NFTs have the potential to democratize imagination

Joshua Skirtich is the creator of Jenesis, an Ethereum NFT collection of virtual reality sculptures. He has managed to sell over nearly everything he owned to focus on creating art for the metaverse.

NFTs have the potential to democratize imagination
NFTs have the potential to democratize imagination

When Skirtich sculpts in virtual reality (VR), he is free of the restrictions of the physical world. With a limitless digital canvas to utilize as he sees appropriate, he may think up things that aren't influenced by his immediate physical surroundings.

That's important because when he removes his Meta Quest 2 headset, he's returned to an almost empty 100-square-foot room in Queens, New York, with just a computer desk on one end. The walls are purposefully left blank, while the floor is covered in soft, interlocking EVA foam panels that resemble a sneaker's midsole.

Skirtich took the purposeful choice to remove any traces of the actual world from his living quarters—a small room in a month-to-month apartment—to explore the creative potential of creating in and for the metaverse.

Skirtich is the creator of Jenesis, a collection of digital sculptures available as Ethereum NFTs. Each Jenesis NFT symbolizes a single 3D figure that he hand-sculpted in VR, and each NFT acts as evidence of ownership for the item. The sculptures may be 3D printed or digitally placed into real-world settings using augmented reality.

People may utilize avatars in 3D surroundings to work, play, and socialize in the metaverse, a future, more immersive version of the internet. The future metaverse will likely be powered by blockchain technology, with NFTs representing things like avatars and clothes that may be accessible across many interoperable online locations.

However, the phrase "metaverse" is a little hazy right now. Facebook is working to create a metaverse, but it may not be as open or crypto-friendly as other ideas. When tech titans speak about the metaverse, it's easy to understand that they're more interested in VR and AR experiences than NFT-powered surroundings and locations.

Decentraland and The Sandbox are contemporary examples of what's possible in the Ethereum metaverse, but it might be years before the larger metaverse takes form at scale. Meanwhile, Skirtich is thinking about the potential for artists working with NFTs and in digital environments.

Skirtich hasn't lived in a small New York apartment before, but the previous one had many more things. He previously resided in an 88-square-foot Brooklyn room featured in Dwell magazine in 2021, with equipment neatly stored on a pegboard and garments hung near the ceiling that was accessible through a pulley system.

He began researching the potential of making and selling solely digital art—sculptures that aren't necessarily inspired by the actual proportions and qualities of real-world inspirations—last year, as the NFT sector matured and discussion of the future metaverse increased.

Jenesis is a collection of 103 digital sculptures in the metaverse that Skirtich describes as "making cave paintings." Jenesis was his first move toward creating his metaverse universe, which explains the name—a homage to creation myths and legends and the "J" from his initial name to indicate his position as a creator. 

Human figures influence each Ethereum NFT sculpture, yet in various positions and proportions that indicate body language—and with a glossy surface that lacks distinct detail or texture. He claims that this offers viewers and collectors a lot of room for interpretation.

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According to statistics from DappRadar, the NFT industry boomed in 2021, producing $25 billion in trade volume spanning artwork, collectables, video game goods, and more—and this year might be even bigger, with a Q1 figure already reaching $12 billion.

Many artists have resorted to NFTs, which confirm ownership of the original item and provide scarcity for digital commodities that are often duplicated and shared. Skirtich recognized the influence of early, prominent profile image efforts such as CryptoPunks, but said that the market is now flooded with knockoffs.

Skirtich, who recently built NFT passes for some. place, a Flow-based metaverse app with actress Brie Larson as a fan, noted that there's an excess of technologists pushing the NFT area right now and that it's still early days for artists to make the leap and embrace the medium.

However, several well-known artists are considering the metaverse. Daniel Arsham, a sculptor and painter, recently told Decrypt that he utilizes NFTs to create art that is "impossible" to create with physical materials and limits and that some of the metaverse creation ideas he's seen are "quite fantastic."

While we may see more established, traditional artists join Arsham, Damir Hirst, and others in the NFT world, Skirtich believes that the endless digital canvas and improving tools and infrastructure will "democratize imagination," allowing anyone to bring their creative ideas to life and share them with the world via NFTs.