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Courtesy of Jonathan Yeo.
Courtesy of Jonathan Yeo.
Courtesy of Jonathan Yeo.
Courtesy of Jonathan Yeo.
Courtesy of Jonathan Yeo.
Art

Jonathan Yeo’s Inaugural NFT Explores Portraiture Beyond Tradition

By Eliza Jordan

April 6, 2021

Jonathan Yeo’s inaugural NFT work Self Portrait³ is open for bidding on SuperRare through Thursday at 1 p.m. EDT. Minted yesterday through an exclusive partnership with Verisart and SuperRare as part of “10×10: 10 inaugural NFTs by 10 major contemporary artists over 10 weeks,” the piece expands upon the British artist's work with digital technologies to highlight his exploration of the portrait. A portion of the sale's proceeds will be donated to the Young Minds Charity through Verisart’s Fair Trade Art certificate

Open Gallery

Courtesy of Jonathan Yeo.

Communicated by 2-D and 3-D visuals, the piece is a form of contemporary storytelling, bringing together themes that have guided his practice through today. Self Portrait³ takes the onlooker to the artist’s studio and introduces them to an imaginary artwork—a self-portrait of the artist—complemented by a visual story of its creation.

As the camera moves through the space, the viewer sees the canvas work on an easel through various angles and moments in time. Typically considered a traditional genre, portraiture is getting an update by Yeo, who is embracing technology to experiment with our view of self, of the image, and of the representation of both.

Open Gallery

Courtesy of Jonathan Yeo.

As one of the world’s leading portraitists, Yeo has exhibited in his home country of the UK, as well as abroad, and has painted some of history’s most notable figures. Subjects of his—including Sir David Attenborough, Malala Yousafzai, Damien Hirst, Idris Elba, Nicole Kidman, Baroness Lawrence, and The Duke of Edinburgh—have personally witnessed his ability to harness reality, embrace detail, and deliver a stunningly accurate visual depiction of humankind. 

Open Gallery

Courtesy of Jonathan Yeo.

In 2016, this mastery was shaped by his interest in technology for a full-circule moment, when Yeo was asked by Google to help develop their drawing software for virtual reality. Concurrently, he was examining how new technologies—like 3-D printing and photogrammerty—could be used in portraiture. These innovations and ideas led to the release of his first large-scale sculptural work, Homage to Paolozzi, a year later in December 2017 at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. In the past few years, Yeo’s idea of the portrait and its ability to change with technology has only expanded.

Open Gallery

Courtesy of Jonathan Yeo.

“There’s an incredible feeling of liberation when you realize you’re able to do things which aren’t possible in the real world, when the rules of traditional art media, or even the laws of physics, no longer apply,” said Yeo to SuperRare. “I started exploring 3D, digital and virtual tools for making art about 5 years ago and had no idea where any of it would lead. It wasn’t clear at that point if there would ever be an opportunity, let alone a platform, to show the work at all, which is why it’s so exciting that this is happening now and I’m fascinated to see what new genres evolve as it progresses.”

NFT

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