British street artist destroys his own mural to create crypto-artwork
British street artist Nathan Murdoch contemplates the mural he just spray-painted, a giant image of two hands wearing rainbow-colored gloves and joined in prayer, then throws a large spoonful of white paint directly onto it from an open box.
The destruction of the freshly created fresco is part of an artistic project straddling the physical and virtual worlds. The original image will not survive, but two versions will, one printed and the other a digital file called NFT.
âWe’re going to do a singular print that will go to an eBay auction, and then we’ll do a singular NFT print, which will also go to auction, which is basically crypto art,â Murdoch said.
NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token, a type of digital asset verified using blockchain technology. NFTs are increasingly popular in the art world because they make a file unique by allowing it to be authenticated at all times, regardless of the copies.
In a record-breaking auction at Christie’s, an NFT by American artist Mike Winkelmann, known as Beeple, sold for nearly $ 70 million in March, raising the profile of NFTs that some artists and collectors see it as the key to the future of the art market.
âAnyone can take photos of artwork, but they don’t own it,â Murdoch said. “That will be, you buy ownership of the file.”
For Murdoch, who is based in the central English town of Peterborough, the decision to immediately destroy his mural is a new departure from his previous projects. It allows him to transfer the status of the original job to the printout and the NFT.
âAll other evidence of this will be destroyed,â he said.
âI basically create art in the real world, but then I’m going to convert it for use in the digital space … opening [it] to a much larger and more global audience. “
The image depicts a doctor or nurse praying, and the colorful gloves refer to images of rainbows that many Britons displayed in their windows during the first COVID-19 lockdown in solidarity with hospital staff.
Murdoch plans to donate the proceeds from sales of the print and NFT to the UK’s National Health Service.
The artist gained international attention after a mural promoting racial harmony he painted in a Peterborough underpass in 2019 was shared widely on social media, including by American rapper Ice T , during the Black Lives Matter 2020 protest movement.
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