We hosted a group of artists together in Miami during Art Basel to discuss the state of NFTs. Here’s what we learned.
22 artists gathered at MetaMask’s inaugural Artist Potluck for an unforgettable evening.
As the sun set one evening in bustling Miami during Art Basel week, some of web3’s most influential and talented NFT artists gathered at El Tucán restaurant for MetaMask’s inaugural Artist Potluck.
The theme for the night was “Constellation” as MetaMask brought some of the brightest stars in the NFT space together for connection, camaraderie, and creativity. The atmosphere was filled with excitement and anticipation, as the artists enjoyed delicious food, drinks, and dialogue.
This was no ordinary potluck. Instead of bringing a dish to share, each artist came to the table with an NFT gift for one another. NFTs were minted on Manifold. By the end of the night, every artist left with a unique piece of art they could view in their MetaMask account, just in time for the giving season. Take a look at the stunning Constellation collection here: https://opensea.io/collection/constellation-artist-potluck
A prominent artist herself, and our very own community builder, Faith Love was all smiles as she hosted and greeted the ecstatic creators. If you get a chance, ask her about the tablecloth, we heard it was her favorite piece of the night. 😉
Joe Lubin, Co-Founder of Ethereum and CEO of ConsenSys kicked off the festivities with a toast to the creators.
Besides spoiling the artists with a decadent dinner replete with black truffle pizzetta, sushi platters, woodfired wagyu beef tomahawk, and so much more (they were surprised each time a new course was served), drinks and entertainment were ever-flowing. We even had a designer, Tara Moves, sketch the event in real-time:
Chatting with the artists
We could rave on about the night but you don’t have to take our word for it. We had the pleasure of interviewing some of the creators in attendance: Bryan Brinkman, Stonez, Kira Bursky, Ant Pantone, Aaron Ricketts, and Angel. It was refreshing to hear their thoughts about art, technology, community, and the future of NFTs.
They all chose to become NFT artists for a variety of reasons, including the potential for royalties and perpetual income, the ability to connect with other artists, and the desire for more control and freedom in their work.
“For artists, it’s a whole new revenue stream that’s emerged. I have friends through Twitter that are artists who were previously not working full time that are now because of the NFTs,” said Kira Bursky, a filmmaker and multidisciplinary artist.
Many of them cited the potential for NFTs to allow them to support themselves through their art and invest in other artists' creative journeys. Overall, the decision to become an NFT artist seems to be driven by a combination of financial and artistic considerations.
Bryan Brinkman is a digital artist that specializes in animation and cartoon art. “To me, NFT offers a closer connection to the artist. When you collect a piece of art from Art Basel you might not have a personal connection with that artist, you might have bought it from a gallery. With NFTs, you’re able to talk directly to the artist, have a connection, and be invested in their journey and growth. You can watch them flourish in this space, which you can do with traditional art to an extent, but it’s not as easy to do on a massive scale like it is with NFTs…. Connecting with this community is the most fun part of this space.”
While artist Aaron Ricketts— photographer, visual artist, and self-proclaimed realistic surrealist—said, “Everything about [NFTs] is exciting. Whether it’s photographers, painters, music artists, people are taking more control over what they create and what they put out into the world. Cutting out the middleman and making it about the art again. That’s important because artists now are shining in ways they may not have.”
It hit closer to home for Stonez, a musician and digital artist who addressed the key reasons that drew him to the space: being able to protect yourself as an artist, having your family be able to reap the benefits of your art, and how the blockchain protects that.
“In a traditional art world there are too many instances where an artist doesn’t get their recognition till after they die, but also their family isn’t able to reap the benefits of that because there's no trace, but on-chain—with splits and royalties—your family can [benefit] forever [from] your creations.”
Besides MetaMask being their favorite wallet, it was interesting to observe how these artists shared a similar sentiment when it came to their favorite part about minting an NFT—the excitement, joy of sharing it with the world, and the ensuing butterflies once live.
Their favorite part about owning an NFT was supporting other artists—friends and internet strangers alike—and they quickly declared how rewarding it is to cheer on other creators as a buyer: to invest in their growth and watch them flourish. As Bryan Brinkman put it, “Connecting with this community is the most fun part of this space.”
Much of the creative process involves being in the flow, or “in the zone,” a mental state in which a person is fully immersed and focused on the action of making art. When asked about his creative process, Aaron Ricketts, explained it’s more about just living in the flow and reaching his nirvana in the day-to-day. Instead of forcing it, Aaron places an emphasis on observing the world.
“Part of that is practicing abundance mentality and understanding things are okay even when they may not be okay. Understanding when it comes to creativity and doing things, it’s not really something you have to do. It's something that happens and naturally occurs.”
Kira Bursky felt similar when she noted, “Everything I create is very subconscious and I let it happen. I'm along for the ride. I don’t know where it’s going to take me, but it generally stems from some core feeling in my body, a sensation, and I just see what metaphor is going to play out from that visually.”
The group of artists was very diverse with music, canvas, digital, motion, and poetry as their respective mediums, having something to say to the world, and themselves.
With Angel’s art, “It’s telling people to be happy,” stemming from her own personal struggles with mental health.
True ownership and the future of NFTs
It sometimes feels like NFT artists are overlooked when it comes to the “tech side” of crypto, but more often than not, they are deep proponents of core web3 principles like true ownership and security. Artists, more than degen traders, seem to realize the importance of self-custody.
When Ant Pantone—an artist with both analog and digital approaches—was asked about this, he didn’t hesitate to repeat the mantra, not your keys, not your coins.
“MetaMask gives me the financial independence that I need. I don’t need to be run by a bank. I own my keys. I love [MetaMask] security and communication.”
A strong preference for self-custody is a sentiment we feel will be adopted by more people. This is the silver lining during the recent insolvency of big CeFi players: more people are asking important questions and taking a closer look at the security of their assets to make informed decisions.
Where does one start with their self-custody journey? Education. Whether you’re an artist, DeFi dabbler, or tech veteran—you can download MetaMask, the wallet that gives you the freedom to exit anytime, for any reason.
We closed our conversations out on a fun note, asking each artist to describe the future of NFTs in three words:
MetaMask’s inaugural Artist Potluck in Miami hearkened back to ages of old when brilliant minds would come together over dinner and drinks, and talk about their art and what inspires them. Only this time, the medium was enhanced with blockchain technology.
Thank you to all the artists who showed up and continue sharing their creations with the world. This community wouldn’t be the same without you. Special thanks to Faith Love for hosting and curating such an electric evening. It was an unforgettable night, and we can’t wait to do it all again.
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