We believe that a genuine understanding of Mr Misang’s work requires a detour in a region few of us non-Koreans are even aware of: Hell Korea.
Hell Korea (the expression “Hell Joseon”, 헬조선, is also widely used. “Joseon” refers to South Korea’s Joseon feudal dynasty, during which Confucian hierarchies came to concretely determine the structure of Korean society) is an emotionally charged expression used to describe a geographical region, South Korea, that unfortunately evokes strong feelings of enslavement, desperation and helplessness among the country’s youth.
South Korea’s young men and women, faced with a rather rigorous and expensive education system, mandatory military service for men, a high cost of life (one only needs to take a look at the onerous Jeonse – 전세 – and Wolse -월세- housing systems, the price of a flat in the Gangnam or Seolleung districts, or take note of the rising rents in the increasingly gentrified Itaewon and Hongdae districts) and poor job prospects, have expressed the fervent wish to leave the 10th richest nation in the world in a staggering proportion of 79.1% for men and 72.1% for women.
While it would be a mischaracterization to describe Mr Misang’s work as a pure representation (mimesis) or “mise-en-scene” of Hell Korea, one has to admit that key elements of his work are inspired by this notion that Korea is Hell on Earth. Mr Misang’s dense and focused Poiesis brings into being something that is not a blind representation of Hell Korea but something entirely new, that goes beyond the empirical truth of South Korea as a society but which is at the same time heavy with the author’s experience.
Take his 12-part animated series entitled “Modern Life is Rubbish” for example (referred to as MLIR for the remainder of this article).
MLIR #8, entitled “Packed Subway” (see below), a brilliant piece from a thematic point of view, will evoke feelings of familiarity to anyone who had the opportunity to experience Seoul’s infamous Line no.2 at peak time – especially around the Gangnam or Express Bus Terminal Stations.
Mr Misang’s approach is to use a good dose of humor (better to laugh at the insanity of the situation, honestly) to depict an unpleasant reality (overcrowded public transportation) many Koreans have to endure twice a day, everyday.
A “Salaryman” at the bottom of the piece speaks loudly on his phone, ignoring the categorical imperative of curtesy, while another smashes what looks like a bottle of Soju (소주), an alcoholic beverage popular in South Korea, on the head of a fellow Ajusshi (in Hangul: 아줐히, middle-aged man).
While it might be a stretch to compare Mr Misang to Pieter Breughel, both artists share an uncanny talent for dense description and character depiction. Mr Misang’s character-based work however distinguishes itself with hard contrasts and the colors we are treated to are firmly rooted in Crypto Art’s distinctive palette.
It is with a mixture of surprise and envy that we learned that Mr Misang published his first pieces on the Ethereum blockchain in early 2021. He is a new entrant, which means that sufficient sales points, which would help us form an objective assessment of his work, are not available at the moment.
But all is not lost: a few fascinating data points have emerged for his MLIR collection.
Shall we take a look?
As we can see on the chart below, there was a good amount of activity in the first and second quarters during the multi-week drop of his MLIR collection.
A closer look will reveal an interesting pattern, a specific market dynamic and a strategy for us collectors and investors will reveal itself.
The 12 pieces that make up the “Modern Life is Rubbish” collection were not dropped at once. Mr Misang adopted a patient, calculated approach and dropped them one at a time, between February and April of this year.
The images below tell the fascinating story of this drop.
MLIR #1-5 fetched prices that were well below 100K. This changes with #6 and all subsequent pieces of this collection.
A price tag of half a million dollars was attached in March to #10. #11 and #12 fared even better.
What is Mr Misang’s secret? Calculated parcinomy. It seems that for this artist, not dropping all pieces of a collection at once is the optimal strategy. This approach leverages the public’s impatience and “Will to FOMO”, which translates into higher prices for each subsequent piece published.
This is useful information that investors and collectors can use to their advantage.
Our preferred strategy? Considering what we have seen above, flipping seems the best course of action here. We ride the strong hype cycle associated with Mr Misang drops, hold for a short period of time and sell for a profit before the end of a publishing cycle. We rotate our profits into Mr Misang’s next drop and repeat the process.
Assuming that Mr Misang will publish his next collection using the exact same Modus Operandi (one piece at a time, over a few weeks), the best possible path for us seems to be to purchase pieces of his latest collection and hold them for the entire duration of the drop (and not beyond that point).
We should hold knowing that the prices of subsequent pieces in the series will be and remain above the price of the piece one has purchased (as we have seen in the charts above) and knowing that the public’s impatience and “Will to FOMO” will have a direct effect on the price floor.
All of the above is based, of course, on the assumption that Mr Misang will proceed in the same manner next time. But this is very likely given how successful his first ever drop was.
Knowing when to enter a market is important, but knowing when to exit is crucial and an equally important part of an NFT trading strategy. We recommend selling before Mr Misang’s multi-week drop ends – this would give investors and collectors a few weeks to find the best opportunity to do so.