Porchie becomes SA’s first artist to launch generative NFT art collection with his unique collectibles

Viljoen and his “Cycling by the Riverside” NFT. Picture: Supplied

Viljoen and his “Cycling by the Riverside” NFT. Picture: Supplied

Published Aug 20, 2022


Johannesburg - Acclaimed local contemporary painter and sculptor Jan Hendrik Viljoen has become South Africa’s first artist to sell a collection of generative art through non-fungible tokens (NFTs) which is taking the world by storm.

By using a randomised digital generator, a collection of only 1 000 NFTs will be created starting next week and will be titled, “Cycling by the Riverside”.

Also on August 25, fans of the artist, affectionately known as “Portchie” can start minting their unique art pieces. The whitelist for the innovative art collection commenced on Thursday, but those not on the list can begin their artwork minting on August 28.

Minting means to take digital data and turn it into crypto collections or digital assets which will allow fans from across the world to have the ability to instantly own the unique collectible. Fans can mint their NFT as opposed to buying it.

A whitelist in the NFT world is a list of people who get in early and are guaranteed access to mint and often have the opportunity to buy the NFT at a lower price before its made available to the general public.

NFTs have earned worldwide recognition over the past few years. The non-fungible token is a financial security system made up of digital data stored in a blockchain, a form of distributed ledger technology.

NFTs can really be anything digital, such as drawings, music, as well as your brain downloaded and turned into an artificial intelligence (AI). It is also a digital asset that exists completely in the digital universe, which means you can’t touch it, but you can own it. And with Facebook and Instagram working on enabling users to use their NFTs within their platforms, owning art in the digital world is set to become mainstream.

Each of the Stellenbosch artist’s NFTs will be digitally created so that every one of the multiple hand-painted elements and their variations is given a chance to be randomly selected and then combined to create a unique piece of digitally created art.

Each unit will be selling for 0.075 eth (about R2 200 at time of writing) for those on the whitelist and 0.1 eth ( about R3 000 at time of writing) for those part of the public mint.

Portchie is thrilled to become South Africa’s first artist to launch a generative NFT art collection.

“Art is something that brings joy to my eyes and mind and that makes life special for me,” he said.

“This project is very exciting because I’m not a digital artist, but I am able to achieve something like this.”

For his collection, Viljoen partnered with a team of creative technologists to create a system by which each NFT will be digitally created.

Viljoen’s “Cycling by the Riverside” NFT. Picture: Supplied

Portchie’s art quickly became popular after selling out at his first big solo exhibition in 1991, and in 1995 he went on to open an art studio called The Red Teapot Gallery, where neighbouring art galleries in Stellenbosch started buying his art.

His artworks are also a trademark of vibrant colours, distorted shapes and blue trees and can be described as a “burst of joyful colour”. Since he started his career, Viljoen has sold more than 18 000 original paintings and more than one million prints worldwide.And unlike limited editions or prints, Viljoen’s NFT collection will consist only of unique collectibles, with no duplicates.

NFT art hit global mainstream news over the last year, with several high-profile sales garnering millions of dollars. An example was last year, when Mike Winkelmann’s “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” NFT collection was sold for $69.3 million (more than R1.5 billion).

In addition to owning Portchie’s digital asset, each NFT will enable its owner to redeem a high-definition print of their collectible, signed by Viljoen himself. The artist will also accept a limited number of commission requests from those who would also like a painted copy of their unique collectible.

Those who want to be on the whitelist can:

– Go to Discord and sign up to join the “Cycling by the Riverside” community of fans and art lovers.

- Subscribe to the newsletter on the website. You will then be emailed and your wallet addresses will be collected and will be notified on the day it all goes live.