On Feb. 6, Yuga Labs announced its new CryptoPunk artist residency program, entitled “Punk in Residence,” which will partner with creators to bring new works to life on-chain.
The inaugural program artist is Nina Chanel Abney, whose art appears in celebrated world-class collections, including The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Abney is by no means a stranger to Web3—her Super Cool World collection, created in July 2022, has traded over 8,000 ETH in volume. Her artwork explores issues of identity, race, gender, politics, and much more, with bold, iconic colors and patterns.
Yuga gifted Abney a “dev Punk” CryptoPunk of her own —and took her time to pick out the perfect Punk for her.
“Let me first say that it was extremely difficult for me to choose a Cryptopunk,” she told nft now. “There were too many great options for my indecisive self, but I finally landed on Punk #72. This Punk just felt easygoing and cool, yet a bit mysterious,” she said.
Abney will create a unique collection of NFT art in partnership with CryptoPunks that will be offered for sale at Magic Eden and put on display as a part of Abney’s upcoming solo exhibition later in 2024.
Neither Abney nor Yuga CryptoPunks lead Natalie Stone will be drawn much on the collection. “I can’t reveal too much, just yet…but what I can tell you is that we are empowering Nina’s vision here,” Stone told nft now.
Stone told us that the process of selecting Abney as the inaugural resident artist began with serendipity.
“Little known fact, when we donated our Punk #305 and exhibited her at ICA Miami, Nina had an amazing exhibition (Big Butch Energy) upstairs. We fell in love with her work there, and she continued to be on our radar. I myself am a collector of Nina Super Cool World. Big picture—and we are thinking big picture—we knew we wanted to work with an artist who was both beloved in the traditional art world but also aligned with the ethos and values of Web3. In this way, Nina is a disruptor—just like Punks themselves are (as Nina puts it) an ‘art disruption,’” she explained.
The Punk community and the wider space will have ample opportunity to engage with Abney as the residency progresses. “We plan to host a Twitter Spaces very soon where we’d love the community to participate and let us know what they’d like to learn and hear. So that’s step one – but Nina is very proud to be Punk #72 and a part of an advocate for this collection, community to her audience,” Stone told us.
The residency program will feature two artists from diverse artistic practices each year—and a grounding in web3 isn’t necessarily required. Selected artists, who can be from anywhere in the world, will receive mentorship and technical support getting their works on-chain. Profits from the sale of art created as part of the partnership will be shared equally between the creator and Yuga Labs.
Stone is excited about how the residency will evolve. “We have some ideas, but for now, we are going to start with this experiment twice a year – and then learn from the collaboration, but we 100% are looking forward to the long-term future of this program,” she told us.
The inauguration of a new artist residency program is the latest in the CryptoPunks brand’s ongoing set of initiatives to tell the Punk story–and connect it to the future. Punks As Told By CryptoPunks, their docuseries partnership with nft now, featured Punk luminaries like Claire Silver, Seedphrase, and Snowfro in conversation.