Visual ASMR Artbook

Digital gets real

An act of rebellion against the popularity of NFTs has given rise to the first book from Tokyo-based motion studio, Onesal.

When NFTs exploded onto screens in 2022, 3D artists across the world were drawn to creating digital art which, by definition, would only live as digital assets in the cloud.

For digital artists, Onesal, looking back to the traditional art form and craft of making books seemed like the more exciting direction to take at that time. So, they deliberately set out to break away from their own norms and create a physical and tactile product that would live in more than just ones and zeros.

Onesal Founder and Creative Director, Nahuel Salcedo, says, “We wanted to have a physical connection with the things we make. As digital artists, we receive great satisfaction in making works of beauty. But our work is mostly short-lived and exists as a brand piece, online for the duration of a campaign, and then retired to a hard drive. For once we wanted to create art that could be touched and felt, that could live on a shelf and be treasured for far longer than a seasonal campaign.”

Titled Visual ASMR, the book is a sensory exploration of visual design and tactile textures in nature.ASMR – autonomous sensory meridian response – describes the deep relaxation and pleasant scalp tingling that some people feel in response to quiet sounds such as whispering.

As the title suggests, the book is similarly designed to stimulate the senses. The artwork takes familiar natural elements like plantlife, water, air and rock, but places them in surreal environments, blurring the lines between fantasy and reality and playing tricks on the senses. The graphic design layout and use of typeface is irregular and adds tension. And the paper stock used in the book is a sumptuous mix of different textures, adding to the vibrant experience from unboxing to reaching the final page.

Onesal’s purpose is to inspire people to see the world in a different light. With their studio book, they have created a different type of visual experience, allowing digital art to be experienced tangibly in a traditional form.

The Process

The visual ASMR book by Onesal was a global effort. Tokyo’s digital artists conceptualized visuals, and Germany was chosen for printing. Box assembly, crucial for presentation, occurred in Tokyo, reflecting Onesal’s commitment to hands-on production and quality control. The result is a unique, tangible art experience breaking away from digital confines.