An emerging force in Australia’s NFT space is GT Sewell. A gallerist and fine art printer, he previously ran a gallery for seven years before moving his practice to digital. In 2020, GT and his partner, Jane Rolls established 4RC4DE, a curated NFT art platform to help onboard Australian artists into the NFT space. In this interview, we get to know the backstory and vision of 4RC4DE, and receive some valuable advice for aspiring creators and collectors who are keen to get involved in the blockchain.
Tell us about your first encounter with NFTs – what made you want to get involved?
I first heard about the concept of NFT’s in 2017 through the podcast ‘Art on the Blockchain’ by OG artists Scrilla & Cynthia Gayton. Later that year when CryptoKitties launched and congested the Ethereum network, this is when I really took notice of the emerging technology and art as something much bigger than a playful cartoon cat.
My first light bulb moment was when I understood the creation of an immutable ledger (blockchain) tied to provenance of the artwork. Being in the art business, as a gallerist and fine art printer, the ease of access to provenance was an eye opener, but more so, understanding what the medium would do for digital artists both financially and reputably in the global art market. This is when I went down the proverbial rabbit-hole and never looked back.
What kind of digital art do you make and what/who are your inspirations?
My predominant focus is on ‘trash art’, a movement in the cryptoart space that I feel is akin to the graffiti/street art movement, as with NFT’s in general.
My background as an artist and gallerist focused heavily on street art. For example, a street artist gifts their talent openly in a decentralised manner for the world to see, and a café owner may engage an artist to paint a mural on the side of their building, in turn financially supporting the artist. As is with digital artists using an NFT as the medium, we can all see it, yet only a few can purchase it to support the artist/creator.
Trash art started with a bunch of OG artists in the space, such as ROBNESS, Maxosiris, Eric Rhodes and plenty more.
My inspirations predominantly come from aesthetics around memetic culture merged with my own reality. There are some great insights into the trash art movement written by Eric Rhodes
Tell us about 4RC4DE – what is it, how did it come to be and what is your vision for the platform?
It started in 2019, with plans to build a curated NFT art platform to help onboard Australian artists into the NFT space. Unfortunately, at the time we had to relocate our previous art gallery (VS. Gallery) late 2019 to a new location.
Then, Covid kicked in!
We pushed through 2020, and in January 2021 when we helped launch Australia’s first IRL crypto art/NFT exhibition ‘Future Art’ with Satsmoon and Dave Goode which was an amazing event that spanned from Sydney to Melbourne.
We recently sold the art printing side of the business and are currently working on relocating 4RC4DE Gallery (IRL) as our main focus. We’ll be back in action soon … stay tuned!
What do you think the future of NFTs will look like here in Australia?
The progression of NFT’s will certainly become a standard everyday utility for all Australians in years to come. At present we are seeing the merger of art and technology is in its infancy. Artists being at the forefront of cultural shifts, technology gentrification if you will.
Yet, we have a long way to go for broader public understanding of what blockchain technology, and, NFT’s can do for efficiency and progression of many industries, locally and globally, not just the arts, not just Australia. You will soon enough see your concert tickets, coffee cards and the like, all using NFTs. Art is only the beginning.
What is some advice you would give to aspiring creators/collectors who are keen to get involved in the blockchain?
The first thing I say to every artist/creator I speak to, is, ‘SECURITY!’
One of the key aspects of the blockchain is ‘self-sovereignty’, meaning, you are in full control/ownership of your assets, be it cryptocurrency or NFTs. There is no bank manager, or gallery owner you can call/email if you misplace your private keys (seed-phrase) to your blockchain wallet. This is a daunting part but needs to be driven home to anyone that enters the space.
As with any new technology, comes new ways for nefarious people to scam you out of your money, and some can seem to be “influencers” in the space because they have A LOT of followers. Think emails from a ‘Nigerian Prince’ etc. There are A LOT of people out there that will work out clever ways to access your funds.
- DO NOT GIVE ANYONE YOUR PRIVATE KEYS (SEED-PHRASE)
- DO NOT SAVE YOUR PRIVATE KEYS (SEED-PHRASE) ON ANY DIGITAL DEVICE!
This is like leaving the keys to the bank and the vault in the door overnight. Or, posting your bank account log in details publicly, except remember there is no insurance, or bank manager to bail you out.
I have written a brief ‘How to’ get started as an artist in NFT’s here … https://twitter.com/GTSewell/status/1436132009013755905
Follow GT on Twitter or find his NFTs on Rarible.
Article written by Beatrice Madamba