Hong Kong-based Web3 platform Appreciator.io launches their inaugural NFT art collection with Van Gogh Sites Foundation in a unique collaboration bringing together local artists leveraging blockchain tech to preserve cultural heritage. Hive Life catches up with Emily Cheung, the Co-Founder and CEO of Appreciator.io at the Van Gogh NFT art launch on how she is bridging the gap between fine art and contemporary culture. 

The Van Gogh Sites Foundation (VGSF) has launched certified Van Gogh NFTs on Hong Kong-based Web3 art appreciation platform Appreciator.io, bringing together local artists leveraging blockchain technology to create a debut collection. Aiming to preserve cultural heritage and raise funds for the Foundation, the Van Gogh NFT collection features six multi-media works inspired by local artists’ interpretation of Van Gogh’s 39 heritage sites in Brabant.

Van Gogh Sites Foundation Launches NFT Art Collection with Hong Kong's Appreciator.io

Aiming to build a vibrant community of art appreciators, Appreciator.io is uniquely positioned in Hong Kong’s tech hub to drive the future of digital art. Bringing together local Hong Kong artists to collaborate with VGSF, the Van Gogh NFTs will be dropping in collections over the next two years, aiming to transport Van Gogh’s 39 physical heritage monuments into the Metaverse.

“This initiative can propel Hong Kong to the forefront of the digital art arena. Appreciator aims to spearhead the offering of FINE NFT which is unique and authentic and drives social impact in preserving cultural heritage and supporting local artists worldwide as they embark on their artistic journey,” shared Emily Cheung, Co-Founder & CEO of Appreciator.io.

Instead of simply replicating Van Gogh’s works as NFTs, artist Thomas Snels led a team in Brabant to fuse multi-media tools from music and visual arts, videography, and 3D technology to showcase Van Gogh’s lifelong love of nature in the collection.

Hive Life caught up with Appreciator.io’s Co-founder and CEO, Emily Cheung, on the inaugural event, the significance of cultural preservation, how the platform is using blockchain and NFT technology to drive the future of art appreciation, and her vision for the Van Gogh NFT project.

Van Gogh Sites Foundation Launches NFT Art Collection with Hong Kong's Appreciator.io

How did you first connect with the Van Gogh Sites Foundation team? 

I’m a serial entrepreneur, as well, as our co-founder. We always dreamed about leveraging technologies to create common goods for society [across] different industries. My previous venture was a travel company focusing on connecting Chinese young millennial travellers with the world, museums, heritage, local people, and businesses. So four years ago I got the chance to connect with Frank [van den Eijnden, the Director of the Van Gogh Sites Foundation], and he gave me his name card and I [shortly] went to Amsterdam. He invited me for trip to go to Brabant and there I met a wonderful people like Thomas and Nigel who showed me around the places where Van Gogh had been painting. 

I was talking to Frank to see how young entrepreneurs like us or young collectors can join forces to contribute to the mission of the Foundation so then our conversation started. I brought a hip hop rapper to go to Van Gogh’s homeland to film a music video and we were the first Hong Kong company to film a video in front of the brilliant Sunflowers painting!

Our friendship lasted for a really long time and he invited me to the join the Foundation’s annual gathering with donors from all around the world, in the museum, three years ago. I was really amazed about the conversations I had with these visionary people contributing to preserve art and culture, without asking for anything in return. I was hoping that one day I could bring a group of young passionate people, using creativity to donate to the Foundation and share the experience I had.  

How did the idea for Appreciator.io come around?

I have been studying NFT and Web3 technologies for more than 18 months, and I was [thinking] what do [these technologies] really mean to people? 10 months ago, I came up with the idea, that we launched today- how can we bring the true essence of Van Gogh’s spirit, what, where he had been and seen, and share this in a meaningful way for people to collect and also donate back to the foundation. 

How do you aim to bridge the gap between NFTs and fine art connection whilst introducing younger generations to the traditional art world at Appreciator.io? 

I think Appreciator.io is an industry transformer. The 15 collaborators we choose [for the Van Gogh NFT collection] age from 60 to 19. Our music composers are really talented and [young]. Through the combination of different collaborators from art and cultural sectors, we can make the whole creation [process] and collection more energetic.

[The NFT collection is] younger, with multiple dimensions that are not just a static picture, but a whole experience, [emphasising] how you embrace the journey of Van Gogh.

In the future it could be Picasso, Frida Kahlo, Dali, or also a Chinese master artist and that is our passion- I hope people can better understand Hong Kong art and cultural history. 

Van Gogh Sites Foundation Launches NFT Art Collection with Hong Kong's Appreciator.io

How do you foresee the future of art appreciation, with technology and NFTs driving this change? 

I think the future of the art industry will have a more collaborative model leveraging blockchain technologies. We have an angel investor from a tech fund and they liked our perspective. Art is very traditional and emotional, and tech is very scientific, and changing every day, so I hope Appreciator.io can be a pioneer to innovate in this model, and how the world can work together cross-culturally and cross-disciplinarily to reimagine art into an interesting format to make everybody happy and appreciative, so that’s what our name is “Appreciator.” 

What is next for Appreciator.io? 

Our team is amazing- there are a lot of people working behind the scenes on our mobile wallet which we’re going to launch by the end of this month. In the future, our website which just launched, will not only sell NFTs, but also physical collectibles. For example, a “Van Gogh bike” Thomas [Snels] also created, which will be listed on our platform.

It’s a whole new experience of a new wave of collectors to collect, engage, and  formulate a global, Appreciator network. 

Van Gogh Sites Foundation Launches NFT Art Collection with Hong Kong's Appreciator.io

“These NFTs shed light on the life of Van Gogh. By understanding the locales of his birthplace and childhood and the natural environment where he found much inspiration, peace and solace, the public can fully appreciate the artist’s vision and work. With the launch of these NFTs, we can reach new patrons who often are younger and digitally savvy, engage the creator community more fully in meaningful conversations no longer restrained by travel and distance,” concluded ,” Mr. Frank van den Eijnden, the Director of VGSF.

The Van Gogh NFT collection is available for subscription on appreciator.io.


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