Into the World of Carlos: Carlos Rocha on NFTs as a New Art Medium
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Into the World of Carlos: Carlos Rocha on NFTs as a New Art Medium

Into the World of Carlos: Carlos Rocha on NFTs as a New Art Medium

Special Features | March 2, 2022
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To celebrate his 72nd birthday, visual artist Carlos Rocha debuts his first-ever Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs), along with his artworks, in an online exhibit.

The art scene is constantly changing and evolving. While traditional paintings still take center stage for the seasoned collector, many artists have opted for more non-traditional approaches. These include turning everyday items into art, creating poignant installations, and for others, bringing their art to a more virtual playing field.

Going beyond the limitations of their creativity—and even of the physical realm—some artists have started creating their own NFTs. Known as non-fungible tokens, NFTs are defined as “non-interchangeable units of data stored on a blockchain, a form of digital ledger, that can be sold and traded.”

And yes, these tokens join the ranks of cryptocurrency—both of which are quickly gaining real-world monetary value while existing solely on a digital landscape.

While not a lot of people are familiar with NFTs, especially in the local setting, this hasn’t stopped visual artist Carlos Rocha from venturing into it. In fact, at 72 years old, Carlos may be one of the oldest—if not the oldest NFT artists to date!

Carlos, “On a Clear Day,” Canvas (left) and “The Painters,” NFT (right)

The Man Behind the Art

Born to an artistic family in the 1950s, Carlos is no stranger to art. In fact, creativity comes second nature to him, as he was strongly influenced by big names in the art world—his father, modernist architect Julio Victor Rocha, as well as his father’s friends, National Artists Vicente Manansala and Victorio Edades, and even his one-time draftsman Onib Olmedo.

With their modernist inclinations as his guiding force, Carlos’s works have taken a decidedly Fauvist style. Vibrant, joyous, and colorful, these works reflect his energized view of the world and its natural beauty, which have caught the eye of many.

To date, his artworks can be seen in several offices and hotels, like the Raffles Hotel and Crimson Hotel. What’s more, these colorful artworks have also graced many exhibits in Ayala Museum, the Rockwell Center, and Le Souffle and L’Entrecote in Taguig, among many other venues. And on an international scale, Carlos has showcased his works in San Francisco, Hong Kong, and Brisbane. Amazing!

Although Carlos’s works have also been included in many auctions, where they reach well over current gallery prices, he demurs, saying that, “Art is an investment—not easily quantified. The potential of its pure enjoyment is an investment that never loses its value. It only increases over time.”

Carlos, “Where Hearts Whisper,” Canvas

From Physical to Metaphysical

With the passage of time, Carlos’s artworks have gained both local and international fame. But as he opens a new chapter in the book that he calls art, his next journey has taken a metaphysical route: NFTs.

And while unfamiliar, he is more excited than scared. “NFTs are a new medium for me [and] it seems like an exciting and organic progression for my work. It’s quite the adventure: one that transcends physical and temporal limitations and holds so many possibilities,” he reveals.

February 28, 2022, holds special significance for Carlos—not only because it is his birthday, but also because it’s the date when he’ll be revealing 7 NFTs simultaneously with his online exhibition of artworks. Aptly dubbed as “Into the World of Carlos,” this exhibit will literally and figuratively take us into his world—a thematic concept that stemmed from a common remark made by collectors over the years.

That wish? “I wish I could step into the painting.”

Carlos, “The Painters,” NFT
Carlos, “On Days of No Tomorrows,” Canvas
Carlos, “On a Clear Day,” Canvas

Into the World of Carlos

In his first foray into NFTs, Carlos will be joined by IJ Cacnio, an animator with tech experience that has led to many immersive international art exhibitions in the country. Together, they will bring Carlos’ NFTs to life. What’s more, these will be minted on Foundation.app as a grant from the First Mint Fund.

“Executing the vision that Carlos had and adding my own spin to it was a fun experience. For me, his work is timeless and relatable,” says Cacnio. “It was a tedious but rewarding process because I would discover meaningful details that I didn’t notice before editing it.”

“I’m glad that IJ has translated my paintings into a work of animation,” Carlos enthuses. “As an artist, I have always used intense colors, kinetic compositions, and of course, poetic subjects to simulate movement. To see it come alive like this is to create the ‘world’ I’ve tried to build through my career as a painter. And I hope my collectors see in these NFTs their dreams come true, thanks to the skill of IJ.”

“I create the paintings with the intention that, in the mind of the viewer, the scene moves and one can almost hear the music,” Carlos adds. “They can follow how the paintings move them. I tell a story by painting scenes, making them very poetic. IJ included music—which was his own idea—and for me, that proves that the paintings do have music in them.”

Carlos, “The Soul in Music,” Canvas

On Future Plans in the World of NFTs

For collectors and artists who are used to physical copies of their works, NFTs may be a tough concept to grasp. However, an open mind and a strong drive are needed to venture into this world. As a creator and collector of NFTs himself, Cacnio expresses admiration for the visual artist. “I really respect Carlos for trying out new things with his art. Carlos’s career has included various on-site exhibitions here and abroad, and with this latest exhibit, on the metaverse as well.”

And the man himself shows no signs of stopping. “The plan is to continue creating NFTs—collaborating [and] continuing to build this world into a coherent space on the metaverse. It is exciting to see how our team will build it, and especially how other artists might do their own takes on it,” ends Carlos.

Carlos, “The Music in the Room,” Canvas
Carlos, “Sunset on the River Run,” Canvas

RELATED STORIES:

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Vin Servillon: First Filipino Artist Commissioned To Paint Iconic Store Windows In New York

LOOK: This City is Painting a Better World, One Mural at a Time


“Into the World of Carlos” launched on February 28, 2022, on www.artbycarlos.com and https://www.foundation.app/@artbycarlos. For more information, contact +63 917 822 5673 or email [email protected] Likewise, you may follow him on Instagram @artbycarlosph.

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