswang (and to you, Sir Joey) and the members for being such kind human beings. I love how strongly they stand in their vision to preserve our culture and support artists. I love everything about that project and I love the people there even more. I have been to different communities and this one is just exceptional. I can be as bold as I want and everyone will literally jump in and vibe with you. Everyone knows how to tolerate all the crackhead behavior!"
Web3 and creators
While Agatha minted a piece before on the NEAR blockchain as an experiment, it was only in November 2022 that she embraced NFT art in earnest.
"I minted my first official 1/1 in OpenSea last November named Ace of Spades. This piece was for an exhibit at the Philippine Web3 Festival in collaboration with CryptoArtPH and Galeria Paloma. I made my first sale on Dec. 31 and I can’t put into words how amazing the experience was and how it motivated me to create more," she said.
With all the changes being brought by web3 in general and NFT art in particular, how can artists adapt?
"How artists can adapt to the changes is to learn how to utilize the resources available. It is true that change scares people. However, the good part is the more change there is, the more the resources expand. The world is evolving and it will never stay as it is, so the attention of the masses (or the world) will naturally shift to the new and the present.
"Artists are born to appreciate, create, and progress so despite the changes and whatever threat comes with them, as creatives we must strive to bring something to the table the 'precursor' couldn’t," she said.
Agatha also shared this message for aspiring artists: "Training and all the technical help? An artist can get that from the internet. But a kind heart? They can’t. I will never get tired of sharing how it is important to be kind to your fellow artists and how you should never bring other people down. I am a person who strongly believes in karma and that is because I am speaking from experience. Many times I looked down on other artists and thought of myself better than them but really, it never got me anywhere and even ruined my own growth. You can take all the professional classes available but attitude is something you can't earn out of books and video tutorials."
The world may be changing, but one thing remains the same: it will always need artists.