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NFT and digital artist Leo Villareal lights up the art world with new technologies


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The decisive moment in American artist Leo Villareal‘s career came in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert during the 1997 Burning Man festival when Villareal rigged up a strobe-light array above his tent so that he could find it more easily. From then on, light has continued to dominate the artist’s work.

He is also known for his Illuminated River project that went live in 2019 and ran across London Bridge, Southwark Bridge, Millennium Bridge and Cannon Street Bridge. In Phase two, completed in 2022, Blackfriars Road Bridge, Waterloo Bridge, Westminster Bridge, Lambeth Bridge and the Golden Jubilee Footbridges were added.

Villareal dropped his first NFTs as 1,024 unique tokens collectively titled Cosmic Reef on the Art Blocks platform. The edition rapidly sold out in just one hour. The average price of each iteration was 0.4 Ether (ETH), or around £1,235. The total sale earned the artist £1.4m.

How did you first use technology in your art?

I started very simply, using microcontrollers and strobe lights. I was working on my own for many years and doing things in a way that a…

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