Cover Digital Art Fair Asia Edition 2021 will take place in Hong Kong this September. Here's everything you need to know about the event (Photo: Courtesy of Digital Art Fair)

The inaugural edition of Digital Art Fair Asia will be held in Hong Kong this September, showcasing a wide array of digital and NFT art to offer visitors an immersive art experience. We chatted with Gillian Howard, co-founder and fair director of Digital Art Fair about the upcoming event and the future of art in the digital age

Digital art is not a flash in the pan in the art world—and it’s one that has seen a surge in popularity in recent years, mainly due to the increased usage of technologies during the pandemic. Artists these days are becoming more interested in using digital tools as part of their creative processes, while art enthusiasts are keen to create new, convenient ways of appreciating and collecting art at virtual fairs, galleries and auctions.

What this big art trend suggests is not only people's increasing receptiveness towards new art mediums, but also the rise in modern art exhibitions which offer emerging artists a platform to showcase their digital art through innovative means, such as interactive installations and immersive paintings. And the latest example of this phenomenon is Digital Art Fair Asia Edition 2021—the first-ever, largest physical and online fair in Asia dedicated to new media art, NFT crypto art and immersive art technology, which is set to open in Hong Kong this fall.

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Taking place from September 30 to October 17 in the Central district of Hong Kong, the exhibition will include a world-class lineup of over 40 local and international digital artists, as well as some of the world's greatest contemporary art and NFT art collections.

Inside the 20,000 square-foot venue, visitors will be able to see an impressive selection of digital and NFTs artwork across five different zones, namely: Immersive Zone which allows guests to experience art through innovative technologies; Prestige Zone where digital artworks by the most influential artists such as Andy Warhol and Jacky Tsai are being showcased; Pioneer Zone, an area specially curated by renowned artist Derry Ainsworth and urban art specialist Hannah Smith to introduce artists who are at the forefront of the NFT art movement; New Media Zone which showcases local talents including NFT sound artist and  “Godfather” of Chinese hip hop, MC Yan, and leading Hong Kong digital artist Henry Chu, who was recently commissioned by Hong Kong’s M+ museum; and lastly, Virtual Reality Art Experience Zone, where guests are invited to explore the first virtual museum established in 2005 by dslollection.  

Aside from showcasing artworks, the fair will also present a series of talks featuring leading voices including art professionals, collectors and experts from the business and technology industries. Notable speakers include Sylvain Lévy, co-founder of dslcollection; James Neary, digital art collector and co-founder of Digital Art Fair Asia; John Keh, Chief Marketing Officer of Genesis Block Hong Kong; and Vitomir Jevremovic, founder of VR-All-Art.  

Ahead of the exhibition, we caught up with Gillian Howard, co-founder and fair director of Digital Art Fair to find out more about the event and discuss the future of art in the digital age.

This is the inaugural edition of Digital Art Fair Asia. Are there any reasons why you choose Hong Kong for the fair? What makes the city a perfect location for it?

Gillian Howard (GH): I was born and raised in Hong Kong, and this city is my home. I am fortunate enough to have worked in the art industry in Hong Kong, New York, St. Petersburg and London. In my experience, there is no place as culturally rich and energetic as Hong Kong. The accessibility and convenience of this city allows collectors access to a huge breadth of styles and art forms in one afternoon, from M+, Tai Kwun, K11, Hong Kong Museum of Art (HKMOA) and even Hollywood Road, which is an institution itself!

Are there any artists you’re particularly excited about that are being showcased in the upcoming fair?

GH: World-famous Refik Anadol’s 360 futuristic immersive art room is going to be one of the most amazing experiences for the art community. Visitors will experience art with all their senses! His artwork is truly mind-blowing.

If you had to use three words to describe Digital Art Fair Asia, what would they be?

GH: Immersive, futuristic, new.

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What would you like more people to understand about Digital Art Fair Asia?

GH: Digital Art Fair Asia is the next generation of art fairs in Asia. We don’t have traditional white cube settings. Technology has changed massively in the last decade and I truly believe the new generations of art lovers are looking for something new and exciting.

Digital Art Fair Asia also has a major focus on building the future art community with art lovers and artists through technology, we want to make art and culture accessible to everyone. That’s why Digital Art Fair Asia Metaverse digital twin fair will be available to view online or using Oculus™ VR Headset at the fair, so that anyone in the world can participate in the event online and even engage with speakers in our virtual fair.

Moreover, it is the first time digital art and NFTs are being brought to real life at this scale, displaying international digital art and NFTs art by leading artists like Mad Dog Jones (an NFT artist), Refik Anadol (the master of immersive art) and Krista Kim (whose works were recently shown worldwide for Louis Vuitton's 200th birthday).

And of course, there are some great Hong Kong or Hong Kong-based artists to look out for, including King of Kowloon, Sean Foley—the famed NFT artist and cyberpunk photographer, as well as homegrown talent SurrealHK (Master of photo-manipulation). I think local art lovers would look at art differently after visiting the fair.

What do you think of the future of digital art and NFTs?

GH: Digital art and NFTs are going to revolutionise the art world. The world has been changed massively by advanced technology; oil painting and physical work will become rarer almost like vintage in the near future. Think about the way we have been communicating on social media, online platforms, electronic devices, etc.

Where would you like to see the digital art space in Asia go from here? What changes you’d like to see in the industry in the coming years?

GH: I hope Digital Art Fair Asia can set a new standard for the art industry to showcasing fine contemporary art with technology. We want to show the new generation how fun art actually is. Digital Art Fair Asia has already been talking to different partners in Asia such as Singapore, Macau and Shanghai. We hope to build a new art community through our fair.


Digital Art Fair Asia Edition 2021 will run from September 30 to October 17 at G/F, Asia Standard Tower, 59-65 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong. Private viewing by invitation and vernissage will take place on September 30 and October 1-2 respectively. Find out more about the event and purchase tickets at digitalartfair.io