Featured NFT Showroom Artist: @tonalspace (AKA Phil)

I recently stumbled upon NFT Showroom after searching for alternative NFT marketplaces on Twitter, which led me to writing this article about the platform and some of the great artists I've found. Since then, I've been blown away by how supportive the hive community is. To keep the love flowing, I'm going to be doing 5 more in-depth artist features on PeakD about more talented artists creating on this platform.

Up first is one of my favorites: @tonalspace. Here's how I came across his work:

tonalspace nft showroom.JPG

I first stumbled upon this artist's work after a long day walking around the blazing hot streets of Bangkok in March (background info: I live in Thailand). On my way home, I came across a few scattered groups of protestors, which have become a fairly common sight over the last year. They were all throwing up the 3-finger salute used by Thai democracy activists and chanting phrases that I could only barely understand. Thinking it was just a tiny gathering, I kept walking until I came across a gigantic, swarming, mass of maybe a thousand people chanting, in perfect unison, in front of the Myanmar embassy. For those of you who aren't familiar with the current situation in Myanmar/Burma, you can catch up on this article on the BBC. Basically, their leader and former Nobel-peace laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, was overthrown by a military coup that reached international fame by happening in the background of this lady's yoga video. Many Burmese citizens are fighting for a return to democracy and an increase of freedom, but they've been met with a fair amount of military force and people known to participate in protests are often rounded up after the fact.
I feel it's my duty to mention that while Suu Kyi is hailed as an icon of democracy, she is also known for looking the other way while the Rohingya population of Myanmar were effectively stripped of their citizenship, rounded up, and killed/disappeared/caged/etc. An excellent book to give you some background is First They Erased Our Name

So what does this have to do with @tonalspace?

Well, after taking the long way home to get around the protest, I found myself scrolling through NFT Showroom galleries and came across his piece, #006 Free Myanmar. I rarely see the events of my current country reflected in the work of artists on larger platforms like SuperRare or MakersPlace, so I immediately started scrolling through his other works and had to know more.

tonalspace myanamar.JPG

Who is tonalspace?

Tonalspace is an artist named Phil who was born in Seoul, South Korea. After bouncing around between his birth city, Dubai, and Vancouver, he's found a home in Toronto, Canada. I'm including answers to some of my burning questions below:

When and why did you start creating art?

I never really made art pieces until this year when NFT space has shown me how accessible it is for me to share the work. Before this year, I made a lot of social contents, videos, and ideation treatments for companies and artists that involved a lot of post-production skill-sets. As a creative, there can be this constant battle with my own self-esteem and taking pride with what I do. I started making these pieces not necessarily to make profit, but to exercise that self-confidence and really learn my core values of life. NFT art has opened that door for me, as there is so much leniency to the medium and context. Every piece of work made is a self-evaluation and understanding why I care about certain topics.

What Inspires You?

I take my main inspirations from street photographers and cinema. Figures like Gordon Willis, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Roger Deakins, Francis & Sofia Coppola, Bong Joon-Ho, Park Chan-Wook... The list is endless. I also read and listen to news a lot. That drives a lot of thoughts and emotions on daily bases with all the crazy things going on around the world.

Which is how I found him!

People will find themes of urban environment, ongoing social issues, street photography, and a splash of astronomy.

What is your opinion on NFTs related to art?

It's liberating and gives a fair compensation to the artists. The idea of creating and retaining value on a digital asset feels like a big leap forward that makes a lot of sense. There are so much digital artworks living in the internet, and you know what? There is a value to those creations. Before NFTs, I'd scroll down Pinterest and IG where all these beautiful digital works would be shared and curated. Now we have marketplaces and platforms where artists and creators can be compensated for those beautiful works. It's a blessing.

What should people know about you?

I take lots of pride in being a 1.5 Gen Asian-American, and it took a while to take pride in my own skin and heritage. There has been some horrendous attacks against the Asian American community recently. Please keep spreading the news and donate to AAPI supporting organizations if you can. Awareness is the key driving force to cultivating and shaping our society's future. If we all take that step towards flagging xenophobia and resisting in what shape of way we can, the future can maybe look brighter than today. :,)

How to reach @tonalspace

NFT Showroom: https://nftshowroom.com/tonalspace/gallery
Instagram: @tonal_space
Studio: Andrasii
^^Phil runs a diverse studio with a few partners that involves film & design and would love to post this up because they are always looking for more upcoming artists for new projects!!

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