David Rees

David Rees NFT Artist Interview | NFT CULTURE | NFTs & Crypto Art | Pro Club Bd

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Can you tell us a bit about your background and what got you on the path to becoming an artist and ultimately experimenting with NFTs?

I’ve been a full-time artist for almost a decade. I studied art history at university before embarking on a career in international development, but after seeing an exhibition by artist Andrew Salgado I quit my job to pursue painting full-time. My work was traditional as an oil painter creating bright and colorful portraits and expressive animal imagery.

I was picked up very early by Britain’s largest art publisher, Washington Green. It was a great break as it meant I could paint full time, but it pigeonholed me as a commercial artist and worked within the constraints of what the galleries wanted me to do. I’ve had several shows across the country and sold out large editions of work. I left the publishing house a few years ago to gain more independence and work directly with galleries.

I’ve been following NFTs for a while and I realized the importance of not only digital provenance but also a new kind of art market. I saw it as revolutionary to the art market status quo and spent many more months learning about the culture within the space.

When did you coin your first NFT? Which platform did you choose and why?

When I first learned about NFTs, I wanted to show other trading artists how useful it can be to gain access to this new digital marketplace. I used Opensea to create a collection of 200 NFTs based on 10 of my original oil paintings, using some generative art style variations to make each one unique. I used it because it was free and easy, although I learned an important lesson… times had changed! It was fall 2021 and the world had discovered NFTs. I screamed into a void where I would never be heard unless I found a way to connect with the people within.

Can you tell us something you can’t live without? (and why)

I have two young children and a wonderful wife so they are at the top of my list! That being said, just being creative is probably the answer. I have learned from 10 years of repeating the same types of painting that there is a big difference in creating and being creative.


Who is your favorite artist(s) (non-NFT)? What about her style appeals to you?

Andrew Salgado is a Canadian portrait artist based in London. His work led me to love art instead of just appreciating it. His style has changed a lot over the years, but he still maintains a chaotic exuberance in his color application, but it’s all underscored by an incredible understanding of shape and form. I’ve spent many years trying to be like him, only to realize that you can’t aspire to be someone else.

Who is your favorite NFT artist? What makes this artist unique?

Claire Silver was the first NFT artist I bought and her work still inspires me today. She manages to bring a classic feel to many of her works, inspired by the same artists as me, while juxtaposing them with the most advanced technology we have to create them. It was one of the first times I saw the work of an NFT artist that I could immediately understand and relate to. Her work builds the future of the art world that she wants to see, in a way that she is part artist and part prophetess.

Pindar Van Arman is probably the artist who taught me the most. His storytelling, genuine community involvement and understanding of it all as an art historical movement are quite brilliant.

What made you pursue NFT art?

This question requires a long answer… I’ll try to be brief!

I see it as an art movement similar to the Impressionists or Abstract Expressionism. It’s more than just digital provenance or blockchain technology. It’s the artistic identity of a new digital culture, and that’s incredibly powerful and important. The first generation of people who lived their whole lives as digital natives (that is, born after the internet) are now defining their social systems, their beliefs.

The Impressionists rejected the classical ideals of Renaissance art and, with them, the beliefs on which it was built. It was more than just a change in artistic styles, it was the beginning of a new cultural epoch defined by their art. The same happened with Abstract Expressionism in America. The US became the world superpower in the 1950s. It had supreme wealth and power, but it was jealous of Europe’s culture. It also wanted to be a world cultural leader, but in an American way. Abstract Expressionism rejected European notions of what painting could be, instead it was immediate, physical, masculine. Jackson Pollock wore jeans and a cowboy hat, which he painted on the floor of his barn while smoking a cigarette. That was the image America wanted the world to see, rejecting what came before. It was as much about American identity as it was about art.

Which brings us to the NFTs, which again reject the notion of what art can be by allowing provenance to produce digital art. But even more important is the creation of a 24/7 liquid art market that connects creators and collectors. This rejection of 2000 years of how the art market works is not yet fully appreciated by most people in NFTs. It’s not necessarily better, but it’s disruptive and quite game-changing. The fundamentals of how the art market works have been attacked.

So I want to create art that understands that. This refers to an emerging culture based on technology, finance and digital art. That positions itself to connect the importance of these issues and raise awareness of the tremendous shift that is taking place.

What’s the one NFT you wish you’d bought but missed out on?

Red Light District by OSF. I saw him sell them for 0.069 eth for a while but didn’t feel like glitch art was something I got right. What I missed was that he’s not an art expert, he’s an expert in understanding markets. The NFT became a work of art that would earn you free airdrops from him for life. It wasn’t about the images, it was about understanding the transformation of the NFT art market.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why this location?

I could really use a vacation so probably either Mexico or Thailand!

What are your other passions besides art? Why?

My family and friends, rugby, food, skiing, travel, exercise, books, sci-fi, business and politics. I am interested in most things, but there is not enough time in the day!

Do you do other art forms?

I have been making oil paintings for 10 years

Are you self-taught or trained?

self learned

How did you come up with your special style?

My style is changing, lately I’ve been exploring different ways I can use AI to transform my work

How has your style evolved over the years?

It is now exploring different things namely culture and digital identity

What’s coming in the near future?

I am building towards a large collection based on the transformative nature of our digital identity. It references many of the concepts I mentioned earlier. The first step towards this will be a release based on four physical “painting sculptures” in combination with AI.

If you could work with an artist who would it be? (and why)

I am very connected to the painter Ryan Hewett, his geometric portraits and my growing interest in our digital identity.

What was your biggest failure and what did you learn from it?

When I first left my publishing house, I expected that going it alone would be a lot easier than it turned out to be. I realized that I was a very, very small fish in a very big pond and that people in the art world can be very nice fair-weather friends. I realized that the market I worked in was stacked against me and I’ve been trying to find a way for myself ever since.

What is your biggest piece sold?

My ’emergent’ tracks “A Relic” and “Infancy”

How much did it sell

NFT I sold two pieces for 1.5 eth. The most expensive painting cost £5,000

Do you have upcoming drops?

A small collection based on 4 physical pieces that if goes well will be the seed for a much larger collection.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Thank you for reaching out to me. I have much more to say on a number of subjects, but I’ll try to keep it fairly brief. If you’d like to continue chatting or would like some clarification on what I’m talking about, please let me know!

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