Shavonne Wong is Ready for Her Close-up

Shavonne Wong

Shavonne Wong is ready for her close-up.

Shavonne Wong is a Singaporean fashion photographer who recently entered the NFT space. She has photographed such notable actors such as Billy Porter. Since entering the NFT space, she has taken it by storm with her colorful, realistic computer-generated ‘models’ . She was gracious enough to answer some questions.

You have been very successful with selling your work in the NFT space. How did you get started?

I’ve been a fashion and advertising photographer for the last 10 years. When Covid first hit last year and Singapore went into lockdown, I decided that if I couldn’t work with real models, that I would just make my own. I decided to learn 3D to figure out how to make my virtual models. Fast forward approximately a year later, my husband who is in the crypto space told me about NFTs and I thought it seemed interesting and a good fit for my virtual models. So, I decided to create some artwork for it. I’m very happy that the feedback has been very positive and most of my works have sold so far.

You’re based in Singapore. What’s the NFT space like there?

It’s currently still small, but it’s slowly growing. We’ve even had a meetup a couple of weeks back!

Much of your work focuses on the human face. What is the significance of that?

My NFT work is hugely inspired by my years of fashion photography. I’ve always been working with different faces so naturally, this was where I gravitated towards when it came to doing 3D work.

Your work centers women. Is that intentional?

Similar to faces, even as a photographer, I’ve always preferred photographing women. I just felt that there is more that I can be creative with when it came to women. Perhaps it’s also because as a female, I like seeing female centric artwork, too.

In April you did a collab with Kelly Robitaille. How did that come about?

This was during the lockdown when we were both just figuring things out since photoshoots were not allowed. We just wanted to experiment and have some fun with our works.

Are there more collabs in the future for you?

Not for now but, I’m sure there will be some in the future!

Can you talk about the ‘Lilium’ series?

Lilium was the first series I made as I felt she was the first virtual model that reached a level of realism that I was happy with. I wanted to find ways to juxtapose reality with surrealism in a way that I would not be able to do in photography, therefore making the floating/moving pearls since I no longer have to concern myself with gravity when it came to 3D

Can you tell us about the makeup series “Kin?” What was the inspiration around that?

I did a lot of beauty photography during my photography career and loved doing work with a few models in the same shot. I also wanted to use makeup to show how we were all connected as people.

What was appealing about the NFT space for you?

As a photographer who has worked commercially, even when creating personal work, it was with clients in mind hoping they would hire me for it. However with NFTs, this is the first time for many creatives (concept artists, graphic designers, illustrators) to have an opportunity to create personal work with no other client inputs, and actually earn money off it. The secondary market and royalties is also something that was never possible for artists so this is very cool.

What did it feel like when you sold your first piece?

It felt amazing, I never had anybody “Collect” my work before so it was an incredible experience!

Tell us about the Asia NFT Discord? What is the goal for the group?

The group came about when i was invited to a discord chat with 5 other Singaporeans who wanted to chat about NFTs.  I basically told them that the NFT world is currently lacking Asians and as of now, a lot of Asians in the space do not really have a community to be part of. We decided to open to space up so all Asians could have a space they could promote their work, find their community and chat about NFTs. 

Would you say that have a commitment to elevating the voices of Asians in the space?

There is a general lack of Asian voices in most spaces, even though we generally take a larger ratio of the world population. I feel that a lot of talent are locked behind the barriers of entry such as language difficulties or behind in a third world country where the currency makes minting almost impossible. To me, this is a huge pity, and the more we can help all these people enter the space, the more Asian artworks are given a proper platform to be seen and celebrated.

You’re very active helping to promote the work of other artists.

Yes, I believe in the NFT space, we need to help one another. It’s still an incredibly young scene and the more people succeed in it, the more it can grow. their success is everybody’s success

What’s your take on shilling of work on social media?

I have no problem with artists doing it. Though one should know when the right time is to do it and when it would seem inappropriate. Twitter in general, can seem like a black void to scream into, and so I understand the need that artists have to post their works. I, personally prefer the idea of shilling my name rather than my artwork, meaning I would rather collectors see my name everywhere and click on my name and feel as though they have organically discovered my work.

I got to know of the platform before it formally launched, so I was lucky to be already actively using it when it got popular!

What software do you use in your work?

I use Blender, zbrush, character creator, substance painter, and marvelous designer.

What inspires your work?

Everything. kind of cliche but it’s true. I always believe that whatever creative medium you consume (games, movies, art), your subconscious picks what it likes and what it doesn’t. Eventually, gets spit out when creating artwork.

What does it take for you to purchase a piece? What are you looking for in your own collection?

I’ve only purchased one piece so far because it reminded me of my cat!

What do you think the future of NFTs are?

I believe in the virtual future. So naturally, I believe that NFTs will be a big part of it. People will be using NFTs to showcase their personalities, and this will come in the form of the art they purchase, digital clothing, music, etc.

Follow Shavonne’s work on Twitter and on her personal website. You can find the NFT Asia Discord channel here.

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