Artist Takashi Murakami Is Dropping an Army of NFT Avatars

  • December 07, 2021 14:10

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One of Takashi Murakami's 20,000 Clone X NFT avatars.
Image: RTFKT Studios via Twitter

Following Miami's frenzied week of art sales and a parallel race to capitalize on the NFT craze, Japanese pop artist Takashi Murakami teased more of his own NFT avatars, to be revealed this week for public sale on RTFKT.

He hinted on Instagram, then followed with image preview posts @takashipom, writing: "Join me and @benballer 12/9 for a live chat and exclusive drop, only on Instagram Live @ntwrk."

Reactions to the preview images from the artist's Instagram followers range from "Yes, Takashi, yes" to "NOOO NOT YOU TOO."

In the footsteps of popular NFT avatars such as the pioneering CryptoPunks released by Larva Labs in 2017 (with one selling recently for nearly $12 million), Murakami teamed up with collectibles platform RTFKT to offer 20,000 avatars in a project called Clone X. (His first 10,000 avatars have already sold to existing RTFKT collectors in a 48-hour pre-sale.)

Each character will have unique traits and designs, from eyes to clothes, generated through a randomization process. The full-3D models will allow buyers to use 3D files of their avatars in games, Zoom meetings, and other online platforms. 

Earlier this year, Murakami released and then pulled Flower NFTs on OpenSeas, saying he had reconsidered the project. With his new avatar approach, the artist says,  “I have been very interested in NFTs and their potential, and I happened to come across the RTFKT team’s work on Instagram. We started chatting and came to love each other’s work."

Takashi Murakami teamed up with RTFKT Studios to offer Clone X NFT avatars.
Image: RTFKT Studios

Leading artists wading into collectible art NFT territory is likely to accelerate, as creators and collectors get increasingly versed in the potential of the metaverse.

The London exhibition "NFTism: No Fear Trying" summed up the digital art-selling structure's appeal: "Collectors are subsequently able to re-sell their works in a dynamic NFT marketplace in which the artist automatically receives a royalty ad infinitum every time their work is re-sold, creating a transparent and equitable system for artists and collectors and a viable cause for change in the art world."

Said critic and journalist Sophie Haigney to NPR: "I think NFTs are here to stay. I think, you know, like the Magritte this-is-not-a-pipe painting, I think they make a lot of people really angry. And I think part of that is because of the insane prices that we're seeing right now. I think people can't quite believe that somebody is willing to pay $69 million for a digital image. But I do think as a form, NFTs are here to stay. And I think we'll continue to see what happens and what artists do with the form."

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