Galeria Paloma is pleased to present 1/1, a group show and the second of a series in Galeria Paloma’s programme highlighting crypto art and mounted in conjunction with the largest regional crypto art event, Crypto Art Week Asia, featuring premier crypto artists from the Philippines and Singapore.
“We are excited to feature an exceptional roster of artists for 1/1,” says gallery director Kimi Rocha-Delgado. “1/1 features some of the top and trailblazing crypto artists, some of whom have made crypto art history, and won international awards.
"Galeria Paloma is focused on bringing digital art to the forefront and presenting the work as viable art assets due to its inherent artistic merit. And with the blockchain infrastructure, there is now a solution to issues that arise in digital art ownership such as authenticity, proof of ownership, and artist royalties.”
The physical exhibition displays the works of crypto art in Samsung The Frame TV screens, one of the solutions Galeria Paloma presents to bridge digital art forms to traditional art practices: a means for proper display. "We are proud to partner with Galeria Paloma once again--this time to put a spotlight on notable Asian digital artists for Crypto Art Week Asia. This partnership enables us to bring to the fore how The Frame TV can display digital artwork the way they are meant to be seen and appreciated," says Mahir Al-Rubah, AV Product Marketing Head of Samsung Electronics Philippines Corp.
Luis Buenaventura II
With the sale of ‘Merge’ at 10ETH, Luis Buenaventura II cements his position as the highest-selling Filipino NFT artist. An astute, symbolic artwork commemorating the Ethereum blockchain’s monumental move from the Proof-of-Work consensus to Proof-of-Stake–a landmark event in the history of crypto–the cinemagraph has Buenaventura’s signature: a direct engagement with the blockchain infrastructure itself, which is not surprising given that he is a keen observer of the crypto galaxy, both as an artist and as a crypto economist.
‘You look at artworks that were produced at certain periods of history and get a sense of how things were back then. It’s one of the reasons why the art I produce right now is very specific and niche, commenting on crypto itself–and at the same time, powered by crypto. I want to be able to look at this twenty years from now and be able to say that this is what it was like in the early days.’ A souvenir–or rather fittingly, a token.
Buenaventura first made his mark on the crypto art scene as one of the artists of Curio Cards (2017), the first work of NFT art minted on the Ethereum blockchain and is the first lot ever offered exclusively in cryptocurrency in the history of Christie’s (hammer price: 393ETH). He is the first Filipino NFT artist to have his work offered at the historic auction house.
The artist is also the Philippine country manager of Yield Guild Games, a startup bringing metaversal income to emerging economies, and a co-founder at BloomX, a licensed cryptocurrency exchange. He has authored two books on cryptocurrencies, The Little Bitcoin Book (2019) and Reinventing Remittances with Bitcoin (2017), and has regularly presented on these topics at the UN, the OECD, and numerous international conferences since 2015.
‘Because I haven’t painted one before,’ 10-year-old Sevi says matter-of-factly, when asked why he painted a manta ray. In Sevi, bravery and the childlike freedom of perspective and from stringent ‘painterly rules’--aspired to by Pablo Picasso when he once said, ‘It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child’--is evident in Sevi’s work.
Considered the first Filipino NFT kid artist, Sevi Agregado minted his first works while still in first grade. Diagnosed with autism at 2 years old, he began art therapy at five which helped him overcome its challenges, but his talent has taken him on a journey beyond the personal and has catapulted him into the metaverse, making his mark in the art space with his colorful, energetic perspective of the natural world.
Agregado’s work have been exhibited in Times Square billboards for NFT.NYC, in Art Basel Miami, various galleries in the United States and in Singapore, as well as Art Fair Philippines. He has also been featured in Vogue Singapore, Coindesk, The Straits Times Singapore, and NFT Kids Magazine, as well as local publications like BitPinas, Esquire, and ANCX, who called him ‘a rising star in the global crypto art scene.’
Ledesma’s visual arts career has focused largely on surrealist collages, which have used mediums just as out-of-the-box, like old makeup. Disparate elements contribute to the composition of her artworks, forming graceful, thoughtful narratives; these have all informed her crypto art pieces.
Surrealist and Dadaist techniques underpin the works, but instead of chaos and pessimism, her works give a sense of ‘hope, possibility, and resolve,’ as she describes them. The strokes are layered, thick, and labyrinthine, but a neutral color palette keeps the work constructive.
The collection she created for ‘1/1,’ ‘Figments and Figures,’ explore inner workings of thought and emotion; titles like ‘Blow My Mind,’ taken from a song lyric, are literal, but never simply so. Perhaps the Anais Nin quote referencing the Talmud, which is the description for ‘Like Me, Like Me Not,’ encapsulates the spirit of her collection: ‘We don’t see things as they are; we see things as we are.’ The artworks realize the ability of the literal and figurative synapses of the mind to arrange a disorienting world into a coherent worldview; or possibly, a disorienting worldview into a coherent world. In either case, her collection–as beautifully laid out in makeup and a mishmash of polished images, doesn’t ignore the hard questions.
‘Ghosts of Luggard Road’ by award-winning Win Magsino is a testament to his artistic eye for capturing beauty in the unexpected. Luggard Road is known for its spectacular views of Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong, which is what Magsino had planned to photograph on his visit. Instead, a thick fog covered the view, and decided to head back, feeling dejected. Walking down the road, he looked up at the trees that lined the road–and found that they made even more captivating subjects.
The images make an arresting chiaroscuro study. Magsino is unapologetic when it comes to the post-processing of his photographs, but this is where art enters the picture, so to speak. While his work naturally tends towards hyperrealism, there is a spirit of expressionism present in his work: the final, resulting image might not be what the camera captured, but they are exactly what it looks like in his artistic mind’s eye–and the viewer is all the richer for it.
Last year, Magsino was awarded the Ani ng Dangal honor from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and has won top honors from international award-giving bodies like the World Photographic Cup, Moscow International Foto Awards, and Budapest International Foto Awards.
Cris Magsino is an award-winning photographer whose career in art began with a degree in Fine Arts in painting, but soon found its way to the photographer’s true passion: landscape photography. His skill and eye are in great form in his work for ‘1/1,’ ‘Symphony of Stars.’
This particular photograph is of the turquoise crater lake of Kawa Ijen volcano, and was awarded the Jury Top 5 selection and Honorable Mention at the 2020 International Photography Awards and Bronze at the 2020 Moscow International Awards. Magsino’s work has also been included in various photography sites such as National Georgraphic.
The animated photograph alludes to passing time and underlines the stillness of the subjects below the night sky, which is just one of the engaging aspects of the photograph that quietly but powerfully draws the viewer in. Magsino shines the spotlight on all the photograph’s objects–the tree on the foreground, the lake, the land, the spectacular sky–making each of them a subject of the image, without diminishing their individual power; just as in a symphony, the composition is expertly balanced and perfectly harmonious.
While the past decades have seen Carlos creating paintings and sculpture, this year he has added crypto art as another medium in his oeuvre. As an artist, he approaches his crypto artwork as a medium by which he is able to express his artist’s philosophy–to tell a story that inspires joy and optimism in the viewer–beyond the canvas. For his work for the collection ‘Colors of Carlos,’ he collaborated with artist and motion designer Isaiah Cacnio, bringing monochromatic versions of the paintings to life through choreographed colorization and animation. In so doing, the crypto art pieces envelop the viewer deeper into the warmth and joy of the worlds he creates in his canvases.
It’s a remarkable progression to add cryptoart to the usual art forms in his art career, which has spanned 40 years and has seen his work included in noted private collections and other accomplishments. His paintings, while depicting idyllic scenes, are also full of symbols. For the crypto art in the ‘Colors of Carlos’ collection, he directed the animation to begin with the wine glasses first. ‘My purpose is to make people realize that life, like fine wine, needs to be sipped and savored slowly,’ he says. ‘There is a story it is telling.’
‘Ang Huling Hapunan’ is a tribute to reproductions of ‘The Last Supper’ ubiquitous to Filipino homes, but made with a Filipino twist–and some tongue-in-cheek commentary.
Employing artificial intelligence in creating the work, Dimarucot’s version of the da Vinci painting morphs into an electric, expressionist/semi-cubist scene of families gathering at a fast food restaurant, where there is always an energetic, vibrant, fun and colorful atmosphere–and is much a part of Filipino family gatherings as are the iterations of ‘The Last Supper.’ The reference to fast food and the use of a candy-colored palette is a wry, witty, and brilliant commentary on the capability of artificial intelligence ‘to spit out imagery in no time, just like the fast food industry,’ Dimarucot says.
Dimarucot is a crypto artist with a long and illustrious career as an art director, graphic designer, and illustrator. He has worked on experiential, digital, web/mobile, and integrated campaigns for brands all over the world including Coca-Cola, Star Wars, Marvel, Nike, Jordan Brand, and Adidas. His work has included officially-licensed designs for athletes in the National Football League, Major League Baseball, and the National Basketball Association.
While Raymond Lauchengco’s award-winning experience with the visual arts started on stage, he has since added director and photographer to his resume, giving his creativity an expression and its own script behind the scenes. In the 1990s, he began pursuing photography as a profession, focusing on portraiture as well as commissioned commercial campaigns and mounting sold-out photography exhibitions. As the world entered into quarantine in 2020, he delved into other forms of visual art, successfully launching his career as a sculptor.
He also began producing digital art, experimenting with the medium by interspersing images in his landscape and seascape photographs to explore the surreal and sublime, which are included in the exhibition. Remarkably, one of his pieces in ‘1/1,’ ‘Dance With the Wind,’ are two photographs taken thirty years apart, its soundtrack an original short story by the singer–who, for the first time, has recorded spoken word and not a melody. This use of narrative in his crypto art pieces extends to three more works, each a heartwarming story full of wisdom and contemplation.
Wyn-Lyn Tan is a Singaporean painter and artist whose work has been exhibited widely, including Singapore, New York, Norway, and Art Basel Hong Kong. Her paintings can be found in the permanent collection of the Singapore Art Museum.
‘A dance between art and science, a collaboration between artist and machine. A visual ode to the heavens and earth colliding, and the cosmic worlds above us. An endless landscape through time and space.’ Thus begins her description of her collection ‘Celestial Projections,’ her work for ‘1/1.’ Her practice centres around her observations of the natural world and phenomena, and are largely informed by her time spent in the Arctic. Fusing the ideologies of traditional Chinese painting with abstract expressionism, Tan’s visual language draws parallels between the Romantic sublime of the Northern Hemisphere with the philosophy of qi, in which emptiness is a field of infinite potential.
Her generative videos are an extension of her painting practice, skillfully balancing serendipity and intention as she collaborates with technology to train her own paintings to create a virtual universe where two realities coexist.
With ‘Like a Flower,’ Isaiah Cacnio presents his first fully-realized, hand-drawn work. His skills as an animator are in full display; the flowers and leaves are sprightly, full of life, alluding to the piece’s title. It’s a clever play on a usual ‘still life’ subject in paintings–flowers–as he turns the expected on its head by being the exact opposite of still.
He also includes pieces from his collection, Fractals, which are his abstracted, colorized, and animated depictions of these never-ending mathematical patterns, scales, and spherical coordinates, which is a fascinating look inside how his mathematical inclinations engage with his creative side.
With an engineering background and a passion for creativity stemming from childhood, Isaiah Cacnio honed his talent as a motion graphics artist and animator in his post as the lead multimedia engineer for the BGC Arts Center, leading projects and teams of sold-out events such as the Van Gogh Alive exhibition in Manila.
His skills as a motion designer and artist led him to collaborations with notable artists like AJ Dimarucot, Carlos, and fellow crypto artists like Jopet Arias, adding a new dimension to their work with animation. Cacnio is an esteemed crypto artist in his own right, with his work cited in the front pages of Crypto Art Week Asia for its current event and last year’s maiden event.
For Jopet Arias, the adoption of the metaverse is parallel to our ingrained human longing for something beyond our reality. Arias infuses his work with spiritual themes to this end, intercepting reality with layers of the metaphysical, spiritual, and Divine by using different technologies to alter the engagement of audience with the artworks from how they are traditionally experienced, and at the same time, drive his point home through the different mediums.
In ‘Psalm 139:9,’ Arias, situates himself (most of his works are autobiographical/self-portraiture) along Vigan Beach, a place he finds is his favourite place of contemplation. The ‘scratches’ on the work are linear, orderly, and fine; with the augmented reality (AR) layer, the painting takes on a different dimension, portraying complex, immense layers of inner workings and spiritual forces unseen by human eyes. Referencing the Biblical passage (‘If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast’), the artwork, in full, is a depiction of the Divine’s full grasp of our total physical and meta- realities regardless of our human inability to see or realize them. In ‘A Day Before Eternity,’ another human longing is depicted: a longing for oneness of our person with another–which, in our reality, is symbolized by the marriage vow–but in Arias’ work is made parallel once again with the more spiritual destiny of the soul.
Jopet Arias is considered one of the forerunners of Philippine crypto art. Founder of CryptoArtPh, Arias shepherds a community of artists with his knowledge and experience of the emerging space. A painter, crypto artist, illustrator, and graphic artist, Arias was also one of the first artists featured in Crypto Art Week Asia and one of the exhibiting artists at Art Fair Philippines with cryptoart metaverse gallery Narra Gallery.
The provenance of Holy Blood’s ‘Holy Foil’ series was serendipitous–or, perhaps, one of the thrills of destiny. In a discarded foil pack, Raf, known professionally as ‘Holy Blood,’ found inspiration for the crypto art he created for ‘1/1’--and drew upon his studies of sacred texts and Biblical passages to construct the imagery. With recurring images that represent the Holy Ghost, cosmic forces, majestic Divinity, and immutable, phenomenal chronicles, Holy Blood has carried the weight of these themes into the works, with reverence and astounding skill.
Holy Blood hails from Baguio City, Philippines. He is a 22-year-old self-taught graphic designer disciplined in art & design of various tastes, cultures, and subtypes. In June 2021, he ventured into the Blockchain industry as an NFT artist creating 1 of 1 digital works of art. In the crypto art community, he has found a kinship with artists based all around the world who share the same mind and passion for art, design, and visual power. ‘I do not consider myself religious by any means,’ says Holy Blood. ‘I do have one firm conviction. The Creator (of the cosmos) draws nearer when artists and creatives push their own boundaries in beauty and chaos.’