“I FEAR ONBOARDING” Please Don’t NFT If You Are Not Ready

By Juan Thorpe

“Wtf is going on here?” One of the more popular answers to that question in the world of NFT is, “Nobody knows what’s going on here, and if they tell you they do, they’re full of crap.”

We’re all early to this new frontier, that’s true. WAGMI (We’re All Going to Make It) has been a huge slogan in NFT, but I find it’s becoming less popular lately.

What am I (Juan Thorpe) doing here? I’m an artist. I make art and now there’s this magical place where I can sell this art called web 3.0 (NFT). Well, I’ve been here since late 2021 and I’m still trying to figure this out. With around 25 NFTs minted and maybe $100 worth of sales, it is still a puzzle. I’m not here every day or even every week, but spending about 10 months for just a few SOLANA, or TEZOS isn’t exactly something you can take to the bank. I don’t care, it’s fun, it’s new, it’s the future – I’m in!

I have learned a ton on this journey, and I’m not giving up on this. That’s how artists are – we grind, we draw, we paint – it doesn’t have to sell or even be shown to anyone. It just has to come out of our heads. I’ve had 100 NFT ideas. I’ve written them down with steps and plans, I’ve done sketches, diagrams, and even thought of the hype that would run these projects. These elaborate ideas could work – maybe not – but it’s so much fun coming up with all these crazy art fantasies. In the end, this is my current plan: get my original digital art to people who like it. It’s that simple. That’s what I’m doing. And it’s sort of working.

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My biggest leap of faith thus far is the use of digital media in my art. I’m an old-school Adobe user, but that was, and still is, mostly for work, not art. The true jump was an iPad, the Apple Pencil, and Procreate. Now I can create 100% original digital art and feel elated. It’s so much fun and so fast. Undo, brushes and layering…it’s like cheat mode for drawing and painting. I can create a really nice digital drawing in about a quarter of the time as a similar physical painting. To me, they are the same – idea, color, shape and line – the media and display are the only difference. The speed of creation matches the speed of the web 3.0 evolution. It’s just a tool, it’s a new brush for me. What to make with these new powers? Still trying to figure that part out and having a blast doing it.

I know just a handful of NFT artists from IRL (in real life) that are currently having a successful NFT experience. That means significant sales, followers, promo, activity, hosting spaces, having discords, and all the other criteria one may assign to a full diet of NFT. My friends, are going about it in their own individual way. It’s all different, but it works. Some were already huge in web 2.0 and IRL and it seems it has been an easy transition (that’s a big “SEEMS” btw). And others spend every free moment working towards the NFT dream. Then there’s me, I don’t have 6+ hours a day to be on Twitter. I’ve heard some of y’all, “we’ve been doing this space for 16 hours…”. I can’t do that, I have maybe 2-3 hours at night after work. I have to spend that time drawing, painting, and “iPading”. My IRL art career isn’t huge, but I do sell and have sold lots of paintings over many years. That means nothing in this world though, and I’m cool with that. NFT is a start from ZERO. Call it a clean slate, a fresh start, no one here knows who you are and what you do. I can make anything! It’s so fun. I’m showing different, new work, I’m making robot art on an iPad!

And now the serious stuff, the dirt, the disclaimer, the part where you run away. As one Tweeter said about 8 months ago, “There’s a lot of nefarious activities going on here”. Some people have decided NFT means suckering a bunch of people for their hard-earned crypto currency. It’s blatant, it’s open, it’s a meme, and it’s easy to avoid. Every other “project” just turns out to be a scam for someone to make a quick “bag” on their “exit liquidity”. It’s part of the space, it’s a gamble, it’s a hustle, it’s cheating in the open. Art is copied and resold, taken down then allowed back. Multiple copycat projects arise from successful ones called “derivatives” or “degens,” and people buy them, because they do “pump”, or raise in value, to succeed individually and become a profitable gain or be dumped to zero. You never know, but it does feel like there’s a lot of people who do know and abuse this volatile market to steal a profit.

What’s safe? Nothing is, DYOR. Again, do you own research, see, listen, learn, come at this slowly, explore, mint a few, buy a few, get your toes wet, have fun. Nobody knows what’s really going on here, but it sure is a lot of fun! What is safer? I’m going to argue “1/1” is safer if not more normal, or what we as art collectors are already accustomed to. 1/1 is simple, you buy one original work of digital art from one artist. Likely you are buying directly from the creating artist – yay! This sale may allow the artist to buy a new car or a steak for dinner instead of cup of noodles depending on how much you spent. This is already a thing. Collectors love supporting their favorite artists, and they love collecting their work. The new difference is, it’s digital, and that means it’s new, it’s fresh, it’s exciting, and it may crash, it may get deleted, you may get hacked and your art stolen (sorry for that), but I do have to warn you, it happens. Be careful, listen, learn, DYOR.

This brings me back to my headline, “I fear onboarding”. That means don’t listen to me, I don’t want you to get into NFT if you are not ready or skeptical. You have to do it yourself, if you’re ready. Buy crypto, get a wallet, and connect. This is real money, and there’s bad people waiting to steal if from you. There’s beautiful art to be collected from amazing artists who are legit and genuine. Believe me, the art is real. Browse, look around, there’s no commitment there. From my perspective as an artist, this is a new world, a new market, a new opportunity. I haven’t lost anything, only gained friends, and multiplied my art ideas, practice, tools, creation, and drive. Isn’t drive one of the most important feelings to us artists? I can’t stop drawing. I draw every day. That is an aftereffect of this phenomenon. That is what NFT has brought me to, and I’ve never been more excited.

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Artwork by Juan Thorpe

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