genesis newsletter (pt. 1: intro) ✨
getting on the same page :) background on nfts with amac, an intro for new friends, and NFT primer for old friends
hi friends - well this is long overdue, isn’t it?
a year-ish ago i left my full-time job to pursue my dream of being a visual artist + freelance. today, a year later, and i am finally getting around to writing my newsletter — truly, everything in divine time. ;)
i very quickly learned my original draft was too long for substack. i am verbose. so it’s now in 2 parts. pt. 1gives you all the background; pt. 2 is the juicy stuff. skip to that one if you already know the deal both on me + NFTs.
quick TL;DR + logistics to start:
you’re receiving this because you’ve collected and/or shown enthusiasm for me/my work in the past, were on my old email list, or signed up via social 🥰
newsletter subscribers (you!) will get first access to new painting collections, NFT drops, and generally be in the know on all the (amac) things ✨
i’ll write these a ~couple times a month; they will include important announcements at the top then longer-form musings (notes, feelings, thoughts) at the bottom. we’re busy people - will make it easy for you to get the info you need and opt-in for the rest
in that spirit: announcements! live interview this thu 3/11 about my transition from biz to art (‘healing the world through art’); new paintings launching later march
i will use (nft) to reference this newsletter and NFT to reference non-fungible tokens 👽 btw, here is my opensea collection
today’s (nft) will be a long one make sure we’re all on the same page — future ones will be shorter :)
alright people let’s do it! this pre-newsletter newsletter gives you all of the background on my story and on NFTs (which is to be clear is *NOT* the main topic of this newsletter, though will be a frequent topic at least in the next few months).
if you already know about both, skip to the one in your inbox genesis pt 2. STUDIO NOTES.
AMAC’S STORY 👩🏻🎨 (context for new friends!)
if you arrived here via social media or know me from one facet/phase of my life and are curious about this art thing, this section is for you.
i’m alex, but everyone calls me amac - i’m a 32 y/o visual artist, writer, and brand strategist based in between the sf bay area and joshua tree, ca.
my career has mostly been in business*, specifically early-stage consumer start-ups where i’ve done everything from brand marketing to product management. *so much so, that i even got my mba from stanford and started down the path of raising my own seed fund. 🤔
i used to say when i retired i would move somewhere beautiful and become an artist. needless to say, that timeline crept up earlier and earlier 🙃 every role i took in my career was more and more creative (i literally did interior design, amongst other things, at two chairs) but, even though the job titles kept getting bigger and shinier, it never felt like enough…
running in parallel to my career was my personal journey with mental health and depression. i talked in detail about this part of my journey in a recent podcast if you want to know more. for now, let’s just say the path was extraordinarily difficult but ultimately built my confidence in finding my voice and pursuing creativity as a calling.
in fall of 2019, on the verge of another depressive episode, i decided to finally change my life. i put in notice at my FT job and was promptly showered with synchronicities…! i will be talking about that part of my journey for the first time publicly on 3/11 and will write more in a future newsletter. in short, all signs seemed to point to me being on the right path - instead of the ‘right’ path. ✨
when i quit, i knew i wanted to pursue art/creativity more seriously but i wasn’t sure what that meant. i was also still interested in working with brands (‘applied creativity’) to exercise the other side of my brain; plus let’s be real i needed a more dependable source of income while i figured the art thing out. 🤪
i was truly terrified to put myself out there creatively, especially with creative writing which i had never ever done before. i had posted photos of my art, but i had never really spoken about my motivations or what art meant to me. fast-forward…
i read my poetry aloud for the *first time in my life* nov 2019. i was published for the first time jul 2020. i sold my first painting aug 2020. i was in my first (online) art show nov 2020. i got nominated for a pushcart prize dec 2020. sold my first NFT mar 2021. and, last month, feb 2021, was the first time where my annualized monthly revenue from art + freelance approached my FT salary. 🥺
today, i spend about half my time painting and writing and half consulting/advising in the consumer start-up space (e.g., the landing, progression fund) and am aimed at more of a 75/25 split in the future. that was the short and sweet story, more detail in future (nfts)!
WTF is a NFT 👽 (context for old friends!)
if you’ve come across me on social media recently, you’re more than likely here for NFT talk. if you’re an old follower, you’re probably wondering wtf is a NFT.
as i’ve said, this is not a newsletter about the technicalities of NFTs. if you’re here for that, i’ll point you to more informed people on the interwebs, such as:
my friend nicole who has a great NFT for beginners article (amongst other great crypto content) on her substack
my friend matty who runs TMFA community (an amazing art community i’m a part of; HIGHLY recommend applying if you are an artist, they’re the artist friends i didn’t know i needed 🥺) and is tweeting all #NFT things
that being said, a basic understanding of NFTs is important for following my current journey.
for illustrative purposes: imagine there was a single central repository for art that every artist could register each of their paintings on as soon as they made them. when they register, the artist ties their name to the painting and assigns it a value - this is done in permanent marker and can never be changed, because the repository is a fickle biatch! however, the repository does have a cool feature where the artist can also assign a % of future sales (let’s say, 10%) that they pocket if their art is ever resold.
anyone who wants to buy art can buy from this central repository but they need a special currency. they could buy a piece for the artist’s set price, or if a lot of people were interested, the repository can enlist a helper to help the artist hold an auction so they can sell to the highest bidder (the helper might get a lil cut). all sales would be publicly recorded for each piece, including any resells (again, in permanent marker!). let’s say a piece sells for $100 with 10% later commission. when the piece sells for $200 later, the original artist would get $20 of that $200 sale. and that repeats for every resale!
the beauty of this world is that there is transparency: everyone can see all the sales in the repository. it also gives power to the artists, who get to benefit from the appreciation of their work (as you probably know, many of the most famous artists today died poor + unappreciated while their works is now resold for $millions on the secondary market).
the above is (obviously) an oversimplified write-up, but that’s basically what is happening right now in the NFT space.
NFT stands for non-fungible token — in the above, this would be the art. a NFT is a ‘unique’ digital asset that is stored on the blockchain (central art repository). this can be a .jpg, .mp3, video (art) that is minted (recorded in permanent marker) to the blockchain (central art repository) and tied to an owner (artist) and then bought/sold by others using cryptocurrency (special currency). there are an increasing number of platforms (helpers) to help you manage the selling, auctions, and setting resale rates. see? easy peasy to understand.
“but amac… aren’t the assets… like basically just files? don’t you want a real painting?” …we can debate whether or not these assets have inherent value but i’m not particularly interested in doing that here 👽 two helpful concepts for understanding the ‘value’ of NFTs:
basketball cards - they are ‘just paper’ but their scarcity and consumer interest in collecting them gives them monetary value
the original mona lisa - despite there being posters and even very high-quality painting copies of the mona lisa but the original still retains it’s value because, it’s the ‘real one’ - it’s the original
why do we care? people are excited about it for many reasons, including that it is creating a way, especially for digital-first artists, to sell and record their work. i am excited about it because it is bring in a new type of collector (i.e. people with crypto $) into the art space and is creating liquidity for all types of artists. in the past week, i have made more money on NFTs than i have made on prints (the ‘passive income’ play for most artists), ever. to be clear, i am minting images of my own, real life, original paintings. i am now getting leads on buyers for my physical paintings from collectors who have seen my work on NFT platforms. plus, many of my NFT collectors have reached out personally to me. i cannot express how amazing this feels, and how much of a relief it is. 🥺
so yeah, i’m here for it. i’m here for anything that creates financial opportunities for artists. more on this later.
lastly, in the short time i’ve been in the space, i have found it to be an extremely friendly and supportive culture that truly wants to support and elevate artists and their creativity. 💓 just look at the egg. 🥚
again, if you’re looking for tips on platforms, schemin the game, etc., this is not the place 👽 i’m more interested in blogging about the space conceptually. but you should probably apply for TMFA bc we have all the sneaky and specific tips in there. 👀
alright you made it to the end. now we’re all on the same page so we can get into the juicy stuff 👀 pop into pt. 2! edit: substack won’t let me post pt. 2 IDK WHY I KEEP GETTING AN ‘INVALID’ ERROR MESSAGE but… soon. I will figure out soon.
much love to you
xo amac ✨
ps use code NFTS for 20% off all my art prints