Virtual reality graphic artist Ayjay capitalising on NFT

Virtual reality graphic artist Ayjay capitalising on NFT art sales in cryptocurrency boom

Wollongong graphic artist Ayjay specialises in creating virtual reality worlds that are an extension of his signature style of intensely colourful and psychedelic art.

Thanks to a global boom in people purchasing ownership rights called NFTs (non-fungible tokens) to digital products, he is quickly trying to capitalise on the opportunity to sell his work.

“Working in the digital space for the last four years, it feels like I’ve been working at building myself up for something, not really knowing what that was,” Ayjay said.

“Now the opportunity for NFTs have come along, it’s really helped me clarify my mission and where I want to go.”

The artist has recently sold two NFT artworks — both 30-second video tour snapshots into his virtual reality worlds.

The purchases are made using cryptocurrency, with Ayjay selling his first piece Psychoactive for 1.60 ethers ($6,601) and the second Ethereum Delirium for 1 ether ($4,126).

“I find that a lot of the 3D stuff is getting a really good response in that space and it’s a very short turnaround with me getting an idea in my head versus the finished product,” he said.

NFT art selling for nearly $70m

The hunger for NFTs made global news recently when artist Mike ‘Beeple’ Winkelmann sold a work for $US69.4 million ($88.6 million) and another artist called Pak sold an artwork of a single grey pixel for $US1.36 million ($1.76 million).

“They’re buying more than digital ownership, it seems like people are purchasing NFTs for large amounts of money as a statement in support of an artist they appreciate and admire,” Ayjay said.

“The NFT to some people is a by-product of wanting to support someone, and knowing there’s collectors out there willing to invest, I’m very much thinking about putting on a show for them and creating NFTs that are unique.”

He said by creating 30-second windows into his virtual reality worlds, he could produce a work quickly that became a high-quality file for someone to own.

In the same way that artworks can be displayed for the public to see, the clips themselves can still freely be viewed online on the artist’s website.

The only difference is, there is one person who owns the rights to the artwork.

Environmental impact of NFTs questioned

While NFTs have provided a rare and highly lucrative opportunity for artists, the environmental impact of the platform in which the transactions happen has come under criticism.

NFTs are bought and sold using a ‘blockchain’ computer system that uses an enormous amount of electricity to maintain.

While Ayjay is dealing in the cryptocurrency Ether, rival currency Bitcoin uses as much electicity as a medium-sized nation to operate.

Ayjay said while this did concern him, he hoped as the technology developed, efficiencies would be found to ease cryptocurrency’s carbon footprint.

“If we look at electronics and the way things were run years ago, they start with inefficiency,” he said.

“If you think of a computer, we had massive computers drawing massive amounts of power with minimal computing power, but as the market for NFTs expands and as the blockchain increases in size, people will start reviewing the processes that are happening and the energy consumption.

“Once there’s more eyes on it, there will be a review of the process.”



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