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Weekly Recap

79 Au | 5.18-24 At Home with the Supernatural

Art lovers have often revered their favorite works as a portal into the artist’s soul. Artists transform a subject in the act of recreating it. But the viewer also changes as they absorb the artist’s vision. Yet another theme racing through the artworks in “Portal Realms” is the supernatural forces of change.

Anything can be a portal: a memory, a daydream, a movie, a threshold. It can be physical or intangible, real or imaginary. Almost more important than the portal itself is the version of ourselves that meets us on the other side.

Joyce Korotkin Looks Into the Light

Many of Joyce Korotkin’s artworks take root in the in-between places that populate our world. Some of her works live in a moment between the past and the future, a disquieted present. Others look at the world almost through a supernatural lens. “I’ve been fascinated by the lore of crystal balls since I first saw The Wizard of Oz as a young child,” Korotkin told 79 Au. “[Specifically] the scene where Dorothy gazed into the Witch’s ball at a world within the world.” 

Many of Korotkin’s earliest memories involve her getting lost in a world of color. As a young girl, she drew a line with chalk along the bricks of her childhood home. “I stared at it as closely as my eyes could get, transfixed, for what seemed like hours,” she added. Then in Kindergarten, she dipped a brush into a pot of deep pink paint. “I couldn’t get enough of staring at it; I wanted to devour it,” she added.

Ever since, she has been fascinated by the power of the gaze. Or rather, how one can be transported into an alternate universe by the act of gazing. 

In her work “The Occurrence: The Child #1,” she shows a child looking over a scene of destruction. Here, she taps into another recurring theme of her work, “that out of the blue of an otherwise perfectly ordinary day, something happens that transforms the world forever.”

"Occurrence: Species 1 / Transmutation 1"

“Digital art and the emergence of NFTs felt like the same quantum leap from the past into something completely new and disconnected. Here was an intangible art comprised of nothing but light.”

Even the evolution of Korotkin’s project shows the ways in which technology can change the world in an instant. The child featured in the artwork in the “Portal Realms” exhibition is the protagonist of  “The Occurrence” series on Mint Gold Dust. The artwork was created using AI, procreate and animation. However, Korotkin created the other works in the series before she ever heard of AI art tools. “Suddenly, it’s here, and everything has changed.”

The overnight success of AI feels similar to the recent NFT bull market, though on a smaller scale. Each technology helped us recognize the hurrying pace of the future. “Digital art and the emergence of NFTs felt like the same quantum leap from the past into something completely new and disconnected,” Korotkin said. “Here was an intangible art comprised of nothing but light.” 

“Light has always been the province of painters,” she pointed out. It is one of the main things everyone writes about when discussing a specific work. “Vermeer’s Light, Rembrandt’s light, Caravaggio’s light, Impressionist light. And here was a new art, distilled to art’s essence: Light itself.”

Matt Menendez Explores Interstitial Space

Menendez’s piece “Beyond the Threshold: The Portal” features a figure edging closer to a gateway. The terrain flashes with seas of blue and white light. This work, like many others by Menendez, leans into themes of fantasy and science fiction. The ambiguity around the setting as well as the subject allow for the viewer to fill in the details. 

“What excites me the most is that [fantasy and sci-fi] allow for unlimited possibilities of imagination and invention,” Menendez told 79 Au. “It’s their sense of wonder and escapism that always draws me in.”

Indeed, the portal taps into both the escapist nature of fiction and the shift from one reality to the next. Like in life, the future that will greet the subject in the artwork is still unknown. And it is that very quality of uncertainty that makes gazing into the flashing blue so exciting. 

Menendez has a long career in architecture and design, which one can see readily in his work in “Portal Realms.” With an acute awareness of space, Menendez aimed to explore the idea of the in between. “Interstitial space is a common conversation in the architectural world,” he said. “But in the context of the metaverse it holds a different meaning.” 

When we think of portals in metaverse spaces, we typically think of doorways to different worlds or spaces within a world. “You don’t really get to experience them,” he said. “They are more  just a ‘quick’ teleportation to a different space.” It was this area of intrigue that inspired “Beyond the Threshold: The Portal.” What might the inner workings of a portal in virtual space look like if we took the time to look?

“Interstitial space is a common conversation in the architectural world. But in the context of the metaverse it holds a different meaning.” 

"States of The Metaverse - Flow"

“I wanted to explore this interstitial space as an atmospheric experience that spans x amount of time rather than a quick transition,” he said. “The notion that one can experience the space from one side of the portal to the other is fascinating to me, and I would hope for others too,” he added.

A Virtual Butterfly Effect

Both artists we spoke to this week were fascinated by the unlimited possibilities that exist in making even a single piece of art. When using AI art tools, word choice alters the output. When choosing colors, even a slight shift of shade could change the mood.

“What I use as a prompt for portals in Midjourney isn’t the same as, say, Kaiber, which is what I used to create ‘Beyond the Threshold,’” Menendez said. “I like to think of these different prompt syntaxes of language and how we look at different architectural styles.”

And for Korotkin, her love of color spills over into a perfectionist’s dilemma. “Just about every digital piece I make has several iterations, mostly based on different colors,” she said. “And sometimes I just mint them all and let collectors decide for themselves. ‘The Secret Life of Flowers’ is one such series.”

No matter the medium or style, each choice the artist makes affects the next. And it is in these strange and unsettling moments between start and finish where art truly thrives.

Ready to get started as an artist or collector on Mint Gold Dust? Check out our Metamask start up guide to get started. Ready to start minting? Apply to talk with our curatorial team today.

Weekly Recap

79 Au | 5.11-5.17 The Power of Community and Art

There are many reasons to feel like the world is different coming out of the COVID 19 pandemic. We understand the virility of trends in a new context. Globalization has taken on new meaning. But the one thing that hasn’t changed is how important connection and community are to us. Even when we were apart, art brings us together. In a time of social distance, it helped us bridge the physical gap between us.

One aspect of the NFT art revolution that is both a blessing and a curse is its global nature. On one hand, it brings people together who may not have ever met. On the other hand, it means that we experience our community through the lens of a screen. Pulling back the curtain (or the screensaver), we might find that connecting is the most tangible thing in the world, no matter the medium.

The artworks included in the Mint Gold Dust exhibition “Portal Realms” explore the theme of transformation in many ways. Today we can think about the power of community and how it transforms us into the best version of ourselves.

“A Creator’s Soul” by Lianna Adams

Lianna Adams on Community, Education, and Inclusion

The work of Lianna Adams is full of vibrant colors and natural imagery. Instead of shading and blending, she uses detailed imagery to create depth in each piece. Having spent the early days of her career in broadcasting, she has a unique ability to tell stories and to blend mediums.

“I spent my childhood and youth learning embroidery from my grandmother,” she told 79 Au. “That played a huge part in developing my love of art movements like art nouveau, aestheticism. Also my interest in symbolism and the arts and crafts movement.” Like embroidery, her work revels in the beauty of the natural world placed atop a simple surface. Using her unique aesthetic, Adams has worked with digital mediums and physical ones. She has paired her art with design to create unique items like bags, clothing, and pottery. 

But one of the things that makes Adams a powerful force in the Web3 ecosystem is her ability to bring people together through art and to use art to spark conversations. “I am always looking for ways to step in and speak up for what is right,” she said. Then she added, “I use art as a way to create dialogue and to cultivate a humanity-first culture within different communities to hopefully build bridges that fosters understanding and compassion.”

“I use art as a way to create dialogue and to cultivate a humanity-first culture within different communities to hopefully build bridges that fosters understanding and compassion.”

Considering the technical nature of Web3, one of the biggest challenges to artists–to anyone–trying to get into the space is a lack of understanding of how it all works. Adams has made a concerted effort to lead people into Web3 and to create a space where people can feel comfortable to ask questions. In the same vein, she has created space for people to voice their struggles with mental health.

Chazz Gold on Connecting Time and Space

Chazz Gold joined me on a video call from a spaceship circling an orange planet. He had just finished working on a new piece of art. It was sort of a request for a piece with a new color palette from one of his collectors. He was so inspired by the idea that he woke up early to make it before hopping on our 8AM call.

“I went to bed and then I had a dream about, like, blending and making darker ones,” he told 79 Au. “I woke up and I went straight to the computer before I even had coffee.”

Chazz approaches everything this way: with unbridled excitement. Since launching his career as an NFT artist in 2021, he has sold over 1,000 pieces. If you look at his Twitter timeline, he is talking about art and AI all day long.

Many of his artworks are modern takes on portraiture, which makes sense because he began his career in photography. In one folder that he showed me, he had over 60,000 photographs. “So I can take those and put those through AI and then build on top of them,” he said. “It’s a lot of work, and it doesn’t always come out right. And in the early days using stable diffusion to get something dream-like, it was hard.” He began training his own models, running and re-running them. It took hours, even days or months, to get one good image.

But as AI art tools have evolved, so too has Chazz’s style. Inspired by the duality of cyborgs as both machine and human, he explored the cybernetic. In recent years, he has gotten into the aesthetics of psychedelia. Throughout, his basic technique has remained the same. Beginning with live subjects, he has a photo shoot, and then transforms the human into something metahuman.

How Connections Change Lives

The life of an artist is difficult, especially when you add the stress of minting NFTs. The pressure of being an artist in such a fast-paced environment is apparent. However, until recently, most artists have not felt comfortable talking about burnout, anxiety, or any of the other challenges that they face trying to make it in this space. “When I started the Weekly Mental Health Check-Ins [on Clubhouse] in 2021, there weren’t that many rooms for people to just share how they are doing, really,” she said. A pioneer in helping NFT artists take care of their mental health, she continues to host weekly check-ins and to help others find their strength in community.

“If it wasn’t for the NFT community, I would not have been sober in the pandemic. Honestly, I wouldn’t have, I wouldn’t have made it. Because nobody would’ve known that I went out and used again.”

Right: “The Dark Starchild” by Chazz Gold

“If it wasn’t for the NFT community, I would not have been sober in the pandemic,” Chazz told me. “Honestly, I wouldn’t have, I wouldn’t have made it. Because nobody would’ve known that I went out and used again.” These stories, and so many others like them, show us the life-changing power of online communities. And the connections we have made virtually will only continue to prosper as we begin to meet out in the physical world.

We have created a global community the likes of which have never been seen. And if we can tap into that community, to share our successes as well as our failures, then we will thrive, together.

Ready to get started as an artist or collector on Mint Gold Dust? Check out our Metamask start up guide to get started. Ready to start minting? Apply to talk with our curatorial team today.

4everKurious and Hazel G transformation
Weekly Recap

79 Au | 5.04-05.10 Transformation in Art

Spring is a season of transformation. After the slumber of winter, nature comes back to life. And after a period of hibernation, animals, plants, and humans leave their safe, warm spaces to rediscover their surroundings. This spring, we invite you to walk through a portal and enter a new realm.

The latest exhibition from Mint Gold Dust explores the different dimensions we create and inhabit. The artists in “Portal Realms” play with dreams, fantasies, and virtual reality. They tell stories about people and places in other worlds, using digital mediums to bring these worlds to life. As they maneuver through changes in their own lives, they explore themes of metamorphosis and the sensations of a new adventure.

“Portal Tree” by Hazel Griffiths

Hazel Griffiths Creates Entire Worlds

Hazel Griffiths has always been fascinated with the idea that there were other worlds all around us, just out of reach. “I was compelled by the notion that one could walk right into one of them through a portal or hidden tear in the fabric of reality,” she told 79 Au. In this way, ordinary objects took on a sense of wonder. She could turn anything into an agent of transformation, a trigger that made the ordinary extraordinary. Naturally, Griffiths’ interests veered into fantasy, science fiction, and the intersection of art and technology.

“When I go about creating a world or an immersive space, I think of it being part of a larger narrative,” she said. “The world itself tells a story in which the viewer is fully immersed.” Beginning with the original concept, Griffiths does her best to remain loyal to it. 


She generates artworks of many types, from motion graphics to augmented reality to virtual worlds. One concept can lead to many different outcomes. She is careful to listen to what each artwork needs in order to express itself. “One of the beautiful things about creating for VR is that you can generate multiple forms of media from a single piece,” she said. 

“For example, I have the 3D file itself, which I can upload and turn into a fully immersive experience or export for augmented reality. I can then also generate video and images from the same piece, which become separate artworks in their own right.” Sometimes, certain features like sounds or specific effects don’t conform to the rules of one world.

“I usually have a vision in mind for what I’m going to create,” she said. “Then I try to stay as true to the vision as possible. I feel it’s my duty as an artist to be as loyal to the idea, as well as the process, as I can.”

“Bounce” by 4everKurious

New Chapters for 4everKurious

Right before the pandemic, 4everKurious decided to leave her successful career as a restaurateur. She spent 40 years creating beautiful plates and enticing menus. But it was finally time to move on and to pursue a new life as an artist. When lockdown began, she purchased art supplies of all kinds and went to work. But something just didn’t clicking.

“I can’t draw, I can’t paint,” she realized. “I don’t feel free, I don’t feel creative.” After the guilt of wasting a ton of materials subsided, she donated what was left to the community center art program. It was when she discovered AI art tools that her process began to take shape. 

“When AI came along, we started having these conversations around art and AI,” she told 79 Au. “I really saw this as a way that I could be creative and think deeply about what I want. And I can use this collaboration to help me get there.”

So from the high-intensity heat of a professional kitchen, she leapt into the hotbed of AI art. And she wasn’t alone. “When the pandemic hit, I, like so many other people, ended up on Clubhouse for like 9 or 10 hours a day.” 4everKurious listened and learned at home, finding both artistic expression and community through tech. In addition to Clubhouse, 4everKurious also found herself in Midjourney’s discord, sitting in on their weekly office hours.

4everKurious’ restaurant with her artworks featured

“I didn’t totally understand AI, like how it was really doing things,” she said. “But I thought it was so cool that you could be so creative.” She began with mobile apps, many of which specialized in collage. Then as the tech continued to evolve, she moved on to other tools that her community was excited about. WOMBO led to Photoda, and an updated version of Midjourneyled to rethinking the works of the past.

“the book of wings” was the first generation of 4everKurious’ artistic journey. In it, we see moons turning into feathered creatures, butterflies into shells, birds, and wings. After many changes and experiments in style, she came back to these early works with new curiosity. “I found myself using those in the second generation. So I’m combining things with other work that I’m doing, and then I’d add photography,” she said.

Something else 4everKurious has been playing with is reusing prompts. Each tool provides a different interpretation of that prompt. Furthermore, you can even create a dialogue between prompts run through different versions of the same tool. “This is like tech and nature and everything that’s happening,” she said. “And I think it kind of also aligns with the changes in our planet. There’s also changes in our tech. And they’re both going really really fast.”

Left: “Wiggly World” an AR artwork by Hazel Griffiths, Right: “the book of wings :: deconstructed wings and bones”

Art and the Metaverse

Both Hazel Griffiths and 4everKurious have spent time sending their pieces far out into the universe. Griffiths’ work creates and adorns virtual worlds. It forces us to rethink what mediums are at our disposal and what we can do with them. “I love the experience of being transported to other worlds,” she said. “They become as real to me as any vivid dream.” And indeed, her art, which at times tap into the uncanny, might bring us back to our own dreams.

For her part, 4everKurious designs art spaces in the metaverse. “Voxels would be where I spend the most amount of time,” she said. “Knowing I could do this for free. I would do it and think, wow this is really meditative, really relaxing.” She has designed her own spaces, been invited to work on others’, and has gifted some of them to friends.

If art is a portal to the artist’s soul, then these artists are themselves portals to another realm. In that realm we see both a reflection of the present and a peek into a possible future.

Ready to get started as an artist or collector on Mint Gold Dust? Check out our Metamask start up guide to get started. Ready to start minting? Apply to talk with our curatorial team today.


The Amazing Tale of Pepe: From Meme to Cryptocurrency

Anyone who has heard of the recent Pepe Coin bull run is either dancing in their insane profits or kicking themselves in the butt for not getting in sooner. The latest meme coin launched two weeks ago. Amazingly, it has already landed itself into the top 100 cryptocurrencies with a market capitalization of $540 million.

This development has pushed meme coin darlings Doge and Shiba Inu to the side. Perhaps it’s the novelty of something shiny and new. Or perhaps it is the culmination of 2 decades of cultural capital.

HODLWOOD from Mint Gold Dust Auction at NFT.NYC 2022

Who is Pepe the Frog?

Pepe the Frog is a cartoon character created by artist Matt Furie. He became one of the most well-known memes on the internet in the 2000s. The green frog wearing a mischievous expression became a symbol for internet subculture, referenced across a range of social platforms and forums including MySpace and 4chan.

After a hard turn to the alt right, Pepe took on new life when Rare Pepe scientists reclaimed the famous amphibian as a crypto degen. In 2016, artists mined the first Rare Pepe NFTs onto the Bitcoin protocol via Counterparty. And thus, another subculture was born and solidified on-chain.

Pepe means a lot of things to a lot of people, but as far as crypto goes, Pepe is as intrinsic to the culture of the space as a white paper is to a blockchain protocol.

Rare Pepe Pepeyotes
PEPEYOTES by Gus and Veto Grillasca from Mint Gold Dust Auction at ETH Denver 2022

What is a Rare Pepe?

Rare Pepes are digital trading cards depicting Pepe the Frog in various scenarios. Some combine Pepe with other icons of popular culture like Homer Simpson or Pokemon. Others feature Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin, and other crypto-related symbols and references. The scarcity of these unique digital assets contributes to their value as well. Each Pepe card has specific qualities that one can see directly on the artwork. Artists can also decide how many editions of the artwork to mint.

Collectors traded these early NFTs on a Rare Pepe Wallet in exchange for Pepe Cash. Both the wallet and the cryptocurrency were developments from the Pepe market, or Pepesphere.

Soon, Rare Pepe NFTs attracted wider attention from the cryptocurrency community. Some artists began to create their own versions of Rare Pepes to trade amongst themselves. 

Rare Pepe Scientists wanted only verified artworks to be shared with their community on Telegram. This felt stifling to some artists, especially since the blockchain ethos included individual sovereignty. Pepe Scientist J Scrilla revolted, posting his unverified Rare Pepes until the community kicked him out. Scrilla then created his own Rare Pepe channel, and invited other artists to do the same.

The concept of a Fake Rare emerged, and naturally, the Fake Rares became a huge phenomenon all its own. Artists would post Fake Rares in the Pepe Scientist channel, get kicked out, and join Skrilla’s community of Fake Rares.

Pepe Cash

As interest in Rare Pepe NFTs grew, so did speculation about their future value, with some in the community even debating whether the assets could become a form of digital currency. In this context, the Pepe Cash coin was created as a cryptocurrency utilizing Pepe the Frog as its mascot. Pepe Cash runs on Counterparty and is required to transact Rare Pepes.

Pepe Cash has consistently been one of the most traded digital currencies on Counterparty. Plus, the value of Pepe Cash has increased significantly in recent years. Some attribute this growth to social media attention surrounding the Rare Pepe phenomenon.

Mint Gold Dust Founder and CEO Kelly LeValley Hunt hosting the Mint Gold Dust Auction at NFT.NYC 2022

Auctions on Mint Gold Dust

Mint Gold Dust has sold many Rare Pepes over the years. Most notably, they placed a $500,000 Rare Pepe Nakamoto Card with Metakovan at the NFT.NYC 2021 happy hour. He is also the buyer of Beeple’s, Everydays: The First 5000 Days.

Their live auctions at ETH Denver and NFT.NYC in 2022 featured even more Pepes. Artists included Gus Grillasca, Veto Grillasca, Mr. Hansel, J Scrilla, and several anonymous creators. Furthermore, Mint Gold Dust has featured Rare Pepes at every single live auction they’ve hosted since their inception.

The Rise of PEPE

PEPE coin, which is different from Pepe Cash, launched in mid-April, and has already risen like a green and grinning meteor. The price has been extremely volatile, and some are saying it’s arrived at a stage of correction. However, for the people who have already made hundreds of thousands of dollars on a meme, it illustrates an interesting shift in the crypto world. Many critics of NFTs say that they are made for speculative purposes and nothing more. This meme coin surge could actually direct speculators over to the altcoin market, leaving NFTs for more serious collectors. Or maybe not.

The connection between Pepe the Frog and the cryptocurrency world has ignited the imagination of collectors and traders alike. It has revealed the potential for memes to take on a life of their own in the digital world. Whether or not PEPE coin, Pepe Cash and Rare Pepe NFTs will continue to rise in value remains to be seen. But it is clear that Pepe the Frog has cemented its place in both internet culture and the world of digital assets.

Ready to get started as an artist or collector on Mint Gold Dust? Check out our Metamask start up guide to get started. Ready to start minting? Apply to talk with our curatorial team today.


79Au | 3.29 – 4.05

Curations | NFT.NYC | Mint Gold Dust event!

2022 curattion from JenJoy: CU3NTOS

Happy spring from Mint Gold Dust!

As we shed our winter layers, we’re transformed by the thoughts of warmer weather, sunshine, and regenerative vibes as we continue to cultivate and nurture the enthusiasm in the NFT and digital art spaces.

NFT.NYC is coming to New York City next week and we are excited to re-connect with our Web3 community and learn about the latest projects from the far reaches of the Metaverse.

This is an opportune time to experience the upcoming Mint Gold Dust collection, Portal Realms, put together by our good friend, artist, and curator @JenJoyRoybal.

Portal Realms upcoming curation
Portal Realms is an upcoming curation from JenJoy Roybal

JenJoy is the co-founder/CEO at, a woman-led blockchain art organization championing inclusivity, diversity, and accessibility for artists of all types, from all walks.

JenJoy Roybal

Last year, JenJoy curated an amazing collection on the Mint Gold Dust platform called CU3NTOS, six pieces from LatinX, Web3 artists that reflect holding onto slipping cultural identities, recalling fading memories, and the nostalgia for the sights and sounds of our youth. 


JenJoy's "Horse-man, Fire and the Book"

JenJoy admires the viewpoints of futurist Amy Webb, professor at NYU Stern School of Business and CEO of the Future Today Institute.

In Amy’s recent talk at SXSW 2023, she shared the 16th edition of the Tech Trends Report about how signals are mixing in ways that she’s never seen before – there’s a lot of noise, and this can feel very destabilizing. She explained that even with the advances we have made in tech, there are still many biases and oversights to be on the lookout for.

Amy Webb CEO of the Future Today Institute
Amy Webb at SXSW

It’s recognized that new patterns in tech movements take some adjustment, which is a big part of the exploratory theme in Portal Realms. JenJoy believes artists play an important role in making sense of these patterns in much the same way that the artists in the 20th Century helped to make sense of the rise of the industrial age.

“The key is looking at the convergences among, and in between, these technological advancements. In the cacophony of activity is a view of what’s to come. By looking at the confluences, we are able to see a pattern.”

“I like the idea that play, poetry, and art can offer up more perspective about the future, that – with a hint of the absurd – can support this rapidly accelerated transformation we’re undergoing.” she continues, “This show gives viewers a glimpse into that critical activity.”

Look for Portal Realms in the Mint Gold Dust Curated Spaces very soon.


Next Tuesday, April 11, 5:30-7:30PM in NYC:
Our educational and explorative event for artists and art lovers:
“What’s the deal with NFTs?” 

The Yard at Herald Square

Mint Gold Dust Founder, Kelly LeValley Hunt, will address what to consider before creating an NFT, proven provenance, further opportunities for royalties, and helping to restore power to creators. 

Tuesday, April 11th from 5:30 – 7:30PM (ET).
Location: The Yard @Herald Square, 
106 W 32nd St, NYC. 

Artist Laura Umaña at The Yard Herald Square

We’ll be revealing the first NFT by current artist on display at The Yard: Herald Square, Laura Umaña.

Observe and engage in a step-by-step conversation about creating crypto art.
We would love to see you there!  RSVP here!

Check out last week’s 79Au to get a closer look into the thoughts behind some of our artist’s creations and their take on the importance of digital art. Read here.

Ready to get started as an artist or collector on Mint Gold Dust? Check out our Metamask start up guide to get started. Ready to start minting? Apply to talk with our curatorial team today.