How this Pinoy artist made millions in NFT world 2
Luis Buenaventura recently collaborated with “Trese” co-creator Kajo Baldisimo in a new crypto pop series. Profile photo from Luis' Twitter account. Background art from Trese

How to be a successful NFT artist—from a Filipino who’s sold millions worth of digital art

For Luis Buenaventura, the NFT scene is much like the traditional art scene—it’s still about making and owning the next cool thing 
ANCX Staff | Jan 25 2022

NFT or non-fungible tokens have revolutionized the way artists make and sell art. It’s also radically changed the kind of art that collectors value. Long story short, it has disrupted the digital art space, so to speak.

To the uninitiated, NFT is a medium that allows one to secure and protect the ownership rights of a digital asset—say, an artwork—thru blockchain. This Washington Post article defines blockchain as “a digital database, most often in the form of a public ledger.” 

Luis Buenaventura
Luis Buenaventura on what kind of art makes it big in the NFT digital art space: “The NFT art world is very much around the cool factor. Is it cool? Is it edgy? Is it interesting? Is it unique?” he says.  Screengrab from Executive Class video

The world of NFT has evolved quite rapidly in recent years. And among the very first artists to mint—meaning, create or produce—a digital art is a Filipino artist and crypto entrepreneur by the name of Luis Buenaventura. The guy is the founder of Cryptopop Art Guild and is considered one of the Philippines’ most successful NFT artists.

Luis’ collab with Argentinian comic book legend Jose Delbo, “Satoshi The Creator – Genesis,” was quite a milestone. They sold each of the 222 editions of their comic book art on Nifty Gateway platform at $1,999 each—or over P22 million. 

Another one of the Filipino artist’s most notable collabs was with Heart Evangelista and the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra’s Rodel Colmenar. Their multimedia project earned 17.35 ETH (Ethereum) or P3.6 million. 

Not one to rest on his laurels, Luis announced Monday on his Twitter account that he’s going to drop a new crypto pop series on OpenSea the next day at noon. This time, it’s a collab with “Trese” co-creator Kajo Baldisimo and guitarist Marco Palinar. Thirteen motion paintings based on the characters of the graphic novel-turned-animated series will be up for grabs in the largest NFT marketplace in its first run from January 25 to 28. These collectibles will be sold in exchange for Ethereum (ETH), a type of cryptocurrency.  

Luis Buenaventura and David Celdran
On how he became a successful NFT artist, Luis tells Executive Class host David Celdran that he was just at the right place at the right time when NFT was just about to explode. Screengrab from Executive Class video

How does one become an NFT artist

Luis’ rise to fame in the world of digital art is quite startling, especially after hearing his story in the latest episode of “Executive Class.” In the interview, the artist tells host David Celdran he was just at the right place at the right time when NFT was just about to explode. To be literal about it, he was at a Bitcoin meetup in San Francisco sometime in 2017. Luis has been working in the cryptocurrency business for a total of eight years now. Five years ago, he was approached by the guys from Ethereum, a platform powered by blockchain technology, to ask if he was interested to join their project. The developers have apparently encountered his artwork on Twitter. 

The project was called Curio Cards. “It’s the world’s oldest, it’s the world’s first NFT art project,” he recalls. “They were thinking about using the Ethereum blockchain as a way to symbolize ownership in digital art.”

The said cards have been played well, it seems. The complete set of said digital assets was auctioned off at Christie's in New York for $1.5 million.

To be an NFT artist, Luis says you have to know a little bit about cryptocurrency and be ready to invest in it. “You don't have to understand how blockchains work. You don't have to understand any of that jargon. But you do have to be comfortable enough to at least buy a small amount of cryptocurrency,” he says.

Luis gives a tip about the kind of art that makes it big in the NFT digital art space. “The NFT art world is very much around the cool factor. Is it cool? Is it edgy? Is it interesting? Is it unique?” he says.

Other important features of an art piece are scarcity and rarity. “And that doesn't just extend to the number of copies that are available in the world,” Luis explains. “It also extends to the realm of ideas. Is this something we've never seen before? So if you can establish a certain amount of uniqueness to both your work or maybe yourself as an artist, I think you will generally do well.”

The other important thing to do is promote your work and build up your name in the crypto community. Generally, even for those who are already big names in the traditional art world, this is still necessary. It’s “almost like you're starting from square one,” says Luis. One way to do this is make your presence known online, particularly on Twitter. “I would say 99% of sales and marketing and promotion for NFT just occurs on that one social network.”

For those asking where they can catch Executive Class online, you can log in to for current and previous episodes. Those with SKYCable can view the latest episodes on its regular time slot on ANC, while subscribers of Cignal can watch replays of the show on Metro.