Avast Ye! Arise, Artists! Look Amongst You and Here is George Grigalashvili, Son of George the Artist
If Web3 is about exorcising personal and institutional demons; if it's about confronting ignorance with learning; if it's about a legion community of artist friends, then George is a Web3 artist.
Tens of thousands of years of art history focus on one thing, IMO — delineating what is real and deciding who is allowed to dictate that and express it.
If I do some math on the back of a napkin here, I think that out of 35,000 or so years of “art,” 75% of it ends up in an argument outside of the Louvre about “my kid could do that,” or “this is so clean, it’s so detailed, it’s like I am looking at the real thing (oil painting in the 15th century?).”
So where are we now?
Actually, we started all over again with Web3.
NFTs started time over. I was listening to a spaces with Ryder Ripps in it, and I don’t know who said it, but someone said that these are early days. It’s like we are cro-magnon man. We just discovered fire. We just started looking at our shadows on the cave wall. We just started creating magical incantatory charcoal swatches on the cave dwelling, praying to our ancestors to help us catch a mule deer.
So what kind of art belongs on these walls?
Pure emotion art. Art brut style. Prehistoric syncopation of the heart murmur style. Romantic. Brusque. Gentle. Perverse. It is a hodge podge and a sytlised messy concentration.
It’s not art that helps us catch wild game. It’s not the broad dead fire stick swathes of bear back and bison horn.
This is art that helps us catch our bogeymen. Our emotional hangups. Art that comes from amygdala on the F Train at three a.m. Art that soars over the Caucuses like a Golden Eagle.
Art that cannot be contained, but rests for a while on a digital screen activated by the electro-impulses from our fingertips.
This art light shines on George Grigalashvili, 28-year old son of an artist who was an artist from childhood. George, who goes by Griga, in the Georgian (Kartevelian) tendency (like the Russians) to shorten a name and alter its spelling into a nickname. He also goes by MetaYZArt on OpenSea and Foundation, where he has listed his art since January of this year. Griga, who owns a balloon shop in Tbilisi a city sacked and dominated by Russians, Mongolians, Persians. Not flyover country. Sack and pillage country. But a dominant, vibrant and culturally rich city all the same.
and that’s about all you are going to get out of me. Because Griga’s art is the kind of art that speaks its own language. It’s got its own alphabet, even. Georgian. Kartuli.
You can find it in many of his NFTs if you look hard enough.
I am going to let Griga tell you himself. He is filled with a mission. He knows what he is doing.
With a war waging next door, with innocent Ukrainians being slaughtered by Russians, this citizen of a former Soviet state sees where this can lead, and humbly, quietly, on a daily basis, he creates one new piece of art that spreads his consciousness — and ours — out before him.
So, here is Griga. Here is his art. Let it speak.
my art is priceless for me, but prices you can see on my art are because i'm not famous at this moment and i want people who chose me and my art; i want you to be a part of my journey, and people who buy just because the art is important for you… I want to share with you a success we will achieve together.
Remember that last part. “We will achieve together.”
This is the way.
On why he thought he wasn’t a good artist:
My father is an artist from childhood. I was drawing, but I wasn’t as good as my father, i could not draw good shapes, faces, shadows. But after Covid - 19, when i was forced to be at home, i started painting my room and from there i was thinking, ‘how can i draw if i can’t draw as normal artists would?
Something inside me was asking to "speak" like this, to speak with my art, so one day i found out about about Basquiat and i realised that he was a person who was creating art and he was speaking with his art.
as I studied his artworks, there were hidden messages, and there was his ‘feeling,’ so i realised that its not important how "good" of a painter you are.
it's not about how good the shapes are that you can draw, but its about your feeling.
it’s about a world inside you.
its about a child inside you,
it’s about hard periods you go thru,
in real life you are smiling while inside you, you are burning,
so what i draw is what i see, and what i feel in this moment of art creation, when i make an art piece... that’s a message someone can understand and someone can’t.
[you know,] sometimes i want to speak, but i know it might be hard for people to hear the truth, so i’d better paint it, when i'm angry and i start painting i become relaxed and art becomes great...
my friends tell me that i need to [get] cure[d] when they see my art :)
If he was drawing and exposed to drawing, why not focus on that, always?
when i turned 18, i started my own company and my business was the first thing for me, but then when i had hard times, i was always drawing. And from 2019 and on, very often i started to make art in acrylic [paint].
He will use the new ETH funds from his recent sales volume (1.3 ETH) to buy some more supplies and maybe soon return to painting. Right now, he’s making merchandise using his NFT drawings.
But why NFTs? How did that happen?
last year, when i heard about nfts i started investing in them on rarible, then i realised that my art also might be there, and i put JPEG s of my physical art up, but it did not work out.
people were creating 10,000 item artworks in a minute, and they were sold out, but i realised that that’s not art, and i started thinking, ‘what can i do to make my art valuable?’
i realised that the most important thing is time. if you do things consistently and for a long time, one day you'll get your attention. so, i started doing one art piece every day [and committed myself to do this] for the next 5 years.
there are people who do nfts just because they know that from nfts you can make money, but for me its not important, cause i have my own business and my income streams so i don’t chase fast money from art, i need people to feel the same emotion i put on my art, thats the biggest price they can pay for my art.
But it didn’t start out that way. In this way, he’s inspired by a Georgian predecessor, Niko Pirosmani, who was celebrated briefly, but spent most of his life in obscurity, and died, according to stories on the web, forgotten.
He’s something of a Georgian folk art legend now. An art brut stylist and raw painter like Griga has made himself to be. Look at this this amazing lion:
But Pirosmani is not the only influence:
of course i love other artists — Picasso, Banksy, and many others
But he’s largely self-taught. He worked through childhood and had some good teachers as a kid, but every art style he’s tried, he’s really just taken tool to paper / canvas / device, and just tried and tried until he figured it out.
it was hard period for me so i was painting this very hard emotions inside me, but lot of people around me were amazed, and after that i found basquiat, i watched a lot of documentaries; i watch a movie about him, i was watching his art and i realised that if i start to learn how to draw as a professional artist than i wouldn’t be able to draw like i can now,
i dont care what professors teach in art schools…
It’s probably this insouciant attitude that keeps his vision and mind clear, and it’s this clarity that enables him to directly confront terror and ignorance of the war through art. And also confront inner turmoil and angst.
He’s approaching his art almost like the automatic artists; he just addresses the challenge of letting the inner voice flow. Autonomous release. And still his depth and texture can be like Munch and even Degas, not to mention the obvious nods to art brut and Jean DuBuffet et al.
I paint every day, but if you look closely you'll find out that not all the art is incredible;
but some of the art can be really really good, and i realised the art i make during those periods i have mental problems
This is, in a way same same, but different, with his father.
my father used to draw art and then sell it for profit to fed his family, he was selling because he had no other way to survive,
and, yes, he’s now a professional artist with a degree, but he does not paint much anymore, only sometimes.
So what’s the plan?
“My plan is already in progress, as I gave my word — I'll do art every day for the next 5 years.” He will also do some “special feature” pieces and put a single piece each month, and no more than 58 pieces, on Foundation for auction.
“But at the same time, I'm working on my collection as a BRAND, so I’m not going to just paint and wait for the result,” he says in one last email sent a few days ago.
“I'm creating the brand and soon I'll start working on this brand full time.”
I have a feeling Web3 will be watching. We will achieve together.