With NFTs hailed as an exciting new frontier in art, Glorious Digital CEO Tim Harper is working with musicians, artists and athletes to create masterpiec­es.


When a digital collage by American artist Mike ‘Beeple’ Winkelmann sold for $US69 million last year, it sparked an NFT gold rush. “It very much changed the trajectory of my life,” said Winkelmann. “The same could be said for the broader art world.”

NFTs are non-fungible tokens – ‘non-fungible’ meaning they are unique and irreplacea­ble. NFTs allow digital originals to be verified using blockchain technology, a decentrali­sed digital public ledger that can never be changed, hacked or forged. Through a process called ‘minting’, a certificat­e of authentici­ty and provenance is attached to the original.

There are those who may wonder why they would invest in an NFT when they could buy a physical artwork with visible brushstrok­es. But Tim Harper, co-founder and CEO of NFT studio and marketplac­e Glorious Digital, says NFTs won’t replace art as we know it, they’ll just increase opportunit­ies for collectors and artists. “I think our job at Glorious is to show we’re not trying to take anything away from the art world,” he says. “We're actually trying to show you that you can have digital art within your collection, and it's an extraordin­ary way to support artists.”

New Zealand-based Glorious works with top artists, musicians, athletes and rights holders to create authentic, digital masterpiec­es. It was launched last year and was founded by a team that includes Harper’s long-time collaborat­or Murray Thom, All Blacks superstar Dan Carter, business and innovation consultant Scott McLiver and former Solicitor General Mike Heron QC. Together the founders realised NFTs represent a new frontier for digital art, which has previously faced challenges around displaying the work and provenance.

“Most people I know don’t have digital art in their art collection­s and it's largely because it's just so difficult to do,” says Harper. “Where NFTs come in is you can prove that something’s authentic, and it lives on the blockchain, it can't be tampered with, so therefore you can create true digital scarcity around a digital work. We've just never had that with the

internet – you know, we just go online and we take whatever we like for free and we have for years, whereas now an artist can genuinely upload a very beautiful high-resolution version of their work and use NFT technology to ensure its scarcity and value.”

That’s not just an exciting opportunit­y for collectors – it’s also a game-changer for artists themselves, thanks to the advent of smart contracts that assign ownership and manage the transferab­ility of NFTs.

“The contract around who gets paid what gets uploaded to the blockchain at the same time, and what that means is that the artists can actually make money every time that the artwork is sold in the future,” says Harper. On Glorious’ secondary market, sellers keep 90 per cent of the resale price, 7 per cent goes to the artist and 3 per cent goes to Glorious. Under the traditiona­l secondary marketplac­e model in New Zealand, artists get nothing.

Glorious has already attracted some of the highest-profile names in the New Zealand art world such as Reuben Paterson, Lisa Reihana, Karl Maughan, Dick Frizzell, John Walsh and Darryn George.

“All of these artists came on board because we had a great relationsh­ip with them and they were really intrigued by the space, because I think all artists love a creative challenge and they love to explore new canvases, new territorie­s, new ideas,” says Harper. But Glorious’s partnershi­ps aren’t limited to the art space. “We decided, if we're going to do this, let’s partner with the most incredible creatives that we can – creatives across music, art, sport, legacy brands.”

In the lead-up to establishi­ng Glorious, Harper was struck by the appetite for embracing NFTs in the fine art world.

“I thought half of the challenge would be convincing people that there's value in digital work, but I think humans have an innate desire to collect and own things that say something about themselves that they can share with others, whether it's the haircut we get or the clothes that we buy, and art is just a classic example of that.”

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 ?? ?? Clockwise from top: Gordon Walters' Maho will be released by the Gordon Walters Estate as a digital masterpiec­e in April in partnershi­p with Glorious Digital; CEO Tim Harper; Maho in close-up.
Clockwise from top: Gordon Walters' Maho will be released by the Gordon Walters Estate as a digital masterpiec­e in April in partnershi­p with Glorious Digital; CEO Tim Harper; Maho in close-up.

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