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Transforming steel origami animal sculptures into NFT art

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Marking their first venture, newly launched NFT Inc. has collaborated with Hawke’s Bay artist Ben Pearce to transform his latest sculpture series, #PaperPalsAotearoa, into a limited run of NFT art.

"I was driven to offer viewers something they couldn't get when seeing the physical sculptures.Only a small handful of artists in Aotearoa are currently transforming their work into NFTs. We are at the onset, so it's a special thing to be part of", shared Pearce.

The Wellington Sculpture Trust commissioned Pearce’s project as part of their biannual 4Plinths Sculpture Award, backed by the Collin Post Trust.

Pearce won the award with his concept of four origami-style animal sculptures, 2 meters in height, made of colourfully painted sheet steel. When designing the project, Pearce, who sold his first NFT artwork last year, was also interested in expanding #PaperPalsAotearoa into NFTs.

Chair of the Wellington Sculpture Trust, Sue Elliott, said, "This is the Wellington Sculpture Trust's first foray into the NFT world, and it seemed an exciting move to extend one of our temporary works in this way. With the award, the works remain the property of the artist. The Trust unanimously supported the idea and is excited to see the response".

To transform his work into NFT art, Pearce acquired specialist support from NFT Inc., a kiwi company established to help businesses and creators unlock the power of NFTs and Web3.  

NFT Inc. co-founder Elliot Maher shared, "From artists to orchardists, we believe every business selling physical goods will eventually move to Web3, and we’re interested in helping businesses make their first step".

"One of the major advantages of creating an NFT is that it becomes a digital, tamper-proof certificate of authentication for the associated product, accessible through multiple uses of technology.""Essentially, owners of Ben’s digital artwork will be able to verify that it’s authentic. But let’s not forget, they’ll also have invested in some of Aotearoa’s earliest sculptural work turned into NFT art.

"Pearce collaborated with specialist visualisation designer Rupert Enberg of ENBERG STUDIO to create the NFT art. Working with 3D sculpture files, Enberg transformed the files into digital artworks showcasing the animals in moving, life-like natural environments. Enberg commented, "We wanted to get away from the current low-fi NFT look. We aimed to create something complementary to Ben’s work, whimsically beautiful, and of museum quality".

With many involved, this series was a collaborative effort. Ben added, "I hope the many partners involved with this project contribute to the greater theme of someone's art collection".

Pearce has titled the series #PaperPalsAotearoa, encouraging visitors to tag the project when sharing photos across social media.The sculpture exhibition opened on February 16th 2022 and will remain open until early 2024.The first release of the NFT art became available to purchase on February 22nd 2022, and the rest of the limited run will follow. Learn more over on

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