Given Singapore’s considerable growth within the technology sector, it comes as no surprise that most of us are familiar—if not, well-versed—with the NFT realm. Vogue Singapore is no exception, where we’ve been spearheading the charge on innovative ventures within the metaverse; creating conversations centering the intersection between fashion and digital assets; and so much more. It stands to reason, then, that as awareness surrounding NFT assets continue to grow, so does the number of locals dipping their toes into the space.
It is certainly a sentiment that Clara Peh, art curator and founder of NFT Asia—a digi-native community with a focus on upholding Asian artists—agrees with. “When we first started NFT Asia in March 2021, it seemed to us that there was already strong interest in NFTs in Singapore, but mostly from those who are already crypto-natives and familiar with the blockchain world. The art world didn’t seem as engaged in the conversation, in Singapore and in the rest of the world,” she elucidates. “In these recent months, it feels as though the tides have shifted, and more and more artists, curators, and collectors seem to have become more interested in the vast NFT ecosystem. So it definitely seems to me that the NFT space here is expanding, and I’d be excited to see more research and interesting discourses around how to foster more support for artists and cultural workers in and beyond NFTs.”
Below, Peh alongside Vogue Singapore rounds up a curation of standout NFT creatives to know of so far, ranging from renowned Singaporean photographers to music artists with a unique vision. See them all, below.
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The high-profile fashion and celebrity photographer has been working with the NFT medium since February 2022, whereupon she has crafted creations in collaboration with metaverse wardrobe forerunners, The Fabricant; digital ledger marketplace, Shoyu; and more. Earlier this year, she also made headlines with a famed buyer by the name of Idris Elba, which happened to be his first NFT purchase.
Noteworthy works from this year includes a photo-meets-virtual reality series titled ‘By Proxy’; a curation of images featuring a 3D model of a young Singaporean schoolgirl engaging in typical adolescent activities. Produced in partnership with long-time friend and photographer, Lenne Chai, the pieces evoke a sense of nostalgia and familiarity unique to the Singaporean experience.
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It’s likely that you’ve seen Howie Kim’s works floating around on Instagram or within specific art spaces in Singapore such as Funan Mall. Specialising in fantastical, mesmerising character designs and vivid colours, Howie Kim’s works have since been made into life-size installations, broadcast on big screens along the Orchard district, and more. “In my general practice, what I enjoy most is creating characters, worlds and stories,” Kim states. His latest project is titled Bongdirk759, and consists of a bevy of original characters that reside in a world of his creation titled Digital Planet 759. “It was inspired by Bongdirk; a pink alien-bear hybrid like character that first appeared in my works some 8 years ago,” he reveals.
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“I think the NFT space is just another medium, so it doesn’t differ from breadth of work. However, there is an element of liberation in its spirit, in the sense that I can make work I really want to make,” says Kristal Raelene Melson. “There’s no influence or pressure of a gallery or curator indirectly shaping the work. I’m also enjoying working with animation and sound and these potentially can exist in the NFT space.”
No doubt, this comes through in the digital artist’s recent NFT creations; a fascinating and haunting succession of portraits dubbed ‘Debaser’ that conveys women defying societal norms and unrealistic beauty standards in a variety of surreal, absurd ways.
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While the fashion realm has experienced many a crossover with the NFT space, the same can’t be said for the entertainment industry. Singaporean rapper, Shigga Shay, aims to change that. “NFTs are the future. Everything we know will somehow be involved with NFTs in due time. What’s fascinating for me is how NFTs and blockchain technology are going to change the music industry,” he wrote in a press release. His debut foray titled ‘SPACEBARS’ dropped in April 2022, and featured a cartoon rendition of himself dressed as an astronaut floating through outer space. All designs sold out within four minutes of it being pushed out via crypto.com.