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Down the NFT Rabbit Hole (Part 1)

NFT “Je suis Mashine” by MASHINΞ

 

I find inspiration everyday and everywhere. But my inspiration can evaporate as quickly as it came. Artists have sensitive natures. -MASHINΞ

In this four-part series, join me as I take a deep dive into the underground digital art NFT scene and connect with some of the best hidden treasures in the world of NFTs.

What are NFTs?

Click here for a full explainer on Non-Fungible Tokens or NFTs. They are an exciting new technology, one of the many innovations brought to us by blockchain.

Definition

Non-fungible: adjective. Not fungible. Meaning not capable of being replaced by another identical item easily; not mutually interchangeable; unique.

This technology embraces many fields: digital art, collectibles, gaming, certifications and personal licenses, domain names, music, fashion, finance and insurance.

As of this writing, by far the dominant use of this technology lies in the field of digital art and collectibles. What does that mean for us? A lot, actually.

My Controversial View
Alexandre Lores. Portrait by MASHINΞ
Alexandre Lores. Portrait by MASHINΞ

 

Now is the part where I put a target on my chest. Line up my Bitcoin maximalists (just those who are unaware that you can put an NFT on the Bitcoin blockchain), art critics, anti-crypto trolls, haters in general and my personal favorite adversary misinformed or simply vengeful anti-crypto “environmentalists.” I use quotes in the sarcastic sense because personally, I care deeply about the environment and our planet but not the political narratives from those misinformed or harboring ulterior motives used to attack Bitcoin, crypto and even NFTs. Basically anyone who is afraid of new technology and is unable to critically think will probably be triggered by my opinion.

In my view, digital artists using NFTs are in fact the pioneers of a technology that will change every part of your life. They are in fact spearheading adoption of the unique (pun-intended) technology of NFTs.

This is why I decided to dive down the NFT rabbit hole of and jump inside the world of digital art. It is my honor to feature the first artist in this series:

Who is MASHINΞ?
MASHINΞ
MASHINΞ

 

MASHINΞ is a traditional painter as well as a leading visual artist and NFT creator based in Switzerland. A pioneer in the digital art underground, you can find her NFTs on Rarible, OpenSea and elsewhere.

You can follow her here on Twitter, Instagram and Linktree.

You can currently find Je suis Mashine, featured at the top of this blog, here on OpenSea.

A Closer Look

I reached out to MASHINΞ to get a closer look into her mind and heart, as well as ask about her personal views. Here is what she had to say.

1. How and when did you get into art?

As long as I can remember since childhood, I always drew and loved art, but I never thought about it seriously.

In 2012 I started studying design at a university in Milano and soon after I realized that design and art go hand in hand and this is what I wanted to do professionally for [the] rest of my life.

In 2017, I arranged the first exhibition of my works in Basel, Switzerland and faced the fact that the art world that I imagined turned out to be completely different from what I thought.

An artist is faced with the fact that their success depends on many factors, marketing being a very important one.

I was faced with a field where galleries, curators and marketing professionals dominate the art market and decide absolutely everything. In some cases they even try to influence the artist to paint something that sells well.

The artist is reduced to a cog in the machine of the art business and their overall success depends on how well they interact with galleries, curators, art critics and gallerists. They cannot only depend on their professional skills as an artist.

I continued to create traditional oil drawings, painting and digital art until my life was completely changed with the arrival of NTFs.

2. What inspires you to create art?

I am mainly inspired by contemporary American art, because in general it is more limitless, open-minded and experimental than European art. Europe is still quite conservative and traditional.

I try to visit museums, contemporary art exhibitions and art fairs as much as I can.

I love crazy installations and anything that can be called freaky and weird without the use of complex classic epithets and definitions and trends of art. If something is weird, strange, creepy, most likely I will like it.

I am also inspired by art from periods of the Middle Ages, Renaissance, naïve art and impressionism.

I can be inspired by good music and festivals, but also by the little unexpected details of daily life, by special people, beautiful inside and outside. I have my muses. I find inspiration everyday and everywhere. But my inspiration can evaporate as quickly as it came. Artists have sensitive natures.

3. How and when did you get into NFTs?

I drew both traditional and digital art for years, but I had no idea how to make money from it, I made it for passion and never earned anything.

I remember very well the moment when I entered the NFT world. In February 2021 I got into Clubhouse, where I met a lot of artists who, like me, recently discovered crypto and blockchain.

At that time I was drawing digital portraits, but I didn’t know much about NFTs. Then an anonymous artist and collector named @secretlyaveryf1 bought my NFT for 0.4 ether. It literally blew my mind and since then I have been creating NFTs and collecting other artists’ NFTs.

4. How and when did you get into crypto?

I got [into] crypto and NFTs at the same time on Clubhouse. I wish I had 5 years earlier! I think that many people are afraid to get involved with crypto, because at first glance it looks risky and difficult because they don’t understand it.

I do a little trading on Binance and I hold Cardano, Filecoin, Tezos and Ether.

I think crypto is the future, and it will never go away.

5. What is the biggest challenge artists face today?

The most difficult challenge is to stay afloat and not give up what you love. It is very easy to break down and give in when there are no new big sales or no new collectors.

I saw several very high-quality artists leave the NFT community because they came for the money and success with the hype and NFT bull market that hit a peak in the spring 2021. This faded and they didn’t make it big, but I think they gave up too soon.

It is difficult to predict what will happen next with the NFT market, but I believe that only the most involved, supportive and talented artists will remain.

6. For you as an artist, how important is community?

Nothing has monetary value without a community to say it does. Support is everything; community is the world.

The community that you stand with determines your success and helps you in promoting your art.
I have seen a large number of very good artists not spend any time helping other artists and this eventually negatively affects them. On the contrary, I have seen responsive and helpful artists who have built a fan base around them of sympathetic collectors of friends and colleagues.

Any physical gallery will not make you a superstar NFT artist if you are not known in the NFT community. Only constant communication and mutual support is a guarantee of success.

When I sell some of my work, I buy the work of smaller artists, because we are all in the same boat. You collect my art, I collect yours. It’s very simple. I was lucky to meet wonderful people, collectors and artists through the world of NFTs.

7. You are from Switzerland. Would you consider there to be more digital artists/NFT creators and collectors in Europe or in America? Does this affect you in any way?

Switzerland is a rather conservative country of strict foundations, where people love classical art.
I try to involve artists into NFT art through my own example. Most of the artists whom I know personally are not involved with NFTs or just started with it. Some of my acquaintances are still suspicious of the crypto/NFT space.

On the other hand, in Europe there are several high-profile names in the NFT world who made a lot of money in the recent wave of hype earlier this year. These artists were engaged in digital art for several years, and their success carried over into NFTs.

8. What advice would you give to an artist who wants to jump into the world of digital art and NFTs?

I would not give advice in general, because everyone has their own path and it is impossible to have a successful formula that will [work equally] for everyone.

What I can definitely say is that if you want to jump into NFTs for the money, chances are you will become quickly disappointed.

You need to be prepared for the fact that you will not be appreciated as an artist, but your personal qualities will help you join a wonderful community and find new connections and good people.
You can also forget about a stable income; everything depends on the market and one day you can sell 10 NFTs and then nothing for a month.

9. What advice would you give someone who wants to be an NFT collector?

Each collector has their own individual taste and preference. One might love to collect graphics. Another 3D. Another collages. For every collector there is an artist. I think that those who come to the NFT space and buy CryptoPunks come not for the art, but for the money.

Everyone has their personal motives.

But we must not forget that trends change very quickly; new ones come to replace the old and you can lose your money. A living artist is a brand, and by interacting, you and the artist both succeed.

10. Fast forward 10 years… Where do you see NFTs in the art world and the world as a whole?

I think that in 10 years NFTs will become something quite common and normal, where there will be a lot of competition among artists. Reputation will be highly valued as well as art.

I think that we will see more than one Beeple, but pumped not by auctions, but by a real community.
The good thing is that theoretically everyone has a chance to become the next Beeple, so it is important to buy from small artists, because you never know where they will be tomorrow.

This content is for educational purposes only. It does not constitute trading advice. Past performance does not indicate future results. Do not invest more than you can afford to lose. The author of this article may hold assets mentioned in the piece.

If you found this content engaging, and have an interest in commissioning content of your own, check out Quantum Economics’ Analysis on Demand service.

Author

Alexandre Lores is a personal finance writer from Tampa Bay, Florida, with the goal to help one million people achieve financial freedom. He has spent over five years studying markets and economics, finding Bitcoin in 2017 and never turning back. He frequently appears on TV and in online news articles and is a regular Twitter spaces host.

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