Next Up: Niceaunties Channels Singapore’s “Auntie Culture” Into AI Fever Dreams

BY Matt Medved

February 15, 2024

Hailing from Singapore, Niceaunties has been turning heads and raising eyebrows since being named a winner of Claire Silver’s AI Contest 6.

Ranging from endearing to nightmarish, their surrealist artworks are simultaneously nostalgic and provocative. The fantastical pieces conjure up absurd dream-like scenes inspired by their upbringing, shaped by influential women such as their great-grandmother, grandmother, and eleven aunties who helped raise them while their parents worked.

“I draw inspiration from all aspects of daily life, particularly from my surroundings, cultural background, family relationships, and ‘auntie culture,'” they explain. “The term ‘auntie’ in this context refers to an older woman, often characterized by traits of resourcefulness, adherence to rules, traditionalism, and a tendency to be opinionated.”

On Feb. 7, their “Auntieverse” collection sold out 1,000 total artworks, including 100 special “Omakase” pieces in standard auctions ranging from 0.28 ETH to 5.5 ETH, and 900 artworks in a Dutch auction with a final price of 0.168 ETH.

Every week, nft now’s Next Up unveils a new artist from our curated list of ascendant talents who have been making significant waves throughout Web3. This week, our spotlight turns to Niceaunties.

Credit: Niceaunties

nft now: How did you first become interested/involved in digital art?

In late 2022, I came across some visually captivating images on Instagram and discovered they were created using Midjourney. Intrigued, I began exploring the program and quickly became hooked. The thrill of transforming thoughts into visuals through this new medium was exhilarating.

Niceaunties: How would you describe your art?

Surreal, quirky, and stimulates appetites.

Credit: Niceaunties

What’s your process like? And where do you usually find inspiration?

I draw inspiration from all aspects of daily life, particularly from my surroundings, cultural background, family relationships, and “auntie culture.” My creative process begins with conceptualizing an idea, followed by using text-to-image tools like Midjourney or DALL-E 3 to bring these concepts to life. This phase involves multiple iterations to achieve the desired aesthetics, often made enjoyable by the AI’s unexpected details that further fuel my creativity. Once I have a collection of images that piece together a narrative, I use platforms like RunwayML or PikaLabs to animate them. The final step involves editing the sequences in CapCut to complete the artwork.

What was your breakthrough moment in web3?

My journey into web3 began when I crossed paths with Fellowship. Alejandro Cartagena, the co-founder of Fellowship, reached out to me on Instagram and invited me to participate in, a project focused on documenting AI videos. This opportunity marked my most significant breakthrough. Following this experience, I gained both confidence and expertise in the field. Shortly after, I entered Claire Silver’s AI Contest 6 and was honored to be one of the six winners, a moment that stands out in my artistic career.

Credit: Niceaunties

What are the biggest challenges facing rising artists in web3?

As the number of artists in the web3 space grows, distinguishing oneself both visually and in terms of art content becomes challenging, particularly when artists employ similar AI tools and draw stylistic inspiration from one another. Another challenge lies in continuing to grow and expand creatively without succumbing to the pressures of art sales. While some artists manage this balance well independently, others find value in gallery representation. Personally, having the support of a gallery like Fellowship allows me to concentrate on creating art, leaving the marketing and commercial aspects to the expertise of the gallery team.

What advice do you have for rising artists in this space?

Find mentors, expose yourself to life experiences and other art forms, look for a theme or style that gets you excited, go with the flow, find your voice, and have the courage to put yourself out there. Keep creating!

Credit: Niceaunties
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