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Art NFT

A Glimpse Into the Mind and Process of Fine Art Photographer, Joey Miller

Art has been used as a form of therapy since the 1940s. It’s used as a vehicle to tap into a patient’s mind to help express their innermost thoughts and experiences. Combining creativity, work ethic, and talent, you get 24-year-old Joey Miller. He channels those thoughts to reimagine the surreal, conceptual art of his own mind. With each piece, he adds a personal, poetic description. 

ONE37pm sat down with Miller, to talk about his deeply thorough and exhaustive artistic process, the concepts behind his work, and his use of art as a form of therapy. 

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“A house fire, or something like that” / Joey The Photographer
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It was 2 am, I had walked around 12 miles from the north side to the south loop in the cold Chicago weather. I received a text from a friend long ago, telling me he was proud of me. It had been a long time since someone had said that to me, I stopped walking home and turned around. I spent another few hours shooting and somehow captured this moment.

Early Life

Joey Miller was born and raised in Bristol, Indiana, where he cultivated an early love and talent for art. 

His kindergarten even called his parents and encouraged him to pursue art, after drawing a leaf. 

“I don’t know how that’s possible to this day, there’s no way that I was actually good at art, but they called my parents,” Miller said. “They said, ‘We think that he should pursue art because he seems to really be passionate about it.’” 

From that moment on, he assigned himself the title of artist. He started off as an oil painter and transitioned to murals and graffiti. But, a pivotal moment in his career was when he got a six-month museum internship as a 15-year-old at the University of Notre Dame.

“I went to learn about curation and how to put on a show,” Miller said. “That’s really where my spark of art history and some of the things in my work ethic as an artist revolves around.”

However, as life went on, Joey began to develop a substance abuse problem. Coupled with his dissociative personality disorder, he says he became incredibly aggressive and an absolute bully to the people around him.

Finding His Superpower

“I was this soft, hard to be around artist,” Miller said. “Just very emotional, very vulnerable and wore my heart on my sleeve from a very young age. And that causes problems as a teenager.”

However, he was able to channel this emotion and expressed it through his artwork.

Miller says his disorders inherently provided some benefit for his inspirational process. 

“I used all of those problems as a superpower. I never lacked anything to say. It’s like, ‘I don’t know which one of these ideas I’m going to do. I’m self-isolating in a way that I’m expressing this through writing pages at a time about pieces of art I wanted to make.”

Through all of his problems and addictions, Joey’s drive and passion for photography never wavered. 

He lived in a converted maintenance closet, but would wake up at 6 a.m. every morning and edit photos for four and a half hours, 

“I would make $150 a day just shooting the most boring stuff I could,” Miller said. “And then in between I’d be grinding out concepts, writing stuff down, going to the Art Institute and trying to learn from people who were better than I am and accepting that there are better artists than me. If I ever believe that I’m the best artist I know, I need to really re-evaluate my ego and see where I’m going.”

Joey Miller says his creative and healing process is similar to military training. “I got no sleep for four or five days at a time, not eating, and it’s not because I am trying to torture myself, but I’ve found that I am able to work out my problems in life in a healthy way by doing similar to what they do in military training. I would break myself down into this vulnerable mass of a person. And that person to me was going to scream what I wanted to say with art.”

How He Got Started in Photography

Starting off as an oil painter, Joey didn’t understand photography, “I thought it was dumb.” “I got home and my mom just handed me her camera and she’s like, ‘Let’s drive around.’ I went and I shot photos and I hated it. I was like, ‘This is stupid and I’m bad at it.’ But then I realized I loved that I was bad at it and that I got to start over and pick and choose the kind of artist I was rather than letting other artists around me choose for me.” 

Traveling with friends, Joey became the designated photographer of the group and started posting a photo a day on Twitter, where his photos quickly gained popularity in the photography community. “From then on, I hit the ground running, trying to share my art with people in the most meaningful way you can on social media. It’s not something I expected to do.

Introduction To NFTs

Joey became mutual followers with notable artist, FEWOCiOUS that originally made him aware of NFTs. Like many artists, Joey was initially apprehensive about NFTs. “When it first reached the photography community [the sentiment] was, ‘Oh, don’t do this.’” Milled said. “They’re stealing the licensing of your photos.’ And I didn’t really understand it.”

First Sale

Down on his luck, about to lose his apartment, and with his personality disorder becoming more and more severe, Joey finally decided to list his first NFT. “Screw it. I’m going to list this photo that’s somehow gotten very popular and see what happens.” 

Fast forward a few weeks later, popular NFT creator and collector, Loopify, bought it for full price. “I just know I was at my parents’ house. I had just gotten out of a psych ward treatment center, and I came home literally wearing the same clothes as I was wearing when I left the psych ward I just looked at my phone and didn’t say anything. I just started to zoom out. And my mom was like, ‘What?’ And I was like, ‘I just sold a piece of art for, like, $1,200 dollars.’ And she was like, ‘No, you didn’t.’ And showed her and then showed my dad.” “I never had money before. I never had money in my account to really do anything.”

“And then the next one came. I just sat on the kitchen floor and kind of stared and cried with my mom.”

Quality Over Quantity

The money from the sales meant that Joey was going to be able to afford better treatment, but the validation of people enjoying his art meant so much more.

“You spend your whole life working on something and someone finally looks at you and says, ‘Hey, I value what you did here.’ Because being an artist, no one’s going to tell you that you’re good, other than other artists. So to hear someone who views it as a luxury and something that they would love to have because they appreciate the effort and the meaning, it was amazing to me. It changed my life and the journey after that was so exciting. Getting sober and being able to afford the really nice treatment and getting my life on track, it felt like a dream.”

Fast-forward over a year into his NFT journey, Joey still believes that patience and putting out what you love is far more important than the stream of “more, more, more,” that we see in the current NFT market. 

Joey The Photographer

I learned to be patient and I learned to be in for the long haul. Like how NFT people talk all the time, it’s about ‘building, building, building.’ It’s so much more important than putting out a collection of 500 photos that I didn’t put that much in each photo. I would rather sell higher-priced photos, four or five of them at a time.


“That to me just felt like a very rewarding way to live because you put all this time and effort into something and then six months later, it pays off. That’s the good thing about being an artist, that’s why I’m still doing it. This idea that I get to wake up every day and make something and I’m going to pay my bills with it, that’s a pretty privileged lifestyle right there.

The NFT space just opened those doors for me because it gave me liquidity. It gave me things to invest into my art and hire people, hire subjects, hire assistants to help me make these images come true. And that’s been what my path in the NFT space has been. Rolling with the punches, but always having a plan, if that makes any sense. It’s a contradiction.” 

Art As Therapy

Currently, Joey is in a much better place in his life. 

“I’m at this stage in my life where I’m settling down and I’m in treatment and I have accountability. And that’s the thing that people with these disorders lack is that we tend to be able to shut off that switch of feeling that we did anything wrong. And especially with my writing, I am able to hold myself accountable, you know? Life is like sailing and so is art. It’s a constant battle of micro-adjustments to get more wind. What can you do to make this a smoother ride for everybody involved? I apply that mindset to both art and like how I am living my life. A lot of it is also to help me work out these problems. I have a hard time being honest with myself about the things that are going wrong in my life. I tend to compartmentalize and get rid of them. When you’re working on a piece of art, it’s in front of you, you’re looking at a mirror. You’re looking at yourself, your problems, and you put them on the page and spend 10 hours making them perfect. And then it’s done.”

Art as Therapy: In Action
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“We Were Never Here” / Joey The Photographer
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Using his most recent piece, We Were Never Here, released during VeeCon 2022, Joey describes how he uses his art and writing to help find solace within himself. 

When you live in a house fire of mental instability people tend to only be able to bear the heat for a short time, then they have to leave. So many people have tried to put me out, and I’ve burned every single one of them. I don’t blame them for leaving, sometimes I think they forget that I get licked by these flames too and that brings an unavoidable sense of accountability. My mom would always tell me “hurt people tend to hurt people.” But I seemed to always be the one doing the hurting, especially to myself. I sat on the floor of my now empty apartment, I didn’t realize how a person’s toothbrush no longer next to the sink could make the room feel empty. I was glad she left, I loved her enough to endorse her staying away from me. She was not my soulmate or some romanticized figure, but she loved me and I had taken that for granted. I did not want to forget but I did, I figured letting go was the last chance I had to do one thing right for her. I promised myself if it took years that one day I’m going to find the partner of my dreams and this mental illness will not be an excuse for me, and that I would not be a tool for it to ruin that. That was 7 years ago, I now live on the same block as that tiny apartment and it’s a humbling reminder every time I look out the window that I never want to have to forget someone I love again.

“The idea is that I was ruining my relationships with people I really loved, treating them badly because I was hurting. And that’s not okay. You don’t deal with pain by evening the playing field for the people that are trying to help you. And that’s like the way I was living. I was tired of making the people I love upset, crying, and fighting them over them trying to help me. So I used art as the catalyst to get that ball rolling.”

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“Tensions Print” / Joey The Photographer
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Using his genesis piece, Tensions Print, Joey describes the thought process behind this work. “My Genesis piece is about forcing myself to think about what happens to my family and friends when I go on drug benders because I’m disassociated, I’m not there. But they’re still there thinking about where I am, why they can’t contact me. I thought about the vulnerability of someone getting out of the shower. I wanted the character to be wrapped in a towel in this comfortable place, they should feel at home. But I wanted to express the dread that hangs over people when they have someone in their life with a problem like that.”

“That piece took 13, 14 hours to build the set for that alone. But that 13 or 14 hours of being alone and nailing wood together and putting lights up, that was my time to really beat the shit out of myself about how to fix this. How do I get to the root of what is causing this and hold myself accountable and get past it? That’s one of the things that really helped me get sober. Using my art to talk about the things that I hated talking about to have a conversation with my subconscious.” 

“I just consistently self-audit, trying to hold myself accountable and figure out what I can do with my career, that I have this ability to express what I’m feeling, to bring myself back down, to humble myself, to get my ego to a normal state. And that’s what art has been to me for, especially for the last four years.”

Initial Inspiration

“I knew that I wanted to have pages of my artwork from my sketchbook flowing through this area to talk about the discourse I was having with the entire world, but also addressing the delusions of grandeur that anyone is going to see your artwork for more than a split second as it flows by. So the idea of pages flowing through the wind was my vulnerability, that’s very physically visible, but no one’s seeing specifics. And so I started to workshop things. We set up a background, bought a bunch of atmosphere spray, and started throwing pieces of paper to see if we could photograph how we wanted it to, we’re doing math to see how zoomed in we were and how big the pieces of paper were in the frame to match the ISO with the background of the ISO on that. So that was the preliminary stuff, seeing if we can do this right so we had proof of concept.” 

Artistic Process
Joey The Photographer

I think art is 90% problem solving after the initial idea. You come in with a plan and you get punched in the face and things go sideways, but you come out with something.

“I sat down and was like, ‘I don’t know that we can create an accurate representation of what paper looks like blowing through the wind and how it would react with each other and things without doing some like hardcore research of what paper looks like.’

It’s a weird thing to say, but like if you look at paper flowing through the wind, it’s not just interacting with the wind, it’s interacting with each other. So what I did is I locked myself in my office and I was like, ‘I’m not leaving till I’m done with this.’

For 20 straight hours, Joey looked through thousands of photos of papers blowing in the wind, carefully selected 20 images, and then separated each into Photoshop files, and meticulously perspective warped them to the angle he anticipated it would be. 

“And then you work in the next ten feet and now there’s papers that are kind of getting blown by other forces that are up in the wind and things are starting to hit like the water in the first photo. And of course, they’re going to get wet, so they’re not going to blow anymore. So we’re like, “Oh, we got to shoot photos in water.” So we bought a giant pan and my first thought was that there’s no way that we’re going to be able to shoot 200 photos of pieces of paper and cut them all out if we’re shooting in a silver pan with one piece of paper, so we got a Dr. Pepper and milk out in water and made it brown. We got as close to the raw file of what the water looks like as we could, and then we shot another 400 photos of pieces of paper from every angle.”

Putting in the Work When No One is Looking

“We decided early on that I didn’t want to do any stock images, I didn’t want to use any synthetic grain. I wanted everything to be done in-camera. So we had to be incredibly thorough because when I sat down at my computer, I didn’t want to have to get up and lose that track to go look for another photo. I wanted to create folders on Lightroom to have everything that I need. So I sat down and I really started planning it in Photoshop and putting it together and it was, I think, 38 hours straight staring at my computer. I stared at my computer so long that my contacts fell out.”

“I have this mentality that it’s incredibly unhealthy, but that if I stop a project, I won’t have the same inspiration, so I just push and push and push and once again, doing things right when no one’s looking. I want to get the grain right, I want it to be able to be printed huge one day. I want it to be big. I love big art, I don’t know why.”

Latest Nifty Gateway Release Date

Incredibly meticulous with his work ethic, Joey spends “20 to 30 hours” on each piece. “It’s not that it takes 10 hours to edit a normal photograph, it’s that I’m writing for hours and doing the art nerd stuff, you know, getting into the nitty-gritty because the fun part about art is you get to challenge yourself.”

Joey’s upcoming drop will be a 3 piece collection of (1) ranked auction, (1) one-of-one auction, and (1) edition, dropping May 27th, 2022 on Nifty Gateway. This drop will also be the start of a fine art photography book called St. Anthony’s Fire. “It’s about being a teenager going through Catholic school while having dissociative illness and how St. Anthony was someone I identified with.”
St. Anthony’s Fire is set to release in mid-September with pre-orders beginning in early July.

Extensive Vetting Process

Sitting over 30 hours at his computer, Joey was still not accepting his piece was finished. Joey then asked the “best ten and meanest artists” he knew to critique his work. 

And they did it. And then I sat at the computer for ten more hours, and then I did it again with a different set of artists and basically just choosing people that were going to say what was already in my head, but I didn’t want to accept, you know. Working out all the kinks, I want to get as close to 100% in my idea of what the work is going to be as I can. I went through this incredibly extensive vetting process and critique process and sat down, sent it to a few people and got a huge offer on it. I looked at it and I was like, “I’m going to wait. I’m done, I’m going to wait for the auction.” And even if this person doesn’t bid, I am committed to finishing the first piece for the auction and I’m going to see that project through.”

“And I was like, ‘Okay, I’ve set the bar incredibly high with the amount of work we’ve put in. So the next one has to be better.’ I took everything I did the first time that I found unproductive and wrote it up into a list of things. And then I made another list of things I could do instead of that, just creating structure for myself to form accountability for my work ethic and not cutting corners. Then the second piece came out and people were really, really excited about it and I was like, “Okay, I have to kill the third piece.” And I’m shooting it at this engagement and it’s pretty cool. I like it a lot. I get excited about it just because I feel like I’m in my right artistic state of mind right now than I have been in the past. I’m sober, I’m in treatment, I really have the willpower and mental capacity to to push myself like I wanted to in the past, and that feels great. Just refusing to accept anything but the best that I could do and also accepting that I am still going to make mistakes when I do my best and willing to go back and laugh at my mistakes and do it again. But yeah, that’s kind of the process.”

Finding Joy In The Process

For Joey, his thoroughness and almost painstaking process of conceptualizing, planning, executing, and editing his photographs is the most enjoyable for him. “The amount of redundancy I have in the checks and balances in my whole work process is something I really enjoy.”

Joey The Photographer

I look stressed, I’m pulling my hair back and I’m not sleeping and people are like, ‘Dude, why are you doing this? You look miserable.’ And I’m like, ‘I’m having the most fun I’ve had in the last ten years. This is just what it looks like.’

This rigorous process not only created better fine art photography but also encouraged a better lifestyle for himself. “Just like with art, in life, I am constantly trying to self-audit myself. I want to be like my dad. It sounds so stupid, but the way he loves my mom, the way he treats people, the way he works in his career is amazing to me and I didn’t appreciate it as a kid, but that guy’s a superstar. He loves his family and he works hard to make sure the people around him are okay and that he’s okay. And I admire that. And it’s those life skills I didn’t get with drug addiction and mental illness that I’m finding now is a time when I need to step up and hold myself accountable and fix these things.”

Not Satisfied with Where He Is

With all of his recent successes and improvements in his daily life and health, Joey is not satisfied with where he’s at. 

“I think I’m successful in what I set out to do. I don’t think you can consider me successful as an artist. The way I see it, from 22 to 28, you’re kind of in the draft of the NFL. You’re being drafted, and that itself is very cool and a huge accomplishment, but you’re not on a team yet, you’re not in the pros. You still have a lot more work to do, but everybody recognizes that you’ve already done a lot to get here. So I feel like I’ve come a long way, but I have a lot more goals and things that I could do better as it goes forward. I think being an artist is a never ending process. I think that I probably won’t even consider myself a success on my deathbed. I’ll still have 20 things I could think of that I wanted to do better. But that’s the beautiful thing about art, is that you’re never done.”

Categories
Art NFT

The 15 Most Expensive NFTs Ever Sold

These are the top 15 most expensive NFT sales as of May 2022. As the NFT market continually and inevitably changes through time, record sales will change rapidly. These stats were reported based on the ETH price at the time of the sale. Many of the top sales were through NFT marketplaces such as Opensea, SuperRare, Nifty Gateway or through private auction.

15. Ocean Front ($6 Million)
Nifty Gateway

“Ocean Front” by Beeple was sold for $6 million in March 2021. The piece of art aims to speak to the current earth’s climate change issue. All proceeds were donated to the Open Earth Foundation, a non-profit organization that is raising funds to develop innovative open digital infrastructure for improved management of planet Earth.

14. All Time High ($6.2 Million)
XCOPY

This animated image, by artist XCOPY, sold for about $6.2 million (1,630 ETH) in January 2022. Its previous sale was sold at $2.9 million. It is currently listed for 33666 ETH.

13. CryptoPunk #8857 ($6.63 Million)
Crypto Punks

CryptoPunk #8857, a zombie punk with 3D red-and-blue glasses sold for 2,000 ETH ($6.63 million) in September 2021. Its last sale was $1,717 in May 2018.

12. Beeple’s ‘CROSSROAD’ ($6.6 Million)
Nifty Gateway

The 1/1 from Beeple’s ‘CROSSROAD’ drop on Nifty Gateway was resold on the secondary market for $6.6 million. The NFT shows former President Donald Trump lying in a heap after losing the 2020 presidential election. 

11. Right Click Save As ($7.02 Million)
SuperRare

‘Right Click Save As Guy’ was sold for 1600.0 ETH ($7,022,000.00) to Twitter User Cozomo De Medici, who many speculate is rapper Snoop Dogg. It was made as satire to people who are skeptical of NFTs, saying, “Why would I buy it when I can right click and save as?”

10. Ringers #109 ($7.12 Million)
Dmitri Cherniak

Ringers #109 was purchased for 2,100 ETH or $7.12 million in early October 2021. It is currently the largest Art Blocks sale to date.

9. CryptoPunk #7804 ($7.56 Million)
CryptoPunks

This pipe-smoking CryptoPunk sold in March 10th, 2021 for 4,200 ETH, the same as Punk 3100, but the ETH was valued at approximately $7,566,173.88 USD at the time of sale.

8. CryptoPunk #3100 ($7.58 Million)
CryptoPunks

CryptoPunk #3100 was purchased on March 11th, 2021 for 4,200 ETH, approximately $7,584,485.82 USD. This broke the record set by Punk 7804 the previous day.

7. CryptoPunk #4156 ($10.2 million)
CryptoPunks

CryptoPunk #4156 sold on December 2021 for 2,500 ETH ($10.2 million). It was previously sold for 650 ETH on February 2021.

6. CryptoPunk #7523 ($11.8 million)
CryptoPunks

CryptoPunk #7523, the only punk in the collection with a mask, sold for at Sotheby’s sold for $11.8 million in June 2021. It is one of nine rare Alien Punks.

5. CryptoPunk #5822 ($23.7 million)
CryptoPunks

The sale of CryptoPunk #5822 serves as the biggest CryptoPunk NFT purchase in history. The NFT was purchased by Deepak Thapliyal, the CEO of Chain for 8,000 ETH (approximately $23.7 million USD).

4. Beeple’s ‘Human One’ ($28.9 million)
Christie’s

‘Human One’ is Beeple’s first-ever physical sculpture that evolves over time. The seven-foot-tall box-like sculpture features four large LED screens depicting a helmeted astronaut jaunting rhythmically through dystopian environments.

The sculpture was auctioned off as part of Christie’s 21st Century Evening Sale in November 9, 2021 for $28.9 million USD. Beeple maintains remote control of ‘Human One.’

3. ‘Clock’ by Pak and Julian Assange ($52.7 million)
Pak

Clock’ is a piece created by Pak and Julian Assange. It is an NFT clock counting the days of WikiLeaks founder Assange’s controversial imprisonment.

The goal of the NFT was to raise funds for the Wau Holland Foundation, Julian Assange’s legal defense. It was purchased by AssangeDAO, a group of over 10,000 Assange supporters, for 16593 ETH ($52.7 million).

2. Beeple’s ‘The First 5,000 Days’ ($69.3 Million)

Beeple’s ‘The First 5,000 Days’ sold for a record $69,346,250 on March 11th 2021. It was the first piece of purely NFT artwork to be offered by a major auction house.

1. Pak’s ‘The Merge’ ($91.8 Million)
Pak

Digital artist Pak’s Merge drop on Nifty Gateway set the world record for most expensive NFT ever sold in December 2021 when 28,983 collectors pooled $91,806,519 to purchase 312,686 units of mass.

The Merge collection allowed collectors to buy as much units of mass as they wanted during a two-day period. At the end of the sale, owners of mass obtained an NFT that merged all the mass accumulated by each collector.

Categories
Art NFT

Metarelics Partners with VeeFriends as First Official Physical Art Partner

“I was the art kid growing up,” Jeff Cole recalls to me, sitting amidst the arid Arizona desert where he and his business partner Mark Mastrandrea have made their home. The duo, who founded Ikonick back in 2017, has come a long way since “slanging prints” in their early days, now responsible for one of the largest canvas brands in the world. I had the opportunity to spend some time with the founders behind Ikonick as they prepared to launch the web3 arm of their brand, Metarelics. The pass launched last week—to immense success. Today, the team has announced the first physical art partner for the print utility which will be offered to pass holders: VeeFriends.

Shot by Eddie

We’ll dive into the VeeFriends partnership shortly, but first we have to take it back to Jeff Cole and Mark Mastrandrea’s first venture Ikonick and the genesis of the two founders.

The Genesis

“I started making art when I was six years old,” Jeff tells me, adding: “The story goes, I was in preschool and my grandma picked me up one day, and the teacher took her aside and told her to start saving my artwork.” He jokes to me, “I wasn’t going to math class and my teachers were like, ‘Hey, let’s have your parents come in and talk about your future in math.’” So early on, he knew he was destined for a career in art. 

Shot by Eduardo Whittington

Jeff’s inspirations growing up were a little unorthodox for a visual artist. “I was never one to resonate with artists. My inspirations were athletes and musicians. Jordan, Kanye, those are the people I grew up with in Chicago,” he elaborates, explaining how these people who strived to be the best became his idols.  

The recent emergence of documentaries tracking the trajectory of some of these great minds has been eye-opening for Jeff. “Watching the Last Dance uncovered how much of Jordan was ingrained in my personality,” he remarks, before summarizing: “These documentaries are starting to unfold and I’m learning a lot about myself through those.”

Jeff Cole

I use Jordan as a metaphor for me to excel in my own lane, and not look at other artists to try to be them.

Jeff enrolled in art classes throughout a lot of his childhood, learning a vast array of mediums as he grew up. But it wasn’t until after college that he began exploring his current expression of digital art. “I was kind of against digital art,” he chuckles to me. “I’m a very stubborn person. I did it out of almost survival. I was a broke college student, had to sell all of my stuff to buy a computer, then I self taught myself photoshop and illustrator. And then started building a portfolio from scratch and started shopping it out on Craigslist.” Through this practice, he landed some gigs doing mixtape artwork and clothing lines, all the way masquerading as a longtime digital artist.

“I started getting into the culture by creating my portfolio and pretending like I knew what I was doing, but in reality I was only 3-6 months in. And I kind of had to pretend like I was this digital artist—when I had just picked it up,” Jeff smiles to me, reflecting on how far he’s come. 

As he’s telling me his story, Mark emphatically interjects, “Young prodigy!” to which Jeff softly responds, “I guess.” In many ways, this little interaction embodies so much of the dynamic that has made the duo successful. Mark is bombastic and an exceptionally good talker; Jeff is soft-spoken, an artist’s artist. They are a yin and yang that has culminated in the secret sauce creating a successful art business. 

Mark grew up a competitive soccer player, a passion that fostered an early drive to win that courses through him to this day. He views a moment when he disappointingly wasn’t chosen as a “player to watch” as one of the formative moments of his life, “the moment he became a man.” And afterwards, he was more driven than ever to succeed. Never particularly committed to cardio, the day he didn’t get his desired selection reinvigorated a commitment to exercise, which would eventually help him give his high school soccer team their best season of all time. “My friends, it was 2 o’clock and they’d be drunk at Taco Bell, and I’d be running in the middle of the night,” he recalls.

Once he went to college, entrepreneurship entered his life. He tells me a short story about the moment he “became an entrepreneur,” armed with a fake ID, a roommate with a car and a request for alcohol. “They gave us 40 dollars for a 30 pack. I went to the store, discovered Natty Ice. It was six dollars, I get back $34 in change. I go to give it back to them and they go, ‘keep it.’ That was the day that I became an entrepreneur.” He would go on to create a fake menu with upcharged prices, eventually developing a thriving business purchasing alcohol for his fellow students. “Then, I just had an array of different kinds of hustles,” he tells me. 

Shot by Eddie

He met Jeff through a mutual friend who recommended he check out the young artist’s work. “Me, being the psycho that I am, I called him right away. We hit it off. And that was the start of me and Jeff’s relationship, that was probably 10+ years ago,” he recalls. He became the CMO of a now immensely successful hat brand called Melin. “’I had no business being the CMO of that company, they basically just hired me because I was a scrappy hustler,” he grins to me. He eventually discovered a tattoo artist looking to start selling his work, and through relationships he had built as a “connector in NYC/LA” was able to get the piece in the hands of a Kardashian. “I became a quote, unquote, art dealer.”

In 2015, Jeff had started working with Mark at Melin, and they were broke living in Carlsbad CA. “I realized with my other artist that nobody could afford the art. So I dropped a limited time print. It did very well. And I realized hey, there’s a hole in the affordable art market,” Mark tells me. 

“Jeff’s always been brilliant on seeing where the puck is going, and he realized that on IG everyone was posting motivational quotes, pop culture, memes, photography,” Marks explains, adding: “And I don’t remember whose idea it was, mine or his, but we were like, ‘Hey, let’s just start selling some of these canvases through my Instagram.’”

The name of the brand came about as the result of a two part process, browsing through fun and interesting names on GoDaddy while simultaneously reflecting on Jeff’s work and what ethos coursed through the majority of his production. “We wanted to kind of redo historic moments through iconic figures,” Jeff explains, elaborating: “Let’s create iconic imagery on social media. Memes weren’t iconic then, they’re just memes. If we recreate them and make them tangible where you can put them on your wall, then they’ll become iconic in like twenty years or so.”

“And it was available on GoDaddy.com,” Mark chuckles. 

The Development of Ikonick

“I think we always knew we were going to have success somewhere in life, but I’d be lying if I said that I knew that this was going to be the vehicle to propel both of our careers,” Mark remarks to me. Throughout our conversation, Mark often expresses gratitude for Jeff’s development as a business man throughout their careers. His art process pivoted when they started developing artwork to be displayed tangibly in people’s homes, and Jeff is cognizant of that distinction.

“It’s all contextual to where it is being displayed. The user behavior is completely different from scrolling on Instagram to looking at it every day on your wall,” Jeff explains. When they began creating artwork meant to be displayed, the process was different from just creating digital artwork to distribute online. 

Jeff Cole

That’s something that I pride myself on, the psychology of consuming art. That’s something I look for first: the intent.

For a little more background on how they built the brand, check out this web series the Ikonick fellas produced back in 2018; and stay tuned for the impending return of “Behind the Hustle: Unlocked.”

Enter Web3

As numerous brands look toward a future imbibed in the metaverse, concocting a web3-centric arm of Ikonick is a natural next step for Jeff and Mark. “In Web2, it was all about rented distribution, capitalizing off the rise of social platforms like Instagram. We utilized paid marketing to target and convert customers. As we entered into Web3, there is a maniacal focus on community building,” Mark tells me as they begin to explain their newest venture, Metarelics. “We view community building as the transfer of knowledge and values between us and our community members,” Mark explains.

Since the boom of NFTs began at the beginning of 2021, Jeff and Mark have felt a lot of pressure to dive in. “Having a large platform in the Web2 space as a digital artist, not jumping in for the last year and a half has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do,” Jeff notes. Wisely, the duo has spent the last year and change sitting back and learning instead of diving in too quickly.

“We’ve been learning for probably thirteen, fourteen months,” Mark explains, adding: “The last four or five months, it’s been a hyper focus where we’ve been just really studying, educating ourselves, surrounding ourselves with people that are good in the space. Every single day, making it a focus to allocate time to get smarter.” After months of hard work and research, they’re finally ready to allocate the right time and resources to make a real push into the space.

Mark Mastrandrea

We really do believe that there’s going to be a bridge with physical and digital.

For Jeff, Web3 has been different from Web2 partially because of the differences in time constraints. With Ikonick, all rollouts have 60-90 days of preparation, but web3 moves lightning fast. “This space kind of threw a curveball where it’s like, every day, the landscape changes,” he adds.

“We have to build a car as we’re driving it,” Mark observes. With all of their swirling knowledge and influence established, they’re ready to dive in.

Metarelics

“Every spectrum of artist has come in, and here I am kind of just sitting and waiting my turn. So now I’m just fired up. We think the stars have aligned for us. The projects we’re going to put out are conceptually thought out and we’re finally ready. The team is fully built out, and all the missing parts are finally there,” Jeff tells me. 

In its most basic form, Mark summarizes Metarelics:

Mark Mastrandrea

It’s an artist collective of different products and experiences that really marry the physical with the digital world.

“It’s just the paths to all things Ikonick and Jeff Cole and any partnerships under our ecosystem,” Mark goes on to elaborate. 

The Relics Pass
https://opensea.io/assets/0x1ecfdccf97edd64fb73890ca4541f306456a21ec/555
Metarelics

The first drop from the brand was the Relics Pass, which is essentially a membership pass in perpetuity to the future projects minted under the Metarelics umbrella—whether that’s a project from Jeff or a partnership with another bluechip collection.

There are a few things that set Metarelics apart from the flock of other emerging web3 brands. First of all, they already have an unbelievably engaged and hungry community—owed largely to Jeff’s expansive career in digital art. 

“One reason our community is so engaged is that my artwork has been so time sensitive. Pop culture, timing is everything for me. Whatever the audience is resonating with in the culture, I usually try and elaborate on,” Jeff explains, reflecting on the symbiotic relationship he has with his community. 

Above all, their position at the helm of an already established brand means they have more experience and competency in running a ship of this magnitude.

“Everything that we’re doing is taking a lot of formulas, systems and ideas that we’ve seen from web2 and then just ideating together on how can we tweak these to web3,” Mark elaborates. “I would say that the projects that are going to win are going to have a healthy balance between decentralization and centralization,” Mark notes, explaining the method with which they’ll balance community participation and internal ideation. 

The pass launched a few weeks ago and sold out quickly, and is already seeing some insane movement on the secondary market.

The Physical Art Partners and VeeFriends

“Given the fact that we own a canvas company and our business partner is one of the largest printers in the whole world, it was a natural extension for us to add in some ancillary different value, from a canvas perspective,” Mark explains. 

Mark goes on to explain one of the first offerings of utility from Metarelics: “Our community’s going to get unprecedented access to Ikonick, whether it be discounts, whether it be first looks, whether it be pieces that are unreleased. And then we also just launched a new utility tool where people can connect their wallet and upload and print their canvas.” Immediately, they are giving all Relics Pass holders a free canvas of their choice. The brand also plans to offer specific projects and brands that they want to partner with special discounted pricing: “We’re going to be very, very curated and selective there.”


Today, they formally announced the first partner: VeeFriends.

Anyone who holds a VeeFriend will hear the special offer from the man himself, Gary Vaynerchuk.

To connect your wallet and print your NFT, head to Metarelics.co.

Relic Moments
https://opensea.io/assets/0x495f947276749ce646f68ac8c248420045cb7b5e/43477524988397448520358287476197824304425510977442066968519198779262017470469
Million Dollar Monkeys Relic Moment by Jeff Cole

Jeff has already started minting pieces of digital art based on big cultural moments in web3, entitling them “Relic Moments.” Up until the pass released, they were available to anyone, but they sell so fast that you needed to be an unbelievably active member of the community to get the drop in time. Going forward, moments will only be available for Relics Pass holders to mint. 

Tying It Up

“We’re a real company with real experience in building projects in the art world,” Jeff summarizes. All these projects, from Jeff’s NFT collection to the Relic Moments to the Canvas Utility, are all catered towards creating a long lasting community.

Jeff Cole

We’re just trying to create all different types of levers that we can pull.

This isn’t a singular drop or a singular project. Metarelics is a burgeoning metaverse brand, drawing in numerous aspects of the rapidly growing community. “We wanted to have all these different curveballs, all these fun, exciting surprises that are relevant and piggy backed on what people know me for,” Jeff wraps up.  

Categories
Art NFT

What Is Manifold.xyz?

Currently, NFT artists looking to create their own NFTs generally turn to NFT marketplaces to mint their creations, however, the marketplace’s third-party contract fails to highlight the artist, and instead, creates a random smart contract. Manifold.xyz is changing how artists put their creations on the blockchain, for the better.

Manifold.xyz is an NFT minting platform that enables Web3 creators to mint their own NFT, while maintaining creative ownership, preserving on-chain provenance, and interoperating with all popular NFT marketplaces.

Curious to know more about Manifold.xyz and how creators benefit? Continue reading below to discover how it all works.

What is Manifold.xyz?

Generally, NFT creators mint their NFTs using a smart contract provided by the same marketplace that is selling their NFT. Although this option works, it doesn’t shed light on the creator.

Manifold.xyz was founded by Web3 developers Eric Diep, Richerd Chan, and Wilkins Chung to serve as the first platform where NFT artists can enjoy full ownership of their work.

All NFTs that are minted on Manifold.xyz are also compatible with all the popular NFT marketplaces we know and love today, including OpenSea, Rarible, Foundation, SuperRare, Nifty Gateway, Zora, and more to come.

Manifold offers users embedded smart contract technology called Manifold Creator Contracts, which enable creators to take full ownership of their NFTs by allowing their name to stand out, rather than the marketplace.

In August 2021, Manifold received $7.9 million in seed funding to continue expanding its market. Artists like Jay Z and Steve Aoki have even produced their own NFTs using the platform, along with a variety of other well-known artists and creators.

What is the Manifold Creator Contract?

As of now, many NFT creators NFT marketplaces to mint their own NFTs. What’s wrong with that? Well, your NFT becomes a product of the marketplace’s third-party minting contract, meaning it’s assigned a random ID and is often listed next to unrelated NFTs that were created using the same contract. However, with the Manifold Creator Contract, that is not the case.

The Manifold Creator Contract ensures that NFTs minted on the Manifold platform are authentically attributed to the creator. This way, collectors can assure the NFTs they purchase from their favorite creators are 100% authentic, and artists are better recognized.

Having collaborated with Pak, Mad Dog Jones, and FVCKRENDER, Manifold.xyz has come to terms with what NFT creators desire. Essentially, the main focus of Manifold’s Creator Contract is:

  • Authenticity — true provenance for creators
  • Interoperability — works with existing ERC-721 and 1155 NFT platforms
  • Extensibility — unique, creator-approved NFT applications

To mint your own custom NFTs, Manifold has created what they call their Manifold Studio.

What is the Manifold Studio?

Manifold Studio allows you to mint your own NFT with zero coding required while retaining the ownership and provenance of your creation.

Using Manifold’s seamless user interface allows you to mint your own NFT with the click of a button. The Studio takes care of all the technical back-end work for you, allowing you to focus on creating and enabling you to make your own custom smart contract.

Once the contract is deployed on the mainnet, you have complete control over your own smart contract and the ability to mint ERC 721 and ERC 1155 tokens. The minting process is as easy, if not easier, than posting something for sale on Ebay.

Simply upload your asset, customize your metadata, then press the Mint button, It’s that simple.

Currently, the Manifold studio supports:

  • High-resolution video and images (4K+; unlimited file size).
  • Attribute customization.
  • Video thumbnail customization.
  • Fully decentralized on-chain storage.
  • Compatibility with major NFT platforms (OpenSea, Foundation, Nifty Gateway, Rarible, SuperRare, and Zora).

The overall goal for Manifold.xyz is to offer a creative platform in the best interest of artists and creators alike. Giving artists a toolset to create their own NFTs and allowing them to customize their own smart contracts without knowing how to code is important as we continue to push forward in the NFT space.

Categories
Art NFT

Everything You Need to Know About the World of Women Galaxy NFT

The time is WoW! World of Women is officially launching their newest initiative: World of Women Galaxy (WoWG) which will be free to claim for WoW holders (just pay gas).

World of Women Galaxy (WoWG) is the new roadmap for the World of Women NFT project, with some exciting upgrades. The aim of WoWG is to bring WoW to the next level, creating an iconic global brand and making a statement not only in the NFT space but also in the real world through impactful actions and utility.

What is World of Women Galaxy (WoWG)?
Worldofwomen.art

The World of Women Galaxy is the next giant leap for the World of Women NFT project. In fact, they have already exceeded their expectations for their new roadmap. Below you will discover what we know about the WoWG roadmap so far.

With a grant of $25 million from The Sandbox, WoW has big plans to lead and support women into the metaverse using the WoW Foundation. The first portion of their new metaverse is to launch 10,000 3D World of Women avatars.

Also, they are launching the WoW Museum to support and showcase other artists, WoW University, which aims to onboard others into the Web3 space, and WoW Academy which is built for projects and artists to act as an incubator to provide advice, funding, and mentoring.

In addition to all of this, World of Women has signed a major partnership with Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine, to bring their vision to life. You can expect to see feature films, scripted and unscripted TV series, and even live events. Plus, expect that the WoW holders will be involved every step of the way!

Of course, all of these exciting things to come are just the tip of the iceberg. The WoW community is achieving great things, and there is still much more to come.

So, you’re probably wondering, what about the WoW Galaxy NFT drop? Right…

World of Women Galaxy NFT drop
Worldofwomen.art

By launching this second collection, World of Women aim to welcome more people to the WoW family, at a lower entry point than the original WoW project. Although many perks are exclusive to WoWG owners, information on pricing and more will be revealed soon!

Below is what we know so far regarding the World of Women Galaxy drop:

  • World of Women Galaxy features brand-new art, drawn by Yam Karkai herself
  • WoWG holders will get many exclusive perks
  • 10,000 of WoWG will be reserved for free (+gas) for original WoW holders
  • WoWG holders will own the underlying artwork and all of its IP
How to get on the WoWG allowlist

If you want to collect your own WoWG NFT, there are several ways you can get onto the allowlist (whitelist), including:

Collaborations: WoW has collaborated with other communities to give away spots. You can check who their partners are in their Discord and participate in their giveaways if you’re a part of those communities.

Interacting with WoW: WoW is encouraging people to vocalize their support on Twitter or Instagram and tag them so that they can see, in addition to actively engaging with tweets from the WoW account! They are trying to pick a few active supporters on a daily basis!

WoW Family Nominations: WoW has also been picking a handful of nominees from current WoW holders to assign allowlists to. If you’re a WoW holder, you can nominate people in the WoW Discord. Please do not spam holders or ask them to nominate you.

World of Women is one of the most innovative NFT projects on the market to date. Now, WoW is taking things a step further with the release of their upgraded World of Women Galaxy. 

The Galaxy ensures that the WoW community is moving in the right direction, and their plan to help others on board in the Web3 space is admirable, to say the least.

Categories
Art NFT

Doodles and BEHR Bridge the Gap Between Digital and Physical Colorways

As the NFT space continues to progress, we are seeing more name brands enter the space in some way, shape, or form. One of the most recent collaborations comes from the blue-chip NFT project Doodles and their partnership with BEHR Paint Company.

What is the Doodles NFT project?

Doodles are a collection of 10,000 NFTs made up of hundreds of traits designed by digital artist and co-founder Burnt Toast, as well as their marketer Evan Keast, and blockchain developer Jordan Castro — known for bag holding and previously leading the CryptoKitties team at Dapper Labs.

Of this collection, there are several hand-drawn characters including skellys, cats, aliens, apes, and mascots.

As well, the Doodles collection includes dozens of rare heads, costumes, and colorways specific to the artist’s palette. With that, the Doodles universe is always expanding and new experiences such as Space Doodles are only available to collectors, further growing the brand. Collectors of Doodles can expect exclusive access to the latest products, merchandise, and events through ownership.

Another way that the Doodles brand is providing value to its holders is through the community-driven treasury known as Doodlebank, which boasts over $5 million and is used to fund many of these experiences. By owning a Doodles NFT, you have the ability to vote on these community-driven features, products, and events.

What is the BEHR x Doodles collaboration?

This iconic partnership was inspired by the love of all things colorful between BEHR and Doodles. Considering BEHR is one of the leading paint brands providing high-quality home colors, the collaboration makes perfect sense and serves as a genuine way for BEHR to enter the Web3 space.

Jodi Allen, Global Chief Marketing Officer, Behr Paint

Growing BEHR’s color leadership and expanding our presence across new and emerging platforms remains a priority for our brand.

To celebrate, from March 12 – 14, Doodles’ holders, South by Southwest (SXSW) pass holders, and the general public can become a character inside the colorful BEHR painted world of Doodles, to bring you an immersive experience like no other.

The experience will allow fans the opportunity to engage with the virtual painting wall which will utilize BEHR paints, and attendees will have a chance to collect the first-ever POAP NFT from both Doodles and BEHR.

This free NFT features a custom design by Burnt Toast and is printed on limited edition physical BEHR paint cans. The paint codes will be conveniently placed throughout the event for anyone who wants to recreate the Doodles experience at home using the BEHR paint colors, which include Upbeat, Blue Sarong, and Gumball.

“Working with the Behr team has been a fantastic experience,” explains Evan Keast, CoFounder of Doodles. “The creative genius of CoFounder Burnt Toast is a big part of what has made Doodles such a beloved brand. The diverse and universally relatable characters and the vivid universe they live in are heavily informed by Scott’s chosen color palette. So when we embarked on bringing Doodles into the real world, we knew we needed a partner who understood this and could help us bring it to life with all the vibrancy that exists in the Doodles digital world. Behr was the obvious choice, and they’ve been an incredible partner to work with since day one.”

This partnership of two iconic brands in their industries is just a glance of what’s to come for the future of NFTs and their role in industries we know and love today.

Categories
Art NFT

What is Oncyber?

There are many ways to show off your NFTs. From shilling them on Twitter, posting pics on Instagram, and some people even use TikTok in an attempt the get more eyes on their NFTs. But what if there was a platform that was made specifically for displaying your NFTs?

Now there is, it’s called Oncyber!

Oncyber.io is the easiest way for both artists and collectors to display their NFTs in fully immersive 3D experiences, for free. Oncyber welcomes anyone to create their own account, collectors to explore, and architects to apply for a chance to build their own space in the Oncyber.

To display your NFTs, you will first need to connect your Ethereum wallet of choice and then choose your space. There are four types of spaces to choose from:

  • Free
  • Curated
  • Factory
  • Collectibles

The Free spaces are just that, a free space where you can effortlessly display your favorite NFTs. You can give your gallery a title, description, and create a nice banner for it as well.

Now, if you choose either the Curated, Factory, or Collectibles spaces, many of these are designed by select architects and have been minted in limited editions as NFTs, meaning you will have to buy the NFT if you want access to that specific space.

Some of the select architects include RTFTK, Arqui9, and 494Jax to name a few. On top of these special edition spaces for sale, you can actually combine multiple spaces. One example is the ability to combine the RTFKT LOOT pad with the Space Pod, you just have to own both.

Eventually, Oncyber aims to open up its platform for anyone to create their own virtual space. In the meantime, however, if you have experience as a cyber architect and would like the opportunity to curate your own piece of the metaverse on the Oncyber platform, you can fill out the form here

Once you have your own space, it’s literally as simple as connecting your Ethereum wallet of choice, choosing which NFTs you want to showcase, and then sharing your link with the entire world free of charge.

Oncyber.io

The only NFTs that you can display are artworks that you own or created in the past (by clicking created tab in your dashboard’s sidebar).

When hanging your NFTs on your space’s wall, you have the ability to size them as large or small as you want, and you can even change the colors of the frames in which your NFTs are in.

Also, if your NFT naturally has sound, you can choose whether or not you want to make the sound audible, and adjust the sound reach. These little touches allow you to personalize your gallery to your liking. 

As well, you can invite a collaborator and share your space with others to curate the ultimate gallery.

The possibilities are truly endless, and the fully-immersive experience allows users to explore your NFT collection like never before via virtual reality or 3D, depending on the users’ preference. If someone finds something they like, they can simply go to the listing directly from your gallery and purchase the piece.

There’s no doubt that Oncyber is onto something special with their NFT-focused galleries for both creators and collectors, and surely this innovative platform is set to draw some serious attention.

Categories
Art NFT

How Omer Qayyum Made His Passion for Design a Reality

As humans, we all have things that we love to do. Whether you enjoy writing, creating, playing a sport, or perhaps an instrument, we all dream of making our passion our reality. However, it’s never as easy as we hope for it to be, and I believe that’s because, without the struggle, we would never seek success.

That’s why we sat down with Omer to discuss his journey of turning his love for design into his reality. But that’s not to say it came easy.

Who is Omer Qayyum?

Omer has experience as a producer, creative director, motion graphics designer, animator, and more.

In 2016, Omer worked as the Creative Director and Project Lead for a division of the company called ASB Games. The department worked in many realms such as design, storyboarding, animation, plus additional services connected to the gaming industry.

In 2017, he had the pleasure of working with Tom Hanks to produce his introduction video at the TCT conference in Denver, Colorado, and in 2020, his video, “The Forgotten Farmers”, was nominated for a Webby Award.

Omer’s journey: The past, present, and future

Inspired by Saturday morning cartoons, you could always find Omer drawing comic strips, designing characters, or even recreating the characters that he saw on TV. That’s why from a young age, he knew that wanted to learn how to animate his illustrations, design logos, and much more.

The cultural aspect made things more challenging as he is first-generation, with both of his parents being born and raised in Pakistan. They moved to the U.S. for a brighter future and to live out the “American Dream”. This also meant that his idea of pursuing a career in art was nothing short of concerning for them, which led to added pressure for Omer to figure out how to make them proud while still pursuing his passion.

That being said, Omer isn’t a stranger to hardships. After graduating from art school, he didn’t have much lined up in terms of a career around his passion, so to pay the bills he took a job at Macy’s. Omer quickly went from living paycheck to paycheck, to falling behind on rent. That is the moment that he went into “survival mode”.

From then on, Omer put all his belongings into storage and began finding ways to live below his means. He stayed at a friend’s apartment for three months but eventually ended up in a hostel for a year where he stayed with six other roommates. He worked various gigs doing freelance work, and also picked up work there at the hostel.

Omer ended up moving back to his parent’s house in Texas for a month. At that time, he received a call from an advertising company that offered him an unpaid internship for one month. Omer agreed to take the internship, so he moved back to his friend’s place where he called the couch his home for the time being.

The company gave Omer money to buy lunch, but nothing more. So he decided to stretch his money as much as he could, often times buying a dollar slice of pizza so that he could use the rest of the money to afford dinner. Once the internship concluded, they ended up giving him a job as a project manager, but shortly after, he was laid off.

Omer was hopping from one job to the next and was laid off several times. He moved around every year for a decade, up until two years ago, where he has finally found a place to call home. 

Omer Qayyum

You don’t ever really lose the survival mode feeling.

Although Omer is living more comfortably now in his own place, he is still so used to moving around that many of his things are still packed away in boxes.

Omer’s intro into NFTs

Even though Omer had a steady job working in the corporate world, he still felt that there was something missing. So one day when he got off work, he began creating his own designs using tutorials for 4D cinema. After the first day, he realized the freedom he got from creating is what he had been longing for. So he created his Instagram account and began sharing his work with others.

This was about the time that Omer heard about Beeple’s ‘Everydays’ render. He knew that he couldn’t make a render every day, so he started by making one to two a week. He’d come home after a long day at work and continue to work on his own designs. Except this was different, it didn’t feel like work to Omer because he was doing what he loved to do.

When NFTs started hitting his social feeds in 2021, he realized very quickly that this was the perfect opportunity to take his passion to the next level. It also gave him the push to open up his own studio, which is where he spends most of his time today.

What is OQ Studios?

Omer has continued to create things he loves and share his creations with others using social media. Eventually, others began to take notice and started reaching out to Omer, curious to know what it was he was doing. Today, Omer is investing more time and money into his studio so that he can continue to create the things he loves.

OQ Studios LLC was founded by Omer to provide the world with services for various project needs. The main services that Omer provides through OQ Studios include producing, creative direction, motion graphics, video editing, animation, and illustration. Former clients include Huffington Post, IBM, Intel, Marriott, and McAffee just to name a few.

Omer Qayyum

NFTs are honestly playing a huge part.

Omer mentions that NFTs have helped him take his work and his passion to the next level because now people want to collect art and display his work on their walls. That’s also where Omer’s new NFT collection, Meaning Within The Static, comes into play.

What is Meaning Within The Static?

Meaning Within The Static (MWTS) is the next phase to Omer’s Meaning Within The Minimal NFT collection. Omer’s prior collection and works focus on bringing oddly-satisfying meanings to the eye through animated loops. 

MWTS strives for the same goal but focuses more on a single moment versus an extended one. Essentially, it’s an animated loop your eye is constantly seeing the video move. With the MWTS collection, he aims to condense things and capture the meaningful points that stand out to him within a given moment. 

When you look at his work, you might notice that there’s a pattern with his collections. Each one has begins with the words ‘Meaning With The’. You’ll also notice that as each new collection appears, more detail is implemented. 

Works that existed solely in black & white now may include an accent color (that’s a hint for future things to come). As time passes, you’ll see his works grow and feel more cinematic, mimicking the timeline of moments and experiences that he has grown from and gained during the timeline of his life and art career.

His Meaning Within The Static NFT collection drops on March 9th on Opensea and features 40 unique pieces of work.

What about utility for collectors?

The support Omer has received throughout his journey has allowed him to grow as an artist and business owner. Omer mentioned that it is an incredible feeling to see his work in a collector’s digital gallery and he wanted to take things a step further through unlockable content.

With the MWTS collection, holders of his previous work will receive a physical version of their piece that will be shipped to them. All his collectors will receive a desktop and smartphone wallpaper plus there are additional utilities that he is working on for the future.

Omer Qayyum

What you’re investing in is literally in my growth, and I didn’t stop then so I wouldn’t stop now.

When I asked Omer for his advice to anyone who wishes to make their passion their career, he had some really good advice that I believe everyone needs to hear.

“Hold onto your passion and keep believing in it,” he said. “You aren’t solely defined by just the positive or just the negative moments, but rather a combination of them both.”

At the very least, Omer’s inspiring journey is proof that if you have a strong passion for something, you can make it your reality if you are willing to stay consistent and put in the work.

Categories
Art NFT

What is the ETH.r Brews NFT Project?

Amongst all the NFT projects that are currently on the market, there seem to be few that really strive to stand out. One exception, however, is ETH.r Brews. Before we dive into what ETH.r Brews is, let’s get to know the man behind the project first.

Who is Duncan Rogoff?

Duncan is a 3D artist, animator, and motion graphics designer. He started out as a video editor and quickly saw motion graphics becoming integrated into the post-production workflow. Using free online tutorials he taught himself the skills necessary to rise to the top of his field. Duncan currently works for Apple crafting motion graphics and animation for their support social channels, creating educational content around the software and hardware.

Before Apple, Duncan worked for many reputable companies like Nissan, Sephora, Playstation, and Charles Schwab to name a few. In March of 2021, Duncan was introduced to the NFT space by a friend and never looked back.

Being that he was already a seasoned digital artist, Duncan decided to try his hands at turning his artwork into NFTs. Some of Duncan’s first-ever NFTs he created can be found on Foundation. From that point on, NFTs have consumed a lot of Duncan’s free time respectably.

Duncan Rogoff

Twitter and NFTs became my second full-time job.

In addition to creating motion graphics for Apple, Duncan is the creative genius behind the ETH.r Brews NFT project.

For Duncan, the big challenge was transitioning from being an NFT artist to running a legitimate NFT business. “When you lead a project people always want more,” said Duncan.

His team is to provide as much value as possible to their community, but things take time, especially when you are partnering with other real-world companies.

When I asked Duncan what his one tip would be to someone who wants to start building their own brand in the NFT space, he said; “The three things that I always preach are patience, persistence, and consistency. Things are going to take time, so show up every single day and get to work.”

Definitely solid advice from someone who is building their own brand using NFTs as the foundation.

What is ETH.R Brews?

ETH.r Brews is the first 3D generative, interactive NFT avatar project that brings real-world utility to craft beer lovers around the world via global brewery partnerships. ETH.r Brews are minted as ERC-721 tokens on the Ethereum blockchain and have all their metadata stored on IPFS.

To be clear, ETH.r brews NFTs isn’t your standard avatar project, in fact, you can interact directly with your Brew and engage with them in a variety of ways through augmented and virtual reality applications.

All the traits and their 3D data are generated then minted and stored on the blockchain so that you can interact with them directly from your wallet. You can spin them around 360 degrees and view your NFT from all angles.

Each Brew NFT is unique being that they are each randomly generated from a list of possible traits including backpacks, eyewear, headwear, mouth accessories, and more. Even the materials are generated and chosen from a list of plastics, woods, metals, fabrics so that each Brew truly is unique.

Ultimately, ETH.r Brews is working towards building a global network of partnerships with breweries all over the world to get their community access to free beer when they walk through the doors, discounts on merch, early access to small-batch productions and new releases, exclusive tours of breweries, and access to membership clubs and rewards programs.

Additionally, ETH.r Brews is utilizing its skilled team of marketers, strategists, graphic designers, and video editors to help onboard its partners into the NFT space.

What does the future of ETH.r Brews look like?

The aim for the future of ETH.r Brews is to be able to go to any major city in the world and there will be an ETH.r Brews brewery there to welcome you. Some of the on-chain utility includes what is called the Icechest and the Golden Club. 

You can think of the Ice Chest as your digital closet for your ETH.r Brews NFT. This means you are able to fully customize your NFT by breaking apart your token into individual traits, where each trait becomes its own NFT and you can swap the traits on and off your Brew, as well as buy and sell individual traits on the marketplace.

This functionality also allows ETH.r Brews to expand their collection down the line and partner with brands like Heineken, for example, to release Heineken branded traits.

The idea with the Gold Club is that there are certain Gold Club traits that allow holders to earn a profit share from these traits. So essentially, you have the potential to build and customize your own ETH.r Brews NFT to achieve maximum profitability.

ETH.r Brews’ Big Ass Mint Party

If you are looking to mint your own ETH.r Brew NFT, then you might want to attend the Big Ass Mint Party! ETH.r Brews has already sold out of phase one (50 percent) of their collection, so for now, minting has been paused for a few weeks leading up to the party.

The party will include founders and leads from other NFT projects, as well as music performers from the NFT space. You can attend the Big Ass Mint Party on March 12, which ETH.r Brew is hosting on Twitter spaces.

So, if you like beer and want to be part of a community that also enjoys a good brew, you might want to consider checking out ETH.r Brews. You can join the ETH.r Brews Discord to learn more and make sure to set your reminder for the Big Ass Mint Party as well. Cheers.

Categories
Art NFT

A Deep Dive into Danny Casale’s Coolman’s Universe

I had the chance to sit down and talk with a truly special individual. Danny Casale, known affectionately as Coolman’s Coffeedan, has become a popular animator on the internet.

A member of Forbes 30 under 30, his massive social media following ranges from kids and grandparents to Gary Vee and Obama. A self-taught creative from New York, Danny has made a living working tirelessly with his creations to be a positive wave in a sea of negativity. 

He is most comparable to a blend of Jim Henson and Carl Sagen. A man with a passion to help others and a deep self-reflection to understand the human condition.

While all of them are meant to be entertaining, many of his animations touch on serious topics. When I asked him if these were based on personal events or what he could see others going through, he thoughtfully laid it out as a bit of both.

Danny Casale

Sometimes it’s a topic that speaks to recent events in my life, but it is always something that people can relate to. We are all human and experience similar events throughout our lives. I try to speak my truth as often as possible.

That is where Spesh and Coolman’s Universe come in, to be a source of optimism in the dark place we call the internet. He created Spesh (short for Special) — a character he views as his everything and is the main character of the Coolman’s Universe. A cute creature that could be seen as the Micky Mouse, SpongeBob, or master chief of the story, who is intended to transcend barriers.

Almost like Kermit the frog or Elmo, he is there to reach people of all ages, ethnicities, and creeds to remind them they are special. If you get a chance to hear Coolman’s talk about his Universe you get a glimpse into something amazing.

He started dabbling in NFTs last year with a few small projects in the early days. It wasn’t until Danny saw the generative projects take off last summer, he realized the potential.

At that moment he decided to touch thousands of lives and bring them along for the ride. The Coolman’s Universe NFT project is what Danny would call a lifelong play. Starting with a ten-year plan of growth and expansion, broken up with quarterly roadmaps. Everything from airdrops to merch to a television show is in the works.

One of the greatest things about the project is Danny’s skill set, his skills enable him to deliver on his project’s promises. He has been a content creator most of his life, choosing to work for free helping musicians in New York with their videos and productions, Dan began the path of selflessness that would bring him to where he is today.

Danny Casale

It’s about the character. Not me, the money, or even NFTs.

While learning about his recent NFT project, Coolman’s Universe, I had the privilege of asking a few personal questions. If given the chance to spend a weekend with any musician, dead or alive, who would it be? He chose Jimi Hendrix.

Though a popular choice for that question, his reason is uniquely Danny. His dad introduced him to Jimi Hendrix’s music at an early age, which proved to have had a profound effect.

Leading him to learn an instrument and seek out answers to questions about life. The choice of Jimi would be to have an opportunity to hear the unrecorded thoughts of a brilliant mind. 

A deep thinker himself, Danny Casale believes NFTs are headed towards a future of physical tie-ins. The phrase Phygital has been thrown around the space lately so he may not be too far off. He said he sees a world where you buy a Jacket, and it comes with an NFT that gives you a digital version to use in the metaverse or vice versa.

There are a ton of major companies that are already on the same wavelength as Danny. However, the company he would most like to work with is Nike.

The reason is more of what you want to see from creators and influencers. Danny believes they handle social issues well and would pair up nicely with his style.

Speaking of style, I asked about merchandise, and he said not to worry, Coolman’s Universe merch is just around the corner. Thinking for a second, he excitedly remembered a figurine by Yootooz that had sold out recently. He leaped out of the chair to grab it and show me.

Spesh holding a sign that says “UR Special” is priceless. He said it’s meant to sit on your desk and remind you every day that you are special. 

One of the questions that can tell you a lot about someone is how they would spend their perfect day with an unlimited amount of money. Danny took a moment, not to think about an answer but I assume to reflect on the answer that came to mind.

He said it would be to spend it with a group of friends. It wouldn’t matter so much what they are doing, just having the opportunity to be in the company of his friends for the day would be enough. Life gets away from you quickly and those days of just enjoying time with friends and family become fewer as time marches on.

Danny is a wise man in his 20’s with a clear view of where he is heading. A surprising admission was that he turned down a franchise deal with Nickelodeon. While he would love to work with them one day, it just wasn’t the right time.

It comes down to Spesh and Coolman’s Universe being more than just creations. They are a conduit to speaking his truth and that is more important than money. That is the message to be taken away from all of this.

Author, Artist, and Musician, Danny Casale is without a doubt one of the most chill people on the planet.

He lives up to the name Coolman’s Coffedan. His love of life and people is second to none. The overarching desire to brighten just one person’s day is what will help him to leave a legacy that rivals, if not surpasses, many of his heroes.