Banksy Burns

By Alixandra Rutnik on Jun 04, 2022

Discussing NFTs as an art medium with One Club Member Xin An


Is filming burning art, art?

One Club Member and UX Designer Xin An would argue that yes, it is. Xin was involved in capturing a Banksy piece of art burn to ash, which in turn sold for 380,000 thousand dollars as an NFT. Crypto, amirite?

The goal of this project was to reveal that art holds value outside the physical realm. The video of the Banksy burning generated endless conversation, and we too had a lot of NFT-related questions to pose. Thankfully, Xin gave us the answers we were looking for.



As a UX/Product Designer, what’s your take on the NFT space right now?

I started collaborating with projects in the crypto space as a designer in 2017. I was meticulous in ensuring my designs would enable new cohorts of users to seamlessly onboard into the industry.

I first learned of NFTs as a concept that utilizes blockchain technology to verify ownership similar to crypto as a whole. NFTs began to make a larger presence with the launch of CryptoPunks, a series of collectible digital characters traded as NFTs.

I personally collect and invest in NFTs. I mainly take into account the artist who created the NFT and the art style itself when collecting NFTs. When I invest in NFTs I of course have to take into account other factors such as the size of the project, community, and its upcoming roadmap.

Over time, the community and the membership aspect of NFTs are becoming the major driving force behind the asset class. Essentially, users are purchasing NFTs in order to get access to exclusive communities.

"Over time, the community and the membership aspect of NFTs are becoming the major driving force behind the asset class."

The power of community could be unlike anything we’ve witnessed before, with NFTs affording many artists the opportunity to share their work and larger message. Take the Bored Ape NFTs, for example — the Bored Ape Yacht Club, with its 10,000 members, is the most visible example of people finding community through a shared virtual experience. They’ve even begun to host real-life events and meet-ups.

NFTs come with the opportunity to help established brands generate royalties in perpetuity while keeping their customers engaged. Also, NFTs tend to be more valuable than their real world counterparts given the rarity– Nike's new NFT sneakers sold for more than $100,000.

"Also, NFTs tend to be more valuable than their real world counterparts given the rarity– Nike's new NFT sneakers sold for more than $100,000."

The adoption of NFTs from prominent companies is continuing to raise awareness for the sector. Titans in the fashion industry such as Prada, Richemont, and LVMH (the parent company of Louis Vuitton) are beginning to explore NFTs which can educate new audiences.

So how did you get involved in this stunt where you burned an original Banksy and sold it as an NFT?

I was the lead product designer at Injective Labs, the company behind the stunt itself. I helped to create the NFT that was later sold through an auction process.

The idea came to us as we sought to make a bold statement around NFTs to demonstrate that NFTs are just as valuable as physical artworks. Essentially, we took an authentic Banksy painting and burned it before minting it into an NFT. In this manner, we wanted to show that the value of the physical art was transferred onto the NFT itself. Eventually, the NFT sold for nearly four times the value of the original which again helped to highlight our original thesis that the digital art was just as valuable if not more valuable than the original.

"The NFT sold for nearly four times the value of the original which again helped to highlight our original thesis that the digital art was just as valuable if not more valuable than the original."

We view this burning event as an expression of art itself. First of all, we deliberately chose a Banksy piece since he has previously shredded one of his own artworks at an auction. We wanted to take it a step further by bringing the piece into the digital realm to bring a thought provoking concept to the public.

BBC printed that this was “a mission to bridge the world of physical art with NFTs.” Why do you want to connect these two mediums?

The purpose of burning the Banksy was to showcase how the value of true art does not solely lie in the physical world. We wanted to connect the two mediums while also showing how art, and the value of art, transcends any medium, whether it is within a physical or metaphysical space.

I believe we achieved our initial goal. The event itself generated a great deal of publicity worldwide and became one of the highest trending stories in the art world at the time. We wanted to start a conversation about the transfer of value from physical to the digital world. In addition, many started to research and understand the value of NFTs after the burning itself. Lastly, the NFT we generated sold for a value that was nearly four times higher than the original, helping individuals to better understand the space and the value of NFTs as a whole.

Besides the fact that Bansky has destroyed his own work before by shredding it, what was the reason behind choosing a Bansky piece? And why did you live stream it burning on Twitter?

There were a few reasons we chose the particular artwork.

Firstly, Banksy is known for creating art that sparks controversial conversations around art itself. The piece we chose displayed an art auction and is titled “Morons” which helped encapsulate just how nonsensical the real world of auctions can be at times. It also highlighted how exclusive these auctions were at times. By burning this piece we were able to make a larger statement about the changing landscape of art and how it could be appreciated by all.

We wanted to bring an auction to the public whereas most auctions in the real world are reserved for an elite club. This is also why we streamed the burning on Twitter where anyone in the world would have access to the event.

What was your goal with this project and was it accomplished?

The goal was really to bring more attention to NFTs and the industry as a whole and to show how value can be transferred from physical to digital. We certainly accomplished our initial goal and helped to highlight changing trends in the industry with the event.

What projects can The One Club look forward to seeing you get involved in next?

I truly believe in showcasing and creating avenues for artists to have more ownership. I'm currently working on a project with Burnt Banksy to create a platform that turns everyday art into NFTs without requiring artists to know how to code. It allows artists to utilize blockchain technology but focuses solely on their art.

The project is called Burnt Finance and I will continue to update the community as the platform goes live.

XINANDESIGN.COM


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