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The Withers Art
Project Process

The Withers Art Project is a limited series NFT collection for the benefit of the preservation and digitization of the work of Dr. Ernest C. Withers. Want to learn more about this project? Uncover the answers to your questions below.

The Withers Art Project launched on Juneteenth (June 19), 2022. Discover the process that took original photographs from Civil Rights-era photographer Dr. Ernest C. Withers and transformed them into this unique digital art collection benefitting the Withers Collection Museum and Gallery.

Withers NFT Art Project Launches on Juneteenth

On launch day, June 19, 2022, the Withers Art Project NFTs became available to mint. For those who are new to collecting digital art, minting is the process of turning a digital file into a digital asset on a blockchain. Think of minting as the pre-sell phase. It’s like purchasing an airline ticket online — you buy the ticket and get confirmation that you own a flight ticket. However, the details of your flight haven’t been settled yet; your seat, amenities, and even flight details may change between now and the time your flight takes off.

During the mint phase of an NFT project, collectors receive a placeholder NFT in their crypto wallets. For those who purchase a Withers Art Project NFT during the mint phase can see an image of Dr. Ernest C. Withers holding his camera in their wallet. This is a placeholder image indicating that you own one of these digital collectibles. But, like your airline ticket prior to a flight, the finalized details have yet to be revealed.

Withers Art Project NFT Reveal Date

placeholder image of an nft

This placeholder image will be transformed into your unique, digital art piece on the official reveal date in July, 2022.

Carrying our flight analogy over, this is take-off time. Your flight details and seat assignment are now set in stone, and your boarding pass reveals your individual flight details. When the NFTs are revealed, each holder who had previously minted an NFT will see the final version of their art collectible. The NFT (non-fungible token) is now a completely unique piece of art that can not be duplicated, divided, or interchanged.

What Will the Withers Art Project NFTs Look Like?

The process for creating the Withers Art Project NFTs, or digital art collectibles, is a beautiful combination of past and present, a true blend of artistry and technology.

From Photograph to Generative Art Collection

withers orginal photograph of girls dancing

The Withers Collection Museum and Gallery allowed the use of 25 of Dr. Ernest C. Withers original Civil Rights-era photographs to be used as the base inspiration for the NFT art project.

These iconic images feature some of the most well-known faces in Memphis, TN, during the 1950s and 1960s. Not every NFT features a well-recognized name, however. Withers chronicled the lives of the everyday people living in Memphis during the Civil Rights movement during a time when suppression of photographers was the norm. The resulting photographs of the men, women, and children living during that time are all the more precious for their scarcity.

first pass in bw of the NFT created from the girls dancing mobile

Of the 25 base photographs that served as the inspiration for this NFT collection, nine were reserved for 1:1 non-generative pieces. These nine 1:1 pieces are referred to as “unicorns” due to their extreme rarity. There is only one of each base image available to be collected.

The remaining 16 images became the base for the remaining generative art collection. Image traits are then hand-drawn or painted on paper in a contemporary-art style reminiscent of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and the art movements popular during the 1950s and 60s.

first pass in bw of the NFT created from the girls dancing desktop
final version of the NFT created from the girls dancing

The various hand-drawn traits are then scanned and layered to create a computer-generated randomized (known as generative art) collection of 1,1687 digital art pieces recorded to the Ethereum blockchain.

What started out as a photograph captured on film during the 1950s - 60s gets transformed into a series of hand-painted traits on paper, and finally utilizes the latest computer technology to randomly generate more than 10,000 unique images that are committed to the blockchain. It’s the ultimate dichotomy between old and new; the past meeting the present.

The result is a stunning collection of digital art collectibles honoring the legacy of Civil Rights photographer, Dr. Ernest C. Withers. Sales of these NFT collectibles benefit the Withers Collection Museum and Gallery as they continue their efforts to preserve the rest of Withers’ images for the future.

black and white photo with a postit with text
black and white photo with a postit with text

Preserve our shared history

Support the preservation of the Withers collection

The Withers Art Project is an NFT art collection inspired by the work of Dr. Ernest C. Withers. Proceeds from this collection benefit the preservation and digitization of the photo archive. Join the waitlist to mint an NFT from The Withers Art Project.