As technology evolves, the world changes along with it. This is true for the art world as much as any industry, and with the advent of crypto-based (web3) NFTs, it’s beginning to look like things will never be the same. Just a few years ago, most of us had never heard the word “Metaverse”, and now the concept of a virtual layer to our society is ever present in most of our minds. Still, as we near what may be an AI singularity event, build greater and more beautiful virtual worlds, and establish the web3 blockchain backbone for all commerce and internet traffic to thrive on, it undoubtedly leaves many of us wondering just what life will be like in the near future.
We are all about change and about blockchain. Yet like anyone else, we also think back to a simpler time when human-to-human interaction felt more organic and deeper. This was the theme of our initial conversation with Figurative NFT Artist Roya Ghassemi, or r0yart, as collectors know her and in the NFT Community. From the moment we shook hands, a sense of calmness and connection is so often missed while online.
“Don’t get me wrong,” Roya mentioned early on, “I am a huge proponent of the Metaverse and all it promises, but I know for sure that life in a virtual world cannot replace the human to human, and human to art relationships I live for in the real world. To viscerally experience full sensory immersion in an art exhibition, to give and receive a great hug, to look someone in the eyes when you are having a conversation… these things cannot be replicated in VR.”
This happened to be the perfect seg-way into the theme of our interview, which was to discuss Roya’s upcoming exhibitions and how her NFT art is impacting the world. The excitement in her eyes lit up when I asked her what the next exhibition for her art would entail. “I’ve never been to the United States,” she admitted, “but even as a young girl growing up in Iran, I imagined what it must be like to walk around a city like New York. Present-day Times Square is the epicenter of marketing’s convergence with digital art, and as an artist with a message to spread, it is such an honor to have my artworks exhibited on screens the size of buildings with millions of people watching.”
Roya explained that she had visited some pretty cool places inside of virtual worlds, such as The Sand Box, where her artwork has been selected to hang in the World of Women Museum, and in Oncyber galleries, which have become the gold standard for beautifully displaying NFT art in digital galleries. “There is no question that virtual worlds and gallery spaces are essential for enabling the frictionless, global sharing of art beyond the geographic and financial barriers which have always separated individuals across the world from experiencing the transformational power of inspired creative expression,” noted Roya, and she spoke of a few incredible gallery spaces she is currently featured in and how meaningful the art collections held in those spaces is.
Still, she went on to share her passion for creating ever more engaging, immersive, and meaningful experiences through her art in physical spaces, explaining how “Captivating someone with the beauty of your art, and then delivering a message, intended or otherwise, directly to their consciousness while immersed in a sense of awe, is one of the most powerful tools of transformation we have in this world, and I am truly excited about this evolution of my own art as I have begun to work with motion designers and exhibition spaces that will allow my still art to come alive.”
Roya has been accepted into an immersive art exhibition space in Dubai, and as she upscales and embellishes her art into this format, it will open doors for all sorts of growing immersive experiences worldwide. She explained that her art is going to be on exhibition at the Revolve Contemporary Museum & Gallery in Ashville, and at the Miami Art Basel this year, and that this is just the beginning of this exciting chapter of her art career.
“I’ve always love making art, always loved how the creative process shifts and heals my own emotional wounds and helps others transform in meaningful ways as well,” she said, “and as an artist, to be able to reach larger crowds of people in more impactful and beneficial ways, is like a dream come true that we all hope for.” As we drew our conversation to a close, we both acknowledged that having conversations like this in person is unlike email, or phone, or even video calling; all of which have become the norm for so many people around the world. The final thing she said which I’ve found myself thinking about often is that “no person is an island, and the day we agree to lock ourselves away inside and abstain from real human interaction, is the day we lose our humanity… to me, art is the perfect excuse to venture out into the world and meet up with friends or colleagues and just enjoy our time together, while experiencing something remarkable.”