What’s the Deal with NFT Art?

If you’re remotely interested in art and are somewhat news-savvy, you’ve probably heard of NFTs–namely the collage image created by Beeple that recently sold for an eye-boggling $69 million. Like many others, I was confused about what exactly an NFT is, and why they’re blowing up. Some artists have even hailed NFTs as the future of digital art. As someone who still doesn’t really know what Bitcoin is, I decided to investigate further. Here are my findings;

  • NFT stands for non-fungible token, meaning that it cannot be traded or interchanged like traditional currency
  • NFTs are unique digital assets, like gifs, videos, animations, or images that are bought and sold
  • The digital tokens are like virtual certificates of ownership, and the information are stored on the blockchain, or a shared record that cannot be altered

NFT artwork provides new lucrative opportunities for artists who wish to share their art online. In some cases, artists can retain copyright over their work, even if NFT copies are sold to various buyers. But the main allure to buying an NFT is the exclusive ownership of a specific instance of the art.

However, some critics describe NFTs as pointless and a fad. Some say it has epitomized art as a money-making machine, not a creative endeavor. But the potential for digital art to disrupt the traditional art selling and auction model is large–perhaps lesser known artists can be compensated for their creative work, not only the rich and famous. No matter how you feel about digital art NFTs, the internet’s embrace of NFTs means that they’re here to stay.

Check out some noteworthy recent examples below:

Artist Spotlight: Swissted

Swiss modern graphic design and punk rock music, what’s not to love? A project created by artist and designer Mike Joyce, Swissted is a collection of posters that utilize simplistic Swiss design to advertise historical rock shows. Although seemingly polar opposites of the arts field, Joyce makes punk and modern design blend together beautifully.

Graphic design originating in Switzerland in the 1940s-50s is also referred to as the International Typographic Style. You might recognize other works by designers such as Josef Muller-Brockman or their usage of simple shapes and Helvetica or Akzidenz Grotesk typefaces. During the development of graphic design in the 20th century, designers stressed the combination of typography, composition, and communication.

Mike Joyce’s surprisingly effective solutions cover renowned music artist and bands from Public Enemy, to The Velvet Underground, to David Bowie, to Radiohead, and many more. His posters are full of bright colors and alluring compositions of large shapes. For any graphic design fan or music lover, these posters are a must-have.

Available at museums all over the world, dozens of vibrant posters are also able to be purchased on the Swissted website. I can’t wait to get one for my apartment! Although which one is another question…

There are too many amazing posters to show, but here are a few!

Briana King: Inspiring the Next Generation of Skaters

Skateboarder, model, musician, actress, community organizer–modern renaissance woman Briana King does it all. She’s known for making skateboarding more accessible to all, especially beginner female skaters. Her backstory is unique: she grew up in east LA, booked a one way ticket to Australia when she was 18, and was scouted as a model. After issues with her visa, she flew back to the States and settled in New York. She then started skateboarding and cultivating an empowering community of women and LGBTQ skaters. Notably, she runs display.only, which hosts girl skate sessions in large cities and posts educational skateboarding videos.

Skateboarding is notorious for dominated by young white men (some of whom who are misogynistic), and exclusive. For many young women or queer skaters, entering the skatepark or even just skating around is intimidating for the fear of judgment from others. Beginner skaters, especially girls, are often prone to hate comments and overall negativity from gatekeepers. While skateboarding is becoming much more diverse and welcoming than it was before, Briana King works to further promote inclusivity and enjoyment of skating for everyone. Through skateboarding meetups and even a nationwide tour, King has developed a large following of fans eager to skate. By encouraging young skaters to have fun and get back up, she promotes a supportive and growing community of womxn skaters.

To Briana King, skateboarding and community building is a lifestyle. In an interview with Jenkem Magazine, King explains that “I never had homies who I felt comfortable being myself around, so I was like, ‘I’m going to keep skating forever because this is where I feel the most comfortable, the most open, the most happy.’ So even if the meetups weren’t my job, or brought me income, this is my life and what showed me how I’m supposed to feel and what I was searching for my whole life.” During a global pandemic, hobbies like skateboarding have become even more important.

If you’re a skater or just interested in skateboarding, fashion, and inclusivity, follow Briana King here. Maybe even pick up a sweet Simpsons-inspired skateboard deck while you’re at it.



from Jenkem Mag

A New Type of Rom-Com: The Half of It

Like many other queer young adults, I was exalted upon learning of last spring’s Netflix film, The Half of It. The titular phrase, “the half of it” is derived from the Platonic myth of soulmates that proposes that each person is half of a whole soul, and the two halves search through life for their counterpart. Director Alice Wu (known for Saving Face) presents a refreshing take on the teen rom-com–this time, with a queer Asian female lead. Perhaps this is old news to some, but I couldn’t resist writing about this film. It’s the type of movie with substantial representation I wish existed when I was a teen.

The plot follows Ellie Chu, a bookish teen living with her widowed father in a small town in Washington. Ellie, a gifted writer who takes on her peer’s coursework for payment, starts writing romantic letters to a girl named Aster, posing as the goofy jock Paul. As Ellie and Paul’s friendship blossoms, so does Ellie’s romantic feelings for Aster.the loyal and playful Paul develops a strong bond with Ellie, an unexpected but delightful pairing who support each other in an honest way. Meanwhile, Ellie’s snail mail and text correspondences with Aster show Ellie’s witty, romantic nature–drawing upon book and film references and deep thoughts. I won’t spoil the ending in case you haven’t watched it yet, but I will say that the writing, although rushed at the end, isn’t demeaning or tokenizing, but portrays its characters in a realistic and nuanced way.

I admire this film not only for its complex writing and characters, but for its representation as well. As a queer woman of color, I was so excited to see representation that I could somewhat relate to. Viewers see scenes of Ellie and her immigrant father enjoying dinner together and watching classic movies, a part of the story that is surprisingly touching. Furthermore, Wu handles themes of race, sexuality, and religion in a thoughtful but not overbearing way.

The Half of It’s cinematography is beautiful as well, with tranquil shots of small-town life and semi-nostalgic high school drama. It’s warm and feel-good. Overall, it’s a brief but pleasant look at young adulthood, full of awkwardness and tension but also true friendship. Wu argues that romantic love isn’t everything in life, but perhaps only the half of it.

Artist Spotlight: Zach Lieberman and New Media

After watching one of Zach Lieberman’s talks for my Creative Programming class, I was enthralled by his colorful, multidimensional, and ultimately experimental software sketches. Software sketches are made by using programs such as Processing, which enable artists to use code to create drawings and animations.

Lieberman helped create the School for Poetic Computation, an alternative school/art collective/residency program in New York that helps artists learn code, technology, and design.

I find the intersection between code and art fascinating–since they are traditionally thought of as polar opposites. However, like the SFPC mission states, it aims to promote “completely strange, whimsical, and beautiful work – not the sorts of things useful for building a portfolio for finding a job, but the sort of things that will surprise and delight people and help you to keep creating without a job.”

What attracts me most to Lieberman’s work is its noticeable curiosity–endless iterations, research, abstractions, sketches all made for the sake of creation and experimentation. In today’s hyper-aggressive art and design world, it’s not uncommon to find projects made for the sole purpose of showing off. Meanwhile, Lieberman’s plethora of sketches explore color, shape, form, texture, and light, all through the medium of code.

Head to Zach Lieberman’s Instagram for a mesmerizing look at this animated sketches. He also sells prints here.

extruded blob #1


color ribbon study #2


curved cones study #1


blob pack #3

Land Lines – a Google Chrome Interactive Art Tool

Artist Spotlight: Black History Month

February is Black History Month, an annual celebration of and recognition of all generations of African Americans, who are and have been vital to the history of the United States. Since 1976, Black History Month has been an official American event.

I thought today’s artist spotlight post would be a prime opportunity to share Black media to watch/read/appreciate. These stories can be enjoyed and examined all the time, of course–not just February.

While Black voices in films, television, music, and literature are becoming more visible and diverse, many stories are dominated by the exploitation of Black trauma and struggle, or overtaken by white voices. Like any identity, it’s important to have multi-dimensional representation that are complex and thoughtful. We should always examine the media we consume through a critical lens.

I also recognize that I am Asian American. I am a minority, but I will never be able to truly understand what it’s like to be Black in the United States. However, I can still consume and engage with media made by Black people, talk to my peers, and open up my perspective.

Be sure to check out BIPOC creators this month and every month. Here’s my list of media featuring, directed by, or written by Black artists to enjoy (This is by no means an exhaustive list, just a few items I recommend):


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  • Cinderella (1997)
  • Drumline (2002)
  • Moonlight (2016)
  • Hidden Figures (2016)
  • Jump In! (2007)
  • Soul (2020)
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
  • Get Out (2017)
  • 13th (2016)



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  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
  • How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander



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