Justin Aversano is a Los Angeles-based multidisciplinary artist with a passion for photography and NFTs. He connects his art with the world around him by capturing moments, faces, and communities through his camera lens.
But Aversano is interested in more than just releasing works as NFTs. He is dedicated to building public spaces for more people and artists to learn about web3, both in the physical and the digital world.
He has also always been outspoken about royalties as something crucial to the NFT ecosystem as a way that artists can make a consistent living sharing their work. This topic has been especially relevant as the race to zero royalties continues between major industry marketplaces like OpenSea and Blur.
Learn more about Justin Aversano and his work in NFTs in our artist guide below.
Justin Aversano's Creative Process
In an interview with Vogue Singapore, Aversano said: “I only see one photo. That’s how I think. If you don’t get it the first time, it’s not worth the second.” He has also said that his subjects choose the location and the outfit for the shoot because he wants to capture them as their most authentic selves.
Most of Aversano’s projects explore a relationship with death. He heals through his art as a way to cope with the losses he has experienced in his own life. In every project he has worked on, he has thought about it for years ahead of time.
When he spoke to Cointelegraph, he noted he is influenced by photographers Irving Penn, David LaChapelle, Diane Arbus, Vivian Maier and Robert Frank, and also painters like Alex Gray and Dustin Yellin.
Aversano's Web3 Projects
Justin Aversano is an artist and founder. Learn more about his projects below.
During a trip to Peru, Aversano was inspired to get deeper into photography. He was working with shamans to overcome depression when he photographed a pair of twins. This moment would be when the idea for the Twin Flames series first really took hold.
The series was deeply personal. Aversano is the surviving twin in a set of fraternal twins. By photographing the 100 sets of twins for Twin Flames, he said he was able to “reconnect with his lost twin sister, learning that part of her still remains with him when he absorbed what he believes is her spiritual existence.”
Twin Flames No. 83 sold for $1.1 million at Christie’s.
The production process went on from May 2017 to July 2018 in Peru, London, New York, and California. He then released a book with the photos in it. A few years later, the Twin Flames series was still out on his website and Instagram, but it was when he discovered NFTs (with the help of influencer gmoneyNFT) that his life truly changed. On Feb. 14, 2021, the collection went live as individual NFTs, and sold out within a few days.
Twin Flames is likely Aversano’s most well-known and renowned collection. It has traded more than 5,900 ETH of volume on OpenSea alone. In his own words, it is “a body of work focused on the existence of multiple births and the phenomena of twindom through an immersive portrait survey.” The highest sale was 888 ETH for Twin Flames No. 49. The floor price is currently 70 ETH.
The Doppelgänger collection is made up of 1,000 unseen outtakes from Twin Flames, reimagined as glitchy animations.
Smoke and Mirrors
Smoke and Mirrors was shot from 2018 through 2021, and was released in February 2022 on Quantum as “Project 0” for the platform. Aversano photographed 78 sets of artists, astrologers, psychics, tarot readers, and other forms of mystics from all around the world.
Each subject represents a unique tarot card. It is focused on the existence of magic and mysticism through an immersive portrait survey and tarot readings. The floor price is currently 12 ETH.
There’s also an NFT collection of Smoke and Mirrors tarot scrolls which come with a physical colorful silkscreen print. The floor price on these is currently 1.5 ETH.
Cognition is a series of 364 mixed-media paintings that were released in August 2022. After Aversano’s mother’s death, he explored techniques of free association and layering through collage and illustration.
In the project description, it says: “To redefine the composition of a frame and to expand the conventions of what constitutes painting, this project was conceived to challenge my daily expectations of the act of creation.” The floor of this series is currently 0.32 ETH.
Cognition No. 0 - Returning Home was released as an edition of 93 pieces for PROOF’s Grails Season 2. The floor of this is currently 0.37 ETH.
Every Day is a Gift
Every day from Sept. 22, 2012 - Sept. 21, 2013, Aversano photographed people celebrating their birthday with a Polaroid camera. Each Polaroid is dated, and represents everyone who shares that birthday. The project description says that “this project recognizes equality of all living beings through the depiction of a primal phenomenon, which is mortality.” The floor is currently 0.77 ETH.
Colin in the Car
The artist surprised NFT Twitter and his collectors when he announced a project on Bitcoin, using the emerging Ordinals protocol. Aversano said it would be his one and only collection launching on Bitcoin. The 250-edition mint also came with a signed print. It sold out quickly for a cost of 2.85 ETH each. You can learn more about Ordinals and Bitcoin NFTs in our guide!
Colin in the Car is one of his early medium format street photography images, after graduating from photography school at the School of Visual Arts in 2014. In it, he focuses his lens on reflections, refractions, distortions, and other psychological and psychedelic techniques. These invigorate the depth of field and vision a camera can operate in.
In January 2021, Aversano co-founded Quantum.Art as a platform to uplift, support, and sustain artists working in Web3. He has stated that he envisions Quantum to NFT photography as Art Blocks is to generative art.
The platform has hosted multiple drops for artists such as p1xelfool, Arclight, Ella Barnes, Kenny Vaden, and many more.
It also launched a 1,000-edition Quantum Key NFT collection that provides access to exclusive NFTs from Quantum. This mint helped fund the first physical Quantum Space, where collectors, artists, and Web3 beginners could come together.
Photo by @QuantumNFT
Quantum Space Los Angeles (QSLA) opened on Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, California in June 2022. QSLA hosted many events, had an artist-in-residence program, and a metaverse immersion room. They also welcomed people new to NFTs for onboarding, helping them get access to a wallet when they walked in the doors. QSLA also had a collectors lounge for Quantum Key NFT holders to access for free.
However, in January 2023, Quantum made the tough decision to close down the physical space in LA. They will instead be focusing more on pop-up events and traveling more to where their keyholders are located. The Quantum Art focus has also been renewed to more curated art and photography.
Besides bringing NFT photography to the masses, Aversano is also passionate about community art. He is the Co-founder and Creative Director of SaveArtSpace, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing community art to public spaces.
SaveArtSpace helps the local community and enriches the world by shifting the paradigm in the public space from consumerism to community empowerment through public art.
The organization aims to transform advertisement space into public art spaces by and for the local community. They provide artists with a platform to share their creative message with their neighborhood.
On Mar. 25, 2023, Aversano has a solo show at Gabba Gallery in Los Angeles, showcasing his new tarot-themed iteration of Smoke and Mirrors. The prints are printed on papyrus, creating what Aversano refers to as “hybrid photographic neo-hieroglyphs.”
King of Coins - Silver - Smoke and Mirrors Tarot Scrolls
Following this, there will be a book launch of Smoke and Mirrors with a custom tarot deck. Then, a show in Berlin, another in Los Angeles, and finally, New York City. 2023 is going to be a busy year for the talented photographer.
Learn More About Aversano
When it comes to the niche of NFT photography, many collectors can only name a few artists off the top of their heads. Justin Aversano is absolutely one of them. His eye for incorporating analog photography practices and capturing his subjects in the most authentic light has resonated with collectors worldwide. Twin Flames is one of the most striking modern photography collections in the NFT world and beyond.
This year, Aversano aims to bring more traditional art collectors into the Web3 space by publicly showcasing physical versions of his Smoke and Mirrors collection. It’s part of how he wants to bridge the digital art world more with the physical one.
In 2023, the Quantum platform is focusing on the quality of art, onboarding & education, and the storytelling by the artists. They will also be resurfacing past collections to provide the spotlight to and introduce more artists to the Quantum landscape.
To learn more about Justin Aversano, check out these official links.