Weekly Recap

Weekly Recap

79AU | 11.18-22

Featured Artworks of the Week – Rakkaus Art

Rakkaus Art, Mind's Eye

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

Rakkaus Art, Not All Whos Are In Whoville
Rakkaus Art, Dropped u Off My Mind

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. 

Photo Courtesy of Mila Sketch

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.

Photo Courtesy of Mila Sketch

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.

Mila Sketch, Children's Terrorism
Mila Sketch, Merilyn Monroe's Handbag

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.

Mila Sketch, Sophia the Robot

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.

Mila the Sketch, Flourish

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.

Have you read our Founder Kelly LeValley Hunt’s article on artist and collector royalties? If not, take a look at the article 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.

Weekly Recap

79AU | 11.9-17

Featured Artworks of The Week

VanDi, Abstract in Pink

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.

VanDi, Abstraction in A Minor
VanDi, Finish Line

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:

Bobby Hundreds on Twitter

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.

Rakkaus Art, Coming To Surface

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. 

Brooke Ganster, The Quest

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. 

Write your memoirs on the “Plus+Royalty” topic in your profile on Mint Gold Dust and share the link with us on Twitter or post in our Discord

Did you read our latest 79AU article featuring interviews from Arabella, QueenEarth, and Everyday Research? If not, take a look at the article here for an insight into how they utilize NFTs as an extension of their artistic practice.

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

79AU | 11.2-8

FEATURED ARTWORKS OF THE WEEK

Goldi Gold, From The Ground Up
Goldi Gold, BlockXchange
Goldi Gold, Visulazation
Goldi Gold is an artist, illustrator, graphic designer, and entrepreneur who’s wearable portraits shine a light on contemporary icons and heroes. Goldi is a humble, generous, and supportive part of the Atlanta art community who’s always giving back to his fellow creatives. Originally from New Jersey, he’s called Georgia home for 20 years, with a resume that includes work with Georgia State University, Creative loafing, Art Beats + Lyrics, Spike Lee, The High Museum, and others.

Upcoming Events with Mint Gold Dust

Courtesy of Ballroom Marfa

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.

Courtesy of Arabella

Arabella

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. 

Don't Break A Nail
Arabella, Don't Break A Nail

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.

Arabella, Smoking Section

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

Courtesy of QueenEarth

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!

QueenEarth, Dreamer Handbook 00

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.

QueenEarth, Grief + Black Maternal Morality + Racial Tension

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.

everyday research

Courtesy of everday research
Born in Florida, raised in Hawai’i and now based in Austin, everyday research has professionally painted murals since 2013. He also travels the U.S. and overseas to paint live at music festivals. His versatile style is a mix of vibrant colors, fanciful elements, and composition that gives his work a feeling of movement. His intention with his work is to continue injecting positivity and inspiration into the hearts and minds of viewers while constantly progressing as a vessel of art.
Courtesy of everyday research
In your opinion, why can NFTs be a great medium for Street Artists like yourself?
 
There is a finite number of wall spaces in a city. Utilizing NFT’s to preserve murals allows more opportunities for artists and creates an archive of a digital museum of street art. 
everyday research, Here We Go
Tell us about your recent project with ATX DAO.
 
I was thrilled when ATX DAO approached me to paint a mural and turn it into an NFT as part of their art fund to support local artists. The mission of this project is for the artist to receive a portion of sales from the mural NFT and the other portion of the sales goes into a fund that will pay the next artist to paint another mural in Austin, and so on.
 

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.

Last week, we spoke with our CEO and Founder Kelly LeValley Hunt for a look back on our first year and her goals for our future. Read the full interview 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.

Weekly Recap

79AU | 10.26-11.1

FEATURED ARTWORKS OF THE WEEK

Urban Landscape 01
VEL, "Urban Landscape 01"
Don't Break A Nail
Arabella, "Don't Break A Nail"
Cowbell 10
Get Rekt, "Cowbell 10"

Interview with Mint Gold Dust Founder & CEO Kelly LeValley Hunt

CEO & Founder Kelly LeValley Hunt at NFT.NYC 2022

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!

Giant Swan’s Metamorphosis is amazing, and the story about Hackatao’s unique piece Primordial is beautiful, and they are just two of the Genesis 8 which are extraordinary.

Paulina Vega geo-dropped in AR during NYFW
Giant Swan, "Metamorphosis"

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.

CEO & Founder Kelly LeValley Hunt with Metakovan at NFT.NYC 2021

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.

Auctioneer Theo Goodman at NFT.NYC 2021

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.

Have you read our latest editorial piece on the importance of curation in a decentralized world? If not, check out the article here.

Stay up to date on all things Mint Gold Dust and 79Au by subscribing to our newsletter 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.

DB, Reflet
Weekly Recap

79AU | 10.15-25

FEATURED ARTWORKS OF THE WEEK

Rakkaus Art, Not All Whos Are In Whoville
Rakkaus Art, "Not All Whos Are In Whoville"
Joyce Korotkin, And Soon It Was With We, Our Guests
Joyce Korotkin, "And Soon It Was With We, Our Guests"
Goldi Gold, The SKY is FALLING
Goldi Gold, "The SKY is FALLING"

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.

Machine Dialogues live in Spatial

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.

Tom Laroc, "Global Tribes (#GT0000CC)"
Tom Laroc, "Global Tribes (#GT0000CC)"

 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. 

Have you read our latest community Op-Ed from artist ONe Rad Latina? Check out piece on The Cultural Algorithm and the effect bias has on AI models here.

Stay up to date on all things Mint Gold Dust and 79Au by subscribing to our newsletter 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.

VanDi, Keynote
Weekly Recap

79AU | 10.8-14

FEATURED ARTWORKS OF THE WEEK

Brooke Ganster, Love and Levity
Brooke Ganster, "Love and Levity"
Queenearth, Dreamer Handbook 00
Queenearth, "Dreamer Handbook 00"
VanDi, Keynote
VanDi, "Key Note"

Community Op-Ed

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.

Image Courtesy of ONe Rad Latina
ONe Rad Latina, "My beauty is skin deep"

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.

ONe Rad Latina, Let Go
ONe Rad Latina, "Let Go"

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.

ONe Rad Latina, The Pondering Princess
ONe Rad Latina, "The Pondering Princess"

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. 

ONe Rad Latina, The Neon Wild
ONe Rad Latina, "The Neon Wild"

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.

Want to see more of the artists featured in Machine Dialogues? Check out our latest collection, and view more of ONe Rad Latina’s work here.

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.

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

79AU | 10.1-7

FEATURED ARTWORKS OF THE WEEK

4everKurious, "the book of wings :: deconstructed wings and bones"
Hypnomancer, "A Golden Return"
ONe Red Latina, "The Pondering Princess"
Interview with Machine Dialogues Curator JenJoy Roybal

As the CryptoArt scene has quickly evolved, so has the need for thoughtful art curation. NFT curators provide necessary assistance to artists and marketplaces by navigating the popularity of tokenized artwork. The selective process of curation ensures that creators and collectors alike are exposed to pieces that fit their general interests and introduced to new artists and communities within the space.

Curators 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 CryptoArt space and beyond.

This week, we spoke with JenJoy Roybal, the curator of our recent collection, Machine Dialogues, about curation being a cultural witness and discussed her curation process for the collection.

JenJoy Roybal

Tell us about the latest exhibition you curated, Machine Dialogues.

The exhibition Machine Dialogues is taking a look at how artists in Web 3 are utilizing artificial Intelligence (AI) to inform their creative process. So many tools have become available to creatives and we’re seeing a massive period of curiosity and experimentation across the artist community. I wanted to see what the impact was to long-time experienced artists using this technique, as well as artists just learning to integrate it into their work.

I felt it was important to get past the eye candy and the noise to discover what is really happening for artists and how they are thinking about it. Right now there’s a lot of criticism and debate about the use of AI, similar to what happened when creatives started using the camera, created prints, used synthetic paints, or tools like adobe suite, in the past. It feels like an inflection point where we need to pay attention to how artists are interacting with these tools, which are undergoing rapid development. I’m learning that oftentimes it’s a dialogue with a lot of back and forth happening, hence – Machine Dialogues. More importantly, I feel it is critical for these interactions to take place as AI becomes even more sophisticated and ubiquitous across all that we do as a society. Like with Web 3 technology, I think it’s imperative that artists use these tools and contribute to their development.

ARTificialis, "Treetop"

What were you looking for when you were looking at pieces to go into the collection?

I wanted a strata of artists that represents what we’re seeing in Web3, so viewers will see works in Fine Art, Gaming, Typography, and Metaverse Fashion. For this collection I reached out to artists that were pushing the possibilities of AI, using them as tools to expand their work. I invited artists who have been coding their own AI and doing recursive processes, where we could see a through-line of the tools that came before (drawing, painting, photography, etc). I looked to storytellers using AI to inform a particular cultural narrative, where it seemed like the AI helped them land with impact and strengthened their voice. It was also important to capture the collective spirit happening in Web 3, so an art collective was brought in to share that perspective. It’s incredible to see how artists are supporting each other in this space and as a result the work gets stronger and stronger.  

What’s the benefit of curation in the NFT space to you?

Like any era or movement in arts and culture, it’s important to document, capture and witness what is happening. For me, curation and writing does that well. I’m a bit removed from the taste-maker type of curator like in fashion or music. I’m more immersed – gonzo style– in the community and culture by trying to capture the zeitgeist. I’m fascinated with the collapse of industry verticals and how there is a new mix of talent rising out of that. It’s thrilling.

I also use curation to draw in talent into Web3. [At my company] SearchLight, our work is conceptually more pull than push. Our artists don’t come to the space baked and cooked, ready for Christie’s to put a “bow on it,” but rather we witness a rapid development to that desired level. I like participating in this part of an artist’s journey. Plenty of people in our community have become best-selling artists in Web 3, whether minting on Manifold or Mint Gold Dust. It’s been rewarding to see that happen. It’s important that we pursue the holy grail of artist financial sovereignty. If we can’t build the road to get there we don’t need blockchains.

So I guess some benefits of curation in the NFT space include being able to witness and interrogate the cultural activity and provide some perspective as its happening; also to shine a light on artists that may otherwise get lost in the cacophony.

Machine Dialogues live in Spatial

Why do you think AI is having its moment in the cultural zeitgeist right now? And where do you think it’s going?

The confluence between art and blockchains has put an obsessive focus on tech-driven artwork. When many of the largest tech companies released their “untrained AI tools’” around 2018, coders and artists got energized about the prospect and now it’s starting to scale and grow. 

I believe some of the most interesting artwork will come out of this moment and it will be critical for the ongoing engagement of artists, storytellers, designers and so many more people to engage in AI dialogues or we’ll end up with SI (Stupid Intelligence) instead of AI.

There’s a lot of debate in the art world about whether or not this new iteration of AI art should be included in the art “canon.” What are your thoughts on that?

AI is already included in the cannon, The Whitney Museum of American Art and many others have been doing a good job of tracking this; so I think now it’s more about how artists will ride this next wave as it connects with blockchain culture. Also, if the “art world” is rumbling about a new tool that artists are using and shunning those outputs, much like they did with photography and NFTs, it’s worth taking a closer look. The debate is important, and I do think people are making valid points about how things are credited, plus we’re seeing a lot of generic looking things. However, I’ve been through a few transformative moments in art and I can feel the bubbling sensation in this sector. For me, it just needs to mature a bit more for any naysayers to be alleviated.

Miss last week’s note from Mint Gold Dust Founder and CEO, Kelly LeValley Hunt? Check it out here to hear her thoughts are on the Ethereum Merge and what it means for our community. Stay up to date by subscribing to our newsletter here

Want 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

79AU | 9.23-30

FEATURED ARTWORKS OF THE WEEK

Chazz Gold, "Goddess Cerridwen"
Queeneart, "Grief + Black Maternal Mortality + Racial Tension"
Carolina de Bartolo, "Good for You"
WELCOME TO ETH 2.0
A LETTER FROM MINT GOLD DUST CEO + FOUNDER KELLY LEVALLEY HUNT

On September 15th, nearly 2 million of the world’s population witnessed and recognized a historical event taking place, The Merge. The Ethereum protocol transitioned from Proof of Work to Proof of Stake. 

Ethereum’s Proof of Stake makes validators the new consensus layer, and all historical Proof of Work transactions have been verified and merged into one Proof of Stake chain. What is important for all users in the community is The Merge did not change anything for holders / users. This means you do not need to do anything with your funds, wallet, or NFTs to adjust to Ethereum Proof of Stake. This has been the number one concern, but everything is the same for most everyone in the ecosystem. Thanks to the tremendous heavy lifting from the Ethereum dev community, we can use the old saying “As you were!”. If you are interested in learning more about Ethereum Proof of Stake and how it came to be, check out Vitalik’s new book, Proof of Stake.

Over the past few years of building Mint Gold Dust, there was often the request from our users to incorporate a layer 2 to scale transaction executions and to decrease transaction costs or fees. We worried that if we chose to build a layer 2 to reduce transaction fees, our artists could possibly forfeit royalties long term if, in the future, their NFT was sold on the Mint Gold Dust secondary market. As a result we decided to wait for The Merge to happen, and we are happy we did. The Ethereum devs are working to find the best way to distribute the burden of storing compressed data from rollup contracts, allowing for exponential growth in network capacity. Ethereum Proof of Stake needed to happen first to even think of this change order. Think of this progress as giant baby steps.

Within 48 hours of The Merge, Mint Gold Dust fortified and future proofed our platform, running on the Ethereum Proof of Stake network, providing our community with the most financially efficient, secure, and direct way for everyone curious to explore, create, and grow their collection of NFTs.

Joe Munisteri, Butterfly Space Opera - 3

Mint Gold Dust’s core values have not changed, and neither have those of the Ethereum community. In fact, our values have only become stronger and more transparent. Mint Gold Dust looks for unique creators who encourage their peers and recognize the bigger picture, advocating for a new type of value system based on contribution and coordination.  At our decentralized core, we offer our artists the ability to present their assets as editions by means of ERC-1155 tokens. We stay true to our commitment to offer split payment solutions for artists and collaborators while showcasing the thoughts of our creators and collectors in the Mint Gold Dust memoir section. We champion curation in the NFT space with our Curated Spaces, and we are dedicated to being fully decentralized. Plus, we align with partners to best connect with our community like Illust Space for geo-dropping, SmartSeal for NFC’ing physical objects, Gilded Finance for financial reporting for artists and collectors, and now Tokenframe for displaying NFTs.

We honor and value our artists, collectors, creators, as well as those who showcase our community – the galleries. One way we do this is by supporting and encouraging collaboration in the digital art space with our split payment payout system. With this feature, you can add up to 5 wallets for payment distribution, utilizing automatic on-chain payments upon bid acceptance by the creator. We believe that by utilizing the Ethereum network’s ability to split payments based on percentages set by the artist upon minting, we make it faster to participate in a growing ecosystem and help decrease the financial burden of the artists and galleries. In the future, galleries will be required to provide easier means of transacting for their collectors, and artists will require galleries to be financially transparent. As such, these split percentages are searchable and on-chain for provenance so all participants / collaborators are aware of what they are due upon a sale.

Recently, we examined the market of digital frame partners because we believe that being able to showcase NFTs is the ultimate flex. We recognize that collectors and galleries want to display NFTs easily, and Tokenframe owns the patent for connecting Metamask wallets, and those alike, to their frames within seconds. With ease of use, any of our community can come to the Mint Gold Dust site, click on an NFT, purchase the NFT, click on the Tokenframe icon, and purchase a corresponding frame.

As the market grows, Mint Gold Dust will continue to partner with more likeminded organizations who have similar values and a clear vision for the future of web3 while keeping the integrity of decentralization at the core of their existence. Mint Gold Dust will be encouraging galleries to get more involved with digital artists, provide education for artists and collectors, and exhibit the most unique creations from our community. We believe that people with passion and creativity can change our world for the better. 

Be Different!
– Kelly LeValley Hunt and the Mint Gold Dust Team

Stay up to date on all things Mint Gold Dust and 79Au by subscribing to our newsletter here

Check back in next week when we chat with curator JenJoy Royball about her recent collection “Machine Dialogues,” now on Mint Gold Dust.

Weekly Recap

79Au | 9.16-23

FEATURED ARTWORKS OF THE WEEK

Carolina de Bartolo, "Thinking of you(me)"

Thinking of you(me) by Carolina de Bartolo is a paper collage and photomontage that was digitally created in collaboration with Midjourney Bot.

This work is a part of a new collection launching next week on Mint Gold Dust titled, Machine Dialogues, curated by JenJoy Roybal. 

Annabelle Popa, "CrowMother"
JAYKOE, "Citizens (Parkour II)
THE GALÁPAGOS ISLANDS – PART 1

This week, wildlife photographer and documentarian Christopher Scott Carpenter released his genesis NFT collection, The Galápagos Islands – Part 1.

The collection shares a different side of the unique animals on the island while bringing awareness to their endangered species status. 40% of the proceeds from each sale will be going directly towards a local conservancy that empowers local environmental stewardship and educates the next generation of Island residents.

“When I visited the Galápagos, I connected with the ecosystem through photography. I found moments of curiosity, love, community, despair, and contention amongst the magnificent animals that inhabit these islands. By minting these photographic moments as NFTs, I hope to assist the efforts of the International Galápagos Tour Operators Association in their pursuit of providing education, so crucial to the understanding and stewardship of the magical landscapes of the islands, through the form of a public library to the communities of the Galápagos’s largest island, Santa Cruz. Education empowers, informs, and creates a symbiosis that further enables the humans of the Galápagos to protect, share, and champion the other species that surround them.” – Christopher Scott Carpenter 

Each photo has been released as an edition run, encouraging animal and photography lovers alike to collect their favorites while directly supporting the animal behind the image. Check out the full collection below.

Christopher Scott Carpenter, "Galápagos Sea Lion"

Conservation Status: Endangered, Population Decreasing

Although classified as an endangered species globally, the sea lions of the Galápagos can be found throughout the islands basking in the sun, sleeping on the sand, and playing. Despite being unabashedly awkward on land with their slow-moving side-to-side lurching movements, sea lions quickly become athletic and elegant swimmers capable of weaving easily through the underwater landscapes along the coasts.

Christopher Scott Carpenter, "Sally Lightfoot Crabs"

Conservation Status: Unknown

Found commonly throughout the islands, the Sally Lightfoot Crab presents a burst of neon color as it scurries across rocks and along the sand in search of algae and small prey.

Christopher Scott Carpenter, "Darwin's (Galápagos) Finch"

Conservation Status: Endangered, Population Decreasing

The 13 species of finches found throughout the Galápagos Islands formed the basis of Charles Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection; each species wields a distinct beak molded by the various environmental demands.

Christopher Scott Carpenter, "Galápagos Tortoise"

Conservation Status: Vulnerable

The giant Galápagos tortoise lumbers slowly through the tall grasses of the islands; though once nearly hunted to extinction, their population, while still vulnerable, has stabilized since the 1970s due to conservation efforts. The diversity evident in their shells, sizes, and colors again suggested to Charles Darwin a Theory of Natural Selection.

Christopher Scott Carpenter, "Flightless Cormorant"

Conservation Status: Vulnerable, but Stable

The Flightless Cormorant is among the world’s rarest species of birds, with only an estimated 1,000 alive today. These birds are strangely ill-equipped for their environments; with wings too short to fly and feathers too thin to be waterproof, the birds will oftentimes dive for prey along the coast and then dry off in the sunlight.

Christopher Scott Carpenter, "Galápagos Land Iguana"

Conservation Status: Vulnerable

An animal once described by Charles Darwin as “ugly” and with “a singularly stupid appearance,” the golden Galápagos Land Iguana exhibits a unique prehistoric quality complete with a spiked crown and clawed feet.

Christopher Scott Carpenter, "Blue-Footed Booby"

Conservation Status: Stable

One of the icons of the Galápagos, the Blue-Footed Booby hugs the coasts of the islands to dive for fish and nest in ground-level colonies. The Blue-Footed Booby’s famous mating ritual is an elaborate dance with stomping feet and a balletic pose called “skypointing.”

Curious to learn more about Christopher Scott Carpenter? Check out last week’s edition of 79Au to check our interview with the photographer. 

Want 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

79AU | 9.10 – 15

FEATURED ARTWORKS OF THE WEEK

Hyper Aesthetics, "Autumn Pond"
Dia al-Azzawi, "Freddie 1.0 #5"
Le visionnaire sur la lune, "Made in Abyss"
Merge Update

The buzz in the Cryptospace has been all about the Ethereum Merge. As of today, September 15th, the Merge has transitioned the Ethereum protocol from Proof-of-Work to Proof-of-Stake in order to create sustainable scalability within the protocol as the web3 space continues to grow and thrive. 

So what does this mean for your NFT portfolio as an artist or collector on Mint Gold Dust

The good news is that your creations and collections on Mint Gold Dust will continue to remain on-chain with provenance intact. Mint Gold Dust is built solely on Ethereum and has fortified the platform in preparation for the transition. 

To ensure a smooth transition, Mint Gold Dust has temporarily paused all mint, bidding, and purchase activities through 9/16/22 at 12pm EST. 

Halting activities is a proactive measure to ensure that while we make any necessary changes to our site, lost or hanging transactions can be avoided. We appreciate your patience during this historic event.

Learn more about The Merge here.

Christopher Scott Carpenter and the Galápagos Islands

Christopher Scott Carpenter is a photographer and documentarian based in New York City by way of Salt Lake City, Utah. He holds a Master’s degree in Global Affairs from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China as a recipient of the Schwarzman Scholarship, a highly-selective full-ride scholarship that assembles a diverse global cohort to study cultural, political, and economical through-lines to better understand the world of tomorrow. Additionally, he has earned a Bachelor of Arts from University of Southern California for Film & Television Production.

Christopher Scott Carpenter

Today, he is producing and directing documentary films and has recently been working on the Galápagos Islands as a Wildlife Photographer. 

Next week on September 22nd, a week after the anniversary of Charles Darwin’s maiden voyage to the Galápagos, Carpenter will be releasing a collection of his photographs from the Islands as NFTs, exclusively on Mint Gold Dust. 

The collection shares a different side of the unique animals on the island while bringing awareness to their endangered species status. 40% of the proceeds from each sale will be going directly towards a local conservancy that empowers local environmental stewardship and educates the next generation of Island residents.

Each photo will be released as an edition run, encouraging animal and photography lovers alike to collect their favorites while directly supporting the animal behind the image.

We recently chatted with Carpenter to discuss his relationship with this animal subjects and the importance of collection. Check back on September 22nd for the full collection launch! 

"Sea Lion," Conservation Status: Endangered, Population Decreasing
When you see something in the wild, what draws you to pull out your camera and capture a moment? 

As with all my photography, I think my first priority is with the moment itself; in other words, deciding whether or not the events unfolding before my lens are compelling and interesting. I try to capture moments that re-contextualize the subject and offer a unique perspective from which to engage with it. Some of the images from this NFT project that come to mind are the sea lion posing regally – as if in a tuxedo – for a portrait with a small insect perched incongruously on his nose, or the Nazca Booby Bird gifting a small stone to his partner in an act of affection. Neither would readily be found in a typical Google Image search. Once the moment has grabbed my attention, all the other elements – composition, color, exposure, etc. – are utilized to best tell that story photographically.

Do you feel a connection or kinship with the animals you capture?

When I started observing the animals of the Galápagos, I was struck with how many “human” emotions were being exhibited – love, anger, playfulness, jealousy, annoyance, and so many more. A full tapestry of interaction was on display within each of these islands. As a result, I felt a huge amount of kinship with the animals because I had a front-row seat to watch just how similar we all are as creatures of the same global ecosystem.

"Sally Lightfoot Crabs," Conservation Status: Unknown
What inspires you about the Galápagos Islands in particular?

The Galápagos Islands are populated by a remarkable mixture of misfits and oddballs. Each animal in the archipelago has a unique set of evolutionary characteristics that allow it to survive on a rock outcropping in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The marine iguanas, for example, are found nowhere else on Earth; they proliferated across the Galápagos because their distant ancestors, having been set adrift from somewhere along the western coast of South America, figured out the mechanics and advantages of swimming. As a result, the islands are charming in their weirdness and rarity.

Tell us a bit about the conservancy you’re raising money for? Where will the funds be directed?

While on assignment for Quasar Expeditions in the Galápagos I met and developed friendships with several of the accredited nature guides who act as stewards of the environment and educators of the guests. One guide in particular, Lola, told me about two organization she is part of, the International Galápagos Tour Operators Association and the Galápagos Guides Association, and their current efforts to raise funds to construct a library on the central and most populated island of the Galápagos, Santa Cruz. The library, if funded, will provide to the populations of the Galápagos equal access to science education . On an island archipelago where an understanding of the natural world is crucial to the maintenance and protection of the ecosystems, the library will expand economic opportunities for the peoples of the Galápagos, will enable and empower environmental stewardship, and will generate discourse around important issues like sustainable and destructive tourism and the climate crisis. 

"Darwin’s (Galapagos) Finch," Conservation Status: Endangered, Population Decreasing

Want 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.

Last week on 79Au, we announced our new Discord channel, #CryptoCorner, created to educate and test your knowledge on all things web3. Join our Discord to show off your skills and stay in the loop on all things Mint Gold Dust today!

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