A couple of days ago I had the chance to talk to Anna, an avid Tezos NFT collector that's been part of the space right from the start. Over the course of two years Anna has accrued an impressive following of almost nine thousand followers on TwitterX, and has collected hundreds of NFTs at this point - mainly in support of smaller artists that are trying to make it in the NFT space.
Mid-august I reached out to Anna over Twitter DMs, asking if she'd be willing to do an interview for the blog. She happily agreed, but informed me that it would have to be in French - in English she could only do it in writing. I told her that it's not a problem, since I do speak a little french and that I'd have my partner, who is more fluent than me, at the ready to help whenever I'd struggle to find the right words.
Going into the call I had little idea what to expect, but I was met with a very cheerful voice - after making my excuses about my broken french she told me not to worry about it, and we didn't waste much time to get into the questions that I had prepared.
Background and getting into NFTs
Gorilla: To many people in the Tezos NFT scene your name is most likely already a familiar one, but for the readers, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into collecting NFT art?
Anna: Before May 2021 I had absolutely no connection to the Artworld - that is when I discovered NFTs through the medias.
For several years, I worked in part as a fitness coach, and on the weekends I had jobs at nightclubs. Prior to that I had absolutely no connection to art, nor did I know much about art - save for the big names like Picasso, Monnet, etc. But I think everyone knows those. To be frank, I also didn't really have an interest in art [laughs]
Discovering NFTs, I found it an opportunity to break into this world - and try to understand art a little more.
Seeing NFTs all over the news on TV and in magazines, I told myself that there's a couple of things that I needed to do. Especially since they could be purchased and collected, and that, for a relatively affordable price. On Tezos that is - I've never collected on other chains. Passing by galleries in real-life I'd know that those works weren't something I could afford. But now I could actually own pieces for myself, and have my own collection.
Gorilla: This started with hicetnunc in 2021? Prior to that you hadn't been active on social networks?
Anna: Yes, back then, when I joined the space, that was the only platform that existed on Tezos - typing the term "NFT" into Twitter that's what popped up. It was a really beautiful platform.
And no, not at all. I didn't really like social networks, to me there tends to be too much aggressivity and narcissism on them. Nonetheless, that's how it started for me and how I got to know so many beautiful people in the space.
Gorilla: hence it was the accessibility of Tezos NFTs that enticed you?
Anna: Yes, in a way - at the same time, NFTs were a means for me to help others. By being a collector I could now financially support many small artists that were trying to make it. Coming from a working-class family, I know what it's like to not have money.
I've always loved helping people, and now I'm lucky to be able to do that in that space by being a collector.
Gorilla: For me things also started with hicetnunc. Discovering it very early on, I decided to give it a shot and mint some pieces on the platform. It changed a lot of things for me. It also felt a little bit like I was part of a revolution - things have changed a lot since then.
Anna: I miss hicetnunc a lot - it's a completely different epoch now.
One of the first names that I saw praising and promoting hicetnunc was Joanie LeMercier, onboarding more people to the platform and to Tezos. I think we have to give him credit for that, from my perspective at least.
First NFT and Monochrome Art
Gorilla: What was the first NFT that you have collected?
Anna: When you sent me the questions ahead of time I tried finding the first one - but you know, I'm not the queen of technology [chuckles] - I went back to the very first page of my Objkt profile but I'm not certain which one it is, because things are not in order anymore.
On my linktree I have three links: ArtMonochrome1, ArtMonochrome2 and ArtMonochrome Colors. At one point I asked my friend NFTBiker to help me transfer all of the NFTs from ArtMonochrome1 (where I had my first NFT) to ArtMonochrome2 - and now I'm not entirely certain about the order anymore. So I couldn't find it, but it was around mid-may 2021, probably the 15th I think.
Here I put on my blockchain detective hat and checked Anna's transaction history - the very first NFT she collected was a piece titled Outcast by GAN artist Nico Black - minted on the 13th of June 2021 and collected by Anna on the 15th of June 2021
Gorilla: You mainly collect monochrome pieces, what significance does monochrome art have for you?
Anna: When I started my collection I wanted to set myself apart in some manner - that doesn't mean that I have a special attraction towards monochrome pieces when compared to colorful pieces - I just wanted to differentiate myself and find my place in the space. I found that not many people were doing exclusively monochrome collections.
I also do have a small colorful collection as well.
Evolution of the NFT Space
Gorilla: As a collector, how has the NFT space evolved since you joined?
Anna: [mulls it over for a second] I find that a lot of artists haven't been supported, many smaller artists in particular. After the big boom in 2021, many people joined the space and I believe that it's become more difficult to find a foothold the bigger the space grew.
Gorilla: Today I have the impression that marketplaces have become more exclusive and boutique in comparison to before.
Anna: Initially the space was convivial and friendly, now it often feels like I find myself inside a supermarket. Things feel a bit more artificial and manufactured, where many people care more about selling than making beautiful art. Things have shifted more towards revolving around the financial aspect of things rather being about the art.
Interest in Generative Art
Gorilla: You also have a big interest in generative art, collecting it and promoting many generative artists on Twitter. What is generative art to you?
Anna: What intrigues about generative art, as someone who doesn't know the first thing about how it works, is the mix between algorithms, technology and art - and I find it beautiful that this combination exists.
I find it amazing how coders can make art with code. I watched some videos about coding on Youtube but it's incredibly complex, I don't understand it. For instance, I find Vera Molnar's work fascinating, what she did during her epoch was incredibly impressive.
Gorilla: Vera Molnar started the generative art revolution.
Anna: She began with dice? Anna asks out of curiosity.
Gorilla: As far as I understand, she began executing her algorithmic ideas without computers - letting the throw of the dice decide particular placements of lines and points in her early compositions.
Anna: That's impressive.
Gorilla: At the same time there were a lot of people that frowned on what she was doing.
Important NFT moments
Gorilla: What were some of the important moments of the NFT space for you?
Anna: Not a moment per se, but what I love about the space, is the mutual support that artists show each other. For instance, even if they can't support each other financially by collecting - they can still do so with small gestures, like re-tweeting each others' posts. It might seem like a silly little thing, but a re-tweet actually goes such a long way - it shows interest - ultimately, art is meant to be seen.
I know that ultimately the goal is to sell, but not everyone can always buy.
This show of solidarity is one of the most important aspects of the space. In a way, in my experience, it feels like a big family where you never feel alone. I'm also grateful for all the friends and connections I've been able to make in the space, especially through events like Art Basel and NFT Paris.
One other thing that I also love, is to discover new artists and their works. Do you know ganarchitecture? I discovered them when they had just started out on Twitter and I was their first follower. Of course they got as far as they did because of their work, not through me, but it's a wonderful feeling to have been there right from the start and to see how far they've come.
Throughout my life I've had the support of a lot of people to get to where I am today, and this is my way of giving back, continuously trying to showcase smaller artists that are trying to make it.
Even if I'd lose all of my NFTs I wouldn't feel bad, because I'd know that I helped a lot of artists and made them happy.
Advice for budding collectors
Gorilla: What advice would you give to those interested in becoming collectors?
Anna: I believe that everyone can become a collector, even on a small budget - on Tezos you can find so many beautiful pieces for a relatively low price. Especially during some of the events that are conjured up by the community sometimes, you can get some stunning artworks for less than a dollar.
What's important is to be honest in the things that you do and support each other. Even though the space has expanded, it's still a microcosm all things considered.
If you want to get started collecting art on Tezos yourself - I've written this introductory guide on the topic, covering concepts from how blockchains work up to installing a Tezos wallet and collecting your first piece:
Gorilla: Who are currently some of your favorite artists? Would you like to shoutout some of them?
Anna: That's difficult to answer because there's too many, but to name a few: @annaxmalina @i_dianov @wblut @Eko3316 @Kopfgestaltung @kerimsafa @HOXID_ @gorillasu @ganbrood @__Sean_Luke__ @s0mfay@_0_0_0_9_ @Poppel20 @williamapan @chepertom
There's many more! Someone that I'd like to shoutout in particular, is @BaltazarGarden which I find is often underappreciated - he makes generative art with dice!
An artist and collector that I like a lot is @NFTBiker!
Anna is a beautiful and honest soul in the NFT space, and the space is better for having her in it. Promoting small and large artists alike, helping them get discovered, and collecting as much as she can. Thank you, Anna, for taking the time to talk to me and let me put together this interview - it was a pleasure.
And that's a wrap, hope you enjoyed it!
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