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South African artist launches generative NFT art collection

Artist Jan Hendrik Viljoen, aka "Portchie" has become South Africa's first artist to sell a collection of generative canvas art through non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

By using a randomised digital generator, a collection of only 1,000 NFTs will be created starting on 25 August 2022.

“Art is something that brings joy to my eyes and mind and that makes life special for me. This project called Cycling by the Riverside is very exciting because I’m not a digital artist, but I am able to achieve something like this", says Portchie.

An NFT is a digital asset that exists completely in the digital universe — you can't touch it, but you can own it. With Facebook and Instagram working on enabling users to use their NFTs within their platforms, owning art in the digital world looks like it may become mainstream in the future.

Portchie partnered with a team of creative technologists to create a system by which each NFT will be digitally created. This means each of the multiple hand-painted elements and their variations is given a chance to get randomly selected and then combined to create a unique piece of digitally created art.

Portchie's art quickly became popular after selling out at his first big solo exhibition in 1991 and in 1995 he went to open an art studio called The Red Teapot Gallery where neighbouring art galleries in Stellenbosch started buying his art.

His artworks are a trademark of vibrant colours, distorted shapes and blue trees and can be described as a 'burst of joyful colour'. Since starting out, Portchie has sold more than 18,000 original paintings and more than one million prints worldwide. Unlike limited editions or prints, this NFT collection will only consist of unique collectibles, which means you will not be able to find two that are a copy of each other.

NFT art hit global mainstream news over the last year, with several high-profile sales garnering millions of dollars. For example, in 2021, Everydays: The First 5000 Days was sold for $69.3m.

In addition to owning the digital asset, each NFT will enable its owner to redeem a high-definition print of their collectible, signed by Portchie himself. He will also accept a limited amount of commission requests from those who would also like a painted copy of their unique collectible.

Through a process called minting – taking digital data and turning it into crypto collections or digital assets - fans from across the world now have the ability to instantly own the unique collectible. Fans can mint their NFT as opposed to buying it.

A whitelist in the NFT world is a list of people who get in early and are guaranteed access to mint and often have the opportunity to buy the NFT at a lower price before being made available to the general public.

Those who want to be on the whitelist can do two things:

  • Go to Discord and sign up to join the Cycling by the Riverside community of fans and art lovers.
  • Subscribe to the newsletter on the website. You will then be emailed and your wallet addresses will be collected and will be notified on the day it all goes live.

On 25 August, a link will be added to the landing page, taking buyers directly to a link to mint. Only whitelist registrants will be able to mint.

On 28 August, everyone else can use the same link to buy their unique piece of NFT art.

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