NFT NYC, the premier non-fungible token conference, kicked off Monday in Times Square. To guide us through the madness, we asked digital artist Olive Allen (@IamOliveAllen), who has attended every iteration since NFT.NYC’s inception in 2019, to recount a day in his life during the crypto carnival.
It’s been almost five years since I attended my very first crypto conference. A lot has happened since. I’ve met thousands of people: VCs, developers, founders, artists, and scammers. I lived through the bear market, started my own startup, lived in Silicon Valley, became one of the first so-called “NFT artists” and had my first exposure in a traditional gallery. I really feel like I’ve lived multiple lifetimes – and now it’s all coming full circle and changes for me and the industry are on the horizon again. But enough about the feelings – let’s dive into my first day at NFT.NYC.
Set my alarm clock at 7:00 a.m. Press the snooze button and I woke up at 8:00 a.m.
I went to the creators’ preview of “Women in Web3: Her Dreams Realized”, a digital art exhibition at One World Trade Center organized by Afrodet Zuri in collaboration with Westfield and the NFT platform Blockparty. The work of six amazing artists, including myself, was displayed on giant LED screens in the transportation hub. What was interesting about the show was that each artist’s photos and short biographies were also displayed on giant screens. The show will run simultaneously at Westfield malls across the United States. Digital art is undoubtedly the medium of the future, it transcends space and is infinitely scalable.
I stayed at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square to collect my NFT.NYC badge. I was greeted by a long queue and a jazz band. There was a sea of people from all walks of life trying to break into the NFT world. I came across Anne Spalter, an incredible generative artist. I admire Anne for her incredible consistency and her commitment to her convictions.
Around 12:30 at the Marriott near badge collection: I saw a random guy shilling his “art”.
I walked out and the first thing I saw was this banner. Is the universe trying to tell me something? Is it finally time to build something bigger than me?
I almost got eaten by a voxel dragon during the Sandbox event. Survived.
Keith Grossman, President of TIME, announced its collaboration with the game Sandbox. Sandbox is a Web3 company that aims to create a decentralized metaverse where anyone can create their own game and monetize their content, terrain, etc. TIME Web3 initiatives are now focused on building an authentic community in space and beyond.
On my way to the National Arts Club for an exhibition that I co-curated with [Pace Gallery media arts director] Raina Mehler for the new CADAF marketplace built on the Tezos blockchain. The show featured some pretty unique NFT pieces from well-known young traditional artists like Emma Stern and Canyon Castator; digital art legends like Addie Wagenknecht and Anne Spalter; as well as NFT natives like me and Yulia Shur. These artists managed to capture the essence of our time and I know that deep down you will see them in all the most important museums of the future.
At the show, I ran into a bunch of people, but i would like to spend more time talk to my artist friends Austin Lee and Chloe Karayiannis. The truth is artists are my favorite people. Pure souls. Good, at least most of them.
Went to the Apefest on the roof of Pier 17 with an Ape holder friend who traveled all the way from Switzerland to attend monkey party. I saw Beeple. Sometimes it feels like he’s there, just so random brothers can take a picture with him and post it to crypto Twitter to boost engagement. I didn’t want to interrupt you.
After about 15 minutes, I couldn’t help but wonder who was more bored: the inflatable monkey outside the room or myself. There were long lines for free booze and bored people who didn’t care much about ‘art’. It was hard to tell what interested them at the time.
Maybe we’re all pretty lonely at the end of the day, wanting to “belong” and looking for meaningful connections… That’s what “community” is – a hope to find your tribe.
Questlove started playing. It was not bad.
Yes, I needed that iconic shot. Finished with an ugly edited poster of a monkey. Life is Beautiful.
I didn’t feel exceptionally creative and went to see [DJ] Steve Aoki at the Sandbox Party at Gotham Hall. Everyone in crypto knows that the “community” would always flock to a party with a hyped artist. If they don’t, they will always be FOMO. And I was right – I saw several top collectors and tech entrepreneurs.
No idea why there were Playboy playmates there. I have never seen one before. I thought they were canceled before I even arrived for promoting misogynistic body standards and fashion. Why do they still exist in 2022? Sandbox event organizers are very attentive to their audience – Gen Xers and older millennials. That explains Playmates, Aoki, Snoop Dogg, and the pixelated aesthetic. Nostalgia is the corporate vibe.
I went home relieved that I wasn’t born in the 80s and my generation didn’t grow up reading Playboy and generally doesn’t consider Bored Apes to be compelling characters or consider them quality works of art. There is hope that the younger generation will eventually make the world a better place after all. And we are. The future only has one direction and that is forward. See through the noise – we will have to evolve as a species to survive.
NFT is a technology that enables our transition to another realm by enabling the metaverse economy. Digital art powered by NFT technology is the future of art. Digital currency is the future of money. Humans merging with AI and becoming interplanetary species are crucial to our survival. The future is inevitable. The only choice we really have is whether we make the effort to make it better than the world we know.
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