Since 2016, Archan Nair
have been meeting online to share a whirlwind of creativity between their home bases in Germany and Indonesia. Both hypnotized by one another’s work, the two share a knack for blurring the line between supernatural and storybook aesthetics. Their works feel as at home in a gallery setting as they would on the cover of a best-selling illustrated novel.
Archan Nair needs no introduction. A true steward of digital art, he has deep roots that span the metaverse, and his craft is defined by a fluid balance between form and abstraction. Archan has been quietly amassing one of the strongest collections at Foundation in any genre—the range of 3D, illustration, and avant-garde works that Archan has supported is stunning.
Ian has been busy fleshing out his Mother
and Divine Comedy
series with his special mixture of lines and saturation, all the while engaging an impressive list of collectors in many hard fought bidding wars. The ease with which Ian segues between animation and illustration is enviable; his bold, saturated colors and line work imply fluttering motion. Ian also represents a blossoming NFT scene in Southeast Asia. In celebration of the last piece of his Divine Comedy
, the pair caught up to compare notes on how NFTs have shaped their art practices—and their lives.
Archan Nair: Tell us about your journey before and after NFTs. How has moving into NFTs changed your life?
Iannocent: I have been an illustrator for about twelve years, and to be honest, it's hard to make a living as an illustrator in my country. I’ve been really happy with what I’ve been doing as an illustrator, and I’ve realized that I still love drawing, even when I don't have money. I would draw everyday—commission or not—just because I love doing it. In 2016, I had a lucky break, because my drawing style suddenly became viral. Finally, I had a lot of projects and collaborations with brands, and then, in 2021, I learned about NFTs.
You seem to use skulls a lot, why this fascination with skulls?
Iannocent: When I was a teenager, I actually stopped drawing for a long time. Metal music was a transformative force for pop culture in my city (Bandung city, Indonesia) when I was in college—it’s one of the biggest Metal communities in the world. I was inspired by a lot of Metal artworks at the time, and it gave me this desire to draw again. That’s when skulls became important for my drawing journey.
Did the world of NFTs change your life?
Iannocent: It’s honestly changed my life a lot. Before I got into NFTs, it was getting hard for me to survive during the pandemic—many of my commissions had been canceled, so this was such a tremendous moment for me. I feel so lucky to be involved. The most emotional thing for me, ultimately, is that I was able to buy my family a house, which is absolutely crazy for my journey.
What do you enjoy doing apart from creating art? Can you tell us about some things you enjoy in life?
Iannocent: I love learning new things. I love learning about crypto right now, for instance. I can activate my left brain and think very logically. An important thing I’ve learned through NFTs specifically is to practice patience. I also enjoy watching movies and spending time with my daughter. The most enjoyable thing in my life up until now is making art.
Iannocent: Tell me more about your artistic style—it’s so interesting to me.
Archan Nair: My art is a simple reflection of my inner journey—of my own contemplations and expressions. I never really thought about whether or not I have a particular style. It’s just raw, and I love the way painting and drawing styles can be so unique to each individual.
Lately, I have been exploring a few different series and styles. My approach to each one is unique. The more illustrative style usually begins with a highly conceptualized sketch. After the concept comes to life at a certain point, where I feel it’s exciting, I start working further. The portraits are very organic and spontaneous. They start with a basic sketch for some direction, but everything naturally changes during the painting process. For the animal series, I take visions that arise during dreams and meditative states and try to manifest them in the most accurate way possible, both energetically and visually. I love dabbling with Photoshop and Procreate. I am able to explore the image pretty organically and I absolutely love that.
Have you ever used another medium for your art?
Archan: I keep experimenting with many different styles, which you can see on my Instagram or personal website. In terms of medium, I love using watercolors and acrylics, which I infuse in my digital paintings a lot. I also like working in 3D; I guess you could call it mixed media. I love photographing textures, I’ve been using them quite a lot in my work. I bring all of this into my main canvas in Photoshop to work on the artwork. I also move between Photoshop and Procreate and then back to Photoshop. It's a lot of fun!
What made you decide to invite me to Foundation?
Archan: When I first came across your work, it had this distinct style and energy that really hit me. I love the compositions, the aesthetic sensibility, and the organic flow of your line work. It’s very enriching and moving, and yet, you’re one of the most humble and down to earth people I’ve interacted with in the NFT space. When you first spoke to me about NFTs, I instantly thought you would do really well in the space. It was a no-brainer that I should invite you, and then I was so blessed to collect your genesis piece.