At Wishu, we had the great chance to sit down with multidisciplinary artist Dex Hannon on Monday and talk about all things NFTs. Seemingly the hot topic of the new year, we wanted to educate ourselves on the world of digital art and NFT selling spaces and Dex could not have been more open, intriguing and inspiring. An artist in all senses of the word, he talks to us about his multiple art ventures and how he’s managed to gain a very strong grasp of the NFT art world in just over four months.
Wishu: Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you describe your artwork.
Dex: I have many names I go under for different sectors of the art I create. Dex Hannon is the name I go under for releasing my paintings and what I call ‘digital remixes’ of my paintings. If you think about the way a single is released, someone does a remix which might have a longer journey than the original single but the remix owes so much to the original song. I love that artistic link, so now when I’m painting I think: where else can this go? I ask myself that question with most of the work I do. I also publish short stories inspired by random parts of conversation heard on public transport (Dexuality Valentino). Under another name, I release music where I reinterpret paintings for poetry both as a solo artist and in a duo with Mexican American artist, Eunice Cazarez, in Portland, Oregon. China 9 and Evil Genius are other pseudonyms for other art I create.
Wishu: Is that where the name Broken Toy Company comes from? The idea of being able to make many threads of one overarching artistic theme?
Dex: Yes. I came up with the idea of the name years ago. It’s the idea of a fragmented way of reinterpreting the world around you. Having a name that acts as an umbrella term but also is a work of art in itself – all these individual identities have their own outlook on life.
Wishu: How did you get into NFTs?
Dex: I kept seeing stuff about NFTs over the past year. I didn’t really get how it worked so I was nervous to jump in but I saw the possible route for digital art. An NFT becomes a fixed unique thing on the blockchain and a stumbling block for digital artists has always been the issue of digital copies being so easily made of digital art. NFTs seemed like a solution to this.
I spoke to an artist, Harry Pack, who’s done very well off NFTs. He gave me some tips on joining Open Sea back in September 2021. This was the moment I decided to jump in. Harry talked me through a lot of different platforms such as Open Sea and Known Origin. He suggested I try Open Sea first. It’s a very cliquey environment, anyone familiar with NFT culture on Clubhouse will know what I mean! Open Sea didn’t seem to go anywhere for me but I found success on Known Origin who are a great bunch and super helpful. I have three pieces of work up currently, one of which is sold. The thing with NFTs is you really have to put the work in, it’s not like the traditional art world and attracts a completely different demographic.
Wishu: Do you see that as a challenge or an exciting adventure that you’re happy to jump on?
Dex: I find it exciting! It’s a new audience that works completely differently. Even down to the language you use is different, there’s no gatekeeper of a gallery. Many purchase the art as an investment or because they think it will be a sell on – sell on fees can be 10% or 12% which is great for the artist as it means ongoing profit.
Wishu: How would you – without generalizing of course – characterize the difference between the traditional art buyer vs the NFT digital art buyer?
Dex: When selling in galleries there are a lot of collectors or people that have been following me for a while and they aren’t usually instant attraction buyers. Whereas NFT buyers stem a lot from instant attraction and belief in new digital artistry. It is very much a trading station unlike the traditional art world. It mixes the top end of the art world with instant attraction buyers.
Wishu: What are the difficulties in standing out among other NFTs and how did you manage to break through?
Dex: Finding the right platform for you is hugely important. You have to judge how your niche works with specific sights. For example, Open Sea is more character based whereas traditional artists would find more of a home on Known Origin which requires artist approval in order to have an account. You have to treat yourself like a product and invest in yourself – source the type of person who would buy your work. Stay active on Twitter and `Clubhouse so you’re in the loop of conversations in order to know what works.
Wishu: Are there any other digital artists who you have discovered through your online activity and who you would recommend we check out?
Dex: Definitely Harry Pack. He started selling a couple prints here and there this time last year and now he’s really active, selling pieces for a lot of money. William Kwakuamo is another artist I admire, he paints in a Basquiat style. Also Jasmine Mansbridge who creates geometric work and has been super helpful too.
Wishu: Is there any advice you would give to artists wanting to enter the NFT world right now? Aside from choosing the right platform and staying active in online communities?
Dex: Find as much advice as possible. You don’t have to follow all of it, go with your gut but make sure you’re informed. You need at least £500 to start off and you need to be thinking about safety and prepared to invest. Look into the gas rates, make friends in the networks and I would say Twitter is the main selling place so stay active! Also, of course, don’t share your wallet information with anybody, even friends from the community. Be as cautious as possible.
Wishu: What is coming in the near future? Do you have any upcoming drops?
Dex: I’m currently working with Secret Agenda artists and we are hosting an exhibition on the history of Antarctica, sustainability climate change and the 2041 Foundation set up by Explorer Robert Swan, it’s going to be the first art exhibition held in Antarctica.
NFT collection 👇