Art is a universal language that transcends cultures and borders. For Aswang, the anonymous creator of the Aswang Collection and Aswang Tribe, it is also a way of preserving the ancient, archetypal, and
pre-colonial narratives of the Filipino people.
One of the most prolific and well known crypto artists from the Philippines, Aswang’s work revolves around their desire to use NFTs as a medium for sharing our peoples’ stories, and their endeavor to preserve our cultural identity eternally on the blockchain.
In this feature article, we explore Aswang’s background, their journey into the world of NFTs, their creative process, and the themes and messages they convey through their art.
We also take a closer look at the Aswang Tribe NFT collection, its unique characters and creatures, and the artists it has inspired.
Aswang’s Background: A Passion for Art and Preservation
Aswang has had a strong interest in art from an early age. However, their parents discouraged them from pursuing it due to the lack of career prospects for artists in the Philippines.
Despite this setback, Aswang continued to study art on their own and developed their technical skills and creativity through self-study. Aswang’s love for history, literature, pop culture, and speculative fiction has also played a significant role in shaping their artistic vision.
NFTs: An Anarchist Tech for Cultural Preservation
Aswang’s interest in NFTs began with Bitcoin, which they found to be a disruptive and anarchic technology designed to kill parasitic institutions.
“Real gangster shit,” Aswang said.
Aswang first heard of NFTs in 2017 but did not fully understand their potential until 2021. They saw the potential of NFTs for cultural preservation purposes and was surprised that no one was using the technology to preserve the ancient stories of the Philippines.
This inspired them to create the Aswang Collection, a limited series of 1/1 character art.
Aswang Tribe NFT Collection: A Fresh Take on the PFP Art Genre
As Aswang was doing the drops for the Aswang Collection, they received many requests to collaborate on a PFP project. However, Aswang was not interested in launching a PFP project unless they could find a fresh way of doing it.
This led to the creation of the Aswang Tribe NFT collection – a digital identity for Filipinos and artists. The pre-colonial stories of the Philippines served as inspiration for the collection’s distinctive characters and creatures.
“It’s honestly a !tldr story, but yeah, Aswang Tribe, its art, and its mechanics are my take on the “PFP NFT” genre of crypto art. It is intended to provide a web3 identity for Filipinos who are not ashamed of their own heritage, for people who like creating art, and for non-Filipinos who just think that our culture is cool,” Aswang explained.
The Creative Process: Research and Curation
For the Aswang Collection, Aswang did extensive research on the characters before they even started drawing them. They read through several books and manuscripts and selected hundreds of stories that could possibly be included in each set.
Aswang then curated that list by selecting the ones that personally resonated with them. They balanced the technical aspects of creating NFTs with artistic expression, viewing the former as a form of artistic expression in itself.
“I like learning new stuff, its fun. For me, the technical aspects of creating NFTs is also a form of artistic expression – albeit one that I’m not quite skilled at yet.
Still, I am trying to learn Solidity bit by bit so hopefully in a year or so I can be as creative with code as I am with illustration,” Aswang added.
Themes and Messages: Remembering and Acceptance
Aswang’s art conveys two primary messages: remembering and acceptance. Through their art, Aswang hopes to preserve the pre-colonial stories of the Philippines and remind people of the importance of remembering the past.
They also hope to promote acceptance and introspection by encouraging people to understand what it means to be Filipino and to embrace their heritage.
The Tribe: Meeting and Inspiring Fellow Artists
The Aswang Tribe NFT collection has gained significant attention and popularity. However, the most exciting part of this journey for Aswang is meeting fellow artists and helping them reach their creative goals.
“I’m particularly proud of these four Tribe members. Kai, Ely and Agatha already have their own collections which are doing quite well and are uniquely “them”. Hans hasn’t released a personal collection yet (busy sa thesis si pogi), but he has a strong personal style and an innate understanding of crypto culture, so I think he’ll do quite well once he finally decides to release one,” Aswang proudly said.
Aswang’s passion for art and preserving the pre-colonial stories of the Philippines has led them on a journey into the world of NFTs.
By combining their love for history, literature, and pop culture with the disruptive technology of NFTs, they have created a unique digital identity for Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike.
Moreover, through their Aswang Tribe NFT collection, they hope to promote acceptance and remind people of the importance of remembering the past to shape the future.
Overall, Aswang’s work and the whole tribe is a testament to the power of art and technology in preserving culture for future generations and in building a strong community through NFTs.
Alpha From Aswang: “I’m having my first solo art exhibit in Manila on June 3-24. It’s gonna be hype. HMU if you want to drop by so I can send you an invite“
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