Artist Portchie makes history using NFTs

South African artist Jan Viljoen known as Portchie. Supplied

South African artist Jan Viljoen known as Portchie. Supplied

Published Aug 20, 2022


Cape Town - Having sold more than 18 000 original paintings and 1 million prints worldwide, South African artist Jan Viljoen is breaking barriers by becoming the first artist in the country to sell a collection of generative canvas art through non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

By using a randomised digital generator, a collection of only 1000 NFTs will be available for purchase starting on August 25.

Viljoen, known as Portchie, said art brought joy and made life special for him.

“I feel privileged and special to be involved in such a lovely project. It's great to know that I can play a part in the development of something.

“This project called Cycling by the Riverside is very exciting because I’m not a digital artist, but I am able to achieve something like this,” he said.

An NFT is a digital asset that exists completely in the digital universe. You can’t touch it, but you can own it.

And with Facebook and Instagram working on enabling users to use their NFTs on their platforms, owning art in the digital world is set to become mainstream in the future.

He partnered with a team of creative technologists to create a system by which each NFT will be digitally created. This means each of the multiple hand-painted elements and their variations is given a chance to get randomly selected and then combined to create a unique piece of digitally created art.

His artworks are a trademark of vibrant colours, distorted shapes and blue trees and can be described as a burst of joyful colour.

Unlike limited editions or prints, this NFT collection will only consist of unique collectibles, which means you will not be able to find two that are a copy of each other. NFT art hit global mainstream news over the past year with several high-profile sales garnering millions of dollars.

Viljoen said being able to create new art every day and seeing people’s reaction to his work kept him motivated.

“Creating art is like creating music. You are creating something that will live forever and to me, that is special,” he said.

In addition to owning the digital asset, each NFT will enable its owner to redeem a high-definition print of their collectible, signed by Viljoen.

He will also accept a limited amount of commission requests from those who would also like a painted copy of their unique collectible.

He said what was special about this project was the fact that they will be minting 1 000 art pieces, which will all be unique in some way.

“Essentially, each piece is individually created making no two art works the same,” he added.

Alice Pretorius from Alice Art Gallery said she had been friends with Viljoen for more than three decades.

“His art captures everything that I treasure in people such as joy, happiness, honesty and integrity. These values represent him as a person and come across in his work,” she said.

Weekend Argus