Filipino NFT Stories: Bjorn Calleja
Bjorn Calleja, a painter and contemporary artist whose work has been exhibited in galleries both locally and internationally, shared his NFT experience with the different projects he worked on for the past year. Calleja stated in the interview, “I started minting NFTs a year ago and am involved with several projects both personal and collaborative (Strange Genesis with 1×1, Bad Acid Bunch with Zootghost, Face Off Notes with Trisant, Terra Ignota with @dennisbato, and Stoopid Avatar Project with the Fx_hash collection being a collab with Liam Egan).“
Who is Bjorn Calleja
“Before finding out about NFTs, I was experimenting with animations to expand on layers of context and ideas to my paintings. I jumped into minting because I imagined it as a suitable platform for showing and marketing new media and digitally native art, including my animations.”
Calleja shared the iconic inspiration behind Stoopid Avatar and how the project started from his hand drawn sketches to how it became digitized, “Stoopid Avatar Project is a satirical commentary on my outsider’s perspective on the PFP culture. It was a project that was born out of my reaction to the NFT collectibles poking fun at the idea via meme marketing and twitter performance, answering every twitter question with an inoffensive ‘yes’ (I was inspired by the ‘Ceiling Painting / Yes Painting‘ by Yoko Ono.“
“The first 120 OG Stoopids were minted from August to September 2021, each piece uniquely hand-drawn from my phone’s notepad and swapped every two days, eventually a community of Stoopids found their way on Twitter and Discord, commenting Yeses at every opportunity. I really wanted to grow the Stoopid community as a social media experiment and therapy, Liam Egan has been instrumental in bringing the Stoopids to Fx_hash,” Calleja stated.
On Overcoming the Challenges as an Artist
Calleja shared some of the lessons he learned throughout his art journey, “Having been making art for almost two decades, I’ve learned to not place much expectations on everything I do, but instead consider everything as less of a career or business move but more as part of my art practice. It has helped myself push through by not setting up projects for either success or failure, and being more appreciative of people who support what I do. Clearing out all the unnecessary noise leaves me with the most important challenge, creating the art.”
About His First NFT Sale
When asked about his first sale as an NFT artist, Calleja expressed the unique experience.“I might have a few secondary sales, I still have one of my 1/1 animations available on primary, and a few editions of my Meaningless Animated Doodles.“
“The first works I minted was under nft.tezos.ph, we were advised that I make my own HEN account to avoid future problems by Presstube, who eventually became my first collector and an artist I look up to. The early days of Hicetnunc was really fun and exciting, it made me feel like I was genuinely part of the community.“
“I have a few projects coming out, including an exhibition with a\terHEN for the ArtFair Philippines 2022. I will be dropping a series of 1/1 animations to coincide with my physical exhibit for the ArtFair.”
Value Over Utility and Marketing
When asked about what NFT enthusiasts would expect with his project and if there is utility or more to the PFP, Calleja shared his thoughts, “I think as a contemporary artist minting NFTs, value should exceed utility and marketing gimmicks, nothing against them but I understand that it’s a long game and there is more to Art than these tangibles. Also the plan is to further my practice and keep growing both as an artist and as a human, at the end of the day, if the artists get big, the supporters/collectors should benefit.”
Bjorn Calleja’s works are found at https://linktr.ee/bjorncalleja. And you can connect with him on Twitter and Instagram.
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