Nina Chanel Abney shakes the NFT scene, marrying PFP with art

Nina’s Super Cool World, a PFP collection by Nina Chanel Abney, is alive with the artist’s signature style and color palette. But it’s also a call for more diversity in the NFT space and a bid to usher in a new generation of artists.

Collage of Nina Chanel Abney's NFTs and the GODA logo
Collage of Nina Chanel Abney's NFTs and the GODA logo. Source: GODA website

There’s a new Web3 company in town, called GODA, short for Gallery of Digital Assets. Their first release, Nina’s Super Cool World PFP collection by Nina Chanel Abney, is taking the NFT space by storm, with both established NFT collectors and newcomers jumping in. GODA has Pharell Williams and j1mmy.eth in their ranks, but it’s Nina who takes center stage.

Born in Chicago but based in New York, Nina is a visual artist whose work is dominated by color, conflict, and diversity. Her signature aesthetic brings together vibrant colors and sharp lines with burning sociopolitical issues like race, religion, politics, and sexuality.

Now, she’s bringing all that into NFTs.

Neutrally emotional

Nina’s Super Cool World counts 5,080 PFPs featuring hundreds of traits. With each item originally handmade, the art is thick with Nina’s defining style, which blends the personal with the neutral, reimagining facial features as emblems. It’s far from PFPs that seek to fully evoke human emotions like boredom, hopefulness, or sadness, but it’s equally detached from pixelated avatars devoid of any emotional lining.

“I wanted to create figures that were a bit more neutral, where everyone could find something,” Nina said in a video introduction to the collection.

And the differences run even deeper. Although most NFTs are yet to be revealed, the sneak peeks are enough to notice a shift from portrait-like PFPs settled onto a clear background towards an expansive creative strategy that sees the hero of each NFT fully immersed and integrated with their surroundings.

Neutrality notwithstanding, the collection goes to show the creative independence Nina is bringing into the space. Embracing NFTs as a medium, she brings in the bold style she is best known for.

Indeed, this isn’t the first time she’s exploring a new form. In equal parts painter and public artist, Nina has had her work displayed everywhere from the MoMA and the Brooklyn Museum to outdoor basketball courts, shared indoor spaces, sneakers and smartphone cases. She also makes collages and prints.

And she’s no stranger to NFTs, either. In a conversation with renowned NFT collector Cozomo de’ Medici, she said she was a long-time holder of Pudgy Penguins and a fan of Austin Lee, Tom Sachs Rocket Factory, Murakami Flowers, and World of Women.

“In a time in which everyone was pretty much locked in the house indefinitely, I began to think about how one would be able to continue engaging with art outside of the gallery. It was in this explorative quest for solutions, that I was introduced to NFTs during the clubhouse era,” she told Cozomo.

Towards a more diverse space

Nina could be setting an example for other artists as well, something she explicitly calls her goal as she makes her mark on the NFT space. “There’s a lack of diversity. There’s not a lot of people of color, queer people, women involved in the space or at least at the forefront of the space,” Nina said.

Nina Chanel Abney in her studio, working on her PFPs
Nina Chanel Abney in her studio, working on her PFPs. Source: GODA video,

GODA, the company behind Nina’s Super Cool World, makes no mystery of the fact that they’re eager to onboard artists not yet affiliated with the NFT space. The GODA team includes art gallery owners, NFT collectors and investors, and entrepreneurs. “As trusted partners, we ensure our artists seamless, impactful drops that respect the value of their art,” the GODA website says.

The company was born out of Nina’s personal quest to form a team that could help her start her own NFT collection. “I realized that we had a dream team on our hands and I wanted to share those resources with other artists,” she said.

Nina’s Super Cool World is already sold out. The art will be revealed on Friday.