Last month, as part of our plan to start the conversation about NFTs in Croydon, we interviewed local artist Marc Craig about his (Forbes featured!) online gallery and learnt more about how he got involved in the NFT scene.
Our mutual excitement about NFTs and the potential they hold for Croydon’s creative community led to us creating Croydon’s first ever NFT art exhibition which officially launches today!
A full description of all the NFTs can be found at the end of this post but to summarise:
The East Croydon Cool NFTs incorporate NFT and Cryptocurrency language (with a tongue-in-cheek twist) to help educate people on some of the key terminology. They come with added utility (initial NFT buyers will be sent an East Croydon Cool mug by post after purchase).
The Johnny Howl Club NFTs showcase a selection of Johnny’s hand-drawn digital impressionist pop art pieces which celebrate a selection of well-known names, buildings and cartoons.
The Marc Craig NFTs give a taste of some of his recent collaborative pieces in which he has worked with famous photographers and metaverse designers to incorporate his trademark doodle signature and bring a new perspective to their work.
The announcement of this NFT project has led to several other Croydon artists reaching out to express their interest in this new creative revolution and we hope to run many more online NFT exhibitions featuring other Croydon artists in the future.
The project has also helped connect us with other local creatives who are embracing the NFT world. Legendary DJ and Croydon Boy, Plastician, (a pioneer in dubstep and grime) initially dabbled in NFTs back in 2017 (having been gifted a Crypto Kitty) but got into it in a much bigger way this year. He believes the potential of them becoming the new way to sell music (which better benefits both the artist and buyer) is genius. He explains more in this video interview (the first hour is well worth a listen as it focuses on his music career which is heavily rooted in Croydon but the NFT chat kicks in around 1 hour 1 minute).
The project has also brought our awareness to another key Croydon creative – Darren Cullen. As well as being the only graffiti artist approved by the UK government, Darren is also the founder of Graffiti Kings – a collective of graffiti artists, street artists, animators, filmmakers, illustrators, music producers & DJs. After coming of age in the “golden era of UK BMXing and Skateboarding” and “kick-starting the birth of UK Graffiti & Hip Hop”, adulthood brought out a new side to the Graffiti Kings who started painting walls legally and became UK’s first professional graffiti and street art company. Graffiti Kings are also BIG advocates of NFTs (we actually bought our first NFT from them!)
Graffiti Kings set up their Graff PUNK$ program to help educate young artists about NFTs and the new digital world – from onboarding to minting and teaching them all things metaverse so they can keep doing what they love to do: creating. To help fund this project, the Graffiti Kings team have created & sold NFTS on the Wax blockchain with 100% of profits being put back into the Graff PUNK$ project. Further details can be found HERE.
The announcement of our NFT project has also seen us introduced to Dr. Vijak Haddadi, the CEO of Syndikat, a digital transformation agency dedicated to accelerating human potential through disruptive technologies and progressive mindsets. Dr Vijack is setting up a Tech Innovation Hub at the new LSBU campus that’s opening in Croydon and is also running a conference at their Elephant and Castle campus next week. “Enter the Cryptoverse” is ideal for anyone keen to learn more about crypto, defi and NFTs. We will be exhibiting at the event and meeting with students to explain more about the ‘Croydon Creatives – the New Frontier’ project. So, if our project has raised your interest in the topic, do come join us at this free event!
Full list of NFT art on display at ‘Croydon Creatives – A New Frontier‘
East Croydon Cool NFTs
Collateral is something pledged as security for repayment of a loan – something that can be forfeited in the event of a default. Laced with a touch of irony (given Croydon’s current financial situation) this piece is a nod to the fact NFTs can now be used to provide collateral for loans.
Minted in the Cronx
Minting is essentially the process of turning digital art into a part of the Ethereum blockchain as a public ledger. The Cronx is a portmanteau of Croydon (or it’s postcode; CR0) and The Bronx and has been used as an affectionate reference for the often maligned Borough. Croydon is not generally considered one of the most affluent areas of London and not many of us are “minted” but perhaps the NFT revolution will change that?
Gas Up Croydon
Gas fees are the transaction fees that users pay to miners on a blockchain to have their transaction included in the block. In ‘The Ends’, to ‘gas up’ is to inflate somebody’s ego via compliments, praise, or actions. Croydon doesn’t always have the best of reputations, so this NFT is a reminder to residents that we need to support our local community.
Taking reference from the original Cryptocurrency – the Bitcoin – the Cronx Coin could well be the currency of the future! The word bitcoin was defined in a white paper published in 2008 by a pseudonymous person or group of people named Satoshi Nakamoto. Who will be Croydon’s Satoshi?
Johnny Howl Club NFTs
Hand-drawn on a tablet, the 50P NFT depicts one of the most iconic buildings in Croydon, No. 1 Croydon. This piece will also be released as an A4 and A3 physical print in November 2021.
A hand-drawn digital impressionist portrait of the multi-award-winning actor, screenwriter, director, producer, and singer.
Originally released as a piece of street art known as ‘Shoreditch is Always a Good Idea’ pasted up just off Brick Lane in East London.
A fun, hand-drawn piece depicting Samantha Stankey and Milhouse Van Houten from The Simpsons. This piece can be found pasted-up on Surrey Street in Croydon.
Marc Craig NFTs
President Barack Obama x Anna Wilding x Marc Craig
This collaboration was months in the making and is based on one of Anna Wilding’s iconic photographs. Anna had a tenure at the White House during President Obama’s term and amongst the many pictures she captured was one she named “When an Invitation wasn’t a question”. Marc’s doodle rendition entices the viewer in further, to pause and reflect on Obama’s incredible life.
Marc was successful in buying one of the much sought-after NFT collectibles from The Notorious Frogs of Frogland (aka FROGLAND.IO). These 10,000 hand-drawn generative NFTs are hugely popular and profitable In the NFT space but require a lot of interaction with the community. The collectibles have the option to be transformed as a derivative and this portrait is Marc’s first rendition.
An Ode to Anna Natter
Like many artists, Marc has been discovering the joys of creating GAN (Generative Adversarial Network) art. Having been a long time admirer of Anna Natter’s work (who shared with him the technology that enables written prose to be turned into art work), he has dedicated this abstract collage – a visual poem of gratitude – to her.
This piece provided Marc a once in a lifetime opportunity to work with legendary photographer Jeff Widener. It is based on one of the most influential photos of all time which was taken by Jeff in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, when the Chinese troops attacked pro-democracy demonstrators. Marc has given it his trademark doodle stamp, to bring fresh energy to this historical moment. The piece will be minted as an NFT on 1st November 2021 with Jeff doing some talks on Clubhouse throughout October.
To visit the ‘Croydon Creatives – a New Frontier’ online exhibition, CLICK HERE.
Financial Investment Warning
All financial investments come with an element of risk. Please do your due diligence before purchasing NFTs.