Artist Roundtable: Mentors Changing the NFT World

The pioneering NFT initiative launched by the Avalanche Foundation recently held its first courses, and the first Avaissance cohort of 50+ digital artists is already learning, evolving, and working toward dropping their Avalanche collections.  

We are now in a new era of NFTs, the age of Avaissance

The cornerstone of Avaissance is its artist residency. It comes with funding, education, and mentorship from five NFT ninjas. At the program’s end, artists mint new collections on Avalanche. 

For this post, the first in an Avaissance series, we asked each mentor the same five questions for a virtual roundtable on their views and outlook for NFTs, Avaissance, and Avalanche.

The mentors are: 

Emonee LaRussa. Motion graphic artist, 2x Emmy winner, founder of Jumpstart Designers

Georgio Constantinou. Co-founder of Six and DAO Jones, Forbes 30 Under 30 winner

Dave Krugman. Street photographer, founder of ALLSHIPS

John Le. Storyteller and illustrator

Ryan Wen. Chief of Staff, Stacked Studios and Valhalla

Q1: What makes a good NFT?  

Emonee: “Being able to attach it to the artist. That’s what separates a normal-looking art piece from something collectible. Being able to attach yourself to where it comes from is really cool.”

Georgio: “A good NFT bridges the digital and physical world, offering value to both the creator and the owner. It’s not just about being scarce, it’s about having a unique artistic or utilitarian value.”

Dave: “NFTs are a capture mechanism for community capital. It’s more about what makes a good community. People buy NFTs as a representation of participation in someone’s creative economy.” 

John Le: “To answer, we must ask what separates art. Good art is making something visually satisfying and executing the fundamentals to catch viewers. But what good is capturing an audience if you have nothing to say? Great art is a vessel to have deep, intimate conversations. When distributing art, it's important to heavily understand your audience in order to speak to them. This is especially true for the blockchain/NFT communities. I believe that harmonizing these two understandings is how you truly create a great NFT.”

Ryan: “A good PFP NFT starts with the art and ends with the community. The art should speak to some demographic or niche of users in the space, and, importantly, look good as a PFP. This is fundamentally different from other types of art.”

JL - #000 from The First Collection by John Le
Q2: What about NFTs calls to you? 

Emonee: “Our entire lives are consuming digital art and media. We’re at a time where digital artists can be valued like traditional artists, because people are realizing the technical skill and knowledge to where they can appreciate it more.”

Georgio: “I see NFTs as a step towards a more decentralized, democratized digital economy. They give artists a chance to monetize their work without needing a middleman.”

Dave: “NFTs are a way for artists to have digital objecthood, giving us the ability to do brand new things in digital spaces. It lets us participate in the economic upside of our output online, as opposed to just gaining attention on social media and selling to advertisers.” 

John Le: “NFTs let us creatively solve problems that seemed impossible before. Personally, coming from the comics industry, I see NFTs providing a way to solve the traditional challenge of taking cash advances from a publisher in exchange for IP. This not only changes the paradigm for creators in developed countries, but in developing countries as well.”

Ryan: “NFTs are tokens that contain value. This value can mean a sense of belonging to an exclusive community, a PFP that bolsters one's digital identity, early access to products and events, or anything. It's up to the team to identify what this means for their community and help them realize that value. All of this is tied to ownership memorialized on the blockchain, with an image attached to it, creating a very interesting dynamic for collectors.”

Drip #176 by Dave Krugman
Q3: What makes Avalanche so great for NFT creators? 

Emonee: “Ava Labs has a drive to change the digital art space. Having such a huge brand stand behind up-and-coming artists is so underrated. I’m absolutely in love with the whole Avaissance project.”

Georgio: “Avalanche is great for both creators and collectors because of its lower barrier to entry and its vibrant community. This opens up opportunities for more people to get involved, fostering creativity and collaboration.”

Dave: “Because Ava Labs is willing to back us up, and because they’re willing to help build tools and throw some weight behind our ideas.”

John Le: “Philosophy and approach. Not only has Ava Labs proven they understand how to grow the community, they nurture it with strategic expansions and partnerships. On top of that, Avalanche itself is very scalable and efficient.”

Ryan: “Avalanche is a great home to many crypto use cases by nature of its technology. Its lower fees make it easier to onboard new NFT consumers. Higher TPS enables mass-produced wearables, rapidly changing metadata, and more novel use cases. Couple all that with the support Ava Labs provides to creators, and it's a very exciting time to be building on Avalanche.”

Balancing Act by Emonee LaRussa
Q4: How’s the Avalanche NFT community? 

Emonee: “Oh my gosh, so loving. Everyone is so nice.”

Georgio: “My time in the Avalanche NFT community has been really positive. It’s a group of creators who are more focused on art and innovation rather than just making a quick profit. There’s a genuine desire to collaborate and develop fresh ideas.”

Dave: “It’s been great. I recently attended Avalanche Summit in Barcelona, and it was incredible to meet so many artists, collectors, and builders in the ecosystem.” 

John Le: “My experience with the Avalanche Community has been fantastic. It reminds me of my entry into NFTs in 2021 – a hungry and curious bunch that will catch us by surprise.” 

Ryan: “Welcoming and energetic. It’s been a great experience so far. A few Avaissance cohort members have minted projects already. It has been great seeing the outpouring of support.” 

Valhalla #0249, developed by Ryan Wen’s Stacked Studios
Q5: What gets you excited about Avaissance?

Emonee: “I’m now able to share a decade of my knowledge, to share the ins and outs of what I’ve learned to help other artists. To change so many up-and-coming artists’ trajectories, it’s an honor.”

Georgio: “It’s committed to backing creators, to being a program where artists come together, share ideas, and explore what on-chain creativity can become. The art community can expect a lot of collaborative and innovative projects.”

Dave: “Most of what blocks creative people is resources, information, and education. If we can use Avaisance to foster, encourage, and uplift artists who need those barriers unblocked, we’re going to unlock so much creative potential.”

John Le: “The fact that it exists. I wish other blockchain entities would put forth this much to provide educational services like this. In addition, it's always been a big aspiration of mine to pay forward all of the knowledge I've acquired, and this program is allowing me to do that in a special way.”

Ryan: “Avaissance is, to my knowledge, the first program where the team behind a chain is directly supporting NFTs at the community level. It’s very exciting to see grassroots support for homegrown, community artists. Avaissance could inspire others to participate in Avalanche NFTs. The art community should be excited as they see the real power of PFP NFT communities  develop throughout the Avalanche ecosystem, which will bring fresh eyes to all other NFT categories as well.”

To follow along and keep in tune with everything Avaissance, add Art on Avalanche.

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