MV #21: Opening My Aperture Pt.1
Expanding my field of view into new artists, creators, and projects
This is MetaVault, a weekly-ish newsletter that examines the rapidly evolving dynamics of the Web3 and NFT space. Creators, builders, communities, utility, simplicity, DAOs. Vibes.
From NGMI to Wonderment
A quick story on the Otherside drop. I had wisely KYC’d in, packed my bags with $APE and $ETH, and was ready for showtime. As the day went on, the number of KYC’d holders was rapidly rising – s/o to Crumbs, a fellow Pixel Vault Founder’s DAO holder, for providing outstanding metrics throughout the day. But I felt confident. “I’ll get two. Definitely two. If they actually get into Phase 2, maybe I’ll get another two.”
The drop started at about 8PM. I was excited, nervous, sweating. I called FilmBook. When the NFT world gets crazy I call him. He was on the other end sweating it out too. We waited and waited. Then waited some more.
Gas was insane. And sure I had some ETH, but I didn’t anticipate this kind of gas war. Ok, maybe I could increase gas? HA! No chance. The network was fried. Maybe convert some of my extra APE into ETH? Again, no chance. APE rides on the Ethereum network. Hosed in all directions.
It was a slow, painful march into oblivion. The worst night of “entertainment” I’ve experienced since that one time in New Orleans when I bought a hand-rolled cigar from a corner shop, only to spend the rest of the night on the shitter due to some kind of poisoning. (Sorry, probably didn’t see that coming!)
After this massive fail I felt like I was 100% ngmi. Down bad.
A few days passed and I started to process it all. Sure, no Otherside deeds. No quick flip. No kodas. Got it. But is there an upside here?
I opened my aperture on creators, builders, communities, old projects, new projects, art, generative, derivatives, CC0, 1/1s, utility, simplicity.
Beyond seeing art and collectibles as investments, the simple question became: what brings me joy?! Sounds kind of trite or flowery, but that’s what it’s all about, right? If this is a hobby – an enjoyable way to spend free time – then it’s on me to find artists, projects, and communities that bring me joy.
This is the first post of two that dives into the new worlds in which I’ve been spending my time. As you’ll see, my wife has had a massive influence on our collection in the past two months. There are so many talented artists who are focused on diverse topics and experiences. I’m excited to learn more about – and participate in – these communities moving forward!
The astonishing piece below by Aslan Ruby called The Patron Saint of Fvck Yeah! was created a few weeks ago. I showed my wife and daughters every day until the auction went live. At some point my three-year old started to identify as this bad ass. I’d show her and she’d say in her french-english, “Ça me?!” On the night of the auction I was all butterflies. I HAVE TO COLLECT THIS PIECE!
It was a reverse auction starting at 1.2 ETH. It’s a down market. ETH is dragging. NFTs even more so. But I connected to this piece like nothing before. Maybe I could’ve tried to time it to get better “value.” But see, that’s the thing. This phase of my NFT journey isn’t strictly about value. It’s about connection. It’s about finding artwork and communities that truly resonate with me. It’s about holding a piece in which my three-year-old daughter saw herself.
I furiously clicked. And won the auction! It was magical.
I then DM’d a bit with the artist, Sarana. Her and her partner, Tom, are this audacious tandem of artist and builder. She was gracious enough to chat about the purchase and welcome me to her collector community. I assured her that I expect nothing from her moving forward – I’m simply a happy collector on an exciting journey with her. I’ll go wherever she intends to drive! Ha.
Aslan Ruby was also the artist for the Meta Angels (appearing later in this article!) and HoneyBadges projects and got a huge NFT.NYC nomination for Best Emerging Artist alongside luminaries such as FEWOCiOUS, Rich Simmons, Uman, and TalentHouse3. I voted for her!
I’ve now collected three pieces from lilyillo’s Winter Women series. They are pieces that feel dynamic, defiant, vulnerable, and personal. As a father to two magical little girls, I see their futures in the portraits that Lily creates.
In collecting her pieces I realized something incredibly important: spending my limited ETH on massive projects like Otherside feels different than when I support singular artists. There’s a tangible impact to collecting Lily’s work that feels amazing. She celebrates her collectors as we celebrate her! It’s this Mutual Appreciation Society that can’t be duplicated by buying into massive projects that represent stock purchases more than patronage. I’m here for this!
Power of Women
Leah Ibrahim Sams is the force behind Power of Women, she’s an artist in residence with The Hug, and the artist for The Royals. As we like to say, she’s building! Ha. In her Power of Women series she has a few different collections (Women of the Metaverse, League of Extraordinary Women, The Veiled Ladies, Power of Women Family) that explore feminine representations. I connect with the wide array of forms in her pieces: multicultural, solo portraits, mother/daughter, friends/sisters, distinct backgrounds. Her work is specific and when a collector connects with a certain piece, it’s diamond-handed. In her Women of the Metaverse series there are only two of 30 listed!
A beautiful 10k collection that pushes the boundary on tech. Check this out: their lending protocol allows holders to lend their NFT to another wallet. That new wallet now gets all of the benefits of being an MA holder — but can’t sell the NFT. When the original holder wants to pull back the NFT, they simply click a few times and the NFT is returned to their wallet. Wow. Here’s a great thread by one of the founders, Allyson Downey, describing it in more detail. It’s a brilliant mechanic and was recently nominated at NFT.NYC for Most Innovative Smart Contract! (And yes, I voted for them!)
There’s a lot of utility to this project: Wishing Well, Angel Grants. They started a Web3 accelerator called Angel Labs. Their first cohort of 16 founders/projects is running through the framework and will likely mint this summer. They’ve also partnered with Adobe and Sofia Vergara. It’ll be fun to watch them continue to expand and evolve!
Disclosure: A member of my household works at Meta Angels!
Amber is an artist that is deeply connected in the Web3 space – it somehow feels like she’s been here for 10 years. Her work stands out in its structure and simplicity. I bought a piece for my wife because she was obsessed with her work. And now I can’t stop! (It may not have been her intent, but I dig the Colon Parenthesis collection as a pfp! ha)
She’s part punk, part elegant abstract artist, part Web3 visionary.
Her big drop called Memories of a Masterpiece releases on July 15th!
A 10k collection created by Varvara Alay, Flower Girls feels like a mix between Victorian England and a botanist’s sketchbook! The project has a keen focus on charity donation and has already donated over 188 ETH. There’s also an interesting mechanic built in called cross-pollination. Here’s their description:
On her journey to Venus, each Flower Girl will cross-pollinate with other Flower Girls and produce Seeds. Seeds are a fungible token and can be used in the Seed Store (coming April-May 2022) to trade for art, exclusive “allow list” spots from other projects, Flower Girl merchandise and other goods and services.
Some Seeds will blossom and grow into the Second Generation of Flower Girls – as we reach Venus and set up the planet’s first Flower Garden…
Not Your Bro
This 10k collection is all vibe. A great message and an immaculate color palette combined with an empowering posture. This pfp pops on the timeline. They built an impressive NFT education platform called What the NFT and were nominated for three awards at NFT.NYC.
Long Neckie Ladies
Long Neckie Ladies is a 3,333 collection created by Nyla Hayes, a 12-year old artist who was named TIME Magazine’s first NFT Artist in Residence. I think it’s safe to say she’s a baller. This collection is immediately identifiable – an aspect I highly value. And the piece I picked up shares similar vibes to my beautiful Patron Saint. Bonus!
I first got wind of this collection from Cozomo’s Medici Minutes and the art by Blair Breitenstein (with the world class Twitter ID @BlondeLasagna) struck me as sort of otherworldly – a compelling reconfiguration of what a pfp could be. This collection is chic and connected to the broader fashion world, while being organic to our little Web3 space. Certainly doesn’t hurt that Blair’s work has been championed by Reese Witherspoon, Paris Hilton, and Sia and her client list includes Elle, Vogue, Chanel, Prada, L’Oreal, Coach, and tons of others. Could the 1989 Sisters collection land some high level collaborations / partnerships soon?!
I want to be straightforward with my readers: this article cost me some money to write! As I summarized the various artists and collections that I got super excited about over the last couple of months, I acted on my intuition and collected pieces that I had ogled over. Hopefully you get inspired and collect from these amazing artists, creators, and builders.
Part two next week will focus on maybe more familiar names to my readers: Chimpers, DeeKay, Doodles, Akutar, Ghxsts, Bright Moments, and more!
Disclaimer: None of this is financial advice. DYOR. And yes, I own pieces from the collections mentioned in this article.