When will art make you money? When pigs fly. However, NFT art seems to be making money and the pig mascot of the GrowYourBase NFT membership site has wings. Blockchain Art Exchange (BAE), a leading NFT marketplace, has partnered with GrowYourBase (GYB) to curate Japan’s first physical NFT exhibition, with sponsorship from Metapurse.

To wade deeper into the acronym ocean, NFT stands for non-fungible token. To throw you a lifeline before you drown, “non-fungible” means “unique, irreplaceable”. This crypto art causes as much head-scratching as cryptocurrencies or possibly even more. You can read about it here. In the meantime, all you need to know is this new form of digital art has everyone talking.

Currently ongoing in Harajuku’s UltraSuperNew Gallery, the CrypTOKYO NFT exhibition includes special event days with artist talks, NFT talks and new NFT art to be unveiled. TW went to the exhibition pre-opening on June 25 and here is what we saw.

Micro Pigs With Wings

NFT exhibition

To honor the GYB mascot, there was a micro pig sporting a pair of luminescent wings. Visitors were encouraged to pet it and take a picture with it. The secret was that there were three little piggies taking turns, so none of them got tired. Furthermore, the owner of the micro pigs assured us they are social animals who enjoy people and noises. A bit like a friendly dog.

Digital Canvases

How do you exhibit digital art, especially the non-fungible kind? Surely, you won’t print it. Staying true to the “digital art” classification, the curators of CrypTOKYO decided to show NFTs on digital canvases. The screens hung like canvases on the gallery walls, many of them rotated to resemble a smartphone screen rather than a TV display. Different artwork cycled on the same screen, showing more pieces than a physical space would have allowed if they were prints. These digital screens were also perfect for video and audio NFTs.

NFT exhibition

The multi-sensory exhibit features NFT art from some of Japan’s most notable artists as well as international icons. This includes Yasumasa Yonehara, A Love Movement, Ichi Hatano, Beeple, Robness Cyberpop, Botchy-Botchy and Maxim from The Prodigy. It tells the history of NFT art from its simple beginnings based around flashy GIFs, through the trash art and vaporwave movements and on to the 3D and concept styles that are popular today. As well as viewing the artwork, visitors will also be able to purchase pieces.

QR Codes and AR Apps That Make Art Come to Life

The QR codes in each artwork bring you directly to the BAE website to purchase the NFT, or just take a closer look. But QR codes are already commonplace. Far more exciting is the fact that the BAE app is an augmented reality app that makes the artwork come to life. When scanned with the app, some of the artwork becomes animated and music starts playing.

NFT exhibition

“yen wave” by Tom Badley

Between golden bottles of cider and artists claiming to have met aliens, the first NFT exhibition in Tokyo is as extravagant and mind-boggling as one would expect. For those who want to catch some of the talks with NFT artists, there is a YouTube live stream on July 3. Botchy-Botchy, Twobadour, Maxim and Eugene Riecansky plus Tom Badley will be the speakers at the event.

Exhibition details:

When: Until Jul 17 | 11am—6pm (Closed on Mondays)
Where: UltraSuperNew Gallery, 1-1-3 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku

Visit our Events calendar for more details about this event