State of Art Blocks: an(other) update from Snowfro

Erick Calderon (Snowfro) recently shared what Art Blocks has been up to behind the scenes. That message is copied below.

Hi friends,

I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying your weekend! Just another update as our team travels the world expanding the medium of generative art!

I’m on a flight back from Chicago right now after participating on a panel at EXPO CHICAGO with art and NFT critic and enthusiast Kenny Schachter, moderated by Lesley Silverman from United Talent Agency. We didn’t have a booth at the art fair, but getting to speak on my favorite subject in front of the art world is well worth the 22-hour round trip. Plus the beautiful people at imnotArt hosted an event tonight celebrating three awesome Art Blocks artists Casey Reas, Emily Xie, and Rafaël Rozendaal! Huge thanks to imnotArt for letting us have stuff on display in their space, plus all of the wonderful conversations that were had. We are lucky to have organizations like you in our ecosystem.

Following up on my last update, it’s been a wild and crazy few weeks! March started off with a bang at Camp Ethereal in Wyoming. I had the honor of being asked to speak on a panel in front of a very intimate group of builders and innovators and tech enthusiasts. I think there were only 200 people at that conference and it felt like a true privilege to be there. The conversation was so good in and out of the conference, not to mention I had some of the best Thai food ever. In fact, I had dinner at Teton Thai every night that I was there lol.

I got to spend quality time with a significant contingency of the ConsenSys team, including the wonderful people who run Decrypt Media and did a great job of hosting. Even got to meet Joe Lubin, whom I hold in such high esteem for his dedication to Ethereum. He is a pioneer, innovator, and genius, and hearing him talk about ETH as “ultrasound money” was wild. Highly encourage you all to track down any interviews and podcasts you can find and hear him talk about this Wild West.

The conversations were very sobering, revolving around tax, regulation, and the substantial growing pains experienced in our industry. Lots and lots and lots of DAO talk too, with pretty exciting energy surrounding formalizing legal structures around them.

From Wyoming, I pretty much went straight to Austin for SXSW, and started the week speaking on a panel with executives at Fox and Bento Box as part of the Blockchain Creative Labs conversations. I sat next to and nerded out with Ben Jones, creative director at Bento Box Entertainment, creator of various television shows on Adult Swim, and also a pioneering web artist. We had some pretty fun conversations about the power of generative tech and I look forward to exploring synergies between our projects.

The rest of the week was spent having my mind blown meeting a bunch of insane humans from web3 and beyond, and laying the groundwork for some really cool potential partnerships and events. Big shoutout to Trippy for being such an awesome host and making so many connections, you really bring good humans together, and I am grateful to be your friend.

Besides hanging out with UnicornDAO founders and some of my favorite art and music celebrities, I specifically want to shout out Swan Sit, who spent literally hours with me and Hugh riffing on Art Blocks, the difference between marketing and advertising (TIL), and the future of Art Blocks. Also props to Tyler Hobbs who graciously invited Hugh, Jeff Davis, and me to his studio where we must have overstayed our welcome talking curation on the platform and about his wonderful work “The Wall”, amongst others.

The energy in this space is bonkers. Hard to verbalize.

Next, my plan was to head to Napa for True Ventures Founder Camp, where I was going to be surrounded by a handful of other web3 founders, including the folks behind Quantum Art, UnicornDAO, and SquiggleDAO, to name a few.

Sadly, on my way out the door, I tested positive for COVID, shattering my fantasy that I was somehow immune, and instead I spent the week at home hearing about all the cool shit happening in Napa. I was crushed, but also welcomed a full week at home, totally asymptomatic, and catching up after weeks of relentless travel. Thanks for the COVID POAP, SXSW, I feel pretty invincible now.

That next Sunday I left for Santa Fe where I met up with almost our entire Art Blocks crew for a little work retreat. Pretty insane meeting people in person for the first time, and we spent the week getting to know each other and ourselves as a company and as humans. It’s hard to explain without potentially causing FOMO, but I sincerely encourage other founders in our space to set aside (significant) time and resources for experiences like this. It’s common in web3 to get wrapped up in the madness of our lives and forget about basic human delights. With the help of our internal culture agency The Black Sheep Agency, headed by the brilliant and inspiring Aimee Woodall. We explored our core equities as a company and I personally walked away EVEN PROUDER of what we have accomplished at Art Blocks than I had before!

And! Part of my welcome chat with the team on the first day included having the privilege of announcing Hannah’s promotion to Chief People Officer! So grateful for all you’ve done to fight for culture at Art Blocks, not to mention handling every single curveball thrown at us in our first few months of operation. We are in such good hands here! So proud of the team.

Also want to mention that April 1 was the first-year anniversary for our team, as Jeff Davis, Ben, and I officially became Art Blocks employees that day. Prior to that, we were all working as volunteers or contracted. Crazy how time flies.

We’ve had incredible artists launch fire projects on our platform, and it’s been really wonderful watching new mints come alive in the mints channel. We continually strive to elevate the caliber of art on our platform, and the recent introduction of resting value guidelines has already resulted in smaller Factory editions — something I’m dying to see, and I know many of you are, too. A project’s edition size should elevate the meaningfulness of the artwork, and while there will be both Curated and Factory artworks that can and should be 1000+ mints, these larger editions will become less common.

We also want to provide more attention to each project, both leading up to a project release and after launch. The net effect of increasing our quality standards and giving more attention to each project will be that we have fewer project releases per week. While having fewer and smaller projects could make it more difficult to mint our most sought-after projects, we do have some cool things up our sleeve to enable everyone to participate as we make progress toward integrations on L2.

Extending a warm welcome to newcomers to our community, and hugs to those who have been around over the last year+. Excited for the next quarter here at AB, hope you see gratifying changes as we continue to elevate and evolve this medium of art.

Love,

Erick + the whole Art Blocks team

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