Spring is a season of transformation. After the slumber of winter, nature comes back to life. And after a period
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Curations | NFT.NYC | Mint Gold Dust event!
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
At Mint Gold Dust, we invite you to get a closer, more personal look into the thoughts and energies behind the artwork. We look for ways to bring artists and collectors together by appreciating creative vibrations in common.
We spoke with some of the artists from our platform and from our 79Au Interview Series and asked them to share thoughts about their process, how they got into digital art, and how they use NFTs as a form of expression.
Here are some of their insights.
In the beginning, LeLapin Mignon felt so out of place in the digital art world that she was hesitant to even use an iPad to create. When a friend from art school told her to look into NFTs and digital art, she thought it would be a difficult endeavor as a non-technical person. It ended up being wonderful, life-changing advice.
She soon realized she could reverse her usual color palette and turn up the vibrancy in ways that were unexplorable with traditional watercolor. This experimentation opened a whole new dimension of creation. This daringness was only possible with the help and support of the growing NFT community.
She now helps other artists create traditional works with embedded animation and music, exploring playful and creative digital possibilities.
“Anatomie d’Une Poussière d’Or is my very own interpretation of Gold Dust. It shines, it explodes with dreams and hopes, it sparkles with joy, while being delicate and ethereal.” Lapin is one of Mint Gold Dust’s eight Genesis artists who created digital art pieces centered around the theme of ‘gold dust’.
Listen to the full interview here: https://bit.ly/3TXXMSm
I grew up the only son of an artist and a single mother. Art was served up daily, and even though we lived in a New York apartment, we rented a basement studio on Perry Street in the west Village. I painted and made collages up to my first year of art school.
Since 2001 I began thinking of myself as a Digital Artist. One of my first shows at the Agora Gallery in New York was titled “Pixel Perfect.” Back then, I made collages out of my photographs by mixing painted elements and individual splices from my photography. My work was unique, and most people didn’t understand Digital Art.
NFT Art is just another extension of tech’s relationship with Art to create something new. The space is most exciting because it’s a level playing field. It brings well-deserved recognition to a new group of programmers and digital artists who the art world had yet to recognize in the past.
Read full interview: https://bit.ly/3jFzFKo
My future is precarious having terminal cancer, and after all of my paintings sold when the news was out, I was left with no inventory. NFTs were, in a way, a solution to a problem both in regards to my digital legacy and the future of my artwork.
I had an idea to delete any trace of me online after I am gone, with the exception of my website. But many people seemed to object to this. Instead, having a little ecosystem of collectors that carry my legacy in the digital space is a pretty cool concept. And my most recent work has all been digital, not oil paint.
The thing is, most people do not understand they are leaving behind a digital dossier of their life online, so why not make certain what happens to it?
Read full interview here: https://bit.ly/3wpbNgP
Many of the stories that live inside us can only emerge through creative expression, whether you mean to or not. Oftentimes I don’t even realize I’m telling a story until it’s finished. Painting is very meditative and a kind of intimacy with your soul that only shows up when it’s ready.
I’m working on a lot. I will likely start sharing more of my VR creations this year, just thinking of fun ways to bring it into the space.
Otherwise, I continue to work with the human figure, abstract portraiture and digital experimentation. I enjoy discovering ways to emulate the feel of my IRL pieces through texture, brushstrokes and layers.
Read full interview: https://bit.ly/3HawB21
As a digital artist I’ve always had art on the web. Once I learned how to actually upload and post, I added my art on multiple platforms. Especially when I was blogging heavily to promote myself and other people’s content.
So entering the Web3 realm was familiar to an extent. It was just learning the new rules of the land that was actually in my favor as a digital artist. I’m still learning though. Things change in a blink of an eye with time online so it always feels like I’m playing catch up.
Life is definitely a big book of inspiration, and how you see it and gain from it will reflect in the world you create. I just so happen to see it digitally with a lot of extra colors and thick lines. So it actually works hand and hand with doing NFTs. New world on familiar grounds.
Read full interview here: https://bit.ly/3Y9uKQz
Hello from ETHDenver Pt 2!
There was a record-breaking 30,000+ registrations for the sixth year of ETH Denver! It was incredible to see all the new ideas and organizations entering the Web3 space alongside the stalwarts who have been here since the beginning! Welcome to the Bufficorn noobies!!
The crowds became overwhelming while waiting (forever) in line for food, or coffee and pastries in the mornings. Before we jump into the details, a final shout out to Reunion Bread that fed us (and many more people!) every morning. Their Golfeado, see below, is to die for.
Back to the event itself…. We went wandering dreamily through the ETH Denver ZenZone then visiting the IRL Gallery, meeting inspiring artists. Once such artist was the creative, inspiring, punk rocker Naji, who displayed his wares through his beautiful, one-of-a-kind Art NFts. Their clothing line can be found at youmustsurvive.store.
The program started with the opening ceremony with hundreds of Bufficorns singing on stage. To some it might sound cringy (think a mixture of glitter and Bufficorns), but founder Kelly LeValley Hunt claimed “this is just another day in Ethereum paradise!”
On Friday Kelly spoke on a panel on the Genesis Stage called “Investing in Web3’s Future”, discussing what she looks for when investing in new businesses. Hint: She puts an emphasis on the development team, the founders, product, and the business model.
Other amazing speakers we listened to on the same stage included Joe Lubin, Caitlin Long, and a call-in from Vitalik Buterin.
There were moving and enlightening presentations, including @ameensol talking about @UncahinIran, a DAO which provides legally compliant aid to Iran. He shone a light on a corner of the world that many of us do not think about; emphasizing the importance of paying attention to, and recognizing, human injustices and reminding us that so many people around the world are still fighting for basic freedoms. Something that we at Mint Gold Dust are very grateful for.
The second part of ETHDenver was filled with new connections, amazing speakers, and energizing after parties.
Our love for electric scooters deepened as we sped around the Mile High city; venue jumping during the day, and rolling up to dinners and parties in the evenings. We want public scooters in NYC!
As ETH Denver 2023 closed out, two highlights stand out. We headed over to the Galactic Garden Party at the Beacon in RiNo on Friday evening. The venue was magical, with sacred geometrical groove rooms and amazing dance vibes throughout.
And on Saturday night we got down with our partners at Illust, viewing art and dancing the night away to DJs while sipping on ice cold keg beer! So refreshing – an amazing end to an amazing experience!!
Featured Artworks of the Week
Today, we’re chatting with AI/Gan artist and photographer Chazz Gold about his journey into Web3, the tools he uses to create his pieces, and the intersection of AI and Photography. Keep reading for an in-depth look into Chazz Gold’s artistic process.
How did your journey in Web3 begin?
My web journey started in Clubhouse rooms in early 2021. At the time, I was working on a coffee table book concept with a project called “Shapes of The Divine.” When I got into web3, I decided to take that project to another level.
That project consisted of collaborating with over 150 different psychedelic, visionary artists from around the world and using their art to project onto the female form.
Adding to the already psychedelic nature of art I was using as projection, I began to mask out my subjects and use them as backgrounds. Then, I’d mask them out again to animate the backgrounds and take still photographs, adding motion to them in a cinematographic style using applications like Motionleap and Plotagraph.
The “Shapes of The Divine” project still lives on OpenSea as a collection. I have been working on taking a few pieces at a time, moving what is not collected onto my own manifold contract, and putting them back on auction on the platform.
25% of the “Shapes of The Divine” project sales are donated to a local women’s shelter for survivors of domestic violence.
How did you make the transition from photographer to AI artist? Do you find that there are similarities between the tools?
I discovered GAN art through Clubhouse. Those were the days of Snowpixel and Night Café. Google Colorful existed back then, but a lot of us did not know about it yet. I actually released a whole project called “Portraits From the Parallel Universe” on OpenSea. That was all portraiture AI artwork that I had generated with Snowpixel. It wasn’t long after that I had heard of photo bashing, which is using photography and running AI text to create image prompts with the photograph as an initial starting point.
I do find that there are similarities between the practice in the tools. I still use a lot of Photoshop to change any parts of an image I think needs modification. I still use my Lightroom catalog as a place to store, organize and keep track of all of my AI-generated images, and keep the original photographs for comparison.
Can you walk us through your process of Photo Bashing?
These days I use Google Collab folders, made by pharmapsychotic and his models. I have a heavy interest in cyborg, cybernetic beings, and the divine feminine; the mixture of those things inspire me to make art and helps me envision what the future looks like. I find it interesting that I’m using AI to create images that are very futuristic.
As for photo bashing, I use the initial image by uploading photographs onto Google Drive or Google photos and then use the web address of that image and put it in the Google collab folder too. I’ll play around with the different levels of strength. You can use a percentage of every initial image by using a decimal point system and providing the level of strength of the initial image as part of your final image.
Many of my initial photographs are pulled from my database of the “Shapes of The Divine” project or portraiture that I have done with models and friends. Being that many of my photos already have a professional look (and with the case of the “Shapes of The Divine” project, a colorful and psychedelic nature) the female form stands out prominently. They’re easy to use as an initial image or a basic shape of what I want the subject to look like.
I also create my own sacred geometry Mandela art using many different apps on my iPad, and sometimes I use those as initial images for my work. Everything that is minted on Mint Gold Dust was created with that process, rather than using base photographs of an actual person. I also involve very complex AI prompts to generate the images that I make, which I affectionately call prompt craft.
Featured Artist of The Week – Chazz Gold
Chazz Gold is a photographer, DJ, addiction counselor, AI/Gan artist, and NFT creator and collector.
“I have been featured twice at NFT.NYC as well as NFT.LA with my Shapes of the Divine collection. The first time I was featured with Searchlight.Art and this past time with Sabat and spatial XR’s stratosphere show. I am involved with a handful of metaverse projects where I have shown work including galleries Cryptovoxel and Decentraland.”
Last week, the Cu3ntos collection, curated by JenJoy Roybal, launched on Mint Gold Dust. The collection features work from LatinX NFT artists reflecting on the role of cuentos in their own journeys and cultures.
Cuentos are passed down from generation to generation, and thanks to the Blockchain, these artists are able to immortalize their own cuentos, building out their digital legacies for the future. Each unique piece highlights the intersection of storytelling and technology while exploring themes of identity on a personal and cultural level.
JenJoy Roybal writes about the collection,
“Identity is a complex thing and the diaspora of Latinos or Hispanics is riddled with conflicting perspectives and experiences. The rise of the term LatinX came out of a desire to be more inclusive of people who self-identify as having Latin American heritage – who are also LGBTQ, or any other number of nuanced differences – and yet the term still falls short of properly defining the vast, multi-layered, global society. Perhaps we can look to sharing stories to better communicate our culture and identities, rather than labels?
Cuentos are often seen as children’s stories or fables that teach a lesson, make people cry or laugh or capture important moments. In this show, LatinX, Web3 artists were invited to explore cuentos with a personal take on the journeys they have witnessed or the ones they are on. The artwork at times reflects on favorite stories specific to their own culture, or were invented anew.
This is an invitation to a conversation and to the discovery of artists via their stories and the cuentos they love, including their own.”
Explore the collection below:
Creatress is a VR Performance artist at the intersection of virtual reality and fine art. Using a VR headset and a custom soundtrack to inspire the energy of spontaneous creation, she creates 3D abstract sculptures in front of live audiences.
Her latest piece “MesoMariposas” is an exploration of the Toltec and Mexica ancient belief that butterflies are the souls of those who have lived short lives. This piece is a mixture of 3D sculpting and AI.
Lucia Diaz is a first-generation Colombian-American and the Founder of LUCIA DIAZ, a Latina-owned business that empowers and honors Latinas through high-quality Illustrations. Lucia’s artworks are created with the goal of providing cultural representation and pride so that mujeres poderosas can see themselves represented in the world.
Layla Pizarro is a Visual Feeling Art researcher and artist who is constantly experimenting with new concepts, ideas, and techniques. For Cu3ntos, she has minted a photograph of maize that was used in preparation of making Humitas, a traditional Chilean dish, during the height of the global pandemic.
“Latin-American cultures have been teaching their children about maize for millennia through stories. These stories are taught in many different languages but share a very similar origin story of the Aztec god, Quetzalcoatl, and as you go down into South America, the Sun God. The importance of maize goes beyond nourishment. It provides the community with purpose, working all together to cultivate and harvest. Each generation of our community grows stronger, smarter, and more resilient, along with the maize and our traditions.”
JenJoy Roybal is an artist, urbanist, writer, editor, and digital content creator. She is inspired by humanity’s oldest stories and artworks related to sacred rituals and sacred space.
“Horse-man, Fire and the Book” is a part of her new series inspired by the cuentos and pueblo Indian (Hopi & Zuni) story dances. To create this piece, she fed an AI with the story as she remembered it from her youth. The output resulted in a piece that reflected the nuances of memory, time, and projection.
“The viewer can draw their own conclusions about what tale is unfolding – in that way, I love playing with my memories while others project their own.”
Born in Harlem, NY, Dr. Lemny Perez is an Afro-Dominican writer, actress, psychologist, abstract NFT artist & collector. She is a curator for the NFT.Tips Search Light Curatorial team & is the former Coaching Lead & Secretary Board Member at the Dream Conduit, a carbon neutral non-profit DAO. Her latest piece, “Mama ‘heard voices'” pays homage to those who battle severe mental illness in her family and beyond.
Born Halloween, 1925
2nd youngest of 12
U lost both parents by 16
Had 5 kids & married for 66 yrsYou drank warm lemon water every AM,
used food as medicine
& were tormented by p-noid,
Mint Gold Dust Event Form
In 2022, Mint Gold Dust welcomed our community to events in New York, Miami, Austin, Denver, and Los Angeles. Next year, find out if we’re hosting an event near you! Be the first to know about our upcoming events by filling out our 1-minute survey below.