State of the Art: The Israeli Fashion Illustrator Who Took Over the Metaverse

"My excitement far exceeded my knowledge of NFT". Talia Zoref | Photos courtesy of Talia Zoref
"My excitement far exceeded my knowledge of NFT". Talia Zoref | Photos courtesy of Talia Zoref
In just under a year, the term 'NFT' evolved from a cryptic abbreviation to the Collins Dictionary word of the year. Talia Zoref writes about her journey as a fashion illustrator working for Chanel, Dior, and Fendi to becoming an NFT artist, and shares tips for beginners


My daily normal, working as an Illustrator, could not be further away from the technology world or the developers behind it. All of that changed when I heard about the artist Beeple who made history selling a digital NFT piece for a whopping $69 million.

Ever since, one of the hottest and most intriguing topics in media and especially on Twitter and Discord – is the NFT. Snoop Dogg, The Weekend, and Paris Hilton have already launched their own NFT collections, and other celebrities like Reese Witherspoon and Eva Longoria have jumped in as collectors in the space.

Important Questions

So why are people spending tens of millions of dollars on a digital file? What is NFT? Which NFT is worth buying? Moreover – are NFTs just a passing trend, or are they here to stay?

I have been an international illustrator for the last 10 years and recently, became an NFT artist. As an illustrator, I have collaborated with companies such as Chanel, Dior, and Fendi and I had the pleasure of meeting (and sketching) Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, and Gal Gadot.

“I had the pleasure of meeting and sketching Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, and Gal Gadot” | Photo Courtesy of Talia Zoref

However, nothing prepared me for the NFT revolution that started this year. Like everyone else, I heard the scandalous news last spring that a Jpeg had been purchased for $69 million. I needed to understand what this new NFT world was all about, and before I knew it – I discovered an amazing way to merge Art, Tech, and community. Very quickly, I fell in love with the NFT world.

When I began this journey, my excitement far exceeded my knowledge of programming, crypto, or blockchain technology. After doing my own research (DYOR – do your own research) to understand the meaning behind these terms, the next step was to check where to upload my work.

In order to post your art online, you need to pay around $200 for each painting to be minted on the blockchain through gas fees, which are transaction fees (denoted in GWEI on the Ethereum blockchain). In addition, you will have to promote yourself as a creator and secure a space on prestigious platforms. When I first started, weeks passed and I did not hear back from most of the platforms, since many of them were backlogged with applications in this new, highly specialized field.

‘Eyes of Fashion’ | Art by Talia Zoref

Despite these obstacles, I was determined to join the NFT space. The innovation and opportunities it offers artists are optimal due to the royalty automation on each subsequent sale, a possibility to use one’s art for charity, creating a community, or a supportive incubator for artists and creators, and even digital real estate investments where events can be hosted for collectors of NFTs.

I started out with OpenSea, an NFT marketplace, where I posted my first NFT. Lo and behold – my work did not miraculously sell for millions of dollars within minutes. Therefore, I decided to share the link in a Facebook group dealing with NFTs, where I received multiple comments on it and collaboration offers.

A Co-Founder of one of my current projects, Assaf Sela, suggested creating a collection of thousands of art pieces with AI, merging multiple traits. We started to work together, establishing an amazing team and that is when everything started to happen. From Paris Hilton retweeting us to an amazing collaboration with Quentin Tarantino’s NFTs – now I can say that when it comes to NFT projects, the sky is the limit.

“I have been an international illustrator for the last 10 years and recently, became an NFT artist” | Photo courtesy of Talia Zoref

Our NFT project is called ‘Eyes of Fashion’ – a collection of 8,888 illustrations, based on work presented in my 1/1 solo exhibition. It focuses on art, female empowerment, and providing high ROI value to the community by establishing donations for charities chosen by investors, fashion events, and even a creation of a fashion show in the Metaverse.

What is an NFT?

NFT, short for Non-Fungible Token, is a unique digital asset. An NFT can be seen as a type of license or digital certificate based on blockchain technology. Specifically, in the case of my project, it is in the cryptocurrency, Ethereum (other NFT blockchains like WAX or Solana have emerged as well and are growing rapidly). Unlike other cryptocurrencies or traditional money where $1=$1 or one Bitcoin = 1 Bitcoin, an NFT is “non-fungible” meaning each piece has its own unique value. You cannot find another one just like it. It is irreplaceable. An NFT comes with identifying information, which allows collectors and buyers to confirm the original ownership and provenance of these digital works.

‘Eyes of Fashion’ | Art by Talia Zoref

How to choose an NFT to invest in or purchase?

First, understand what value the NFT offers. There are NFT projects and pieces that offer ownership of rare high in demand art pieces, but there are also NFTs that give holders other types of value such as dividends, donations, events they can attend, and more.

Once you understand what value you are getting, you can check for the demand and supply. Are there bids on the piece? Like in the stock market, if more people are looking to sell than buy, the value will probably go down in the short term, however, there is also an opportunity to get your NFT/ Stock for a lower price if you believe the price will go up in the future.

Next, look at the community and the social media activity. When there is an enthusiastic invested community around a project or a single NFT, it might very well help the project take off. It is also important to know the project team and the people behind it. Are they an experienced team? Are they known or anonymous? Is it a famous artist or a celebrity? That is why, when I formed my team I looked for experienced and well-known people who I could trust to build my collection.

In the end, what is most important is that you participate in a way that feels right for you. Never invest more than you can lose, and pick projects you are most excited about. Being in this NFT space means falling in love with the world each day anew. There is always something new to learn about every day and I am part of building this world with other artists, creators, coders, and developers in the here and now. Personally, what truly excites me about this world is the possibility to combine art and science to build an empowering ecosystem that will advance powerful messages that can help so many people and communities.

Talia Zoref is a Forbes 30Under30 graduate and an international NFT Artist and Illustrator. She has become known for collaborating with iconic brands such as Chanel, Fendi, Dior, and MAC as well as creating live art during Fashion Weeks, and presented her art at Art Basel in Miami.

Forbes Israel Contributors are independent writers that were individually picked by Forbes staff. The writers are experts in their field and they provide professional commentary and analysis of current events. The content is unsponsored.

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