Italian artist No Faith, also known as Federico Salvador, creates art that blurs the line between beauty and invisibility. His art reminds the viewer that beauty is not always obvious, but it is always there. We spoke with him about his journey as an NFT artist as part of his exhibition at CREO Gallery.
(collaboration with Danilo Falà)
CREO: How did you start your artistic career and what led you to create NFT art?
ARTIST No Faith: I have always been into arts since when I was a teenager but my path started and was focused on music. I had a couple of bands but with the second one, “all my faith lost…” we did an interesting and rewarding journey. We released a few albums and EPs for different international labels and played a lot of gigs mostly in Italy and also did a China Tour in 2011. It’s because of the band that I started playing with Photoshop, photo manipulation and graphic design. I was influenced a lot by the CD covers from other bands and I wanted to have similar results for our covers and promotional materials too. Later in the years I also started making art just to express myself, not for purposes related to the band. I was a bit unsure about what to do with that artworks, I tried to sell them as prints in my own shop but it did not go very well. I did not have enough time to promote it properly.
Then in late 2021… I started to see #HICETNUNC hashtag too often on my Twitter timeline, so I asked a friend who was already in if it was ok to try and he told me, yes please come and have fun. That’s how I started making NFTs.
CREO: When did you decide to establish yourself as an NFT artist and what type of artwork do you most enjoy creating?
ARTIST No Faith: Unfortunately I am not a full time artist… I am just making music and art in my free time because I really need it to express myself. Art is an escape from everyday life, a way to throw out things I have inside of me and I am not able to express with words. Art makes my life better. I did mostly digital photo manipulations so far but lately I started also making physical works that are some kind of analogue photo manipulations. I am trying to replicate my digital artworks into their physical form. It’s not easy but some results are really interesting.
CREO: How do you create one of your NFT artworks, from start to finish? Could you take us through the process step by step?
ARTIST No Faith: My process is definitely messy even if, during the last year, I did a lot of new work and I sharpened my skills a bit.
I basically start with a photo (it could be mine, from stock photography websites or, more often, from photographers that are happy to collaborate with me), I cut parts, resize them, overlay them and play a lot with layers so as to re-shape the subject in an interesting way. Then I use a special set of photoshop brushes I have owned for so many years. Those brushes are probably my staple, which makes my work recognizable among others.
An interesting part of my artworks are textures, and those could come from different sources; stock photography platforms, smartphone shots of interesting stuff I find in my daily life, and scans of stuff I make with the copy machine at my daily job office.
CREO: Can you tell us about a special project or piece of art that inspired you or that you recently created?
ARTIST No Faith: Since I joined the NFT space I had the opportunity to meet a lot of amazing artists and it was with great pleasure that I collaborated with some of them. It’s hard to choose one project in particular but probably one of the most interesting is the collection I made with Reyhan Mente, a young and talented Turkish photographer. The collection was called: “Solitary Confinement” and featured 3 manipulations of photos that Reyhan took during the covid quarantine.
CREO: How has technology influenced or changes the way you create art?
ARTIST No Faith: I am not a “nerd” but I like technology and so it has always been part of my artistic journey. I have always been ready and curious to try new possibilities offered by the improvements in tech. I can say it helped me so much by giving me many chances I could definitely not have in the past.
CREO: Can you describe a particular challenging or rewarding moment in your artistic career?
ARTIST No Faith: As a musician, the most challenging and, at the same time, rewarding experience, was the 2011 China Tour I did with my band. It was very hard, we played 13 concerts in 23 days but the response from the audience was amazing.
Talking about about my visual art, well, a few days ago, I was tagged on an Instagram, this was the post: “Last week our degree Photography students took part in a printmaking workshop. Inspired by the work of @no_faith_left they were encouraged to experiment with mark making and layering techniques exploring the theme of identity.” When I read those words, I almost had tears in my eyes. I was so proud and happy.
CREO: How does your cultural or personal background influence your art?
ARTIST No Faith: Well, being Italian I think I am constantly overwhelmed by every kind of artistic influence. Our country is full of art, even the smallest church of the smallest town has something amazing to offer, artistically speaking. Just to make an example, I lived for most of my life in a small town (around 2000 residents) and in the church of that town, there is the oldest Organ in Europe. Built around 1532–1533, the decorations and the paintings of its doors are extremely beautiful and precious.
CREO: What challenges have you experienced so far as an NFT artist and how have you overcome them?
ARTIST No Faith: I guess the biggest challenge in the NFT space is the need for constant promotion of your works on Twitter. I am lucky enough, because I always loved Twitter and for me it’s even fun to spend time on this social network. But I am perfectly aware that this approach is not sustainable in the long term. So I guess the real biggest challenge will be to find a reasoned way to approach this aspect of NFTs, in the future.
CREO: How did you sell your first NFT artwork and how did you establish yourself in the NFT market?
ARTIST No Faith: I sold my first NFT on Tezos blockchain a couple of weeks after releasing the first 3 works on Hicetnunc. I realized being on Twitter was crucial and I started promoting my tokens heavily. I quickly noticed there was a real community of artists / collectors on Tezos and I just started spontaneously to create connections and help other artists. I was very lucky to be welcomed in the warmest possible way by so many friends and I am so happy to say that almost a couple of years after I am still in touch with most of them.
(collaboration with Alexey Kamenchuck)
CREO: Can you tell us about your marketing strategy and how you interact with your community?
ARTIST No Faith: Not sure mine is a marketing strategy. I only know that I spend a lot of time showing my works but I also make sure to share on my timeline the works of the artists (both new and emergent) I love. I try to be kind and help everyone,I try to answer every question and every comment. Long story short, I try to stay honest and kind (and sometimes funny too).
CREO: What role do collaborations and partnerships play in your NFT art career?
ARTIST No Faith: Collaborations have been crucial to my path in NFTs. I was lucky enough that my style is liked by so many photographers, and I continuously receive collaboration offers. And by collaborating with other artists, you make new friends, you establish new connections, you challenge yourself by working on someone else’s work. And then you have the possibility to amplify your promotion pool by getting in touch with the fans and collectors of the artist you work with (and the beautiful thing is the same happens to them).
CREO: How do you find buyers/art collectors?
ARTIST No Faith: Twitter, Twitter and Twitter. Not many other options at the moment.
CREO: Which NFT platforms have you used so far? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using them?
ARTIST No Faith: I released my works on several platforms on Tezos, Vet, Solana and of course Ethereum. I feel most comfortable on Objkt / Tezos but just because it’s the platform I spent more time on. About Eth platforms I like Foundation a lot, because I think they are doing a good job to improve the platform in the last month and they have a nice clean design. Another promising platform is the Italian Ninfa, it still lacks some collectors but the guys behind it are doing a great job. And of course SuperRare, I recently released my genesis there and it was collected after just a week, so i can say my first impression was definitely positive!
CREO: Do you collect art/NFT art as well?
ARTIST No Faith: Definitely.. I can’t afford a lot of physical art but I definitely collected prints by my favorite artists and, since I joined the NFT space, I have collected hundreds of NFTs (mostly on Tezos).
CREO: How do you see the future of NFT art and what do you think will change in the future?
ARTIST No Faith: I think NFTs will be part of our daily life soon. I don’t know when this will happen but I am sure it will, and of course there will be a lot of improvements and changes in the future. It’s a new technology, it’s moving fast and it has a big potential for a lot of different fields, not only art. But specifically, about art, I guess NFTs, as a medium, will soon be part of the art world as any other medium.
CREO: How do you stay up to date with the latest developments and trends in the NFT market?
ARTIST No Faith: Being part of a community, it’s easy to stay up to date with everything. As soon as a new trend or development starts spreading, you soon notice about it on twitter and you start talking about it with community members, artists and friends.
CREO: How do you maintain a sense of authenticity and originality in a world where digital art is so easily replicated and shared?
ARTIST No Faith: I just have the big privilege and luck to have found my own style (after looking for it for years) that is original enough to be (almost always) recognizable at first sight.
CREO: What is your goal or vision as an artist?
ARTIST No Faith: I am always looking for unconventional beauty. Beauty in obscurity, in darkness. I want my audience to look deeper and to find beauty where at first sight, you can’t see it.
CREO: Could you provide some advice for new artists entering the NFT space?
ARTIST No Faith: Be relentless, work hard to improve yourself everyday and be kind.