Heroes & peers

When my children read a book they live it, submerged in the world of their heroes and peers. I can vividly remember reading as a kid. These are the ageless icons of storytelling, a range of me and my children’s favored characters. No preconception, just pure creativity and imagination.

Tessera NFTs

tessera, /ˈtɛs(ə)rə/ noun, plural tes·ser·ae
a small block of stone or other material used in the construction of a mosaic

Tessera NFTs are created using small pieces of vintage children’s bookcovers.

Every tile is a 1:1 digital version of a real piece of bookcover that has previously been used in one of my handmade mosaics.

For over a decade I have digitally scanned and stored these little tiles in a database that has grown to over 75.000 ‘pixels’. Each tile is inextricably linked to a unique piece of bookcover once incorporated in a real work of art.

Incrementally minted

The Tessera Collection wil be incrementally minted on the XRPL at xrp.cafe and put up for sale or auction. Each NFT has a 4K resolution.

I will create original 1/1 characters and though all NFTs will have traits, rarity will not be used. Each piece is unique.

The number of NFTs in this collection will be very low, a few hundred maximum. As the project grows I will release a roadmap with future plans and how holding an NFT from the genesis collection might give perks.

Each tile in an NFT is inextricably linked to a unique piece of bookcover once incorporated in a real work of art.


I’m an artist for almost 25 years now, graduated from art school in 2000 (Fine arts, Minerva).  I founded my own studio in 2007 focusing mainly on visual and graphic design and furniture design. I started creating mosaics from recycled children’s book covers in 2009, after having used book covers als base material in a range of furniture designs.

My IRL mosaics are handmade one-offs, both commissioned and free work, and are most often put up for sale in galleries and at art fairs. For each handcrafted mosaic I need ±2000 small tiles from real children’s book covers to choose from. These small tiles are handcut and physically filed and subsequently digitally catalogued. Over the course of the last decade I have garnered up to 75.000 small digital files of unique colorful ‘pixels’ of real world pieces of book cover that are inextricably linked to handmade works of art.

For over a decade I have created handcrafted mosaics using tiny tiles cut out of vintage children’s book covers.


Artwork and artist

All NFTs in the Tessera Collection have traits yet the collection is not, and technically cannot be, a generative one. The workflow is a manual process. Allthough I do use and recycle traits in building up a character, the final step in the process of creating the artwork is laying out the mosaic.

Using this kind of material for a mosaic creates the possibility to trancend the squareness of the tiles and create curved forms in a pixelated grid.

I tend to use a variety of different workflows to come to a final work, and the whole process can be quite associative, but briefly explained it quite often goes as follows:

  • Handdrawing a base image
    • All traits are handdrawn or sampled adaptations/combinations of parts of images.
    • Each NFT starts in ADOBE with a custom collage of layered elements.
    • All newly drawn traits are locked in their respective categorie and can be recycled in new renditions.
    • When satisfied, a character (built up as a collage of traits) is exported as a base image for a new mosaic.
    • A base image may or may not be manually altered using filters etc.
  • Rendering a draft mosaic
    • Each handdrawn base image is used for a general setup using AndreaMosaic Pro. This step will render a general image/impression of a final mosaic.
    • I then repeatedly change the base image slightly in position/hue/color etc to rerender the base mosaic.
    • From these dozens of results I handpick the best tiles/areas/combinations and arrange them manually on a digital canvas until the general design is satisfying.
  • Finalizing the details
    • Based on the draft mosaic eacht trait is once more meticulously altered and adjusted until the database returns the desired results.
    • Single tiles of details and/or suggestive effects are handpicked and incorporated into the mosaic filtering the database in small batches.
    • Each tile in a specific mosaic is unique, no doubles, allthough some double tiles exist because they are handcut and sometime the exact same covers result in a number of matching tiles.

I guess showing my art would inevitably mean doxxing and allthough the online crypto community can be quite anonymous I am okay with sharing my identity. After all, a big part of my interest in the work of fellow artists is based on the suspense of ones craft, insights and personal development.

The name ‘Vonkel’ is and anagram of my first name. My handle @vonkeldenbursar is an anagram of my two first names, which I found funny because ‘den’ means ‘the’ in old dutch and ‘bursar’ actually is latin for ‘he who holds the wallet’, which is quite fitting for crypto lol.

For over a decade I have created handcrafted one offs. These mosaics are sold through galleries and art-fairs.
To have a look please visit my studiowebsite at tessera.volkendevlas.nl

How to buy with XRP

XRP was the first cryptocurrency I bought. It is an amazing decentralized blockchain used by a global community of developers and businesses. It’s extremely reliable and sustainable and has very low transaction costs. The technology is open source, innovative, and with the ability to settle thousands of transactions in seconds. Read more about it at xrpl.org

The NFT marketplace xrp.cafe is an amazing place started and led by people from the community. Read and interesting blog here: https://xrpl.org/blog/2023/xrpcafe.html

NFT stands for ‘Non Fungible Token’.
An in depth explanation can be found here: https://xrpl.org/non-fungible-tokens.html

Xumm wallet is an Android or iOS mobile app to interact with the XRP ledger.
If you are totally new to crypto it might be worth a short youtube search. There are many regularly updated tutorials.

Xumm documentation can be found here: https://help.xumm.app/app/getting-started-with-xumm/installing-xumm

Using xrp.cafe marketplace is pretty straight forward and self explainatory. You login using Xumm and use Xumm to sign transactions such as buying or selling NFTs.

What better material to use than the adventures we read and played as children.