In November 2023, the Optimism Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to growing the Optimism Collective, launched “We Love The Art”, an on-chain art contest on OP mainnet with a 1.2 million $OP prize pool that will be distributed to over 184 artists.
The submission deadline, extended after popular demand, is today–Monday, Jan. 8, at 6 pm E.T. You’d better get moving if you want to compete! You can submit work in categories that include generative work, AI art, and music.
Here are the basics about the contest.
What is Optimism?
Optimism is an EVM Layer 2 chain that aims to run anything you can run on Layer 1 Ethereum but at a fraction of the cost.
Why is the Optimism Foundation hosting a contest?
For the Optimism team, a big intention for this campaign is to bring everyone together for one shared goal: to push forward NFTs and to give artists exposure to a new world. They want artists to get their work onto OP mainnet, and Superchain partners like Zora and Base and to help build these chains into great destinations for creators.
How do I enter?
Then, head to the contest website, choose your piece’s category, write a description, and hit send!
The prize pool is generous, denominated in the Optimism native token $OP, and allows for 47 winners in each category. Here’s the full breakdown.
1.2 million $OP will be distributed to188 total winners. There will be 300,000 $OP distributed to 47 winners per category.
First tier: 50,000 $OP prize (2 winners per category)
Second tier: 20,000 $OP prize (5 winners per category)
Third tier: 7,000 $OP prize (10 winners per category)
Fourth tier: 1,000 $OP prize (30 winners per category)
Judging takes place from Jan. 9 through the end of the month—and the judges are some web3 luminaries, including Cozomo de’ Medici, Gmoney, Faith Love, Tom Windish, the head of A&R and business development at Wasserman Music, Zeneca, founder of ZenAcademy, and more.
Further information is available at the contest’s frequently asked questions page.
Binji Pande’s Tips and Insights
We spoke to Binji Pande, Optimism Labs’ NFT lead, to learn what this contest is about—and tips on winning.
nft now: Tell us about some of the barriers onboarding artists to Optimism and encouraging folks to see OP as a chain for NFT creators. How is this program overcoming some of those challenges?
Binji Pande: It is more of an ongoing awareness and education issue. Right now, some artists need to be shown what is capable on-chain, and not just across Optimism but the broader Superchain ecosystem, including Zora and Base. This can’t be solved with just one contest; it will take a consistent, collaborative effort across current and new partners to help overcome educational gaps and misconceptions.
Partnering directly with marketplaces such as Zora, OpenSea, Manifold, Sound, Mint.Fun and many more help dispel the notion that there is too much complexity in creating L2s. For example, artists can utilize marketplace documentation to ensure they’re taking full advantage of the platform’s functionality and the tooling to help creators bring a variation of mints (music, generative art, photography, video. AI art, etc) to submit mints for the contest.
Besides the amazing prize pool, what features make Optimism great for NFT creators, particularly given that there are also other L2s and chains besides Optimism and EVM mainnet?
Besides the low cost of minting on Optimism, another benefit is the Superchain. While still in the early days of development, with NFT-focused Superchain partners such as Zora and Base, artists have the creative freedom for their artwork to find vibrant and growing communities of fellow artists and collectors on a network that works for them.
What tips or advice do you have for someone entering the contest?
Make sure to bring your best artistic expression to your submission for “We Love The Art.” The judges bring their expertise to help select the 188 winners across the four prize categories (AI, Generative Art, Music, and 1 of 1s). A standout submission must showcase an artist’s creative expression on-chain and share insight into the decisions that led to the mint and how the prize will impact their on-chain creative journey. The main emphasis in a sea of submissions is to be able to explain the story behind your work.
What criteria, if any, have you set for the judges? Are we likely to see a focus on famous names, emerging artists, or both?
Each submission will be reviewed across the following categories:
- Originality: Does the art have a unique perspective?
- Creativity: How creatively has the creator conveyed their message or idea?
- Conceptual Depth: Does the work communicate some underlying meaning beyond its visual or auditory effect?
- Aesthetic Impact: How impressed are the judges with the overall quality and execution of the art?
This contest is focused on both established and emerging artists.
Care to tease any alpha on other improvements or projects Optimism is doing to attract NFT creators—and entice them to stay?
With all the momentum behind “We Love The Art,” further programs will focus on emerging and established artists. The message to creators is to keep creating across the Superchain with our partners at Zora and Base. Plus, follow Optimism to miss out on any future onchain creator programs.
Anything else you’d like to add?
If you want to learn more about “We Love The Art,” please visit the contest website and remember the submission deadline on Jan 8th at 23:00 UTC.
We also have a super active Discord and are ready to answer your questions. Please join the Optimism Discord server and ask away in the “We Love The Art” channel.