Featured Artworks of the Week – Rakkaus Art
Rakkaus Art is an intuitive multimedia artist interested in creation, connection, compassion and storytelling. Constantly pushing boundaries and experimenting with various techniques and materials, each creation is vibrant and unique. with its own story.
“I create visual stories from the energy and experiences on my life journey; everything starts with a feeling.” – Rakkaus
Upcoming Events with Mint Gold Dust
Interview with Mila Sketch
Mila Sketch is a multimedia visual artist. She is recognized internationally and is known for her detailed and intricate large-scale murals, elaborate and meaningful fine art paintings, and digital art. Today, we’re chatting with her about her artistic process, NFTs, and the influence motherhood has had on her work.
You are well known for your iconic murals. How did you go from painting large-scale murals to creating animated digital artwork?
I started my artistic journey as a pointillist working with the ink on paper formats. I was inspired by M.C. Escher and his visual riddles. My series, Bags, exhibited at Pall Mall Gallery in London, emerged as a result. I continued to work in this style for a long time. Years later, I moved to the United States and became interested in public art. The idea of a street gallery fascinated me as I could reach an unlimited number of people and brighten their daily experiences with my murals.
Innovation and technology always interested me. Animation added a new dimension to my drawings and augmented reality came naturally as I explored adding color to my art and working on canvas and wood panels with industrial acrylics.
What drew you to start creating NFTs earlier this year?
A collector interested in my work at Art Miami in December last year asked if he could get an NFT with his 2D painting purchase. I created one for the Texas Birds artwork.
Your art often references historical figures, myths, and regional traditions. What inspires you about that, and how does it manifest in your work?
I love to move in space and create in different places, so travel for work inspires me to investigate and research. I love to translate the sense of the environment through culture and history in my murals and digital artworks.
Tell us about the two pieces you currently have on Mint Gold Dust.
Sophia the Robot was created during my pregnancy last year. I discovered the female body’s magical ability to bring a new life and the miracle of birth. It was painted on a wood panel with an AR feature, then the NFT was added. The painting was sold right away. It now lives in New Orleans.
I painted the Flourish when we lived on the Oaxaca coast in Mexico during the summer of 2021. I was blown away by the vivid colors and rustic environment around me. I connected technology and nature with the accent on sustainable future development in this painting. I used industrial acrylics on the birch tree panel. Then I digitally drew an NFT of it.
Many of your physical pieces include an AR component. Can you talk about that process and your app?
I developed the MilaSketch app so people could easily enjoy augmented reality for my equipped works. It is essential that not only single collectors can access this feature but also people who walk by my art in public places. Austin Bergstrom Airport has several of my works that demonstrate the AR addition. The app is free and available for download on major platforms.
You recently became a mother. Do you find that has influenced your artworks and what you are drawn to create?
Becoming a mother made me treasure my time. I structure my days differently and feel super-charged to create even more.
What will we see next from you?
I am working on several mural projects. Private fine art commissions and a new line of paintings are coming out in the next six months.
Featured Artworks of The Week
Since beginning his digital art journey in 2001, VanDi has explored various mediums such as photography, film, and, most recently, digital drawing. earlier this year, VanDi began a new series of digital abstract paintings titled “Color Abstractions.” The artworks in this series sit somewhere between Bauhaus-style and Abstract-Expressionist style while leaning into modern color combinations that result in playful harmonious images. Each piece is designed to work both as physical and digital wall art.
Upcoming Events With Mint Gold Dust
You heard it here first — we’re going to Art Basel! From November 29th to December 5th, the Mint Gold Dust team will be in Miami for all things art and NFTs. Follow our Twitter to stay up to date on upcoming event announcements.
Mint Gold Dust Founder and CEO Kelly LeValley Hunt on Artist and Collector Royalties
Smart contracts for Crypto Art and NFTs have a myriad of unique features that separate them from a sale of an artwork in the traditional art world. One of the most hotly debated differences is the ability to distribute payment automatically to the artist and automatically send the art piece directly to the collector on the primary sale. Royalties are then automatically distributed after a sale on the secondary market and any subsequent sales. This is something that the traditional art world has never been able to offer.
Average NFT royalties on the secondary market typically range from 5 to 10%, and can be set at up to 20% on Mint Gold Dust. For most marketplaces, the creator can choose their desired percentage. Payments are distributed automatically via smart contract on the secondary market, and upon each subsequent sale. The challenge is if a collector decides to resell the work on a different platform to which it was minted, the artist’s royalties do not automatically follow. This is an important point for creators and collectors to consider when navigating the secondary market and is an area which innovators have been trying to address. However, the reality is that the complexity of managing cross-platform royalties is cost prohibitive and unaffordable in the long term for many Crypto Art marketplaces, especially in a Bear Market.
Recently the NFT community has been abuzz after a handful of the largest and most widely used commercial platforms announced potential plans to no longer honor established royalties, making them optional rather than respecting the creator’s chosen royalty percentage. As a result, over the past couple of weeks, the term “Zero-Royalties” was born.
Artists across the space voiced their opinions on one platform’s decision in favor of “Zero-Royalties.” The highly anticipated upcoming release, Badam Bomb Squad, posted their position via creator BobbyHundreds’ Twitter, stating:
Similar sentiment was echoed across the space with artists, creators, and platforms voicing their concerns. Artists and creators worried they would lose essential future income if royalties were not honored, inciting a protest that could not be ignored.
The comments on one platform’s Twitter thread echo this and are proof that the community will not easily forget the quick dismissal of one of the fundamental benefits and differentiators of creating art using blockchain technology. This platform has now reconsidered their stance and have decided to go in the opposite direction by enforcing creator royalties on their platform. While this is a win for those fighting for the creator’s financial legacy, an intervention like this still ignores the web3 ethos of decentralization and disrespects the part that the collectors play in the ecosystem. I think of this ecosystem like, ‘Does a flower grow and bloom without water?’
Mint Gold Dust Community Manager @GiraffeCupcakez comments, “Even with taking the time to build a creative solution that on the surface seems like a worthwhile fix, it’s not easy to dismiss the fact that this platform’s stance flipped only after public backlash.”
Enforcing collectors to honor royalties may also have the opposite of the intended effect, and perhaps the community should be spending time on changing the cultural ethos. In other words, rewarding collectors for opting-in to paying artist royalties rather than forcing payment should be encouraged. As an example, collectors who pay royalties could gain access to exclusive pieces not available to “Zero-Royalty Collectors.” Such a change would be a testament to the power of the NFT and Crypto Art community at large and just the beginning of the next “DEgeneration” of the Crypto Art ecosystem at work.
As we now have a new and improved way of transacting with Blockchain and cryptocurrency, we need to start thinking about how we utilize web3 to improve the economic system of every sector, and not just rebuild what we already had with this new decentralized technology. If we continue with old and out-of-date ways of thinking, we only repeat our existence–never evolving, never changing our world for the better.
Mint Gold Dust believes that royalties should be paid to the artist, especially now that there is streamlined technology to auto-distribute these payments on a single platform. However, in the spirit of true decentralization, we also believe that collectors should have the choice to be a “Zero-Royalty Collector”. Therefore we will be looking at options to implement a “Zero-Royalty Collector” search mechanism on the Mint Gold Dust platform for pieces of art that do not have royalties attached to them.
This will be accomplished by creating a collector verification system that categorizes collectors into 2 categories, “Plus +Royalty Collector” and “Zero Royalty Collector.” This membership program will offer incentives to collectors who purchase Plus Royalty Artworks while making room for those who choose to collect only Zero-Royalty Crypto Art.
This new model gives creators the opportunity to monetize their work the way they want on the primary and secondary markets on Mint Gold Dust. This is not technically addressing the broader picture of cross platform (secondary market) sales. At Mint Gold Dust, artists choose their desired royalty percentage for secondary sales on the platform upon minting, giving them control of their selling power. From the beginning, we have offered 10%, 15%, and 20% artist royalty options in our smart contracts, and soon we will be adding 0% royalties as an option. To learn more about our origin story where we discuss our founding royalty percentages, check out a podcast I did in 2021 here.
As the Crypto Art and NFT space navigates the royalty evolution, we will continue to provide a decentralized platform for smooth, on Ethereum blockchain transactions for artists, creators, as well as our Collectors.
FEATURED ARTWORKS OF THE WEEK
Upcoming Events with Mint Gold Dust
Did you hear the news? The Mint Gold Dust team is coming to Marfa, Texas this week for Art Blocks and Miami, Florida for Art Basel from November 29th to December 5th! We’re thrilled to interact with our NFT community and have some very exciting events planned. To keep up with our schedule, make sure to follow our Twitter page for the most up-to-date information and message us if you’d like to connect. We hope to see you there!
Artist Interviews with @MintGoldCurator
Recently, we debuted @MintGoldCurator, an Instagram account created to stay connected with artists and act as a resource for our community. We post weekly interviews with a few of our artists about their inspirations, their creative notions, and what they see for themselves next. Today, we’re sharing interviews from Arabella, QueenEarth, and everyday research. Keep reading to hear them talk about how they utilize NFTs as an extension of their artistic practice.
Living with terminal cancer, Arabella is navigating and writing her digital legacy through NFTs and the Blockchain. Her personal art combines a pop surrealist take on portraiture with biomorphic abstraction.
What inspires you about portraiture?
Portraiture has always been interesting to me because every decade seems to have its own aesthetic through the ages, as does each artist. No one person ever creates one that is the same. My favorite female artist is Tamara de Lempicka and she influenced the way I do my portraits because it was so different. Now that I am painting digitally and not with oils, my style has changed to meet the technology in a way. Portraits are for me the ultimate test; you can be doing it for years and still be learning.
Tell us about your upcoming NFT all-female group show.
I am part of a collective called the Super Psychedelic Sisters, and initially it was a way to onboard the other women. Then I realized we could create an immersive show with the goal of not only onboarding more women artists, but being the first show like it in the Midwest and beyond. Women only make up 16%-19% of Web3, and this won’t be a typical white cube with monitors exhibition like we’ve seen so often. We are creating a psychedelic garden along with physical art, too. I was met with a lot of pushback about this show, but I noticed if you say ‘digital art’, over ‘NFTs’, people are more receptive to the ideas around blockchain.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to fellow artists?
Don’t ever copy someone else’s work and try to pass it off as your own, no matter how much you think you altered it. I see so many new artists in the space doing this. Study art and design history, and yes, use images to practice, but you are only hurting yourself by passing it off as your artwork. If you think no one will notice you took liberties with a fashion editorial buried in a 1996 copy of Harper’s Bazaar, you are wrong. Visual memory is a powerful thing, but don’t worry, you will come into your own style.
QueenEarth’s visual art explores themes of the migrating Black Diaspora and merges her original photography and illustration into mixed media digital collages. She recently minted AI informed artworks on Mint Gold Dust for the Machine Dialogues collection, curated by Jenjoy Roybal.
How has your art changed or evolved since diving into web3?
When I first started Web 3, I minted GAN art and photography. When I was finally ready to share my music (my greatest gift) no one believed it was me singing because my voice is so deep. I got bullied often. Since then I have stopped putting boxes around the type of art that I can create, and use social audio sparingly. My art is better than ever!
What have you been inspired by lately?
I am always inspired by the movement of people in-and-out of cities and towns, houses in neighborhoods, and culture. Lately, my new camera is making me create better collages and uplevel my drawings and visual art. My wife inspires me. She paints at a level and volume that is unprecedented.
What can we see from you next?
Next, I really want to make the most of my connections in Web 3. I have ideas for children’s books, lyrics books to accompany my music, and 3-D renderings of some of my favorite images. I also would love to make merch. I’m excited for how my wife and I will grow as a creative couple because we really do inspire each other to make the best art of our lives.
What has been inspiring you lately?
Lately, I have been inspired by the Austin artist community. It’s great seeing a lot of artists getting opportunities to create murals, art shows and events. And in the same way, it’s great seeing the love from the communities that support the arts.
FEATURED ARTWORKS OF THE WEEK
Interview with Mint Gold Dust Founder & CEO Kelly LeValley Hunt
This week we’re celebrating our one-year anniversary! Today, we’re pleased to share an interview with our Founder and CEO Kelly LeValley Hunt for a look back at the year we’ve had, our future, and her advice to female founders in the NFT space.
What inspired you to start Mint Gold Dust?
I needed to work with artists on a daily basis who inspire me. In Mint Gold Dust I found a way to work with creatives and technology for the good of my soul. I had previously invested in an ecosystem that supports NFT platforms, investing in companies such as Illust Space, Smart Seal, Refashioned OS, and Gilded Finance, and the only missing piece was the NFT Platform itself as the foundation. I just knew that with a platform that used ERC-1155 contracts, I could help promote and work with these companies that supported artists and collectors. So I decided to build.
I had also invested in SuperRare and loved what they were doing, and I could see that the market was evolving really quickly, and artists and collectors were going to need more than a platform to present NFTs; in other words they would need a supporting ecosystem.
An example of this was our project with Refashioned OS. They came to us when they were launching their software platform to work with clothing manufacturers for clothing on demand to minimize waste in the fashion industry. We were able to connect them with graffiti artist Curvazoid to create the design; work with Smart Seal to NFC tag each garment; work with Smart Seal to NFC tag each garment; work with Illust Space to create a 3-D rendering of artist, creator and businesswomen Paulina Vega (who also happens to be Miss Universe 2014) wearing the clothes; and then the NFT asset was geo-dropped in AR in New York during fashion week. A perfect marriage of the ecosystem hard at work.
What has been your favorite project or event from the past year?
The Genesis 8 project that we launched last November has to be one of my favorites. With Eleonora Brizi curating, and Memeconscious writing code, the excitement of a new platform marked the beginning of this journey – the true genesis!
What is it like being a female founder in the NFT space?
I hate this question but I get asked it a lot. I don’t know how to answer that because I’ve never been anything else.
That being said, my best piece of advice for women in technology is to do what you want to do and don’t think about who’s watching or judging. At the end of the day, it doesn’t fucking matter. The only thing that matters is that you are doing what you’ve set out to do, and that you’ve built a good community around you that supports you and you can support back. Just do it, and don’t think about the consequences. Just fucking do it. I hate when I curse (but I do curse a lot!) so this shows how strongly I feel about it.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from being 1 year in operation?
It’s not just about the technology, it’s not just about the artists, and it’s not just about the collectors. It’s about the community as a whole and the engagement and coordination of that community.
What made you choose to not seek out funding in the first year of operation?
Getting funding can be daunting, and I just wanted to focus on building and making sure I got it right. I didn’t want to take funding to build a product with someone else over my shoulder. I’ve also been too busy talking to artists and creators to do a funding round, so time constraints played a big factor.
What can we look forward to in the next year from Mint Gold Dust?
Valuable engagement with artists, listening more with our community. I feel compelled to support creatives in the way they feel they need to be supported. Better conversations with people and I will encourage my team to do the same. We are going to focus on more partnerships and more innovation with new technology in the NFT sector; including building out a more robust live auction service and platform.
FEATURED ARTWORKS OF THE WEEK
Re-Thinking Curation for a Decentralized World
In a recent Twitter thread directed at the NFT community, artist @Coldie expressed his frustration about the lack of curation and proper categorization in the NFT Space. This sentiment was echoed in comments by artists and collectors alike giving their opinions on the ‘wild-west’ atmosphere of NFTs. The overwhelming majority agreed that curation is a valuable resource for artists, however there were still those that viewed curation as a form of gatekeeping that could prevent newcomers from entering the emerging market.
The basic argument in the former camp is that artists need a better way to get their artwork in front of the right eyes during a time of growing market saturation. This is where a curator can come in to be a mediator and advocate.
A curator’s responsibility is to handpick voices and creative visions that speak to the time and cultural movements happening locally and globally. In doing so, curation can help spark conversations and encourage progressive discourse within the Crypto Art space and beyond. When done correctly, these curators are not deciding what is and isn’t art, but rather serve as a guide to help lead conversations and help collectors discover artwork that means something to them. They can do this through not only curating collections but also by writing about artists, movements, and trends in the space.
It’s important to recognize that historically, curation in the Art World has morphed into an exclusionary practice often more focused on money and cultural politics than art. Curators in this new decentralized ecosystem now have the cultural responsibility to learn from those mistakes by focusing on the inclusion of new and driving forces in the space without the relentless focus on quick and easy monetary gain.
Without curators, projects with the highest price points and most notable collectors, such as Bored Ape Yacht Club, will continue to be what the Crypto Art space is known for to the outside world. In many ways, curators are writing and preserving Crypto Art’s rich history and culture, a culture that began growing years before the term “NFT” was even coined. This knowledge share will ultimately help Crypto Art become more accessible to those in and out of the space, breaking down barriers for future creators and collectors.
At Mint Gold Dust, we have embraced curation while still being committed to our decentralized ethos and use of smart contracts. We are a 24/7, always on, non-custodial marketplace built with the artist in mind. Curation, in addition to helping us explore new genres and topics in the space, allows for our team to have one on one relationships with each of our artists, supporting them from A-Z– something that would be impossible without our team of curators. It also allows us to showcase each artist on our platform in a unique and personal way via social media, 79Au, and in-person showcases.
Recently, we have also started to collaborate with guest curators who bring new artists to the platform for specific collections. Most recently, we worked with curator JenJoy Roybal to curate Machine Dialogues, an exploration of AI informed artworks on the Blockchain. This collection helped showcase the human side of AI artworks, a genre that has received a lot of scrutiny over the past couple of months. New artists that joined us for the collection included Chazz Gold, QueenEarth, ONe Rad Latina, Tom Laroc, and more.
As Mint Gold Dust continues to grow, we remain committed to being a space for artists to create and mint; for collectors to discover new artists and their work; and for the wider web3 community to engage with each other, and to discuss and explore topics they are passionate about.
FEATURED ARTWORKS OF THE WEEK
ONe Rad Latina is a self-taught, Neurodiverse, multi-disciplinary visual artist born and raised in New York City’s Inwood and the Dominican Republic.
Her passion lies in public art, and she can often be found creating murals and art installations out of found or repurposed materials, bringing beauty back to the communities of New York.
ONe Rad Latina works with different mediums and prides herself on her prolific line of artistic works and not being tied down to one specific visual artist’s craft.
For her digital works, she combines traditional techniques with new technologies to bring better representation to Women and People of color in web3.
Today, we’re hearing from ONe Rad Latina on the effect of AI engine bias and her work to improve AI engine diversity and cultural inclusion.
The Cultural Algorithm by ONe Rad Latina
We live in a world that is run by AI (Artificial Intelligence). From the song that plays next on your playlist to the ad you’ll see when streaming your favorite show, AI has its virtual hand in all of it.
Much like the algorithm in your favorite music app, AI engines using text-to-image algorithms are learning from your preferences.
Because these text-to-image algorithms learn based on human behavior, many have shown a tendency toward the sexualization of women and/or the exclusion of people of color in image renders.
I was very aware of this when I began exploring the concept of adapting AI as a tool into my artistic practice, and first did a bit of research into the different AI models and where their codes leaned toward certain biases.
This was especially important for me as an Indigenous Latina Woman working to reflect my cultural identity and who I am in my work.
When I later began to create artwork using the AI models, I saw that bias for myself.
I saw that If I did not state the racial and ethnic descriptions, the AI would return images of mostly white subjects regardless of cultural cues. If no gender was implied then the subjects would tend to be mostly male.
It was disappointing but not surprising.
After working to find descriptions of subjects that would leave no room for doubt as to what I needed, the AI slowly started to produce accurate imagery with less prompting for race or gender based only on the cultural cues it would overlook before. It did this by learning from my many attempts of triumph and failure within the render and edit process.
The AI was able to differentiate between actual culture and costume in future works, removing a built-in bias; I was amazed.
The development of these AI algorithm tools is in the very early stages; trial and error are part of the process.
Creatives like me, from communities whose cultures are often as exploited as their people, finally have an opportunity to drive the way these machines learn our cultures. We can guide them into a place where they can effectively work with artists in a truly meaningful and equitable way.
To me, as a creative person, it’s important to maintain a working relationship with these tools, so that it may correctly reflect my culture and not what others who are not a part of it have perceived it to be.
Last week, we spoke with JenJoy Roybal on her curation process for Machine Dialogues, our latest exhibition. Check out her interview in last week’s blog post here.