TeamManila has been around for two decades, specializing in graphic design solutions and iconic products under the TeamManila Lifestyle brand. Founded by Jowee Alviar and Mon Punzalan, the company focuses on creating inviting designs to appeal to potential customers. In its foray into non-fungible tokens or NFTs, the brand hopes to increase the awareness of the public towards this budding space and at the same time introduce popular and iconic designs to a global community of NFT artists and collectors.
TeamManila will release two NFTs this week, the first of which is “Philippine Genesis,” a single edition NFT released on April 14 and available on Rarible, a popular NFT marketplace. Second, “Rizal Gold NFT Coin,” featuring the brand’s iconic “Rizal-with the sunglasses on” design will be released on the same day but will come in 20 editions. Check out the TeamManila Rarible account here: https://rarible.com/Teammanila
This makes TeamManila the first Pinoy brand to ever release an NFT.
TeamManila’s Introduction to NFTs
Non-fungible tokens, which are unique digital items on the blockchain, have been increasing in popularity as of late. This is because of the increased media attention brought about by celebrities jumping on the current interest in the space, and not to mention the rapidly growing prices of several pieces of popular NFTs.
According to Jowee Villar, founder of TeamManila, they first learned about crypto art and NFT from popular artist GMUNK, the guest speaker at Graphika Manila this year. “[We] took a deep dive into that world and started joining discussions online with a growing community. TeamManila as a brand has always embraced new platforms and avenues to tell our story. We see this new space as a way to extend our storytelling to a new audience.”
These days, there is a lot of news about brands like McDonald’s and WWE to artists like Lindsay Lohan releasing their own NFTs. The frenzy went fever pitch when digital artist Beeple was able to sell one of his crypto art, a digital painting called “EVERYDAYS: The First 5,000 Days,” for $69 million at Christie’s, a legendary auction house.
A Lifeline for Artists
In stark contrast to the NFT money craze in the west, according to a report from The Ken media, artists in Southeast Asia have seen NFT as a lifeline for artists who release NFTs like crypto art to earn a living. Writer Li Mei Foong explained, ”In Southeast Asia, digital artists see a new dawn for their art careers, as crypto art income has multiplied.”
Jowee said there are practical reasons for artists and designers to be in the NFT space. He explained, “Many creatives lost their source of income last year because of the pandemic. Many artists are finding new collectors of their work through the NFT marketplace and community. In turn, they have offset their losses from last year and now earning from selling NFT art. We hope this success multiplies in the coming months.”
In a recent article on BitPinas, digital artist Luis Buenaventura II said NFT art provides an opportunity for artists to collaborate and offer their work to an art community that they would never have had access to otherwise. “What we choose to do with these new opportunities, and how we choose to navigate these unfamiliar territories, is entirely up to us,” he expounded.
For TeamManila, a brand and company with a deep library of intellectual property (IP) since it first began as a graphic design studio in 2002, NFT is an opportunity to share more designs inspired by Philippine culture and contribute to the global community.
“The region is still underrepresented in terms of the number of contributions in the NFT world. We hope to inspire more local creatives to be part of it,” Jowee said.
By releasing an NFT, Jowee anticipates TeamManila’s immediate community of collectors and fans to be made aware of the budding space. He hopes that the release could pique the interest of TeamManila fans to learn more about NFT and crypto art. Simultaneously, Jowee sees this as an opportunity to introduce local design and connect to artists and collectors within the global community. After all, the NFT community is not hindered by borders and such. For now, though, most of these connections happen through Twitter, Discord, and Clubhouse rooms.
The NFT community, Jowee said, is welcoming to new artists. He pointed out that it is fantastic to connect with new people in the space and hear about their NFT journeys. He further stated that it was also great to listen to and recognize stories of fellow Filipino artists already in the space. “Our fellow graphic designer, AJ Dimarucot is active in the space and has been hosting small rooms to share everyone’s NFT journey. He is also managing the First Mint Fund to support the entry and growth of southeast Asian creatives.”
For anyone who likes to begin their foray into the NFT space, Jowee’s advice is to be part of the community by following accounts and groups on Twitter relevant to the space. He also cites the budding NFT creators group on Facebook (NFT Philippines FB Group) where Filipinos can talk amongst each other and ask for advice about starting.
TeamManila NFT Release Details:
This article is published on BitPinas: Iconic Filipino Brand TeamManila Unveils ‘Rizal with Sunglasses’ NFT