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NFT artist turns into metaverse producer

Posted March. 17, 2023 07:44,   

Updated March. 17, 2023 07:44


“With Kokone’s avatar techniques and my 'Eyedoll' paintings, I want to dominate the global metaverse market.”

Mari Kim, the first Korean artist to sell artwork as non-fungible tokens (NFT) at 600 million won two years ago, turned herself into a metaverse producer this time. In partnership with metaverse specialist Kokone, she took on the overall planning of Centennial, a metaverse service that uses avatars. The service, for which she created stories, avatars, and digital fashion items, will be released later this year.

“I love to try new things, so I decided to jump into the metaverse after NFTs,” she told the Korea Times on Wednesday. “People in the modern era who feel dissatisfied with their real selves will feel liberated through their digital alter egos, avatars.”

Mari Kim, who studied creative media at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia, gained popularity by drawing 700 paintings for over two years, one every day, and posting them on her Cyworld page and blog. In 2011, she directed the album cover and music video of 2NE1, a female K-pop group of YG Entertainment. Despite not having any connections in the domestic art world, she became an exclusive artist for Gana Art Gallery and held exhibitions at the Hakojae Gallery. Former F1 President Bernie Ecclestone, among others, owns her works.

Founded in 2008, Kokone has been in the “character customization” business that combines avatars and fashion. To date, it has 130 million global users who have purchased 16 billion digital items. “I feel both responsible and excited about this metaverse project because it embodies a world that today’s alpha generation (born after 2010) feels as more real than reality,” said Kim, who named her wide-eyed girl character “Idol” and replicated it in various forms.

Sun-Mi Kim kimsunmi@donga.com