[NFT.NYC] From oil painting to NFT, Goro recounts his journey and imagines how the world will look like in 50 years

Goro Ishihata’s works are being showcased at NFT.NYC 2022. Photo by courtesy of Goro Ishihata

Goro Ishihata, the NFT artist behind the “CryptoGoros” series, is recognised for the distinctively catchy patterns he uses in the digital impressions of himself. 

The creator studied oil painting at art college and aspired to become a painter. One day, he found out about NFTs and decided to start working as an NFT artist, believing that he could make use of his skills.

His works have been selected to be showcased at NFT.NYC 2022. Prior to the event, Goro talks to Metaverse Style and shares his thoughts on art, NFTs and how the world will be like in 50 years with this technology.

Keep drawing until fingers “go crazy”

In terms of art, what did you do in the past? What are you focusing on now? 

I studied oil painting at an art college with the aim of becoming a painter. However, I found it difficult to get involved with the art world and art organisations, so after I finished school I continued painting while having a completely unrelated job.

I eventually got into debt, prompting me to think about what I should do in the future. Then I heard about NFT through an article on a news app and thought, “If this is the case, I can make use of my painting skills and maybe I can turn things around.” That’s how I started creating NFT works in 2021.

In what settings do you start creating your works? How do you describe your works?

In the beginning, I started making them on an iPad, which I bought with borrowed money. My first work was Genesis. Later, when I started earning money from NFTs, I bought a PC for about 300,000 Japanese yen to make generative art (works generated by computer software).

I basically made at least one piece of artwork every day. It is the type of work that would take a few years to form a complete picture (Goro creates one self-portrait every day in the ‘CryptoGoros’ series, a project that will be completed with 2,000 works. There are also other collections such as the generative art ‘MiniGoros’).

You have a large following on Twitter (@goroishihata). How did you get the word out?

At first, I put about three minted NFTs on Instagram (@goroishihata) every day, but they didn’t sell at all. I created a Twitter account to try it out and tweeted things like ‘fuck’, which instantly sold a few pieces. After that, I made Twitter my “communications centre” and to get more followers, I created so many artworks that my fingers went crazy and distributed them as give-away NFTs (a campaign to give away free NFT artworks so people can know about their creator).

I believe that most of the buyers are Japanese people who invest in virtual currency, and as there are surprisingly few creators in the NFT community who specialise in the art domain, I feel that my work has a promising future that other collections don’t have.

Creators can earn income in a decentralised way as the world is changing with NFT

Has your participation in the NFT.NYC Diversity of NFTs showcase caused any impact on your surroundings?

I haven’t been particularly popular or had a dramatic increase in followers because of NFT.NYC. The impact was more significant when I launched the collection SolGoros (3,000 pieces of generative art).

-3,000 is a very impressive scale of impact. Could you then tell us about the works you submitted to NFT.NYC and the works that will be exhibited at The NFT.NYC Diversity of NFTs?

The work for NFT.NYC is based on a series of self-portraits that I draw every day. I don’t have any particular feelings about the works, but I just wanted to convey the images of my collection to an international audience in an easy-to-understand way.

What do you expect from the NFT.NYC event?

First of all, I think the great thing is that my work will be exhibited in a physical space. I hope that people who see my work will feel Goro as a more real person, rather than as a digital presence on Twitter.

I also hope that this event will be an opportunity for people with no NFT experience to enter the market. Currently, NFTs are judged on their trading values so I hope that this initiative will help people to evaluate NFTs based on aesthetics.

Goro’s profile photo

Are there any projects that you are currently working on or would like to try in the future?

I’m working on Jomon pottery, oil painting, a VTuber debut with a beautiful girl character, and building a GORO church.

I look forward to more announcements in the future. We would also like to ask Goro, who has been dealing with art for many years, what he thinks about the NFT art scene. What aspects do you think are good and what do you think should be improved?

Let’s take photography as an example. Photography is only the name of a technique. There are many non-art uses such as news photos, photogravure photos, family photos, etc. Similarly, NFT is essentially only the name of a technique. It can be meaningless illustrations drawn by amateurs, or grass coins with pictures, or things that can only serve as membership cards. I find it quite confusing to call these NFT art.

On the other hand, for example, CryptoPunks (an NFT collection with 24 x 24 pixel images generated by algorithms) are not art at all. I can’t completely deny that. For myself, when I saw CryptoPunks being offered at Christie’s, a major auction house, I was as shocked as if I had seen the latest contemporary art (editor’s note: nine collections of CryptoPunks were sold in May 2021 for US$16.9 million).

People are going crazy for digital data, which is the opposite of what happens to conventional art. This state of affairs is a joke. It has nothing to do with artists or concepts. But it is in itself very artistic in a way, because it appeared to be a sign that a new era is coming.

Until recently, when I told people that I was doing art, all they would say was: “You can’t make a living doing art” or “I don’t want to buy art.” However, since NFTs came on the scene, even people who had no connection to art are now buying and making pictures as a matter of course. I think this is a wonderful thing. The system brought about by NFTs allows creators to earn income in a ‘decentralised’ way without relying on art circles or galleries. I think it will probably change the world in a big way in the future.

Goro’s vision for 2023-72

How do you think the NFT art scene will change in the future?

I have my own predictions for the next 50 years and I will tell you about them. You may think it’s a terrible or outlandish thing to say, but I hope you’ll just listen to it as an artist’s opinion.

I think that one year from now, NFTs will continue to be mass-produced, in a manner that can be described as cobbled-together.

Two years from now, it will be common for high school students to buy NFTs and play NFT games on their smartphones.

Three years later, local authorities will issue local NFTs. ARNFTs that can only be obtained in certain locations and NFTs that can be recombined and evolved will become popular.

In four years’ time, more places and information will be accessible only to holders of specific NFTs, like a virtual office entry card, a ticket to a live concert or a student ID card. Work, school, play… all activities will be completed only in the room. In the real world, Tokyo may be in ruins.

In five years’ time, NFT artists who have been active since the early days will be like Hikakin (a famous beatboxer) on YouTube. They will rank second on the list of primary schools students’ dream jobs.

In eight years’ time, passports and health insurance cards will be NFTs and entire hardware wallets will be embedded in the body. People will be efficiently managed by NFTs and the world will be anti-globalised.

In as little as 10 years’ time, “CryptoGoros” will become a national treasure and be enshrined in the Rokuharamitsu Temple.

In 50 years’ time, “MiniGoros” holders will establish an independent state on the moon.

It is a very interesting future projection, but I feel that it is not a dream or fantasy. Finally, do you have anything to say to people who want to become NFT artists in the future?

I used to do oil paintings for myself. Back then, paintings (by other artists) that I didn’t think were good or valuable enough were selling for high prices. I sometimes felt annoyed.

Now, maybe some NFT beginners think, as I did in the past, that good paintings should sell for a higher price. They are wrong.

Apparently, the market price of both NFTs and ordinary artwork is determined by how many people want to buy them in the second-hand market.

In other words, it is a question of whether the painter or the painting is famous, or whether the price is expected to rise in the future.

If your work can’t sell for a good price and you need money to stay alive, you should try to get as famous as you can, and show how much potential you have. In my experience, really good paintings don’t come quickly, so it’s better to get the money first and then take your time with your paintings.

(The article is originally written in Japanese by Hidenobu Mori. The English translation is complied and edited by Kit Lai.)