The Tokenist Art Collective

  • Claire Pettifor

I collaborated with the Tokenist Art Collective team to create a set of portraits representing innovative visual artists, for the first ever combined PFP and Land NFT project. The project supports charities and selected artists who want to use art to raise funds. Central to the brief was that the portraits were inclusive and diverse. The 'Tokenist' portraits are unique characters with the combined features of your favourite artists, from great historical masters to modern icons. Each Tokenist curates a VR gallery displaying digital artwork, which is linked to marketplaces and auctions to promote sales. The design of each portrait is built up on a generic 'base' body, with individual features overlaid on top. These features would then be interchangeable with other artists' to create a total of 9126 unique Tokenists.

The process

I roughly sketched out the first few portraits to present to the team. Once I'd created 5 male and female artists, I had enough individual assets to test how they looked when combined with other artists' features.

Every new feature - particularly the hair and hats - was tested against the completed set of images to check that the positioning was accurate. This maximised the number of features to swap with eachother, without any layers unintentionally overlapping. It was time consuming, but I learned quickly to set up guides and test the layer order of the features before getting too caught up in the textures and details.

Because the images will only exist in the digital world of NFTs, the idea was to include texture and a painterly quality to the artwork to visually differentiate them from flat-colour, computerised designs.
Thanks to Glenn Shoosmith (Chairman of, founder of JRNI), Charlie Cox, Steve Sampson, Martin Alden, and Catalina Guirado for bringing me in on the team.