Visual artist Bonito Thompson recently showed off his digital art with his Genesis Collection representing a marriage of his love for dancehall and technology.
The art pieces in the digital format, or NFTs, are lifetime treasures that appreciate. NFTs can be anything digital such as drawings. “NFT is an entity that can never be edited in any shape or form and is a means of showing ownership of any digital asset,” Thompson explained.
Thompson credits his augmented reality knowledge and in-depth research for paving the way for his latest digital art collection. His eyes were also open to a plethora of apps that can be used, including Spark AR, allowing for sharing content to his Instagram and Facebook community, in particular.
Thompson is thrilled that the emergence of NFTs coincided with his first art show and is delighted that the technology allowed him to incorporate his art. For him, this new space of NFTs embraces its users and enables them to feel a sense of belonging and unity. He envisions that the day will soon come when NFTs would represent ownership of non-digital assets, and a receipt in the form of an NFT will be available as proof of purchase.
Thompson believes that for the Caribbean, it is critical to appreciate and be early adopters of NFTs. Interestingly, Thompson pointed to Barbados opening an embassy in the metaverse, which he finds exciting because Caribbean countries are often late to such trends. Additionally, he believes that incorporating this technology into everyday activities will improve society's adoption of a digital way of life. As far as Thompson is concerned, the region is ripe for such opportunities, allowing Caribbean nationals to express our culture. He is confident that NFT's community-centric nature will enable future generations to build on the current technology foundation.
He regarded the pandemic as an accelerator for virtual communities in the metaverse, using Sandbox and Decentral Land, where people had the opportunity to not only interact with each other but conduct transactions such as purchasing virtual land.
Payment of royalties is another benefit that Thompson expects from NFTs allowing creators to receive residual payments from each sale, unlike traditionally, where the art is sold only once with one-time commissions.
While he anticipates that as the space matures, there will be greater access, Thompson points to the challenges of purchasing cryptocurrency such as Ethereum and acquiring digital wallets like MetaMask to facilitate payments since local banks are not yet providing such services. He also explained that some trading platforms are not available or fully functional for Caribbean nationals.
In the coming months, Thompson is excited to explore fashion NFTs and display his art in the metaverse. He will be curating a series of experiential, immersive NFT art tours and events in Miami, Los Angeles, and New York showcasing Jamaican culture. Ultimately, through his craft, Thompson wants to continue “doing it differently” and “being the best to ever do it” by helping to establish a thriving Caribbean NFT community. He is also paying it forward by inspiring others to achieve their goals by leveraging technology's opportunities for their craft.