Leader of the Western-themed NFT, Jeremy Booth, is inviting more creators to delve into the creation of Western artworks through a project named the Western Art Dept. The project is set to be launched in early May.
Western Art Dept will commence as a collection hosted on an NFT platform, Foundation. It will showcase 1-of-1 NFTs from several artists.
Booth described the creation of the Western Art Dept as a project that brings traditional Western artists into the Web3 space while collaborating with established NFT creators who can pay homage to the historical genre.
“Western art has a rich and beautiful history. We need to expand its legacy into Web3. To do that, we’ll help onboard traditional Western artists while also highlighting and supporting existing artists in the space.”
Jeremy Booth, NFT artist
Booth leads the project alongside Niko Kampouris, a social media and community manager at Vayner3. It is, however, not affiliated with the Web3 agency.
Booth, who usually sells digital artwork as single-edition NFTs, launched the “Boots” open edition mint earlier this year. Within 24 hours, over 6,000 NFTs were minted from the drop, totaling 587 ETH or over $1.2 million in sales on OpenSea.
Later, Boots holders can burn their purchased NFTs and obtain new artwork from other artists commissioned by the Western Art Dept at no extra expense.
2) How we'll start
We'll launch our first collection of Western artwork beginning of May, via @foundation
Worlds. It will feature 1/1s from incredible artists.
— jeremybooth (@jeremybooth) April 18, 2023
In an interview with Decrypt, Booth expressed how he felt he was the only one on the Web3 working on Western pieces.
After multiple conversations over the past several months with Robert Hagan, a renowned artist for his Western-themed works, Booth was inspired to develop the project to help traditional artists enter the NFT space.
To show his gratitude and appreciation for Hagan’s legacy as an artist, Booth will provide Hagan “his own space for a day or two” in the Western Art Dept as the 75-year-old artist enters the Web3 realm.
Controversies of Western works
Recently, an NFT collection titled “Outlaws” surprised collectors with its similarities to Booth’s works.
Last Wednesday, the Outlaws collection, consisting of 10,000 profile picture (PFP) NFTs, was made available for public minting for 0.05 ETH (around $99.21) each. The NFTs have since been sold out, and the cheapest Outlaws NFT is now priced at 0.067 ETH (around $1,329) on OpenSea.
An NFT artist named Sadboi commented on how the collection left them feeling “conflicted,” as the Outlaws appeared to be what they called “an obvious reproduction of another artist’s work.”
However, an avid NFTs collector NeoNFTz suggested a different perspective, saying that the distinction between inspiration and plagiarism is a “fuzzy continuum.”
Outlaws described the collection’s roots in a blog post posted in early April, before the controversy. They mentioned artists such as Frederic Remington, Charles Marion Russell, and Albert Bierstadt as the main influences for their Western look.
To make it clear for the third time I am not affiliated with outlaws in any way.
Them reaching out to folks asking specifically if they were fans of my work is a red flag. https://t.co/3hOzviMDAE
— jeremybooth (@jeremybooth) April 13, 2023
Meanwhile, character-wise, Outlaws referenced iconic Western films such as “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” and “The Magnificent Seven” as inspiration.
“By drawing inspiration from such a diverse range of artists, we aimed to create a collection that celebrates the rich history and culture of the American West while also offering a fresh and exciting perspective on the genre,” read the blog post.
The controversy remains, but Booth’s primary concern is to prevent any misunderstanding among potential buyers after he was mentioned in Outlaws’ promotional materials and referred to in DMs by Outlaws’ official Twitter account.
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