An Italian Artist Claims to Be Pak, Maker of the Most Expensive NFT of All Time. Is It Really Him or Just a Conceptual Joke?

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The identity of one of crypto-art’s most prominent creators has been revealed. Well, maybe. 

In a cryptic tweet, an Italian artist named Federico Clapis claimed to be the real person behind the moniker Pak, one of the most expensive NFT artists of all time. “I’m Pak,” he wrote simply on July 30.

The admission, if true, puts a face to one of the more mysterious figures in the world of NFTs. Up until now, Pak has fiercely clung to anonymity, using voice-distortion software in interviews and “they/them” pronouns. Their self-branded nickname is “The Nothing.”

“I try to keep my physique separate from my work because I feel that when people see a face, they automatically recall it when they hear the name,” the artist told Artnet News last year. “Rather than that, I’d want people to recall my works.”

I’m Pak.

— C L A P I S (@FedericoClapis) July 30, 2022

Clapis seems like a credible candidate. For years, the Italian cultivated social media influence through anonymously authored viral videos on various platforms, amassing scores of followers along the way. During this phase, the artist was acting “undercover,” his website explains.

Pak first made a name for themselves through a similar act of guerrilla web art. In 2014, they launched Archillect, an AI algorithm that combs through social media profiles and publishes popular posts on its own feed. 

Around 2015, Clapis parlayed his influencer clout into an art career, making miniature sculptures, then life-sized ones, via 3-D scanning processes. In more recent years, he ventured into the world of digital art, turning his illustrations that comment on tech—think an image of a baby being lifted by a drone—into NFTs

But is he Pak?

The day prior to his “I’m Pak” post, Clapis teased his claim, tweeting, “Tomorrow I will reveal a new work that I have been working on for months.” 

Pak in turn shared Clapis’s tweet—with an emoji of a smiley face peeking through clasped hands. They did so after also retweeting a post from Paris Hilton, who claimed to be Pak way back in March, that one with an emoji with a hand over the mouth. 

Pak tweets responding to Federico Clapis

Two tweets by Pak responding to Federico Clapis’s claim to be the anonymous artist.

Then came a series of cryptic one- and two-word tweets: “Me 2,” “Proof,” a picture of a cloud.

Is that confirmation? Denial? Gibberish? Poetry? It is not immediately clear. As one of Pak’s confused followers replied to his “Me 2” tweet, “Bro respond normally.” Stay tuned.

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