For 26-year-old visual artist Vinnie Hager, the pandemic surprisingly opened a new world.
Hager — who grew up in Severna Park and now lives in Baltimore — was spending plenty of time on social media, particularly Twitter, which just underwent a rebrand to X. While casually posting his art on Twitter, he stumbled upon the Web3 and NFT space.
Web3 is a new iteration of the World Wide Web, incorporating concepts such as decentralization, blockchain technologies and token-based economics. NFTs — known as non-fungible tokens — can represent digital or real-world items like artwork and real estate.
“I was really interested in this space and how it empowers artists to share their work in different ways, monetize their art and explore new technologies,” Hager said.
Hager met a new group of creative friends online, which led to professional work and job opportunities.
“A lot of the projects that I have done over the past two years have focused on the digital space,” Hager said.
Some of these opportunities have included distributing his artwork digitally, designing digital wearables and collectibles, and creating for companies’ digital artwork releases.
“My artwork is based in drawing,” Hager said.
Most of Hager’s drawings are made up of lines, shapes, characters, and symbols that connect through form and structure to create a pattern.
“Through my drawings, I like to experiment with different types of materials from the traditional paper and canvas to furniture, sculptures, architecture, clothing and digital applications, [and] technologies,” Hager said.
After signing with United Talent Agency (UTA), Hager has collaborated and partnered with companies including Meta, Harvard Business Review, Inkbox, Cameo and OpenSea, to name a few.
Hager also worked with Time magazine. One initiative was titled "Artists for Peace," which featured a collection of digital artworks from more than 60 global artists in support of humanitarian and relief efforts in Ukraine.
For the Tommy Hilfiger partnership, Hager designed three digital wearables for Metaverse Fashion week. Additionally, he was commissioned to create the first digital art piece in Tommy Hilfiger's collection. The title of that artwork is "Starting Point," foreshadowing future collaborative efforts between Hilfiger and Hager.
In addition to partnering with companies, Hager has worked on personal projects, speaking engagements, interviews, gallery shows, and architecture and public art activations.
Hager has exhibited work in group shows at Artspace Gallery in Richmond, Virginia; Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown, Maryland; Circle Gallery in Annapolis; and Terrault in Baltimore.
“I'm really keen on spreading my art in as many outlets, mediums and ways as possible,” Hager said.
Looking ahead, Hager hopes to speak at a conference in Seoul, South Korea, this September, join an artist residency program in Japan after that, as well as participate in a traditional art show in London.
“My ever-changing and growing to-do list continues, but I am really proud and excited to see how my art and career continue to expand and evolve,” he said.
Hager provides updates to projects and collaborations on his X and Instagram accounts, both @vinniehager. His online store can be accessed at www.vinniehager.store.
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