• Gary Vee’s New NFT Platform Targets Fine Art, Opera

  • Investor and social media influencer Gary Vaynerchuk has quickly become a major player in the NFT space, launching his own hand-drawn VeeFriends series – which will feature individual sessions in 2022 – and partnering with brands like Budweiser and the US Open to engage them with digital assets. Now, he’s partnered with a prominent fine art gallery to launch an NFT marketplace.

    Art Official is the name of this marketplace, which is an ethereum-based digital artwork platform. It was created by real-world gallerist Vito Schnabel (who has locations in New York and Switzerland) in partnership with Vaynerchuk’s VaynerNFT consulting firm.

    The platform’s first offering is a series of works by contemporary Italian artist Francesco Clemente, marking his first digital creation. The work “Milarepa’s Dream” depicts a white flag pierced through the heart, and the winner will also receive a live watercolor portrait by Clemente, who has painted well-known artists and public figures.

    In addition, the auction will launch with NFT works from Clemente’s project “Our Backs to the Sea Away from Our Homeland,” which includes music by the influential composer and pianist Philip Glass. These NFTs also include a live artist experience.

    The NFT acts like a verifiable deed of ownership of a scarce digital item, whether it’s a painting, a video file, or something else entirely. In this case, Art Official has also bundled a live experience component in an attempt to differentiate its product and create more demand.

    “What inspired me to launch the NFT Artwork Marketplace,” Vaynerchuk tells us, “was the partnership with Vito, as we were able to reach extremely high-quality artists on the platform.” This will be a major differentiator in the field. At the end of the day, Vito’s ability to curate, along with our ability to innovate on the product and strategize around the art and create demand for it, is a winning combination.”

    Later this fall, Art Official will present what it calls “the first opera NFT” – an original audiovisual work by Grammy-winning composer Mason Bates. In addition, Vito Schnabel Gallery artists such as Jordan Kerwick, Spencer Lewis, Robert Nava, Ariana Papademetropoulos, Julian Schnabel and filmmaker Gus Van Sant will present NFT works on the platform.

    There is no shortage of marketplaces to buy and sell artwork in the NFT space. Leading marketplace OpenSea – which saw more than $3.4 billion in transactions in August – is best known for its secondary sales. Meanwhile, platforms like SuperRare and Nifty Gateway focus on curated NFT placements from a range of creators, including celebrities, digital artists and more.

    Schnabel told us that Art Official will set itself apart from other platforms by focusing on the fine art world and being the first NFT marketplace from an established commercial art gallery. In addition, it is the first NFT art marketplace created in partnership with Vaynerchuk, which Schnabel calls “one of the visionaries in the NFT space.”

    “Until now, the art world has mainly talked itself into the NFT field,” says Schnabel.” Our concept is to significantly broaden the conversation by talking to the NFT field, which already exists and is full of activity, to speak the language of the field and to help our artists do the same. Our goal is to give good artists a gateway into this world.”

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