Art in the NFT space is not a new thing but today’s guest has taken it to the next level. Erick Calderon is the CEO of Art Blocks, the platform that offers generative artworks through creative coding on the Ethereum blockchain. Today, he joins hosts Jeff Kelley, Eathan Janney, and Josh Kriger to chat about the first-of-its-kind platform and how it helps the artist community. Erick also discusses the philanthropic work attached to the project and how artists in the space have collectively donated over $50 million through their art. Listen in as he breaks down the story of how Art Blocks was founded and how he got into the generative art space. Plus, get the inside scoop on future partnerships to look forward to!
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Erick Calderon Of Art Blocks – The First Interactive NFT Generative Art Platform, And More…
This is Erick Calderon of Art Blocks, the NFT OG home for creative coding and generative art. I am here on the show where the newest OGs in NFTs love to hang out and chat about the good old days.
NFT curious readers, read this episode and find out how humility in the Wild West World of NFTs keeps our guest centered, how getting lost in NBA Top Shot turned out to be a key ingredient in the unintentional launch strategy of one of the most iconic projects in the NFT world and what first-of-its-kind computer peripheral this first-of-a-kind generative art platform creator chose to make his first-of-its-kind purchase. All this and more on this episode. Enjoy.
This episode features Erick Calderon, Founder of Art Blocks, the platform that offers generative artworks through creative coding on the Ethereum blockchain. Erick Calderon is a Houston, Texas-based blockchain entrepreneur who is fully immersed in the NFT space. Erick has dedicated himself to exploring the functional use cases for NFT technology, specifically in the art sector. These explorations culminated in the development and subsequent launch of the generative art NFT platform, Art Blocks, in November of 2020 and the release of his NFT project called Chromie Squiggles.
Art Blocks is a first-of-its-kind platform focused on genuinely programmable on-demand generative content that is stored immutably on the Ethereum blockchain. You pick a cell that you like and pay for the work. Randomly generated versions of the content are created by an algorithm and sent to your Ethereum account. The resulting pieces might be a static image, a 3D model or an interactive experience. Each output is different and there are endless possibilities for the types of content that can be created on the platform. Erick, welcome to the show.
Thanks for having me. How is it going?
It’s great to have you here.
It’s so cool to have you. We’re big fans of the world of generative art over here. We have a few pieces in our stash. We’re excited to talk to you about it.
I met Jeff over at Bright Moments when things were kicking off there. We have been following what you’ve been doing all along. It was just a matter of time before we have you on the show. We’re so excited to have you here.
NFT Generative Art: In this era of new generative art, you have these people that are making art as a passion that were handed a tool that allowed them to monetize their art and enabled them to distribute their art to a huge audience with very little friction.
I’m honored to be here. Thank you for having me.
November 2020 was an interesting time. The few months right around that time of fall 2020 and in the winter were pivotal points for the world of NFTs and Web3 as we know it. It was the moment that we launched into this next phase of happenings. Tell us about how that moment came to be. What’s the origin story of Art Blocks?
We can go way back but that moment specifically was super interesting because it did feel like things were heating up. I’ve been in the space since 2017. I claimed a bunch of CryptoPunks when that contract went live for the first time. There were NFTs prior to CryptoPunks. Technically, CryptoPunks aren’t even NFTs according to standard but that to me was the first a-ha moment. It blew my mind and it’s something that I spent the next years building towards.
What’s funny about November 2020 is that I started working on Art Blocks and thinking about it. Immediately after minting CryptoPunks, I started working on it in early 2018 with actual contracts and deploying it on the Ethereum blockchain. I kept trying to convince people to help me build this thing in terms of the developers. It was very hard. I was poor at communicating. I struggled to communicate the vision for what I wanted to do to Art Blocks.
I was working with these amazing human beings and great developers. I eventually got to this point where I felt like I was paying for someone to create something. They weren’t 100% sure why they were doing it. They were like, “Whatever you say, it’s all good.” The pandemic hit. I found myself with three extra hours a day. I went nuts with this website called Codecademy. Instead of paying developers to build it, I built it myself.
I had a programming background. It’s not like I came out of nowhere but I was far from being a professional coder. I built it and the crazy part is I probably would have launched it in June 2020, which would have looked different. We have a great product-market fit but I also think we got lucky and launched at the right time based on everything that was happening. I got so deep into Top Shot that I lost track of anything but that.
There were days there and I’m not exaggerating, where I would spend 4 or 5 hours a day going through the list of my 4,000 Moments looking to complete full sets of Moments for this obsession of having full sets. I finally did. I was trading people cards or Moments that were $1 or trading $4 at a time. I went deep. That delayed the release of Art Blocks 3 to 6 months depending on how deep. That was one of the best things that could have happened to Art Blocks and then also to me because when Art Blocks launched, people were offering me to buy my full Top Shot account.
I was like, “I don’t know when I’m going to transfer 4,000 Moments. I can’t now.” That’s a good thing that happened because I would have otherwise sold my Top Shot account for 5% of what eventually it got to be worth. There were lots of good stuff happening at the time. The CryptoPunk aliens selling was part of that initial story. Much has happened in that timeframe. It all feels like a blur.
I want to know the alternate reality that you expected to happen. After all this, it was probably a lot more boring than what has been going on in the past.
I thought Squiggles would still be available to mint. I thought, “Who’s going to want these 10,000 things? It’s so many. I’m a nobody in the space. It’s going to take a while.” CryptoPunks went very fast because they were innovative but also free. Squiggles were $10 to $20. I was like, “People aren’t going to pay for this.” Sometimes you had to pay $5 for gas, which was even crazier.
Generative art stems from a certain level of nerdiness and professional people also having a creative side. Click To Tweet
The alternate reality was I had extra scripts lined up in case artists didn’t care for what we were doing. I had fully thought of this as a hobby. I remember my Gwei bill was $50. I was on the free one. I remember on the first day that everything started selling. I was like, “I have to pay $50 a month to maintain all these ETH calls. Can I afford that at this rate?” My life has been derailed as a result of all this.
It’s pretty amazing what’s possible when all these things converge and a passion project turns into an entirely different future. Eathan, Jeff and I got together in March of 2021 and did our first show. It was like, “This is fun.” After our tenth show, we were like, “We can do this for a long time and not get bored. Interview amazing people, bring people together and talk about cool and disruptive technology.”
We never would have guessed that a year later, we were producing NFTLA, the largest NFT conference in Southern California history. There were 150 satellite events all over LA as a result. With the power of Web3 and when you bring passion and technology together, anything is possible there. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall in some of those early days. Maybe there’s going to be a documentary about you one day. Who knows?
There are a lot of things being discussed but the most important thing is the trajectory of my poor wife as she heard me go on and on about this for years. That’s what the fly would watch. It’s the eye-rolls turning into deeper eye-rolls, “What? Did you launch?” I had been working towards it but then I stayed up all night for a long time. I launched it. She was like, “Are people buying stuff?” I was like, “They’re buying stuff.”
It was this weird thing. We have two kids. They’re young. I was like, “Could you watch the kids? I have to concentrate on this.” I didn’t expect it. I went into a black hole for four days. It was all night every night for four days going into that. That’s wild. I’m very lucky that my wife was willing to stick with me through the initial crazy talk because it was and through all the craziness that has happened in the last couple of years.
You’ve gone deeper down the generative art hole than most human beings. It would be great to get your perspective on what is art 101, what’s the origin, why is it different and why it matters. We have done some of this research. I was excited to learn that this stuff has been around since the 1950s. Correct me if I’m wrong. A lot of this stemmed from scientists and engineers doing their thing and having fun hacking. What’s the real backstory here? Why does all this matter?
It stems from a certain level of nerdiness and professional people also having a creative side. It’s the people that have access to computers in the ’50s and ’60s. I don’t know that a lot of people were creative people and said, “I want that huge mainframe. I’m going to make that into something.” Herbert Franke is one of the first names that comes to mind. He’s a brilliant mathematician and scientist that had access to some tools and also had a creative side.
I was like, “This is beautiful.” I started making prints and stuff that he called art that most people did not call art. This type of algorithmic or computer-generated art has been accepted by few in the same way that the sculpture world or oil on canvas accepts those mediums. I see three generations of this. I see the generation of the early pioneers. You look back at their work and you’re like, “You did that in the ’70s.” They’re beautiful plotter drawings from back then.
You have this wonderful crew of people that were making generative art and using computers after things like p5 or Processing came around that made creating stuff with code more accessible. That generation of people is special because very few of them got any artistic recognition for their work. There’s this nerdy/pure passion project behind a lot of this because it was not something still even in the early 2000s that people chased as a type of art.
Therefore, there was no monetization. I didn’t know anybody that was like, “I’m going to be a generative artist and it’s going to be my career.” We have this generation. Anne Spalter, who’s one of the original collectors of generative art called new generative art this era of new generative art. You have these people that are making art as a passion that was handed a tool that allowed them to monetize their art and enabled them to distribute their art to a huge audience and huge being anything over 100, honestly, with very little friction.
NFT Generative Art: What we’re seeing now is this is an extension of generative art that is enabled by the fact that blockchain technology creates an NFT in it, which is immediately visible around the entire world within two seconds of minting.
In exchange for that, what they had to do is spend hours, months and in some cases, years tweaking an algorithm to make it to where they were satisfied with anything that it spits out without knowing exactly what it was going to spit up. What this has done is this has elevated generative art. It has forced artists to spend time putting forth their best work. The results are that 100, 1,000 or in some cases, 10,000 people get to participate in that artist’s journey and watch at the same time as the artwork comes to life on the platform followed by a generally pretty lively discussion about what the art means to them in front of the artist.
There are lots of things falling into place but what we’re seeing is this is an extension of generative art that is enabled by the fact that blockchain technology creates an NFT in it, which is immediately visible around the entire world within two seconds of minting. That has created communities, conversations and dialogue that didn’t exist before and are very much part of this equation of the success the generative art is happening.
It’s great to hear all that. I resonate with it so much. I’m realizing I happened to put this background up for the first time. These are 3D versions of trees that we’re creating as a team and I was creating in 2D with this software called Processing. I don’t know if you’ve ever played with that. I was doing that years ago. It’s the same thing. It’s making it, enjoying it, being amazed by it and feeling like there’s something to it but not always being able to communicate with other people about what’s so cool about it. It was great to go through that story with you as well. Art Blocks announced this metric of having surpassed $50 million in donations to over 100 charities around the world. Could you tell us a little bit more about your aims to bring inclusivity and equality into crypto?
I’ve been invited to speak at universities. I asked for feedback and the feedback often, 2 out of 3, has been that I was the only speaker that went in there and didn’t talk as if what was happening was expected, normal or deserved. This is all a bit nuts. It is a revolutionary technology that we’re experiencing. It’s emerging. There’s all this crazy stuff that we can apply to a lot of different parts of our lives. We should dig in and enjoy every piece of that. Along with that is crazy amounts of money being thrown around that in some cases are not necessarily based on value but based on this speculative and almost frothy situation that we find ourselves in with NFTs.
Early on, I built Art Blocks specifically to have this functionality that each artist could set a secondary address on their project that would create a split so that anytime funds came into a project, there is automatically a split. That was to serve two points in case an artist works with a collaborator. There could be two artists and they would both receive their money at the same time. The whole point of decentralization is not having to send your money to one person and then wait for them to bill you, send it 30 days later and say, “The check is in the mail.” Ideally, that happens at the same time but most artists do work solo.
The other option there was that an artist would be able to designate funds to go to charity. It took a long time before artists came around to that. I tried to set an example early on. During the Squiggle mint, I announced that for the next 500 mints of the Squiggle, the proceeds would entirely go to The Processing Foundation because The Processing Foundation is very much the root of that second generation. Not everybody uses it but it’s pretty much how most people learn to be creative coders. The result of that was that the single greatest private contribution to The Processing Foundation, which at the time felt huge but looking back was pretty small was $20,000 came from that.
The Processing Foundation reached out, “This is the single largest individual grant.” That got the ball rolling. Our Art Blocks artists started contributing a bunch of stuff to charity. In particular, Dimitri created Ringers. He didn’t need Art Blocks to do that. He already has his humanitarian or charitable side. I love that it has always been part of his process. As Art Block started to grow and explode, we started to suggest or hope that artists would contribute a portion of their job. When we talked about Art Blocks and $50 million, Art Blocks did not donate $50 million but Art Blocks enabled or made it to where 25% of drops would go towards charity.
It’s the artists themselves that have donated over $50 million. As an organization or startup, we donated as an organization the same amount that we had overhead in 2021, which is $1 million. It’s not even that much when you compare it to this $50 million but as a startup, that’s a pretty significant number to donate. It’s put to shame by the $50 million that the artists themselves have set aside or earmarked for charity. That continues to happen every time we have to carry a drop. Any artist that uses a Dutch auction adds a 25% charity to the drop.
That means that usually, it’s for anything above the settling price. What that means is saying, “Anything above that final listing price on the project, the artist is giving up part of it and then once we get to a normal price.” A normal price for art is $500 for an addition of $1,000 and $1000 for an addition of $1,000, which is a huge number. The artist gets to keep all the proceeds. That’s a nice thing. The bottom line is it’s not Art Blocks that should be able to take credit for it. The artists are on board with this and they’re the ones that are being the most generous. We’re grateful to get to work with such generous people.
I love this flow here though and my ignorance. I said, “Maybe you’ve heard of Processing, the software that is used to generate these.” You’re like, “That was a major donation.”
Erick Calderon Of Art Blocks – The First Interactive NFT Generative Art Platform, And More… Click To Tweet
It’s possible that Processing has received over $10 million in donations in 2022 as a result of all of this.
I’m checking out their website. They’ve got these great fellowship programs and teaching programs. They’re doing their thing and have a lot more resources to get done.
Casey Reas and Ben Fry are the godfathers of all of this, at least for me. That’s how I and most of the people I know started learning. We were either messing with Processing or eventually p5.js. I owe it to them that Art Blocks can even exist. The Chromie Squiggles are written in p5.js. A lot of my success and then also the success of the platform is based on that. It was one of the first initiatives that I wanted to support what they’re doing.
Let’s not downplay the fact that Art Blocks is the conduit through which these donations have been made. That’s a major piece of the puzzle here.
We’re very proud but it wouldn’t be without the artists and the art. The art is incredible. It’s a beautiful combination here.
Let’s talk about the art specifically. We have been in and around the NFT space for some time as well. We have heard the feedback from more traditional artists, non-crypto artists and non-digital artists. There are a bunch of different camps around what they believe is art or not whether it’s Bored Apes, generative art or pure physical art alone. We wanted to know how you view what Art Blocks is doing through the lens of crypto art versus traditional art. What differences do you see are not?
I’m on a mission and 90% of my travels are to put generative art in the same category as any other kind of art. I’ve been saying that people had to fight to put surfing and skateboarding into the Olympics because that was their passion and what they wanted to spend their time doing. They got real good at it and they wanted to compete with other people on a world stage but they wanted to do it in a formal setting. That’s how I’m looking at generative art.
There are a bunch of people that are excited about what they’re doing. They should be recognized on a global level like any other kind of art. The traditional art world has been overall or maybe people are nice to me specifically, has been very welcoming to what we’re doing. There is stress and a lot of concern but a lot of it has to do with the wild speculative nature of this. If generative art, PFP or all that had maybe stayed even in the ranges of May, June and maybe even July 2021, we would be having a different conversation with the traditional art world.
The traditional art world saw Art Blocks secondary hit $600 million in a single month and saw Art Blocks drops generate $15 million in 30 minutes. While I’m very proud of that, the artists and the platform, I can understand why someone could be like, “Something is missing here. Something is wrong.” What I spend my time doing is trying to talk to people about how NFTs are technology. They’re not a medium. A lot of times, there’s a lot of confusion there. If NFTs are a technology, then people are like, “What about Beanie Babies as well?”
People didn’t stop using stuffed animals after the Beanie Babies phase. That was its craze but my kids still walk around with a stuffed fox all the time. That’s the explanation of what’s going on here. There was a specific part of that technology that went into this thing. It did feel unsustainable and repetitive. What we’re seeing here with generative art specifically is that we’re able to raise the bar. What we’re seeing with NFTs, in general, is that the bar is being raised by adding such things as a utility also because there are beautiful NFTs that are not generative and are just beautiful works of art.
NFT Generative Art: Art Blocks did not donate $50 million but it enabled or made it to where 25% of drops would go towards charity. It’s the artists themselves that have donated over $50 million.
This ecosystem has a lot of growing to do. It’s not constrained to a single form factor. For example, people were talking about Beanie Babies. We’re talking DeFi, utility and non-utility PFPs. The idea in the end in the NFT space is that humans do like to be individuals and appreciate the idea of being unique from each other. This is where generative art is a perfect product-market fit. Whether you want to call Apes generative art, generative content or a PFP, it’s still generative. Nobody drew every single Ape and CryptoPunk. Humans are, in my opinion, drawn to this idea of being part of the same family and collection but all with a slightly unique innovation.
Once you experience it and what happens when you provide those inputs to a generative art engine, get the results and realize it’s not derivative and there’s something special happening there, that moment can be a pivotal moment for people in understanding what it is. I would recommend anyone reading to get in there, mess around with it and see what’s happening. It’s so interesting. It’s not obvious. The results are not predictable but they’re amazing nonetheless. For me, that was a pivotal moment.
Something that has changed is that Art Blocks has entered into a phase of what I consider to be normalcy. I get the, “Art Blocks is dead,” meme all the time but the reality is that especially with the Press V, you can go and buy a work of generative art that’s minted on-demand for you. They present it to you for the first time the artist and you see it for $220 or $120 depending on which one. That hasn’t been functional for a long time when we were going through this hype cycle. We have to fill these customer satisfaction surveys out everywhere else. Would I recommend Art Blocks to my friends? No, not when it’s a Dutch auction and the Dutch auction is resting at 5 ETH.
I don’t think you should go to your bank and withdraw $15,000 of your savings so that you can buy Art Blocks fees. When Art Blocks is behaving in what I consider to be normalcy, which is a Dutch auction that enables me, for example, as someone obsessed with having the number one mint to pay an extra ETH to get that number one mint. The Dutch auction drops to a price where everybody is willing to buy it. This is normal. This feels good to me and I feel like we’re in a good spot. I hate that we can’t control this and stuff this thing back into a box but this is a good time to experiment and learn about generative art and have hands-on experience.
It’s because of the sheer magnitude of success that you’ve had that you’ve inspired so many other generative projects. You can’t tell me that the folks that are doing generative music and film haven’t been looking at Art Blocks as a pioneer in this space and recognizing that there’s a long legacy before it. It gets exciting when you think about what’s possible next.
Here’s a shout-out. I’m not sure if you know our friends at AE Studio. They’re working on brain-computer interfaces where you can plug in neural networks and put your thoughts on paper. It could be a fun combo we should have about what’s possible when you bring what you know about that world to bear with what these guys are doing. It’s pretty amazing stuff. That leads me to this question. If we look behind the curtain, what partnerships and collaborations do you have in store? Our audience loves to be some of the first to learn about things. Don’t hold back if you don’t have to.
A lot of them are still in the works but we have some crazy stuff coming down the pipeline. There are a lot of people in the traditional art world that are coming around to what we’re doing. A lot of what we’re doing involves in-person events demonstrating the power of what generative art is and does. We were in Marfa Invitational surrounded by people generally from the traditional art world. It’s one thing when we try to talk about this through Zoom.
I can demonstrate a mint in person but when you see 15 to 20 pieces of generative distributed in a gallery and you get to experience each one like a piece of art and not just on a MetaMask account on a phone, it’s a pretty special thing. The partnerships keep building every time that we have these in-person events. On a partnership level, we are working with a bunch of people that are interested in using our enterprise service, which is what we call Powered by Art Blocks but that’s going to change.
It’s essentially people that are using our minting technology to reach their audiences. Some of those partnerships are already in place like Doodle Labs, Flamingo Flutter and Plottables, which is one of my favorite things on the planet. It’s a platform that uses Art Blocks technology to create plottable pieces that you can run into a plotter and are meant to be executed in a plotter. From all of this, we are having some conversations with some major studios and companies that are interested in bringing genitive minting and generative technology to their users.
We’re encouraging that through this concept of generative manufacturing. A lot of people probably heard me say this one million times. If you can manufacture 1 million of something unique for the same price as manufacturing 1 million of the identical thing, humans will generally tend to want to buy the unique thing as long as it looks good and feels like it’s within that family. That’s something I’ve been fighting for a long time in previous lives.
NFTs are technology. They're not a medium. Click To Tweet
We’re seeing a strong reception to that with NFTs, which are the lowest friction example of generative manufacturing. It’s the easiest possible way to prove this product-market fit of everybody wanting to have a unique thing. We’re heading in some directions with some cool partnership opportunities from people that are going to allow people to mint stuff and physical things in person as part of a generative minting experience. We’re excited to see where that goes.
I want to know about the roadmap from here. Also, it makes me think. What do you think about roadmaps having seen the left turn that things can take? Do you feel more confident in making plans that you have a little bit more attention and resources? Do things feel as up in the air and unpredictable as they did before?
In my three years in the CryptoPunks Discord before CryptoPunks were more than $20 apiece, what made CryptoPunk so special, which inevitably the end is partially what led to where they ended up, was that they never had roadmaps. It was a complete project from day one. The developers kept adding to it and making the marketplace, the website, the Twitter account and all that stuff better.
In my opinion, the CryptoPunks were a work of art in and of itself. There are some people in this space like Kevin Rose and Gary Vee that are going to create and promise utility based on NFTs and succeed. They have the resources to do it. They can spend money that maybe they haven’t made yet potentially to make sure that their clients are happy. In general, the idea of having a roadmap and utility is a scary thing.
I am so scared of what I saw happened in 2017 and 2018 with crypto and shitcoins back then. All of the altcoins had a roadmap, granted they were copy-paste websites from each other. Sometimes you look back and you’re like, “What were they thinking?” All of the websites had the same school patterns. I did not sell anything in 2018. I watched my portfolio go down by 99%, which was fun.
The roadmapping is a scary thing. We have avoided it for the most part. We have a beautiful group of engineers that are always iterating and trying to make the platform better. We hired a product designer, which is going to make the user experience better. We keep iterating in our creative team on making the artist experience better and in our community team to try to make the community experience better.
My experience in this space is that the minute you make a promise, no matter how good the result is, it’s never as good as people fantasize that it was. We’re keeping forward and trying not to chase the shiny in every direction and do what we’re here to do, which is to put the best generative art from the best generative artists on our platform in the world. Everything else that we do is going to support that mission.
There’s always that philosophy. If you get 1% better every day, 1% compounds as interest does.
All of a sudden, we’re 110% better.
When you think about everything that you do, it has been so inspirational for so many people and impactful on so many different levels. We would like to know. For you, what inspires you in the world of NFTs? What projects or platforms in that world or Web3 in general inspire you daily?
NFT Generative Art: Humans are drawn to this idea of being part of the same family and collection but all with a slightly unique innovation.
I’m inspired by all the awesome generative art that’s out there. I have a strong preference for platforms that don’t come out the gates swinging about how they’re fixing all the problems that Art Blocks has because I feel like it’s naive. Any NFT platform that’s out there creating generative stuff and not necessarily looking to differentiate themselves that way is something that I’m very happy and proud to see because I do feel like there is a part that might have been inspired by Art Blocks.
I don’t want to take credit for everything and think anybody else at Art Blocks does either but we’re proud that we could have had a spark in what’s happening. It’s not just NFT platforms. There are a lot of wonderful artists that are creating generative works in and of themselves within their smart contracts and development. There is a correlation here where a generative artist generally knows how to code and therefore generally has at least the basics.
Flamingo is not just generative but they have one of the biggest units of art collections in the world. UnicornDAO is conducting incredible work from parts of our population that are not as well-represented. We need that too. It’s exciting to see all the things that are flourishing, not just from generative art but also from an NFT and community standpoint.
Maybe my favorite thing has been UnicornDAO. I don’t know if you’re familiar with that. They collect underrepresented people’s work like LGBTQ-plus, women’s artwork and something that’s missing and not as well-supported in our space. Their roster of members and collectors is incredible. They’re doing some cool stuff. That’s my favorite new thing that’s coming around. Some of these partnerships that we have coming up are going to blow my mind at least and everybody else’s. We will see.
At any moment, if you feel like saying something, you can. It’s super cool stuff across the board. We’re very inspired by it and excited for the future. We will be keeping an eye out for those partnerships and collaborations. We appreciate you sharing with us. Let’s take a little bit of a turn and get your perspective on some questions. We like to call these bad boys Edge Quick Hitters. Let’s jump in on these things. It’s a fun and quick way to get to know you better. We’re looking for short, single-word or few-word responses. We can dive in a smidge if we want to though. Question number one, what is the first thing you remember ever purchasing in your life?
The first thing I ever saved up money to purchase is the first inkjet color printer. I spent 3 or 4 years of my life saving up money so I can have it. It was $500. It was different than what a lot of people buy for the first time. I was blown away by the colors and the fact that you could print in color. I had printed clip art for a year because that’s all I knew that I could print.
Question number two, what is the first thing you remember ever selling in your life?
I made friendship bracelets at a summer camp for years. I was an antisocial person in some ways. I’ve always had a little bit of a desire to be a businessman. My dad is a businessman and a general entrepreneur. I would buy the string at Michaels for $0.25, bring my little kit to summer camp and sell these bracelets for $0.25 but nobody would buy them so I would give them to people. Every now and then somebody bought one. It’s my first memory of selling something. Those have stuck with me. I’ve done crazy things. Years ago, I gave 2,000 interior designers in Houston our design architecture industry a friendship bracelet as our holiday gift. It’s something they still wear. It’s an important part of my life. Somehow it has been around since I was seven.
Question number three, what is the most recent thing you purchased?
This ecosystem has a lot of growing to do. It's not constrained to a single form factor. Click To Tweet
I bought some floss on Amazon. My dentist said I didn’t floss often enough. We’re going to leave it at that.
Question number four, what is the most recent thing you sold?
I sold five CryptoPunks for charity. My wife and I agreed to support the Contemporary Arts Museum here in Houston, which is an awesome free-to-visit museum. We’re proud to provide a catalyzing gift for a huge expansion hopefully that they would have. Once again, it was the single largest gift they have ever received by a living individual. It’s something we’re proud of. I took five CryptoPunks sold them and sent them a check for those minus taxes.
Question number five, what is your most prized possession?
I am huge into cars. It’s a 2010 BMW 1 Series M that I bought new. I got to drive around Germany in a previous life. I can never afford a super fancy car. This was the fanciest car I thought I would ever own but my company approved me getting a company car. I still have it. That’s my most prized physical and non-emotional possession.
Question number six, if you could buy anything in the world, digital, physical service or experience that’s currently for sale, what would that be?
My wife will kill me but I want to go to space. I want to watch 50 other people go first maybe. I want to go up there and would love to take my kids and my wife. It would be great.
Question seven, if you could pass on one of your personality traits to the next generation, what would it be?
There is a huge lack of humility in this world. I would love to see more humility in our space and the world in general.
Question number eight, if you could eliminate one of your personality traits from the next generation, what would you say it would be?
NFT Generative Art: There are a lot of people in the traditional art world that are coming around to what we’re doing.
My wife would say that I’m too nice, which is a nice way of saying I’m a pushover. I tend to be fairly disorganized. I have to have a certain level of organization to get through the day. I would love to be more organized.
Question number nine, what did you do before joining us on the show?
I queued 300 Chromie Squiggles to be minted. I queued the last one while I joined the show.
The last one is question ten. What are you going to do next after the show?
Coincidentally, the moment this show is over, I’ll be minting all 300 of those Squiggles at one time.
I love a good story. We get a nice story arc throughout this entire thing. That’s Edge Quick Hitters. I appreciate it. There were lots of fun and good info on you. We wanted to take a moment to make sure that we elevated how people can connect with you and follow this amazing project.
My Twitter handle is @ArtOnBlockchain. It’s appropriately exemplifying what I’m doing here in the space. We have Discord.gg/ArtBlocks. Follow @ArtBlocks_io on Twitter and the Instagram account. Those are the three best ways. Otherwise, if you’re going to anything art-related like art shows, then you will probably run into us there. Make sure to look at whatever Art Blocks is doing.
Most certainly follow these guys. There’s amazing stuff happening here. The word on the street is we also have a little giveaway we wanted to announce. Erick, do you want to share a little bit about what we got going on here?
I would like to mint. We had a minter a long time ago that had to be removed during some of the hype days that have come back. It’s called the Purchase 2 function, which is where you get to mint the generative artwork directly into somebody’s wallet so that you can’t be selective, mint five and send the one you least like to your friends.
I would love to mint any of the open projects that are available on the Art Blocks platform not during a curated drop because that’s a Dutch auction and that’s a mess but outside of that, that’s a quarter of an ETH or less to the winner’s wallet. If you send me the wallet address, then they can pick their project as long as it’s still open by the time they pick it. I’ll mint it to them.
That’s very generous of you. You can keep an eye out on our socials. We will give you all the details of how to participate in that amazing giveaway. We have reached the outer limit at the show. Thanks for exploring with us. We’ve got space for more adventures on this starship so invite your friends and recruit some cool strangers that will make this journey all so much better. How? Go to Spotify or iTunes, rate us and say something awesome. Go to EdgeOfNFT.com to dive further down the rabbit hole. Lastly, be sure to tune in next time for more great NFT content. Thanks again for sharing this time with us.
- Art Blocks
- Chromie Squiggles
- Bright Moments
- Top Shot
- Anne Spalter
- The Processing Foundation
- Bored Apes
- AE Studio
- Marfa Invitational
- Doodle Labs
- Flamingo Flutter
- Contemporary Arts Museum
- @ArtOnBlockchain – Twitter
- @ArtBlocks_io – Twitter
- Instagram – Art Blocks
- Spotify – Edge of NFT
- iTunes – Edge of NFT