Web3 is gaining traction in the art industry. This trend is largely due to the growing interest of artists in NFTs. Indeed, this decentralized blockchain technology, based on trust and the authentication of artworks it enables, is seen as the future of art by several renowned galleries and auction houses, such as Christie’s and Sotheby’s. In this exclusive interview, Julien Durix, a rising star of contemporary art in France, explains how he tamed the Web3 and how he lived, as a traditional artist, this transition towards the revolutionary universe of the blockchain.
Many already know you through your work, but can you introduce yourself in a few words to all our readers and the community? What artist are you and what relationship do you have with creativity, art and painting?
I am Julien Durix, I’m 31 years old and I’m a painter. Always passionate about painting and drawing, I’m interested in everything related to artistic creation. For more than 10 years I have had the opportunity to live from my passion and to see my works exhibited all over the world. This is possible in particular thanks to the prestigious Galeries Bartoux through which my works are presented in New York, Paris, Honfleur, Singapore or Miami.
As part of my work, I explore different styles, inspirations and techniques. This allows me to create my own universe and tell special stories. My multidimensional inspiration goes from Charlie Chaplin to Banksy, through POP culture or even Van Gogh and other masters of art history. I like mixing eras and characters, everything that speaks to me personally, to create unique and unexpected works.
Above all, I take the liberty of constructing my ideas, without asking myself which style it corresponds to. Thus I am able to vary the supports and to work as much on canvas as on my sculptures or my works. “Life in Roses”. A canvas covered with silk roses, which I created over a year ago, and on which I give free rein to my imagination. You can discover one in the gallery. This is a 2m tiger, hand painted on over 1,500 roses.
The emergence of social networks has increased the visibility of artists around the world. With the emergence of these new technology vectors such as the blockchain, NFTs or the metaverse, artists can aim even further. How did the artist you know how to adapt and go around Web3?
In my opinion, artistic work loses its meaning if it is not shared. To do this you need to use all the tools available, and social networks are among the most important. I therefore work, every day, to propose new works on my various social networks. I’ve created and shared over 500 so far.
But what people don’t necessarily know about me is that I’ve always been interested in new technologies. I am eager to involve them in my art making process as I consider myself to belong to the generation “connected”which eventually became the engine of my creativity.
This constant desire for artistic innovation led me to discover blockchain technology, NFTs and their wide range of applications in the art world. It is this state of mind that helps me fully immerse myself in digital art to create, explore and innovate! I consider Web3 as a logical evolution of my work as an artist, which I carry out in parallel with my traditional artistic approach.
In concrete terms, how did the migration from traditional art to digital art go for you as mentioned above, with NFTs for example?
Technically, this transition wasn’t new to me, as I’ve been working with digital painting for a while. However, I always try to explore new techniques and mediums in my creative process. With NFT in particular, I wanted to bring together different artistic mediums to create new synergies. Each NFT therefore combines digital painting, video animation, 3D sculpting and even audio.
However, I have to admit that stepping into Web3 as a mainstream artist has been a totally new and different journey. Bridging the gap between physical, traditional art and digital art is one of the major ambitions I want to achieve with my works. And to create this link, I started from the principle that it was important to link the physical works to the collection of my NFTs. Which I achieved through mechanisms such as “progressive burn”. Through its introduction, each NFT may or may not be exchanged for a physical work.
Can you briefly describe your collection of NFTs and all the actions you have taken to become a rooted Web3 artist?
My first collection of NFTs is illustrated by the tool at the origin of any painter’s work: the brush. My very first sculpture, a giant 195cm brush that I hand painted onto, quickly became one of my most iconic works. It was therefore logical for me to draw inspiration from this work for my first digital art collection.
In this collection called “Like a brush”, each brush has multiple characteristics that create different and unique variations. For this, I drew hundreds of new strokes inspired by my original work ” Like a boss “ representing the Pink Panther enthroned, surrounded by two black panthers. But here the famous panther disappears in favor of a boy with a familiar face, on her throne, surrounded by various acolytes.
Beyond just publishing a simple collection of digital artworks, my goal is to create a connection between the physical and virtual art worlds. For this we have imagined this mechanism of “progressive burn” of each NFT, allowing collection holders to burn (exchange) their NFTs for original physical works of art. The term “progressive” is not chosen at random, as the value of tradable artwork increases with each burn window.
What are the real difficulties you had to face to build this universe of Web3 artists?
I think the transition from traditional artist to Web3 artist is a long and difficult path. It requires being constantly informed about current trends and events in the art space in order to innovate.
It is also necessary to master the methods of expression of the sector, because communication is different there, Web3 has its own codes and values with a community that is at least as important and demanding as that of traditional art. There are so many things to adjust to if you want to build legitimacy in this space as an artist coming from physical art.
But no matter where this project takes me, my goal with this first NFT collection is to create art that resonates strongly with people, bringing value to my IRL and Web3 communities, long term.
Finally, what do you have in store for us in 2023? A detailed roadmap? A specific goal in developing your image or career? Important announcements?
Many art projects await me this year. I have new ideas for canvas or rose work just waiting to be made. New sculptures will also see the light of day and I can’t wait to present them.
I also aim to get my work known to as many people as possible and to prepare international exhibitions within the Galeries Bartoux, in New York and Miami in particular. Many events and collaborations are on the way.
As for my digital projects, the complete roadmap of my collection”Like a brush » can be found on the website www.juliendurixnft.io. This collection aims to bridge the gap between my physical art and my digital art, and I couldn’t be more excited about what’s to come.
I’m really looking forward to finding out how many works from this collection will be traded and who will win between virtual art and physical art.
Julien Durix he is one of those painters who look to the future. Working to make the junction between traditional painting and futuristic digital art, he demonstrates his enthusiasm and long-term vision. We don’t know about you, but we can’t wait to see what 2023 holds for artists Web3 and their community.
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