As cryptocurrency continues to dominate the financial sphere, now making its way into Miami's hospitality industry, it was only a matter of time before it took over the art world. Estelle Ohayon, owner of EO Art Concierge Inc., a bespoke art acquisition and consulting service, and NFT BAZL exclusive art curator shares her extensive knowledge on nft's infiltration in the art world, alongside head of corporate development and capital markets at GDA Capital, Ori Ohayon. The duo combined their expertise of finance and art to bridge the gap between financial investments, technology, and art.
What was anticipated to be a smaller exhibit at The Temple House during Bitcoin's Miami take over, quickly turned into the hottest event of the week with a waitlist over 500, with celebrity appearances. Estelle and Ori are paving the way in the industry by creating the first NFT gallery comprised of both physical and digital art using blockchain to bridge the gap between the physical and digital art world, enabling bidding by scanning a QR code. We caught up with the Ohayons to get behind the scenes intel on how the NFT BAZL exhibit came about, proved to be a massive success, and what's to come.
How did you get involved in creating NFT BAZL?
O: I work for a firm called GDA Capital, which is a venture capital firm in the blockchain space, and also as a consultant. One of our investment companies or portfolio companies is called Elitium. They've created a wealth management platform that uses and leverages blockchain for most assets on the platform. Our goal was to digitize the deed of ownership to physical art, and sell that using an NFT, which is just a digital piece of art, that's sold on the internet over blockchain. So NFT BAZL's goal was to transfer ownership using an NFT by turning that piece of paper into a token, all that information is stored on the blockchain, and converted into an NFT. So, in order to buy the deed of ownership to a physical piece of art, you have to buy the token. And once you own the token, you own the physical piece of art, you can take it off the wall. This is all the exact same technology that's used with digital art, the only difference is rather than taking a canvas, you literally get a file, a clip, or an image.
How did you select the artists to participate in NFT BAZL?
E: As an art dealer, I've developed relationships over time with great artists, who are passionate about what they create. So, I onboarded a group of 20 artists from all over the world, and then we paired all the artists with a graphic designer who, essentially, taught them how to create digital art for the first time. So, we've bridged the gap between traditional artists and the artists of the new world, bringing them all together at the same show, using blockchain.
What was the process of converting the artists’ visions into digital art?
E: We spoke to the artists and tried to understand what their vision was when they originally created the piece and what the story was behind it. The digital NFT of that piece is really the culmination of their original vision when they created the art. It tells the story what the artist envisioned and what inspired them to create the piece; the artist's original vision that came to life in the NFT. It helps bridge the gap for the artist to be able to create a clip or a digital piece of art that shows the viewer exactly what they were imagining. It makes it so much more interesting for someone who purchases a digital image, of the piece of art because they actually feel like they are part of the vision that the artist had. This connects the artist and the client to make a visual connection for them when they purchase that piece of art.
What is your goal in combining the art and finance spheres?
O: The whole point of the exhibit was to show we can educate people, creating a seamless experience of physical art bring displayed side by side with digital art. One of the main things we wanted to do is to bring people from the crypto and the art space to showcase up-and-coming artists, alongside investment-grade pieces of art being exchanged using NFT, which is crypto. It's already looked at as an investment vehicle. Through a wealth-management platform, we can also now gain exposure to alternate investments assets, the same way you would purchase a crypto or purchase any other assets in your portfolio. The goal was to really bring collectors from both the art world and the digital asset space into the same venue to show them that they can both invest in the same asset, using the same technology, with a physical piece of art. Depending on if you bought physical or digital art, it either comes with a physical canvas, or it comes with a digital file which contains the information to the digital piece of art.
Where do you see NFT BAZL in the future?
O: The technology is expanding drastically now, especially now that we've proven that we can tie a physical piece of art to a digital-- as a digital token. We’re going to be expanding, digitizing deeds of ownership into an NFT, is basically the, the goal of this. NFT BAZL really acted as a proof of concept, now we have a marketplace with around 40-some pieces of art on it, where you can literally buy physical art using NFT. So borderless transactions now. This all became significantly larger than we ever thought it would be. Now there are we're in conversations in the works for having NFT BAZL at actual Art Basel.