nft now
The Gateway

Miami Art Week Live Blog Day 4: The Gateway and Beyond

BY Jex Exmundo

December 03, 2022

We’re here. After five days jam-packed with insider Web3 knowledge and the best of what the NFT art community offers, The Gateway: A Web3 Metropolis is entering its final day of planned programming. Together with Mana Common and MoonPay, nft now has labored to deliver an experience that worked to provide as much value to its attendees over its five-day run. Unfortunately, all good things come to an end.

But don’t fret. There’s still lots to do for those among the Web3 faithful who made the pilgrimage to Miami for Art Basel Miami 2022.

The Gateway 2022’s last day of programming includes a talk led by Betty of Deadfellaz on defending artists in the space; a panel featuring Sasha Stiles and Ana María Caballero regarding the emerging literary NFT space; an open forum on the state of Web3 marketing featuring Swan Sit, Avery Akkineni, Amanda Cassatt, and Jennifer Styles; a deeper look on the future of luxury in Web3 led by Gmoney and Chris Coleman, who was in the panel on behalf of MillerKnoll, and an open conversation featuring some of the biggest creators in the NFT space to close things off. Leading the Gateway 2022’s final panel will be Roger Dickerman, Sam Spratt, Blake Kathryn, and Raf Grassetti.

For a quick recap on how Friday went down in Miami Art Week, Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin participated in a fireside chat on the broad future of NFTs and the far-reaching consequences of FTX’s collapse with nft now co-founder Matt Medved as part of The Gateway’s Friday programming. Various community leaders such as OneOf’s Lin Dai, Shira Lazar, BLOND:ISH also took the stage in a subsequent panel speaking on the depth of community currently present in Web3.

In a separate panel, nft now co-founders Matt Medved and Alejandro Navia also engaged in an open conversation with former Time president Keith Grossman on the specific allure of Web3 for budding and established media companies alike.

So, with yesterday firmly in the rearview mirror, what’s dominating Saturday’s Miami Art Week headlines?

The state of Web3 luxury, as told by Gmoney

Speaking at a panel at nft now x Mana Common’s The Gateway, influential collector and 9dcc Creative Director Gmoney (who revealed his identity earlier on in the week) offered insight into why the concept of Web3 luxury is in its infancy and is dependent on creators like himself to conquer uncharted territory of “phygital” goods for it to fully form.

“What I’ve learned as a founder is that you don’t need to do a drop the way everyone else is. You know, PFPs definitely worked for a time last year, I don’t know if they work going forward,” said Gmoney during the live panel. “For that reason, I’ve been building slow and taking my time, because I do think that technology will change.”

With 9dcc’s second release, titled ITERATION-02, the brand offered an exclusive chip-infused t-shirt that embodies a creative partnership with Art Blocks Founder Snowfro. While innovative, the release was but a single entrant into the phygital market, and perhaps has only reached the cusp of the potential that exists at the physical x digital intersection. But for the sector to expand further, Gmoney noted that mainstream consumers would first need to understand this potential.

“One of the main reasons I have really wanted to connect digital and physical is because we do live in a non-fungible world,” said Gmoney. “Even if we have the same black shirt on, mine could be ripped or have a coffee stain or whatever. That means that it’s probably worth less.”

Speaking on this concept of non-fungibility to current everyday life, Gmoney added that, while 9dcc will continue to release products, the brand is creating with the future, and future consumers, in mind. “When you talk to anyone that’s a teenager or younger, they just get it. They understand digital ownership,” said Gmoney.

Betty on taking personal meaning in your work

Speaking at The Gateway: A Web3 Metropolis in Miami on Saturday, CEO and Co-Founder of Deadfellaz Betty spoke to the ways the NFT space is uniquely suited to career success. “I’ve been able to bring my whole self to my work for the first time in my life,” she said. “The connectivity of creative work provides people validation for their own existence in many ways.” 

Taking personal meaning in one’s work can be a delicate proposition. Committing too hard to something indifferent to your well-being can backfire, but without greater levels of commitment, every job or career move will certainly end badly. For Betty, this means carrying political views into the office, with pride. “A lot of people have recently [told me] ‘you’re too political,” she said. “‘You shouldn’t be political.’ Defi is political. Crypto is political. Everything’s political.”

“If you lead with what is in your heart and what you truly believe in, other people will identify that really quickly and they will find a home in what you’re doing,” added Betty, remarking how making political waves can have a normalizing effect, and compel others to take greater interest in your work — especially if it has personal value, and plays a defining role in your identity. “There’s no such thing as balance in my opinion,” she said, referring to the notion of a work-life balance. “I think it’s a fool’s errand, and I also think trying to please everyone is a fool’s errand.”

“I work in a place where the things I have to say do challenge the status quo for most of the people in the industry,” said Betty. “That means it’s going to upset people. I’m not going to make everyone happy. As long as I continue the work that I do, that will continue. Rather than trying to stop it or avoid it, [I] just do it anyway, regardless.” 

“I’ve [made my royalties]. I’ve done that,” Betty said of her success in Web3. “And it’s allowed me to build a brand so quickly that we are so legitimate that we can work with legacy brands in a way that makes sense now. That isn’t typical. People don’t just come out with a brand and do all the things we’ve done. […] It’s because of royalties.” 

Indeed, royalties can serve as an empowering means to stay in the game of professional life for personal reasons much longer than many do — since legacy institutions will, at times, fail to meet the ambitions and aspirations of individuals. “Take [royalties] away, and we have to rely again on institutions,” said Betty. “It takes our power away which disproportionately affects marginalized creators. I’m here to protect those people and champion those people.”

A new digital art collection called “The Duchess Gallery” will be featured on Nifty Gateway later in December, with an initial exhibition going live at Art Basel Miami. Curated by Sarah, Duchess of York, the gallery will feature collaborative exhibits from several iconic artists in Web3, with spoken-word poetry accompanied by animated paintings, AI art, novel media, and special effects. Together, these will generate new forms of storytelling in a brilliant work of cinematic fine art.

“As technology evolves, traditional aesthetics can find a new life in this contemporary viral world.,” said Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, in a press release. “I am delighted to work collaboratively with renowned artists, and as well highlight emerging artists worldwide to expand my passion for storytelling through art.”

As a unique chance for artists to reimagine classics in the contemporary art world, “The Duchess Gallery” has parallels to the Pre-Rahaelite movement in visual arts, in 19th-century England, which was heavily influenced by John Ruskin and John Keats — in addition to their French counterparts like the poet, Charles Baudelaire. Using new technology to enhance digital culture, the evolution of literature and visual art will move with, and not against, the best of traditional aesthetics.

Literature comes to life with Web3

When people think about NFTs, they typically think of PFP pictures. However, NFTs can be used to store (and provide proof of ownership for) any physical or digital item. In a panel discussion at The Gateway, Sasha Stiles and Ana María Caballero, Co-Founders of theVERSEverse, joined moderator Matt Medved to do away with this myth and discuss the ways in which NFTS can be used by poets and literary artists.

Throughout the conversation, Stiles and Caballero highlighted the ways blockchain technologies are leading to a paradigm shift by helping creators reconsider how their poetry can be experienced. And by changing the way that these pieces are experienced, the duo said that blockchain and NFTs ultimately give new dimensions and meanings to the art.

To highlight how this works, Stiles and Caballero discussed their efforts at theVERSEverse. 

Through the company, Stiles and Caballero said that they onboard poets to Web3 by pairing their works with crypto-native artists to create unique pieces of poetic art and utilize a number of different mediums and art forms. They also work to elevate text-based artists who are already active in the NFT space by, for example, pairing a poem with audio of the artist reading the piece. Stiles and Caballero said that this work moves a poem beyond the page and brings it to life in new ways, which makes it appeal to wider audiences — audiences who may be interested in collecting and owning it.

In this respect, Stiles noted that theVERSEverse (and blockchain in general) empowers poets both creatively and economically. It “brings poetry out of the pages of the New Yorker, where only a handful of people are ever going to read it, and allows people to put it on their phones and carry it around,” she said.

Piggy-backing off these statements, Caballero noted that NFTs are enabling many poets to support themselves financially for the first time in their lives. “A book sells for $14, if at all, and it can represent years and years of work,” she lamented, but she was quick to note that this is changing in Web3. “What we’re doing here is saying that poetry has value.”

A celebration of the women in generative NFT art kicks off

A group show spotlighting 23 generative artists identifying as female will also feature talks on the artists’ unique perspectives on and about NFT spaces and generative art on Saturday, at Miami Art Week 2022. Called Femgen, it’s the latest in cultural developments about the directions for Web3 expression. With OpenAI’s Chatbot going live for public testing recently, it’s clear that AI will continue to be of special emphasis in new and emerging spaces, playing a crucial role in equal representation and digital identity.

Headlining the show’s scheduled set of panels include appearances from Art Blocks founder Snowfro, IX Shells, Sasha Stiles, Sofia Crespo, and many more, moving forward from noon to 7:00 p.m. ET. These listed artists, aside from Snowfro, will also lead the group show with their distinctive takes on generative art.

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