Grails by PROOF Season IV
Collecting art is historically not just about the art itself but who the artist is and the story behind the piece. The emergence of NFTs as a way to attribute provenance to digital objects has seen an explosion of interest in the past few years, even if that’s currently seeing something of a lull.
The work of artists like Alotta Money, Josie Bellini, Trevor Jones, Coldie, Snowfro, Beeple, and collections such as Fidenzas and Ringers, show that digital art is here to stay, even as many pockets of the NFT space are reportedly down 95% from all-time highs.
But with the artists playing such an important role in the market, it’s been intriguing to see Grails by PROOF flip this paradigm on its head by abstracting away who the artist is. A gamification mechanic reveals between 20–25 pieces of art to 1,000 whitelisted collectors prior to a minting window — but the catch is no one knows who the artists are behind each respective piece.
This creates a special dynamic that introduces a different type of speculation about who the artist could be behind each work. Some collectors mint a piece they like purely based on their assessment of the art itself, while others take a punt on their ability to guess who the artist might be behind.
Protoglyph by Larva Labs from Season 1 Grails. (OpenSea)
Grails was the brainchild of PROOF co-founder Kevin Rose, with the inaugural season launched in February 2022 and the first-ever reveal on March 6, 2022. Eli Scheinman, head of art at PROOF, explains the concept aims:
“To engage collectors in a way that abstracted away some of the financialization of collecting NFTs that was, and still is, in many ways so rampant. By taking away an artist’s name, it really demanded or challenged all of the collectors to really go deep and spend a lot of time with each of these artworks.”
The three seasons so far have attracted some of the biggest names in NFT land, including Snowfro, Larva Labs, Tyler Hobbs, Claire…