Lucien Smith, who became known in his early twenties for his process-based abstractions painted with a fire extinguisher, has dropped his first batch of NFTs in a collection called ‘Seeds’. The collection is currently being sold through Lobus, an artist asset manager who recently hired Smith to lead its Cultural Innovation Lab. The Lab will partner with elite artists to help them adapt to the digital age, and Smith’s Seeds drop is a kind of proof of concept for the kind of help Lobus can provide.
“NFTs are a really powerful platform for artists to directly build and reach out to their communities,” said Sarah Sherrill, Lobus Co-Founder and Co-CEO. “Lucien had maybe about 200 buyers with his previous practice. With the NFT model, he could reach thousands of people, if not more.”
Each Seed NFT looks like a seed packet you might find at a hardware store, with a sort of screen-printed, Warhol-esque aesthetic inspired by a recent series of paintings Smith exhibited in an exhibition titled Secret Garden at Over the Influence gallery in Hong Kong. Like many procedurally generated NFT projects – see Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks – the Seeds collection is a series of 10,000 works created with an algorithm. Smith designed various properties and attributes which were then mixed and modified into unique combinations of varying rarities.
Sherrill said additional feats of engineering could include a project where holders of Seed NFTs can “plant” them on a special Lobus platform and cross-pollinate them to create hybrids, in a sort of collect-and-grow model that mimics the gamified collecting device. Developed by CryptoKitties in 2017. Such offerings are examples of digitized projects that Smith may not have been able to accomplish without the technical support that Lobus wants to provide to other artists.
“We’re really focused on working with artists with a physical practice who want to expand into the digital world, creators with brand equity who want to protect and work through to a web3 environment,” Sherrill said. When asked why an artist would prefer Lobus over another platform, Sherrill said, “There’s a reason you don’t see Bottega Veneta on Amazon.” Or, put another way, “We understand luxury, and what that means is we understand how important it is for the artist to maintain their brand identity in these first drops.”
With its exclusive range of renowned artists, Lobus hopes to become the go-to platform for the elite of the art world. And so far the strategy seems to be working as DJ Diplo, influencer Zack Bia and music industry insider Brock Korsan show off their newly hacked Seed NFTs on social media.