NFT's — or non fungible tokens — are the newest wave in which artists are capitalizing off their bodies of work. Like with anything new, it isn't necessarily the easiest thing to explain — especially when our idea of art relies on ownership in the physical sense.
Risk Rock, undoubtedly the Godfather of West Coast graffiti, is making his first splash into the NFT market. Known worldwide for his work in the streets in the '80s, '90s, and 2000's, he sees NFT's a logical path forward after excelling in his studio practice (highlighted by cutting a cop car in half).
"I think graffiti is so important to me because it's the last hand to medium to surface art form, and everything got digital after that," Risk says. "I want to be with all forms of art, and I want to be included. I want to explore it. I think it's a new frontier and it's exciting. With my NFT, we have something tangible. And I think that's really important. My NFTs will always have something tangible."
To execute his vision, Risk took his art to the Pacific Ocean in Malibu and literally drenched it in salt water.
"I didn't want to be crazy technical and digital," he says. "The piece is my icon. It's "What The Fuck." Elvis had TCB, I thought that was super cool."
As one of LA's most prolific graffiti artists, the LA Police were on the hunt for Risk because of his graffiti tag name, so instead, he switched to his now-famous "WFT Icon." The NFT incorporates an actual Risk "WTF Icon" piece made out of his "Metallic Tissue" panels. The panel is made of recycled spray cans (from Risk's graffiti and studio work), license plates (which are a metaphor for humanity) like people, license plates come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and come from many different places.
"When I started doing this different kind of art, a lot of graffiti writers were like, 'What the fuck is that? Fuck that. That's fucking lame.' And I was like, "man, fuck you guys.' That's what it is. The whole NFT is crabs in a basket."
Risk's physical WTF Icon and NFT are available for purchase now here.