What Happened to Takahiro Okawa?

Crypto Art Sep 20, 2020

In early 2018, crypto art felt like a wild new frontier.

Here we are almost 3 years later, with new people flooding into the scene and still declaring it a new frontier. Crypto art is getting on in years and already assuming the cruft and schemes of traditional art– alas, that's for another article altogether.

Flash back to June of 2018 though, and the nascent crypto art galleries like KnownOrigin were just underway in deploying their first smart contracts and onboarding artists. The scene was tiny but buzzing hard, with perhaps a couple dozen artists on the cutting edge of what was rapidly becoming a larger movement.

Artists Come and Artists Go

One artist that was part of KnownOrigin's early stable of crypto art pioneers and who only ever minted art on the KODA v1 contract was Takahiro Okawa. He joined KnownOrigin, landing only a single amazing artwork, and then promptly disappeared entirely from the scene.

Taka. "End Of Chaos is Common," 2018 (KnownOrigin / KODA v1)

The work is charged with distracting loud energy, asking "Hey! Are you Alright?", handwriting, drawn maze-like progressions, and even more interesting collage technique, including the introduction of textiles in the form of sewing thread, with some stapling anchoring a figure with religious connotations that bears resemblance to a stylized late Ethiopian Emporer Haile Selassie. Next to this figure we note another human figure laying supine and appearing to be the target of several sword-like projectiles.

Without grasp of the scattered kanji throughout, and in light of the vaguegly hovering (through more application of sewing thread) tablet reminiscent of the Ten Comandments in the upper left area, we can only infer that this art has religious or spirtual subject matter.

"In early 2018, crypto art felt like a wild new frontier."

One thing that is interesting about this piece is that the artist actually titled the work "Taka," and used the description field for the token to enter what presumably was the intended title "End Of Chaos is Common", instead. We know this is likely the intended title because the artist had a show on the theme "End of Chaos". The mistake in titling was possibly due to UI/UX issues he encountered or other confusion about minting the work. You can determine this readily by examing the tokens in OpenSea and comparing them to others with respect to text in the title and description fields.

The even more fascinating thing is that this artist has effectively dissappeared from the scene immediately upon getting started! This leaves us wondering, what could have happened to result in Taka leaving the platform and apprently the entire crypto art scene? It's pretty mysterious– KnownOrigin announced Takahiro as a new artist in a tweet:

There was not anything ever publicly disclosed from KnownOrigin since that time about Takahiro, however. Alpacawhal reached out to KnownOrigin for any aditional information and insight into the situation with him and why he left. Their reply was simple and straightforward.

I wish we had some insights but we are also unsure why he left.

His wallet address, 0x81918c90424235902b0330e4870d2267544421b0 had been dormant for over 700 days, but was just involved in a single transaction about 49 days ago.

At this point no one knows why he stopped making crypto art after only one artwork, but we have feet on the masked up street, so-to-speak. Once we locate him, and get word as to why he bailed on crypto art, we'll update this article.

A Segue into KODA Version One...

A small technical detail that a lot of folks in the crypto art space might not understand is that KnownOrigin (like other crypto arto galleries) actually has multiple contracts and tokens.

There is the KODA v1 contract deployed in April, 2018 that minted KODA v1 tokens and there is the KODA v2 contract deployed in September 2018– the one in use today, which mints KODA v2 tokens.

Contract Total minted tokens
KODA v1 303
KODA v2 14083

In the earlier days, a much smaller scale group of artists was creating KODA v1 tokens, which still exist and can be collected today. Crypto art from the KODA version 1 contract are certainly more scarce than those from the version 2 contract.

The artwork by Taka is from the KODA version 1 collection, which as you will note above is limited to only 303 tokens ever minted. This makes the work extremely rare, but does it have the dankness needed to be extremely valuable also?

Our guess is NO. The current collector market is with few exceptions saturated with the grossly uneducated, ill-advised and uninformed. They buy brand names like SUPREME and HENNESSEY because of conformity and perceived value derived from social norms. Their artistic palettes are undeleveoped and typically amateur at best. In most cases, they do not even know how to be a proper art patron.

Those people will eventually be eased out of the crypto art community and into a community in which they better fit. We will eventually have collectors in the space who can properly value artwork and artists instead of those gaming for shiny trinkets as it unfortunately is so much today.

Until that time, you can find this hyper-collectible editional work for sale now from 0.15 to 5.25 ETH on the secondary markets. No one appears to have any clue about the real value of this little bit of KnownOrigin history right now, however.

Takahiro Okawa

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