There is something ethereal about the works of Luna Ikuta. The ghostly white glow of swaying flowers first captures your attention, drawing you in to take a closer look at the almost-otherworldly underwater garden. On closer inspection, the structural details stand out—the delicate veins on each flower petal, the hollowness of individual plant stems and the luminous translucency of every item in the botanical arrangement.
It is tempting to write this off as the work of computer graphics, but the reality—as Ikuta explains—is the product of two long years of continuous research and experimentation. The result is a pioneered art form that combines sculpture, digital media and chemistry, along with techniques pulled from aquascaping and ikebana. To create the ghostly botanical arrangements, she developed a technique to strip away the pigments and chlorophyll present in plants—compounds that give them their vibrant hue—while preserving their structural integrity.
It is this unique arrangement—where each terrestrial plant is physically whole, and yet, not quite so—that gives Ikuta’s works the ability to straddle the liminal space between life and death. Each piece is ephemeral and lasts for a few months before it disintegrates. Yet, for that space in time, the botanical arrangement exists as though alive, suspended in a solution that stimulates movement to mimic that of a reincarnated spirit. “When you take a closer look, you see that plants never move like that in the wind. It is this aspect that causes people to believe it is a simulation, further adding to the mystery each piece,” adds Ikuta.
It is the prerogative of every artist to push their own boundaries, and for the Japanese artist who’s based in Los Angeles, the opportunity presented itself in the form of a collaborative NFT drop with Vogue Singapore. The collection—comprising of 13 unique pieces—sees Ikuta introducing colour to her work in a way never done before. Combining colourful and transparent flora in a singular bouquet, the result is an alluring contrast that is both alien and familiar.
Inspired by our January/February theme, ‘Grace’, this limited NFT series will be available for purchase as two separate drops on SuperRare. The first drop, happening 31 January, 9PM SGT (8AM EST), presents our January/February digital cover: ’12 Months of Afterlife’ as a looped video with sound. Thereafter, on 8 February, 9PM SGT (8AM EST), the remaining 12 NFTs—each animated creation named after a flower to correspond with every month in the year—will be released.
12 Months of Afterlife: An NFT collection by Luna Ikuta x Vogue Singapore
Here, as the featured artist for Vogue Singapore’s inaugural NFT drop for 2022, she expounds on her time in the metaverse, what the concept of grace means to her and what she hopes to see in the future for NFTs.
Tell us about your journey into the NFT space—when did you hear about NFTs and what made you decide to mint your creations for sale as NFTs?
I minted my first piece, California Poppy, in October 2020. It feels like generations ago, only because the space has changed so much since. I was introduced to the metaverse by some friends but even so, no one was really talking about NFTs. I saw it as an opportunity to experiment and decided to trust my instincts.
How does your art form fit in with the world of NFTs?
Those new to my works tend to assume that it is the product of computer graphics. As such, the physical exhibition of my works continues to play a large role in my practice. Each physical piece only lasts for a few months, but before they disappear, they are embalmed on film as digital artworks and converted into NFTs. It is this fleeting and experimental nature of my work that compliments the longevity and eternal aspect of the metaverse.
Tying back to our theme of ‘Grace’, how has this concept influenced your work and your interactions in the metaverse?
I believe humility is the root of grace and I aim to capture that sentiment in my work. Nothing I create will ever match up to the beauty of nature itself and it is this limitation that reminds me to observe the world from a humbler place. As the metaverse expands, there exist pockets of ungracious activity, and I find it important to remind myself of the reasons why I create what I create, and to avoid getting swept up in the pace of things.
Videography Zexi Qi
Soundscape Danny Goliger
What excites you about NFTs and where does fashion fit into the picture?
The metaverse is a progressive world that supports non-traditional ways of thinking, and I am grateful for the connections and opportunities this movement has brought. It is exciting to see how this space has created connections and utilised technology in so many different ways.
Fashion is deeply ingrained in my interests and I am eager to see how the metaverse will continue to grow and adapt to work around these new projects. Digital wearables are now entering the marketplace, and I see this as just another sketch thrown out there for conversation. The potential and communal support of ideas excite me and I can’t wait to see how we continue to interact with NFTs in the future.
What can we look forward to in your upcoming NFT collaboration with Vogue Singapore?
12 Months of Afterlife is a garden of transparent plants that represents the liminal space between life and death. As the inaugural launch for 2022, I thought it would be fitting to create a calendar collection for the new year. Each month is represented by a different flower that acts as the visual ambassador for the month based on their seasonality and beauty.
That’s lovely, do you have any advice for creators looking to enter the metaverse?
The metaverse is still such a new concept that I would encourage artists to have an open mind, considering that everyone is learning about this space together. I believe that it is important to recognise that there are many types of NFT projects, and that each was made with unique intentions. I want to emphasise that this space is not limited to digital artists and that it is just a new way of using blockchain technology as a medium to create space for and elevate a new vision.
Join the NFT auction on SuperRare
To take part in the auction, here’s what you need to do:
- Create a crypto wallet using one of SuperRare’s supported platforms
- Deposit cryptocurrency into your wallet
- Connect your wallet to SuperRare
- At 9PM SGT (8AM EST) on January 31 and February 8, login to SuperRare for Vogue Singapore’s exclusive NFT auction
- Click on one of our available artworks to bid or purchase
- Revel in the pleasure of owning a piece of NFT art created exclusively for Vogue Singapore
- Then add on to your collection by checking out the other Vogue Singapore NFTs on offer
To find out more about SuperRare and the NFT space, join in a Twitter Spaces conversation hosted by SuperRare on 31 January, 11PM SGT (10AM EST).