Categories
art creative writing science fiction technology women writing

A gift of birth (W I P)

Floral montage with fabric swatches on canvas

A work in progress. Still drafting the story, even though I am about six months behind in writing. The best part is that this delay has allowed me to rethink the story I am trying to tell, and build more rounded characters.

In mid-January, I drafted two scenes to show faith intersecting science and politics. This is an important theme in the story because the politics are influenced by a religious doctrine. Blending them will be interesting, because I do not plan to make anything obvious. In this untitled scene, the science is explained in a conversation between two government officials.

Fabric swatches and acrylic on canvas

“That was their colossal cock up,” shouted the health minister. The minister was not inside his study, so Sebastian was talking to an empty desk this afternoon. The health minister was speaking from a different room, and he was shouting even though his voice was transmitted over voice activated smart mics in his home.

“Sir,” replied Sebastian, “Treasury does not have jurisdiction over private medical cases.”

“You can revoke their funding,” was the minister’s surly response.

“True, but taking away funding from medical research into fertility treatment would be tantamount to a human rights violation,” said a smirking Sebastian. He was rather pleased with himself. “And may I remind you that overseas investors are plugging large amounts of cash into the research and development?”

“Money, money, money,” said the health minister. “She is suing me for lack of oversight. Me, personally. The research shows that uterine cells never generate fetal tissues even when exposed to a massive cocktail of hormones.”

“It was an act of God,” said Sebastian. He was laughing silently because he knew the statement would annoy his colleague. He stopped laughing and raised an eyebrow because he wondered if the health minister could see his face on a monitor somewhere.

Collage elements, fabric swatches and acrylic on canvas

“An outdated notion,” was the swift correction from the health minister’s voice.

Sebastian rolled his eyes, slightly relieved that his mocking behaviour had not been noticed.

He said, “She is with the Congregation, so those notions are alive and well. And support, across the world, has been universally positive. Also, remember that this is a giant leap forward for fertility research. The value of stock portfolios of biotech investors have skyrocketed. Absolutely everyone loves her.”

“Fine,” replied the health minister. “She is raising her daughter, and enjoying sainthood, but why is she suing me … and the government for the near fatal heart attack she suffered minutes after giving birth? I feel sorry that she had to go through that, but the same technology reprinted her blood vessels that were damaged. She is alive because of us and is suing us? Yet, everyone believes her actions are justified. Especially after that fiction!”

“Creative non-fiction, sir,” corrected Sebastian. He glanced over on his screen to review the article published in the National Gazette, in which the woman recounted the experience of giving birth to a girl less than a year after male-to-female gender reassignment surgery. Bloating, swelling and discomfort were normal after these procedures. She and her doctors did not know she was pregnant and there were no sperm or egg donors. Her doctors guessed that because of the hormone protocol she received, some of the cells in her ovaries had changed to reproductive cells. After exhaustive tests, they concluded that the most likely explanation was that one of the cells moved to her uterus and started dividing spontaneously. The hormone protocol facilitated the pregnancy, and the fetus was delivered at the six month mark.

Sebastian looked at the highlighted text of an email which was opened in another window on his screen. His cousin, Gala of Vale, was the first person he contacted when the health minister asked him for a meeting. She had replied to him with a voice message. Reading the transcription, he saw that it had everything he needed.

“Technically,” Sebsastian continued, “she cloned herself but this not a flaw in the medicine. She is reproducing, which is, biologically, what her body is supposed to do. Ask your team to focus on that argument and petition the tribunal to force a settlement on those grounds. But while you do that, tread softly. Her story is about family, faith, and the belief in miracles. Something that is lost in our world. People like hoping for things. We shouldn’t try to take it away from them.”

Paper collage with 3D elements

“All right,” replied the health minister with a sigh. “And what can I do?”

“Hire her as a special health advocate,” answered Sebastian.

“Even though she’s suing me,” retorted the health minister.

“Yes. Exactly,” replied Sebastian. He glanced over at the rest of the notes from his cousin. “And for the settlement negotiations, you personally offer money and resources only if she agrees to set up a foundation. Ask the Congregation to join the negotiations as an appropriate third party. As health minister, you will appoint an advisory board to represent the Congregation and the biotech industry. Instead of fighting her at a tribunal, we should help her to build a platform and set an agenda for the next three decades.”

“All right, Sebs. I am going to get legal on the phone, and I want another meeting with all of you before dinnertime today.”

“Yes, minister. We will see each other then.”

Categories
art creative writing opinion technology women writing

A loving me thing: 8 steps to an Instagram turnaround

Hello everyone. This is a followup to my post last year when I realised why IG was sending me followers though I did barely anything. As opposed to the year before. At that time, I reached 300 followers even as I posted infrequently, and used zero hashtags. Shortly after publishing that post, I reached 500 followers.

I have since that point started using hashtags. I also hid reels and archived posts to create a tight, focused grid. At some point, I will take down most of my current grid so I can keep the focus on installations of my artwork.

My Instagram account is attached to Clubhouse (and Spotify Greenroom). Quite a few of my early follows were coming from there because I participated in room discussions. I was also asking people in Twitter Spaces to join me on Clubhouse, and they found me on Instagram as well.

A few weeks ago, I was discussing the above results with a friend, and I came to understand that by posting to my Story daily, I was creating space for Instagram to place ads between accounts. People are used to tapping on the right side of their screens to see new stories, and that gives 5-second ads a place to breathe. I believe that my steady gain of followers daily had something to do with that. In other words, Story is where active accounts thrive, and you raise the likelihood of IG recommending your accounts to people interested in your niche.

By the end of 2021, (CH/Twitter) collaborations with some larger accounts were also boosting my account. Accounts with massive followings were talking about our collabs on Clubhouse and they reposted my stories (about them) to their stories. I have also been mentioned in their IG Live broadcasts. Remember that I am using IG for business and these were my goals all along.

Step by step, let’s review the method I used, with an updated set of 8 enhancements. These are also low effort and consistently applied, with focus on the Story feature.

  1. Share the work of other artists
    First, do for others. Instead of scrolling, think about whether you would like to share a post in your Story. I recommend that you share posts to Story if (a) the account supports you or (b) if the account is somewhat popular. In the latter case, a story mention (using the mention tag) ensures that you stand out in their notifications.
  2. Keep it up in messages
    Socialise via text and voice messages. The more time you spend sharing accounts in a meaningful way, the more you find yourself receiving kind notes from creators in your messages. And sooner or later, you will feel like you’re talking to your friends. Follow up by explaining why you like their work. Be interested in their methods or techniques, and ask them what other projects they are working on.
  3. Follow and share accounts that look like yours
    If an account is doing work that you want to do and it is not too big (over 100K followers), you should try to show that you have something in common. Show your followers that your ideas have been brought to light by another creator. Use the text or drawing feature in notes to make it obvious why you like the post you’re sharing. Be adventurous and you will find support.
  4. Pay attention to accounts with great content and few comments
    When a new post bubbles into view, look for comments first. Then, if this account is familiar to you and you know they will respond, leave a comment. Comments are precious, so offer them generously and try to keep them light and positive.
  5. Check stories and comments
    Quite a few popular creators schedule their posts and no matter how amazing your comment is, they (or their team) might never see it. One way to make sure that an account is active is to look at their Story. Active accounts may be more willing to engage with yours, and this is what you want.
  6. FL!RT
    This is the one time when I will advocate making the first approach. On the account of a popular creative (artist/writer) in your niche, look at comments on their most recent post. Did the post author reply to comments? If not, among the replies, look for accounts that engage with their followers. Come back to the post and reply to their comment. Then, heart some posts on their account, and wait.
  7. Mute
    There are accounts that produce amazing work, but a swath of posts down your timeline two days in a row is no bueno. Mute the account so you can see other posts. Or, if you feel so-so about a single post, hide the post so Instagram doesn’t keep showing more of what you don’t want. You can always see other posts from the account later.
  8. Unfollow
    What’s it like when you notice a live broadcast or a post that seems out of left field? It pays to do regular checks of accounts that you are following. Use the “most/least interacted with” feature in Instagram to check for accounts that are far outside your interests. First and foremost, focus your attention on accounts actively supporting you. From there, branch out with confidence, and bring new friends with similar interests into your fold.

Thank you for reading this post. I imagine you might realise that a low effort method of using social media takes … effort. Overnight, you could have great results, but that’s because you were consistent in the past. None of these methods require you to spend a whole day scrolling. Based on what I have shared so far, create a plan that fits comfortably with your needs and objectives. Never give up on your dreams, the saying goes, but you should be prepared to work for them. Best of luck.

Categories
art men technology

Gingerpotter: Ralph Khoury guest blogs from Lebanon

Hello, I am Ralph Khoury, a Lebanese artist. My artistic journey started around three years ago when I decided to take my art seriously and push myself to create something new every week. This led me to grow my portfolio made up of illustrations, paintings, doodles and animations tackling mental health, my different thoughts and current events in my country and the world.

Lost

Although it was fulfilling to be able to create like this, it wasnt really paying the bills especially living in my country where art is not really appreciated, and where the minimum wage has dropped drastically because of the huge inflation that the country went through since 2019. The prospect of having to take a full-time job that would be underpaying me, would still be a better form of income then selling my art.

Beirut Beauty

That outcome was becoming an eventuality until the NFT space came to my attention and basically changed my life in every way for the better. Finally, I was able to value my art for what it was worth. I was also able to showcase it on the international stage, and people all over the world supported me. I am happy that I have gained so many friends in the community.

Gingerpotter, the artist himself

And after selling my art as non-fungible tokens, I realised what a powerful tool blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies can be for my artists in Lebanon. If they can bring themselves out of the depressing cycle our country has thrown us in, they will be able to make a good living doing what they love. Hopefully, their collective strength will lead to reforms on a larger scale for the whole nation.

Colorful nights

Through my art I was able to make a decent living in a short time, and I have earned what I would have only been able to achieve after many years work in a regular job.

What’s the exchange rate today?

Even though Open Sea recently banned Lebanon from being able to access their website, and my government already bans cryptocurrencies in general, these two bumps in the road will not deter me from onboarding more people in this space.

We have become early adopters, hopefully putting up the building blocks for a brighter future that our current political class could never dream to achieve.

At the end of the day, I truly believe that even if art is bigger than artists, individual artists will always find a way to stand out. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram.

Categories
art opinion poetry technology women writing

Octophina: Life and the art of healing

Fine artist Octophina

Not every artist’s origin story begins with the artist falling unconscious to the floor. But mine does. My name is Sophie. I am a Bulgarian mixed media abstract artist, TEDx speaker, and mental health advocate. Until I turned 32, I was an artist in denial. And I say that because I never had the courage to admit that I wanted to make art.

Octophina is on Twitter

After a very challenging period in my life, creating art helped me sculpt a new self-identity. I was also able to redesign my reality. The process saved me, and every day, I share my story with others to help them find their true calling.

I call myself Octophina because I’ve always felt like a human octopus, who like a real octopus, has at least three hearts and nine brains. Art helps me to use my “bugs” as features. This way of thinking enables me to see every challenge as an opportunity to grow. My path to becoming an artist was an unexpected journey of healing through inner exploration.

If my life had a prequel, it would be my corporate background as a trained journalist specialising in graphic design, PR, and IT. I was also a prominent international food blogger, a certified Mind Body Eating coach and founder of a social enterprise. And yet, despite everything I achieved, I struggled with depression for over a decade. Navigating the world through this brain has been a weird experience. Today, I capture all of that in my art.

In recent years, after numerous traumatic events, including the pandemic destroying my business and leaving me broke, moving alone to a new country to restart my life at 31, and my mom getting diagnosed with breast cancer, I was emotionally, physically, and psychologically drained.

On May 8, 2021, I fainted in my kitchen and when I woke up, I felt completely apathetic about the projects and initiatives I had been passionate about for years. It was as though my entire identity had been wiped out. Over the next four months, I was trapped in major depression. And it was difficult for me to articulate what I was experiencing internally. I felt terrified.

My therapist encouraged me to start making art to clear my mental cache, improve my emotional metabolism, and practice self-care. Today, almost six months later, we are working on a start-up which will merge psychotherapy, art, and blockchain technology. We started this business to help people improve their mental health and financial well-being.

Follow Octophina’s journey on Instagram

In celebration of this resurrection of life, presence and hope for the future, I launched a collection of NFTs on Open Sea called Pain to Power. This is a constellation of reflective artwork I created between November and December 2021. The date of the release is January 19, 2022, is the date my mom got her breast cancer diagnosis last year. After almost a year in hell, my mom recovered completely and is doing well. Sharing my transformational healing art with the world on the anniversary of her diagnosis is for me a celebration of resilience, which is what makes the human experience special.

Art has helped me discover my identity outside of social conditioning, peer pressure, and others’ expectations. As I create art, I am healing emotional wounds and building a healthy sense of self-worth. I invite you to stay with me on this journey.

Outro
Happy Friday, everyone. Thank you for reading Sophie’s story. We are five days away from her genesis drop (first collection of NFT art) on Open Sea. Let us send her our best wishes for the sale of her collection. In the meantime, why don’t you go ahead and visit her website, then follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Medium. She is looking forward to sharing her adventures in art and life with you.

Categories
entrepreneurs news opinion technology

NFT Marketplaces: A Competitive Megathread

Creative photography entitled Burning Issues. And NFT collection by Raecreateart.
From the collection Burning Issues by Raecreateart


Hello everyone. I hope you’ve had a great start to 2022. To start my year on a productive note, I have done lots of reading and talked with prominent players in blockchain technology investments. No two investors agree on the best investment approach, so my solution has been to try and understand their mindset. In my opinion, it is really important to grow a strategy play based on your own knowledge, connections, and risk tolerance.

Why is this important for creators? We should be thinking about investing some of our income to fund creative projects or startups and to build a nest egg for retirement. Eventually, I will be publishing informative posts on NFTs (digital assets stored in smart contracts on a blockchain), blockchain infrastructure, smart contracts, and cryptocurrencies. Each of these topics exists in its own ecosystem. The main ideas here are registration of ownership, a decentralised protocol for validating transactions, and platforms for creating and trading tokens. At the end of this megathread, you will see links for further reading.

None of the views expressed here are financial advice. Please do your own research, as always.

January 7, 2022 recorded conversation on passive income via Twitter Spaces

Intro
One of the first questions I am asked after “What are NFTs?” is “Where should I sell them?” Today’s post will give you some guidance through a discussion of NFT marketplaces. This presentation was first published on October 13, 2021 by Mide, an angel investor and crypto trading expert I met on Twitter Spaces. He published a megathread on his Twitter timeline to discuss his outlook on marketplaces for non-fungible tokens. So far, players with real world skills are entering the community. And they are bringing marketing expertise, professional teams, and networking skills to a market that is saturated with art. These newcomers will be competitive if they can offer tangible value to collectors. Marketplaces will then compete to provide a platform for the most popular project owners, and depending on the outcome of the negotiations, primary market collectors will benefit.

The original thread by Mide published on Twitter

Megathread
NFTs. They are everywhere these days. And if you’ve ever bought or sold one, you probably did it on Open Sea. The world’s largest NFT marketplace has handled a whopping $8 billion worth of transactions since the start of 2021.

The success of NFTs is no longer a point of discussion. Rather, it makes sense to think about the continued success of Open Sea as a marketplace. In the latter months of 2021, there was a surge in rival NFT marketplaces, many aiming for the top spot. So, is Open Sea under threat? That is what I want to explore today.

In the summer of 2021, the earliest sign of an Open Sea competitor came from one of the largest decentralized exchanges, SushiSwap. Sushi has announced its own NFT platform called Shoyu (meaning soy sauce in Japanese). The platform is currently in the final stages of development. Shoyu’s main advantages are integration with existing Sushi Swap protocols and the distribution of transaction fees to SUSHI token holders.

However, from the SHOYU NFT teasers released so far, the marketplace looks more like a competitor to Super Rare than OpenSea. This is because it targets individual artists and art collectors rather than NFT flippers (people who buy NFTs and resell them for a bigger profit).

The next marketplace that caught my eye is the newly launched Infinity. Entering the scene in October, 2021, Infinity has been trying to lure Open Sea users to its platform with the promise of a token airdrop (free tokens sent directly to wallets visible on the Open Sea platform).

Anyone who has spent more than 0.02 ETH ($US 62) on OpenSea can claim a bag of Infinity tokens if they spend an equal amount of ETH on the Infinity marketplace. Additionally, Infinity aims to be community-driven and completely decentralized, with user governance coming from holders of the airdropped tokens. Infinity even admits that it uses the same smart contracts as Open Sea. The Infinity developers are transparent about trying to lure users away from Open Sea in a so-called “vampire attack.”

On the centralised exchange side, there is a new offering from FTX US. The exchange’s latest marketplace launched in October. It offers a much-needed improvement to NFT trading on Solana. It also provides a safer and more intuitive way to discover NFTs. At present, FTX only supports Solana NFTs but has said it intends to add support for Ethereum-based NFTs soon. FTX already runs an NFT marketplace and users can bid on experiences like a match in the popular League of Legends game.

Finally, we have Coinbase NFTs. Nasdaq’s first cryptocurrency exchange says that it will help creators to flourish on the exchange. In the announcement of its waitlist, it said that “by fostering connections, Coinbase NFT will help creators, collectors, and fans build community.” However, despite the optimism of this presentation, it is newcomer FTX that has the biggest chance of dethroning Open Sea, in my opinion. The platform has proven that it will get what it wants. It has also spent millions on marketing and promotional partnerships. It has already made a name for itself as a provider of cryptocurrency derivates, and I believe that it will be able to achieve the same level of success with NFTs.

Fin

Further reading

Ethereum Whitepaper
Ethereum Foundation

The Year in Ethereum 2020
Josh Stark and Evan Van Ness via Medium

Why I’m bearish on Ethereum
Tascha Labs

Solana: A new architecture for a high performance blockchain v 0.8.13
Solana Project

$LUNA Investment strategy discussion on Twitter Spaces (recorded)

Categories
art technology women

A passion for art: Reflection on the Thea Collection by the artist Luchong

Dahlia by the artist Luchong

Intro: I remember meeting Luchong in Twitter Spaces a few months ago. Not long after meeting more of her friends, I decided to post an African artists’ showcase here on Saint Joan Creative Studio. I remember receiving a very excited note when she noticed I plugged her photo into the post. Today, I call her “boss” because she is a verified blockchain diva. Her Thea Collection is the 7th highest trending collection on Open Sea as of late December, 2021.

Open Sea is the biggest platform for NFTs. The platform has reached a trade volume of over US$720 million in the past three days alone (January 3 ~ 6), so imagine the scale of her achievement. Trending is not easy for any artist. Hers is a phenomenal achievement due to her talent, bubbly personality, and the support of established artists around her. Congrats, boss. And now, let us hear from our muse.

Safiya

Hi, I’m Luchong, a 20-year-old digital artist from Nigeria and the creator of the Thea Collection of art which is available on Open Sea. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram.

Where do I start? Last year, 2021, was definitely a wild and interesting year for me. Although it didn’t quite start out on a good note, it ended in a very beautiful way, and for that, I am thankful.

I joined the NFT community in September, 2021 and it has been a life-changing experience for me. This is because of the community and friends I have made here. The community is something I am extremely thankful for because I have found the unity and support I really needed in my life. The best way to describe it is to say that I finally feel like I have found my place and my family. I am happier today than I have been in a while.

Kissa

The NFT community space has made a huge impact on my life and I say that because I have seen so much growth and improvement in myself and my art. I consider this community to be a true blessing. I am especially thankful for my collectors, specifically my first collectors, those who found me and fell in love with my art, those who believed in me and my art. I am especially grateful to Prince Ude, NFT Lover, Lord Olu, Kel Savage and Bolusowe. Their love and support have been unreal and I am extremely grateful for them all.

Thea Collection reaching 2 ETH (US$ 7079 floor price)

Looking forward to 2022, I can say that I am happy and excited for the year ahead because there are a number of things I want to achieve during the course of this year. First is that I want to grow and evolve so much as an artist. I want my art to reach more people and evoke emotions in them. I want my art to effectively communicate my feelings to people and I want more people to truly resonate with my work. I also intend to dabble in 3D art and more traditional forms of painting. My passion for art increased so much this year, I am grateful and excited to create more.

The artist Luchong with her beautiful work

May I mention a few brilliant artists I intend to collaborate with in future? You may have heard of Kel Savage, Torera, Freddie Jacob, Pascal Okafor and Design with MJ. If you haven’t, please get to know them. They are amazing.

And I guess that’s a wrap. I have a really positive feeling about 2022 and I feel this will be my best year yet. I am thrilled to start the year with this newfound drive and love for art.

Sales notice from Open Sea

Outro: Hello everyone, I am fine artist and author Lily Nicole, and as you can see I am back from a very long break. My domain was renewed automatically (thanks WordPress) and Saint Joan Creative Studio is alive and well. Let us pretend that thing you never saw didn’t happen.

Categories
Earth health People technology women

Kin Plaa Kaeng: School nutrition project in Thailand

Love eating fish: A rural school in Thailand prepares for a project

Intro
Happy Thanksgiving, to readers who are celebrating. To mark this special occasion, I would like to highlight the work of my wonder twin, Isreyah Pradabvate. She is an early childhood educator, entrepreneur, former United Nations UNESCAP volunteer translator. She works full-time in a leading Japanese entity in Thailand. In this post, I pay tribute to artists and activists like her who give their time and talent towards making the world a better place for future generations. So proud of you, my sister.

The pond is flourishing

Project details
Hello everyone, my name is Isreyah Pradabvate. I am an early childhood educator, entrepreneur, former United Nations UNESCAP volunteer translator and an NFT creator with a full time job in a leading Japanese entity in Thailand.

“Kin Plaa Kaeng” (in Thai this means “Love Eating Fish”) is a project initiated by the co-founder of a startup where I used to work. His name is Krit Sangvichien, and he works with me, as well as with Kansuda Koompairoj, who is the project president and community leader.

Children enjoying protein-rich meals

Love eating fish
Kin Plaa Kaeng has one objective: To turn small schools in rural Thailand into self-sustaining food producing locations. Because of depopulation and a centralization of economy that circulate only in big cities. Small schools are being shut down. Imagine what will happen to those children in affected areas?

Also, children consume insufficient amount of protein in their daily life. Due to many social issues which I would love to avoid getting into it. Protein is the most important nutrition that we need. We are made from Protein. Our brain, heart, muscles, body consume protein as their food.

Pond with water

Reason
Unfortunately, good or alternative protein in Thailand is as expensive as in the United States. Balance that with the fact that people here are still facing unemployment due to the pandemic and even before. As a result, they can not earn enough to provide to their family. So how could they afford healthy meals for themselves and their children?

The school

In some areas, children are able to only have streamed rice with fish sauce. Schools here have provided lunches but with a small budget, some people take advantage of the funds distributed so the meals never reach the children themselves.   

Solution
We came up with the idea of building a fish pond. We wanted to turn every poor school into self-sustaining food providers with at least one pond per school. We want parents and the community to be sure that they don’t need to worry about making a bigger income to provide good meals for their children. Some children do not even have breakfast because their can not afford material to prepare for them.

Sureenibha Noppakloa (L) with Isreyah Pradabvate (R)

Outcome
We have built one pond for Champanuang School in Srisaket Province in Thailand. Crowdfunding is done via this site linked here. We would love to build another pond for this school. And we want to build at least one pond for every school because they told us that they were really happy with the outcome.

Project leaders in Thailand

We want the children have delicious fish to eat and fill up their tummies. In the morning, some children will go to school, knowing that they will have free good food to eat. For the sake of a better world, let us work to raise the quality of life of these children.

Project cofounders Krit Sangvicien and Isreyah Pradabvate

Outro
Thank you for reading this presentation. It takes Isreyah 10 hours by train to travel to the Champanuang School in order to oversee this project. And she wants to build more ponds in more schools. Amazing that she gives so much of her time to helping others, and I am hoping that you will be inspired to continue doing good work in your own communities. Until I hear from you, be good.

Categories
art men technology women

Exploring the Metaverse with Africa’s finest artists

Orange by Max, Nigerian digital artist

Intro
Hello everyone, and welcome to this showcase of contemporary art which features fine artists from the African continent. This past Sunday, I hopped into a Twitter space hosted by Apah Benson, Black Mamuu and Xader. I knew it was my chance to uncover the fabulous work that has been hidden under lockdowns, cryptocurrency restrictions and social media bans. But that is their story to tell. Read all about it as you scroll through.

As you browse the showcase and read the stories presented here, remember that social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram are helping artists to move into the mainstream. I invite you to support my guests today by browsing their portfolios, and sharing them with your friends and acquaintances. Thank you.

MAX
I am a digital artist from Nigeria. My work is heavily inspired by portrait photography and surrealism. I create abstractions using mostly female characters to express my way of seeing the world: as an blend of contrasts and opposites. I present that vision using black and white, dull and glossy textures, or vibrant and soft colors. Follow me on Twitter.

Elisha Nyong
Hello. I am Elisha, a traditional painter and visual surrealist also based in Nigeria. I am known as a pro women’s rights and mutual representation activist. My artwork explores dreams and I use dry-brush techniques to accomplish that. You can find my work listed on Foundation. I am also showcasing my work on Twitter.

One Man’s Dream by Elisha Nyong

Apah Benson
I am Apah Benson, digital artist and poet based in Nigeria. I am a graduate of the University of Benin, and work as a digital marketer. Below you will see one of my creative photography portraits, Mystique.

Mystique by Apah Benson

I have also listed new portrait photography on Foundation. It is called Spectra. My new work is a symbol of liberty and natural harmony. And as you can see, I present it in multiple vibrant colours. In this presentation, I explore how humanity plays a role in creating this artistic symphony called life. Follow me on Twitter or Instagram to see more of my work.

Spectra by Apah Benson

Black Mamuu
I am a photographer and artist based in Warri, Nigeria. My work features portraits of people with heavy contrasts and colours. I use colors to explore different forms of identity. I started selling digital art about a month ago. As I did so, I found out that the two biggest parts or processes are currently banned in my country Nigeria.

A Twitter ban and a cryptocurrency ban prevent Nigerians like me from joining the world of digital art (the Metaverse) at this revolutionary time in history. But as usual, we found loopholes in the form of VPN software. We used them to access Twitter, and we used peer to peer (p2p) trading to access the cryptocurrency markets.

Adam: Our Lost connection

Neither is ideal, but it’s our forced reality and we have to work through it if we want to be part of the global art community. Last year, both Twitter and cryptocurrencies were instrumental in the successful #EndSars (hashtag End SARS) protest against police brutality in Nigeria. You might have seen it on the news. It is my firm belief that Twitter and crypto are banned because of the effectiveness of the campaigns.

Recently, there has been an aggressive crackdown on peer to peer trading and the banks are shutting down accounts thought to be used for trading cryptocurrency. So, for a typical Nigerian to access cryptocurrency trading platforms, we have to be very creative.

Find your path

I find that the NFT community is the easiest and fastest way for Nigerian artists to get recognition and value for their work. I made my first sale a few weeks ago, and it was life changing because it felt like I was finally being rewarded for all my years of hard work.

Luchong
I am a digital artist from Nigeria and I make art on my mobile phone using the Autodesk Sketchbook software. My art comes from a deep place filled with many emotions that I often times cannot explain or express. I love creating beautiful paintings to show that there is beauty in everything we experience as humans.

I have rollers in my hair

Above is a recent painting of mine which I call “I have rollers in my hair”. I created it to express what it is like to be in an environment that tries to bring you down and crush all your efforts. This is about struggles we face in our daily lives.

Being a digital artist in Nigeria and getting into cryptoart, I have been faced with many challenges, ranging from the crypto ban and Twitter ban. In spite of all this, my love for art pushes me to keep creating and showing my art to the world however I can. That’s me in that tweet below. I thought I would show myself to my friends and colleagues. Mentioned in the tweet are Benson and Gus, two of my artist friends who are also featured in this post.

Luchong

NFT Afrik
NFT Afrik is a project created to celebrate the “The Mother Queen” of the Ancient Benin Kingdom of the 16th century. With her mystical powers and medicinal knowledge, she defined the history of one of the most powerful kingdoms in Africa.

The Queen Mother NFT depicts the Ivory Mask of the legendary 16th century Queen Idia of the Ancient Benin Kingdom. Queen Idia,known as the great warrior queen, after the death of her husband, raised and led an army to fight off adversaries and ensure the reign of her son as the King of the Edo people of the Ancient Benin Kingdom.

Ivory Mask of Queen Idia

The Ivory Mask of Queen Idia was looted from the Benin Kingdom, among other artworks, during the British Benin Expedition of 1897. It is currently held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

The Queen Mother (TQM) NFT will serve as a members-only access for holders as the project leaders release initiatives and rewards to bridge the gap between non-fungible tokens and the physical world. Tokens can be purchased on Open Sea via the Polygon blockchain.

Ivory Mask of Queen Idia of Benin

Gustus
My name is Augustus Poku Sarkodee (Gus Sarkodee on Twitter) and I’m a multi-genre photographer from the beautiful West African country of Ghana. My work is greatly influenced by color and composition and I explore many different techniques most of the time. I recently started listing my work as non-fungible tokens. It has been an amazing journey so far, because I get to meet all these talented artists. At the moment, my work is listed for sale on both Known Origin and Opensea.

Ethereal, by G Sarkodee

Xader
Hello, I am Alex, a Nigerian student who is working to make a name for myself as a digital artist. I took a liking to the anime style of illustration mostly because of how extreme it gets when describing pretty much anything. I’ve been actively drawing for three years now and only got into the digital space in October, 2021.

Artwork by Alex

It is very difficult to sell my art as non-fungible tokens based in my country because of all the restrictions set up by our government. Trading in cryptocurrency is illegal. There is also a Twitter ban so we must use VPNs to access Twitter to promote our work. On top of that, there are major power outages, which makes it difficult for some of us to use electronic devices to make art.

Kiel Orji
I am a digital artist and street wear designer from Lagos, Nigeria. I am exploring youth culture and radicalism with a colourful rebellion against socio-political nuances of life in my home country. I am the mind behind Odd Surface and the co-founder of an independent creative collective, Popartii.

Mask art by Kiel Orji

My creative practice is an exchange between working over a variety of surfaces, from digital paintings and murals, to luxury fashion apparel and footwear. For my clothing brand, I create statement pieces that are a professional reflection of his cool, calm collective ideals and with specificity, which are pleasing to the senses. Currently, I create skull art NFTs, which I have listed on various platforms, like Foundation and Open Sea.

Ololade
I’m a fine art photographer and NFT from Lagos, Nigeria. The journey to establish myself as a digital artist has not been the easiest for me and other creators from Nigeria as you may have read earlier in this post. Twitter and cryptocurrencies are the major means of putting ourselves out into the world and sharing our art. Regardless, we find unconventional means of promoting ourselves and our craft with strong beliefs in our creative ideas to spark conversations on topics around the world. There are many stories to be told.

Serenity by Ololade

Famous Umobuarie/Fame Identity
I am a hyperrealist artist, and I create realistic drawings using a pencil and other mediums, such as a ballpoint pen. I was born in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria. I started drawing at the age of five on the back of my notebooks, chairs, doors, and on walls.  I generally draw from the things going on around me and my environment, society, and circumstances to see if an idea, emotion, or critique can be communicated using bodies, symbols, and titles.

Fame Identity’s iconic work is featured on NFT trading platform, Open Sea

People around me are amazing and I use different amazing souls as inspiration when creating a drawing. Our need to effectively communicate with each other is essential. If we cannot communicate, we cannot truly bond with each other. This is why I use my work to communicate with others and tell their stories. Some of my portfolio work is seen on Art Station. Most recently, my artwork was featured on the Instagram account of Open Sea, the most well-known ethereum based NFT sales platform.

Godiva Omoyuri/4th Finger Studio
I am a fine art portrait photographer and a collage digital artist from Edo state, raised in Lagos, Nigeria. I am the creative director of 4th Finger Studios. My artwork showcases the beauty in human diversity; self-love; equality, and other societal paradigms. My objective is to normalize weird and embrace what is different. My goal is to inspire those who see my work to live above the status-quo, to get off that labeling, and be our own standard of beauty while also letting people discover that there is beauty in being unusual.

Arabian Princess by 4th Finger Studios

Chuma Anagbado
I am a multi-disciplinary artist & designer whose work cuts across traditional, digital, and emerging creative mediums. My work reimagines Igbo culture and identity. I am the co-founder of Nigeria’s first multidisciplinary design firm, and I work to shine a light on human capacity development, identity, and social impact. In my work, I reimagine functional ways of using both material and non-material aspects of Igbo existence in designing new structures and narratives that people can use to help build a sense of identity, spirituality, and community.

Chowei by Studio CA

Special Guest: Subhash Nair
My name is Subhash Nair, and I am a wildlife photographer from India. Currently, I am ambassador for Nikon India and Oppo Mobile India. Africa is one of my favourite places for photographing wild animals, and I travel there two or three times every year. Nature and its creatures are amazing and we can learn a lot from them. I am at my best when capturing animals in their natural habitats.

Stories from the Wild

I think people who don’t love nature and wildlife cannot love anything. Places like Masai Mara and Amboseli are like second homes to me. I visit the Masai village when ever I travel to Masai Mara. My most recent visit was in October, 2021. Besides the wildlife, what fascinates me are the people, food and culture of Africa. Everything attracts me and I am happy to say that I have made many friends there and will be back to visit soon. Stories from the Wild is my collection of photography compiled from five years of exploring Africa, India and Indonesia. They are listed on the ethereum NFT platform Open Sea. Follow me on Twitter, or for a spectacular wildlife safari, find me on Instagram.

Categories
art opinion technology women

Ishika Guha: Lady Boss Creative

Abstract painting by Ishika Guha
Fire and the Flood. Abstract painting by Ishika Guha.

Tell us about yourself, Ishika
I am a self-taught abstract artist living in London. I work spontaneously and mainly for myself. It is something that heals me, gives me hope and makes me feel free! I am never myself without my colours. The best of me, the happiest of me, is when I am painting. Sometimes I paint only for the very reason people want to talk to communicate. Vibrant colours become my voice when nothing else works.

Ishika’s NFT artwork on Foundation

Is it difficult to create abstract works of art?
My abstract paintings came naturally to me. Expressive abstractionism has been my comfort zone from the very beginning of my journey as an artist. It gives me much-needed freedom and I feel at home painting in this style. I feel that it unlocks the aspects of my personality that otherwise would lie dormant, remaining silent and nebulous.

Describe your art, style or process
My art is mainly concentrated on abstract expressive mixed media (oil and acrylic). Each one is deeply reflective, and I try to make them fly beyond the borders of the canvases I paint on. Mixed media allows me to be spontaneous, and the whole process seems playful and adventurous to me. Often my subconscious mind takes over, and the process feels quite liberating. I do what I feel like, no plans, no rules whatsoever. This world is so full of rules, so I reach for that sense of freedom while painting.

Autumnal Delirium

Tell us more about your inspiration
My paintings are inspired by music and poetry. Each painting tells a story from my life, including my own traumas or happy memories. Many of my paintings are inspired by Charles Bukowski, Ogden Nash, Robert Frost, Rudyard Kipling, Jibanananda Das or Sylvia Plath’s poems. The emotions and the messages I find from their powerful poems are what I translate into paintings.

Do you have a team or do you work alone?
As a full-time artist, I have worked on collaborative projects, such as book and CD cover design, collaborations with a carpet company and also with an industrial designer who has designed chairs based on my artwork. 

Archived work from Ishika Guha

Tell us about your new home world, Twitter
I joined the NFT community on Twitter a few months ago and have already sold a number of non-fungible tokens on the Foundation platform. Right now, I am collecting digital art as I enjoy being part of an amazing group of talented artists and creatives. For me, this is about having a family outside your family. I enjoy being in a community that supports me without judgment. This is a great place for artists who are not here for financial gain but who want to feel accepted. No other platform, no other community, can provide me with that support and love I receive here.

Pratik Chitte, founder of Involute Magazine

How do you establish your brand presence?
Apart from Twitter, NFT, Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces, I am also curating an art promotion page on Instagram for Involute Magazine, which I co-founded with my talented artist friend Pratik Chitte. Pratik is a brilliant charcoal artist from India. Together, we feature artists from around the globe. Pratik also interviews artists for the magazine’s blog, which is hosted on WordPress. We do this to support the creative community internationally.

Fine artist Dylan Gill is featured on Involute Magazine’s Instagram page

Any final thoughts?
As editors and curators, Pratik and I believe that each work of art tells a beautiful story to our viewers. Art is like a powerful vessel that connects all of the scattered fragments of our innermost feelings. They make us look deeper inside ourselves. Now, if you happen to be on Instagram, please visit our profile page and let us have your feedback. We would love to hear from you.

Outro
Ishika Guha has 13K followers on Twitter, and 17K on Instagram. She receives lots of support on both platforms. She is a master at using Twitter Spaces for building brand presence, and is everyone’s favourite host. That is why I call her Lady Boss. She will soon take Clubhouse by storm. I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s showcase. Follow Ishika Guha on Instagram and Twitter. Follow Involute Magazine on Instagram and keep up with its founder Pratik Chitte on Twitter. Purchase Ishika’s artwork through her website. And read more about her in this “Heroine’s Journey” interview with Peter De Kuster. Thank you for reading.

Categories
art technology women

Magda Gorska: Collage artist

Magda Górska is a friend of mine from Twitter, and she is a collage artist based in Warsaw, Poland. When I found out she was a collagist and Polish, I captured her and brought her to a space I was hosting. She is a celebrated artist who has worked with some of the world’s top brands. I am happy she agreed to showcase her work here on Saint Joan Creative Studio. Allow me to introduce her to you.

Before the thing happened, I had planned a 2020 summer trip from Berlin to Warsaw and Krakow by bus and train. I wanted to experience long distance travel within Europe by road and rail. Still waiting for that to happen, and as I wait, I am able to experience Magda’s artistic vision. Isn’t it great to make friends before you visit a country? I was elated to meet someone who enjoys making collages as much as I do.

Another reason I like Magda so much is that she creates digital artwork on her mobile phone. It is the only hardware she uses for this kind of work. We have spoken before in space (Twitter Spaces) about people being snobby about hardware and software. I personally like scissors, glue and watercolour markers because nothing says “I made this” like a nice cut, paste and stamp project.

Magda’s collages are fascinating because she works to create intellectually stimulating presentations. And because she is so passionate about her art, her collages are loads of fun to look at.

You are probably wondering why people like us make collages. As Magda explains, “This art form arises from the need to question the world and present a thoughtful evaluation of it. I use my collages to show the harmony between nature and people. I ridicule patterns and undermine the current perception of reality.” Agreed. Let’s get ’em girl.

Using digital collages as a medium for storytelling, Magda uses materials that enable her to express herself effectively with original content. She enjoys experimenting with scanning, layering, and combining individual elements so that her creations speak their own unique language.

Magda exhibits in New York, Barcelona, Edinburgh and Warsaw. Her physical collages are showcased in homes all over the world. In life, she is guided by the principle that hedonism is the sweetest form of bondage. She believes in crazy dreaming, and that complaining takes you far away from your goals.

Dream crazy and never give up on your goals. Those are great thoughts, Magda. Thank you for sharing your work with us. And of course, let’s catch up soon in space.

Magda Górska is on social media. Follow her on Twitter as @MagdaGangsta. And on Instagram, she is @magda_americangangsta. You may purchase digital art from her collection on Showtime.

Categories
art artificial intelligence technology women writing

Voices from the Metaverse: Thailand’s NFT Community

An imaginative Wednesday cocktail from Z1MPLEX

Greetings, Earthlings. We are back with more art and photography from six of my friends and colleagues in the Metaverse. This post also introduces one of the most organised groups of creators online: The Thai NFT Community. There are many Thai artists on Twitter, and an uncountable number of fascinating projects to enjoy. My timeline speeds by, so I thought it would be best to slow things down and get to know them better.

And as always, please be good enough to follow them on Twitter, where you can see their beautiful artwork in your timeline.

Isreyah Pradabvate
I am a Thai NFT creator and I believe in making this world a better place. If you want that too, please support my artwork because it allows me to give back to communities where I actively engage. My favourite causes are: a positive outlook; sustainability; small community outreach; children’s rights. I use my artwork to deliver messages of support and help those in need.

This sold out project I am sharing with you is called, “My Other Half”. And it is a 1/1 token which I created with my dear friend, 100Acre. She is featured later in this post.

SOLD OUT: My other half project by Isreyah and 100Acre

The story goes, we have a crush on one guy but it will never come true because he is not real. How did we sell this project when there were two creators? We both wanted to be with our darling. Well, we split the illustration into two pieces and named them, “My Other Half”.

The Japanese text on our darling’s chest means “Stay together forever”. Our supporter, astrophotographer Amit Exploring Night Sky, purchased these two tokens without hesitation. He told me that they reminded him of the pendant he gave to his former girlfriend, who is now his wife.

Each half was priced at 0.036 ETH (US $125.76) and we came up with the price because 18 x 2 = 36. The number 18 is a sacred number for longevity in Japanese culture. And guess what? Our collector’s birthday is on the 18th. This felt like a miracle, indeed.

And would you believe that the magic happened during Lily Nicole’s Twitter Space? She drew together beautiful people, energy, and friends to meet there. I feel moved and I appreciate so much how my art could recall the innocent memory of a beautiful couple through my soul sister’s Twitter Space. It goes without saying that our other half doesn’t have to be our dream prince but rather, a bond of sisterhood and friendship, even from afar.

You can follow me on Twitter and stay updated on my work. You may also purchase my non-fungible tokens on the Open Sea platform.

Student of Universe/STU NFT
This is Pete from Student of the Universe NFT Collection project, also called STU NFT. I would like to share with you the story of this community project. I started my NFT journey as a collector around March this year.

In the Thai NFT community, I discovered a lot of amazing NFT art projects. But after I collected and flipped (relisted and sold for a profit) tokens for a while, I felt that I wanted to be part of something bigger. Something that could inspire and change the world in wonderful way.

At that time, Thai artists were not adding utility to their NFT projects. However, I soon found one perfect project that I loved. After collecting a lot of artwork from it, I talked to the artist and found out that we had a lot in common. As a result, we launched a partnership, created a road map of our project, and spun this universe into existence.

Students of the Universe NFT Collection

This is how the Student of the Universe NFT project was born. Our Discord channel was built from August 15, and we launched the collection on Twitter shortly after that.

Here are the core values we plan to put into our project: Deliver great art, create a community of learning, and deliver valuable utilities. I am proud to say that we now have 123 tokens for collectors. View our collection here on Open Sea. And keep up with us on Twitter. We are waiting to meet you.

Jehn’s Bloom
My preferred name online is Jehn. I am a writer, fine artist, and amateur photographer from Thailand. I cherish fragility, gender spectrum inclusion, and divine creation. And I do art based on this concept: ‘Of flower, love and queers’.

I use soft pastels on Indian handcrafted paper and my 10 fingers as a blending tool. These are only the specific combinations which I use. And this is what I do to create a unique effect, which you may have already noticed. Follow me on Twitter and get to know me and my friends.

Z1MPLEX NFT Lab
Hello, I am Zimplex, a mixology cocktail bar owner from Thailand. In my home country, I am known for creating visually stunning cocktail shooters using spirits, liqueurs and syrups. In other words, I love to create artwork in shot glasses.

These drinks have been subsequently visualised into unique and physical generative NFTs. For my main project, I remove the shot glass from each photo by using a retouching tool, and then I let the solid form of cream liqueur stand out.

These are then transformed into mirror-image artwork and video installations like the one embedded below. And, there is my side project, ‘Shooter Monsters’, which is a problem/solution project for those wondering how my cocktails look before I turn them into artwork.

For more delicious drinks, visit me at my bar in Thailand, or follow me on Twitter for updates.

100 Acre
Hello, I am known as 100 Acre in the NFT community, and I am Ploy’s collaborator in our project, “My Other Half”. She was featured at the top of this post. I would like to share my project, 100 Acre Kindergarten, along with some artwork from the collection.

My primary inspiration is my artist alias, 100 Acre, which refers to Winnie the Pooh’s 100 acre wood. The 100 Acre Kindergarten collection is similar to a collection of children’s stories. It was created to be a place where I, as well as those who view my work, can unwind and enjoy life as we did when we were children.

Each token in this collection introduces a new character of an animal universe, with their own personalities and backstories. When the project is complete, there will be 100 characters in total, with 85 being common, 10 being special (coastal area kids), and 5 being rare (parallel world kids).

Thank you for viewing my work. Find me on Twitter where I hope you will also become part of our 100 Acre world.

Go2Skull
My name is Wake and I am known as go2skull on Twitter. (My name is pronounced ‘go to school’). The story behind my project is that if you see someone looking for a way forward, and they are in the dark, be a light for them. The Fairy Tales in Postmodern Era project is a retelling of classic fairy tales from the perspective of social activist movements in my country.

Fairytales in the Postmodern era by Go2Skull

I got this concept from my full-time job. I am a teacher in Thailand. I have witnessed efforts there related to student activism in areas such as children’s rights, human rights, bullying, racism and sexism. So I would like to participate by helping to reflect their struggles. My artwork gives me a way to do that. Until wrongs are made right, I will continue on this journey.

¯_( ͡❛ ͜ʖ ͡❛)_/¯

And with that powerful message from Wake, we are at the end of this curated post. I was amazed to discover that some artists are also social activists and community organisers. Isreyah and Pete, thanks for helping to set this up.

There is never enough time to hear everyone’s story in spaces, which is why this post was necessary. I am happy that I was able to discover more about each artist and their worthy causes. My gratitude goes to them for sharing their stories. Best wishes on the road ahead. Thank you, everyone, for reading.

Categories
art People technology women

Storm chasers, assembled

MEET THE Adventurous women
(and men)
flashing througH
THE METAVERSE

Shannon Bileski
A little about me. I am a storm chaser, aurora hunter and all around adventurer, living life to the fullest, every way I can. As a child, I was always fascinated with the weather and that is why I got into photography. At first, I struggled to get a photo of lightning when I was eight years old. And four years later, when I was twelve, I did. All that was missing was the right equipment. And after witnessing Canada’s only F5 tornado in 2007, up close and in person, I bought my first DSLR camera. Then, I started capturing everything and anything I could, including storms.

My passions quickly evolved into storm and aurora photography (and a dash of newborn photography). My work has been featured in magazines and has won awards. Most importantly, my work has kept me learning, growing, adventuring and discovering. There is no better feeling than staring down Mother Nature, and this marvelous gift she throws at you. Being in the middle of it, the complete awe, is an indescribable feeling. It is a special moment in time that I love to capture and share with everyone.

Melanie Metz
I was born to chase tornadoes, just as some people are born to sing or become medical doctors. I have been drawn to the storm, wanting to understand it, watch it, and feel it. Standing in the wind of a passing supercell is where I truly feel alive. I have had a passion for storms since I was a young girl living in Arizona. There, I would stare in awe at the incredible lightning shows and dream about tornadoes. As I entered high school, photography became my other love. I began actively chasing tornadoes after earning my bachelor’s degree, and I have been on the road with my camera every spring for over twenty years now.

During my earlier years of chasing storms, I partnered with Peggy Willenberg. Together, we became known as the “Twister Sisters” with a reality TV show on the WE Network. We also worked as Chasers for FOX 9 News in Minneapolis, taught Skywarn classes and did many severe weather presentations for various audiences. For the past several years, I have been living my dream as a solo storm chaser, as Melanie Metz Storm Chasing. I work to capture the power and beauty of storms on film.

I am just now beginning the journey into the world of non fungible tokens, where I hope to offer my work and support other artists in the community in a new and exciting way. And, let me share one more tidbit. After many years of hard work, one of my tornado photographs was recently licensed for commercial use in the cover and poster of the upcoming film, “13 Minutes”. The film is about survival. A community works together to rebuild when their town is hit by a tornado. There are several strong female characters in the story. I can’t wait to see it, because it is a huge honour. For more info about my work, please visit my website to learn more about my work.

Lori Grace Bailey
I am a professional wedding/portrait photographer who also enjoys capturing extreme weather and extraordinary skies. My work has appeared in major publications and television outlets including the March/June issue of Backpacker Magazine. I am also a brand ambassador for F-Stop Gear.

I enjoy chasing tornados in the mid-west, haboobs in the southwest. Or, when conditions are right, I captured elusive sprites using my intimate knowledge of a storm’s lifecycle. I believe that my work stands out because I can consistently get shots most people only dream of.

One of my other roles is Director of Monsoon Con, an annual convention in Tucson, Arizona. The convention brings together photographers and weather enthusiasts with an emphasis on storm chasing with success.

Jessica Moore
I am a female storm chaser of nearly 10 years, making a living from NFT photography and video. I am a meteorologist, professional photographer and videographer, and passionately involved with NFTs. My storm footage and photography has been aired on The Weather Channel, ABC, NBC, CNN, CBS, WeatherNationTV and FOX News. I have also been featured in several national TV news stories about women in storm chasing and meteorology. My non-fungible tokens can be found on Foundation and Open Sea under the handle name @DopplerJess as well.

Natasha S
Who says ‘thunderbolt’? Hi, everyone! My name is Natasha, a photographer by passion from Bangkok, Thailand. And here is my favourite shot of a city thunderbolt. One thing I love the most is nature of all kinds. As a kid, I always enjoyed watching lightning dancing in the sky and was never scared of it. For me, it was a light show from nature. So it becomes my passion whenever I see the light flashing from the sky, I always grab my camera and go after it.

In a city like Bangkok, finding lightning is challenging. Most properties in the city are private so it becomes difficult to find a location for the perfect capture. Great meeting you. You can find me everywhere.

Erin AKA GhostTrainPhoto
This chase was one of the best chases I’ve ever had. This supercell danced in front of me for almost an hour.

I am a psychology researcher with a passion for storms. I grew up on the western edge of tornado alley and have always been fascinated by the power of weather.

I got into photography as means of justifying the countless hours I found myself driving to experience storms. Photography has now turned into a passion of its own.

Hello, my name is Stephanie. I am a storm chaser and landscape photographer based in Oklahoma. I have spent the last ten years traveling the plains chasing Mother Nature’s fury. I grew up in the heart of tornado alley, so I have always been fascinated my weather. When I’m not chasing a storm, I spend my time traveling and hiking. I love to explore new places and push myself to new limits.

Willard Sharp
I am a storm chaser and astrophotographer based in Iowa. The 2021 chase season was really good to me this year and capturing most photogenic tornado of the year in west Texas this past spring was the highlight of my chase season.

Ujwal Puri
Hi. My name is Ujwal Puri. I am a photographer and storm chaser from Mumbai, India. My lightning photos have been featured in some of India’s leading newspapers and magazines. I have, as of now, one non-fungible token of a lightning shot. Looking forward to minting more of my storm chasing work on Foundation.

Adam Orgler
Hello. I’m a storm chaser based out of central Iowa. I’ve been chasing for 3 years now. I am currently a senior at Iowa State University studying computer ccience. What you will see is the result of an impromptu chase this summer in central Iowa. Over the course of the evening, I stumbled upon two highly photogenic, rotating supercells. The first cell was a fast mover which I had to outrun in order to avoid the large hail it was producing. It had an awesome bowl-shaped shelf cloud along its gust front. After the first cell dissipated, a second, slow moving cell formed to the north. I was able to set up my shooting location in a wind farm as the cell moved right towards me. It was spectacular.

Thomas Knepshield
Here is one of my favorite tweets from the year. I sat through a nighttime hail core in Garden City, KS trying to dent my car up and shatter a windshield. I achieved both of those goals here. I am an adrenaline-structure junkie storm chaser from Kentucky. This was my first year hitting the road to chase and I spent six weeks chasing storms along my 16,600 mile road trip. I saw five tornadoes, sat through a bunch of hail cores and captured a lot of lightning on camera. A childhood dream come true. I am twenty-two so that means I have seventy-eight more years of chasing to go (or more if possible).

Tim Slane
As a storm chaser and photographer, I chase storms, tornadoes, and lightning in the High Plains of the United States. Through photography, I share the beauty, uniqueness, and power of both storm and landscape.

Hunter Fowkes
This is one of my best storm chases I’ve ever been able to undertake in thirteen years chasing tornadoes. This was extremely close to home. What a day. There were many times this tornado felt like the ones I witnessed in Lockett, Texas, Ashby, Minnesota, and Tipton, Oklahoma. The tornado went through many phase changes and was such a sight to behold. I love this state.

Oh, my goodness. I was so enraptured by this presentation that I almost forgot to close it down with a big thank you. I was thrilled to have storm chasing superheroes featured here today. I am grateful to you for sharing your stories and being hard working and passionate, which is what we need to keep us inspired. And by now, you know the drill: Find them on Twitter, and follow them. They are going to look really cool in your timeline.

Thank you, everyone, for viewing this presentation.

Categories
Earth People technology

Photography’s hottest stars are on Twitter

Happy Sunday to you all. After Wednesday’s wonderful post, I thought it would be great to follow up today with astrophotography. What else are you going to do on a Sunday night besides look up at the sky?

As usual, when you view, please remember to visit each account and leave some feedback for the talented photographers. We have lots of tweets to view, so sit back and scroll.

Amit, Exploring Night Sky, is on Twitter. By day, he is a software developer. His work as an astrophotographer has won him awards. He is based in New Zealand, and he says that his photography of the night sky has helped him overcome the fear of darkness. This is why he enjoys bringing the night sky to you. He is dedicated to his art, and in Guiding Light, his patience won out after eight hours of driving and eight hundred steps to the top of a lighthouse. After a long wait, the dark clouds cleared, and you can see what his camera lens picked up.

Adrien Mauduit is an engineer, author, aurora guide, professional night sky photographer and cinematographer. He is mostly specialising in time lapse images. This collection features some of his most innovative astrolapse work, which is also the first such photography work to be minted on the ethereum blockchain.

Ross is an astrophotographer from the UK and he uses photographs to inspire people to get outdoors and see the beauty in the heavens above. His favourite image is one of the Andromeda Galaxy, but I am going to showcase this video of the Orion images he has worked on. Ross did a lot to help organise this showcase, and he did so by spreading the word among his colleagues and friends. Thank you, Ross.

Mustafa Aydin, from Turkey, is a superstar on Twitter. Shield your eyes before looking at his spectacular follower count. He is adored on Twitter, and I will tell you why. He takes amazing photographs and he has a great personality. He regularly drops into conversations by replying to my tweets, and he was kind enough to join in this showcase today. Mustafa is interested in deep space astrophotography as well as widefield and Milky Way astrophotography. He loves the endless learning curve and we love the goosebumps we get from looking at his work.

Josh is a sixteen-year-old New Zealander, and he is part of the Twitter astrophotography community. During the day, he explores our beautiful planet, and at night, the stunning night sky above. You can see some of his beautiful work on his Twitter profile.

Tom is also from New Zealand, and he is the same age as Josh. Isn’t it heartwarming to see young people so enamoured by our planet, our solar system, and this expansive universe? Tom is well-loved wherever he goes, and it is always a joy to chat with him in Twitter Spaces. He reminds us that his work is based around creating a connection between earth, people and the universe. His passion for art and the stars has been there ever since he was very young. Like him, I am happy he discovered this amazing hobby.

In his own words, “My work is based around creating a connection between earth, people and the universe: to bring it to those who can’t access it due to the sad reality of light pollution within our cities. I try to spark a sense of curiosity for the night sky through my images, as I believe it can teach us valuable perspectives on how we live our lives, the world around us, and who we are as people. My appreciation for art and the stars has been there from a young age, first inspired by the Hubble space telescopes incredible images. I am so happy to have found something that I’m passionate about and to have others supporting me with it!”

Diego Juaregui is from Argentina and he is an amateur astrophotographer. He likes the feeling of being alone in a faraway place watching the stars and thinking about infinity. It is a comforting feeling.

Marcel Strelow is a landscape photographer from Munich, Germany. He has been into nightscapes forever and fell in love with deep sky photography during the last lockdown in winter.

Mark Coull is from Scotland and is relatively new to astrophotography. He is learning incredibly quickly. His fast progress might be due to his eye for detail, which he refined as a multimedia designer. He loves to learn and is here to teach. We are glad he is. Our galaxy has a beautiful palette, and you can find more of it on Mark’s timeline.

Yusuf Qureshi is a UK astrophotographer now based in New Zealand. He says that the skies out there feel so special. And under the shining stars, he feels at peace as he is pointing his camera lens up towards them. Let us join him outside soon.

From Switzerland, we have Marco Kern, a landscape photographer who is passionate about stargazing. He loves the silence of the night when he can be alone under the stars.

And here comes Willard Sharp, stormchaser from Madrid, Iowa. It was wonderful meeting an American astrophotographer, as my time zone puts me closer to Europe, Asia and Oceania. In this image, you can see the rig he set up in his backyard. Then look below to see an example of what he captured. That is a truly spectacular view.

In India, we have Ubik, a photographer and filmmaker who has been documenting life in photos for the past 12 years. He enjoys running around on sleepless nights to get a glimpse of the night sky. And then, he takes it all in on camera. He finds the process meditative and we love that about his work.

Ronan Hunt is from rainy Ireland, and we are happy he is able to capture beautiful images for us to enjoy. If you want to make friends with Ronan, his Discord server is linked on his Twitter bio. Feel free to follow him or add him to your list of favourite photographers so you can keep up with his amazing work.

Our other American friend comes to us from New Jersey. His handle name is Desclafani Photography and he loves to share his knowledge of photography with his followers. Visit his profile and follow him. He is always ready to share his process.

Lee and Brenda Amber are a family of photographers based in California. They have a fascinating story, and if you want to learn more, please join them in Twitter Spaces. As a family, they love the magic of capturing a moment with a camera. They enjoy sharing images that show what they saw and how they felt.

Across the ocean, in the UK, we meet Sajjad, who is based in London. He traveled back to Pakistan to take photos of the night sky here. From his rooftop, he took some of the Helix Nebula, NGC 729, a planetary nebula located in Aquarius. Below that, you can see the image he captured of the North American Nebula, NGC 7000.

Give a warm welcome to Thai photographer, Notto. I am happy when I see his work in my timeline. And not only is he a member of one of the most wonderful communities of artists on Twitter, but his work there is also admired by photographers everywhere. Visit his profile, follow him, and enjoy his wonderful work.

We round out the presentation with Jack, a New Zealander who is actively involved in the NFT community. He was the first person to respond to my call for submissions and I am so glad he did because his work is stunning. Or is it, “Stella”?

I think we have covered most of the planet, and I am proud to be colleagues with these talented artists. Each of the astrophotographers featured creates non fungible tokens from their photography work. They are also active members of the NFT community and we wish them all the best. Thank you for viewing this gallery.

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Brilliant 3D artists to follow on Twitter

Greetings everyone, and thank you for viewing this gallery of artwork from my 3D, VR and AR artist colleagues. I was very happy with the response to this call for submissions, and I hope to make this a regular feature here on Saint Joan Creative Studio.

Want to make friends on Twitter? This is the best group of artists to be around. Be kind enough to share this post, as well as the artwork, on your favourite social media platforms. And, if you are on Twitter, engage with the posts so that your followers will see and appreciate them, too.

Zenshy, or Zen, as we call him, is one of the most popular artists in the NFT community because he has a great personality, a charming voice and is always there to support fellow artists. He is the first member of my “Special Voice Club” for Twitter Spaces, and if you hear him, you will understand why. He helped spread the word about this gallery showcase and I thank him very much for doing so. WAGMI.

As you view this gallery of artwork, remember that the #NFTCommunity on Twitter is one of the most close-knit and supportive groups around. If you want to see this in action, follow them and watch your timeline. They are professional artists who work together to offer each other practical advice and encouragement.

Bhushan Vishwas is the 23-year-old co-founder at CodemireGames, a game studio he runs full-time. He has been creating NFTs for more than 6 months. After the latest update, WordPress deleted my logo image, and if it were not for Bhushan, I would not have noticed that.

Something he always tells us is, “Stop saying thank you, we are family.” And because of that, I now have no words to express my gratitude to him for his warm support. A double feature for you, Bhushan, because you are amazing.

Magda Górska is a collage artist from Warsaw, Poland. The only tool she uses in her artistic work is a mobile phone. Apart from producing 3D art, she creates minimalist paintings. Her most recent collection is called, “A pillar of strength” and it is inspired by the power of the mind. I am awestruck by her minimalist, monochromatic style whenever it appears in my timeline.

Elnaz Mansouri is a Canadian 3D artist and photographer based in Reykjavik, Iceland. As you know, I am biased towards all things Icelandic, so when she introduced herself in a space I was cohosting, I quickly “captured” her. I had to duel with an astrophotographer to claim her as my own, and I am happy I won in the end. Elnaz is also a drone pilot. She sells non fungible tokens of her artwork on the exclusive invite-only platform, Foundation.

Aqmal was the first to respond to my call for submissions, and I want to thank them for that. They are a digital illustrator from Tangerang, Indonesia, and their non fungible tokens are featured on the tezos platform Hic et Nunc. If you feel adventurous, connect a tezos wallet (from your Google account, you have a Kukai Wallet) and buy something from their collection.

Beer is a 3D artist from Thailand. He makes music in various genres. His project goal is to complete 100 songs within this year. Please view his media folder on Twitter to see his artwork.

GIMME WORK loves skeletons and biblical references, so I knew we would get along. In the Last Supper Skeleton, he gives a twist to an old favourite. Great imagination, awesome work.

NRN (artwork featured at the topmost section of this tweet) is an artist whose work you love to crave. Enigmatic, elusive, and mysterious. The definition of a muse. Follow them on Twitter for more fabulous art.

Antony Joseph is an automotive enthusiast and die cast model hobbyist. His sleek style and mysterious presentation make him seem otherworldly, and not “just another human being”. He was kind enough to share some of his 3D artwork with us. He has been an artist for 8 years and is now exploring his way into NFTs. He looks forward to connecting with you, so please visit his profile and make friends.

What is exciting about Subin K is that he is a self-taught CGI artist and game developer who works with augmented and virtual reality programs. He resides in Kozhikode, India, and works very hard to perfect his craft. He is only 21 years old, which means he has plenty of time to captivate a global audience.

Architect, author, computational designer and music enthusiast. His work is so vivid and detailed, it is hard to tell that it is all made up. I am happy to feature his work, especially because he supported me as I was trying to reach 3000 followers. After that, we hung out in a space together. Thank you for everything, Arjun.

Say hello to Cat, sculpture artist from Thailand who creates 3D concept art, visual art, and character art. They will be creating non fungible tokens of their 3D artwork for the time being.

Hitendra is a self-taught 3D artist from India who makes high poly 3D cars in the Blender app. He regularly showcases samples of his work on Twitter. Above, you can see him sharing his work in the thread of a well-known collector of NFTs. We all have to showcase our work, and eventually, after much practice, we will become experts at it.

Meet Mint from Thailand. Their NFT concept is “Bring your childhood to heal yourself”. They promise that this “Tale of Tail” collection will make you a smile and relax from your hard days. This presentation is accompanied by a sketch of the animated work. As you can see, it takes a lot of work to get to the final presentation.

And finally, say hello to Luchong, a Nigerian artist who draws all of her 3D faces on her phone. Here, she is showcasing artwork from his collection “Thea”. It is a collection that portrays the diverse beauty of dark-skinned African women in a unique style. It goes without saying that talent goes beyond boundaries, and I believe that we are all richer for the diversity that exists in our world.

Thank you for viewing this gallery. I hope that you enjoyed this presentation. Please give these artists your support by sharing this blog post to your socials. See you at the next showcase.

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Instagram’s smart tech is a loving me thing

It is Saturday afternoon and as I write this, I am waiting for a meeting to resume. Unfortunately, two expatriates seated at the far corner of the conference room are talking loudly about assorted bedroom activities. I gather that the man is gay and his friend is a married straight woman. I suppose they are comparing notes?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

It was impossible to hear myself think, so I am standing near an open window to let the sound of traffic drown out their voices. And while I am here, I thought it would be good idea to update you with my Instagram goings on.

At the moment, I’m hardly posting on Instagram. But for the past eight days, every 23 hours to the hour, I see that I have 25 new followers. This exact number, at exactly the same time, tells me that this is the work of a machine. 

Remember that last year, Instagram was burning my posts. And now, after two months on the platform, the smart tech is working for me. I was advised in a Clubhouse room, a couple of months ago, that Instagram was doing a big reset. I was also advised to take advantage because this was a once-in-a-lifetime event. The problem is that I am an introvert and going live on video will never happen. Because of that, I needed a modified approach.

Photo by Tim Gouw

Here is what happened after two months and 18 reels, 3 (15-second) stories daily, no lingerie selfies, and zero live posts. I am at 472 followers. My account is growing every day, so I will continue on this path. (If only Twitter were as malleable).

Metrics 

  1. This is a business account. 
  2. I do not pay for ads which means that all of my engagement is organic. 
  3. All of the new followers brought over from Instagram’s smart tech are 85% artists in the NFT community, 5% follower boosting accounts and 10% crypto investors. 
  4. Quite a number of my other followers are from Clubhouse. The apps share data with each other. Instagram will automatically suggest my account to anyone following me over there and vice versa.
Photo by Fiona Art

Posts and engagement  

  1. After my first five posts, I started posting reels in the form of animated videos showcasing my artwork. 
  2. Avoid captions. Only a few of my reels have them. Instead, I tell a story in a slideshow or MP4 video. 
  3. Nearly zero hashtags on posts or reels. Instagram treats hashtags like spam. 
  4. Edit all videos or images (to create a slideshow) in the IG native editor using filters.
  5. Add music and carefully choose clips within the song to match the story. Music choice is the number one compliment I have received so far. People seem to have a positive emotional reaction my artwork because of the music. 
  6. Repost my own reels/posts to stories. 
  7. Hashtags only in stories – limited to one per story and this is always NFT related. 
  8. Follow back as many accounts as possible. Check occasionally to make sure that all followed accounts are active. 
  9. Restrict spammy, fake looking accounts and never follow sales people (crypto investors). 
  10. Reply to all comments and respond to private messages. Delete messages I don’t want to answer. Accounts look spammy if they don’t talk to each other. 
  11. Mute accounts that post more than 5 reels in one hour. These kinds of accounts rarely engage with my posts. Then I look spammy to the smart tech. 
  12. Visit new followers’ profiles and engage with posts. 
  13. Engage with my timeline. Hide, mute, like or share posts to friends.
  14. Join live broadcasts even for a few minutes. Send comments and reactions while there. This signals that I am a real person.
  15. Engage with my followers’ stories by sending reactions and comments. Gauge feedback to these and mute accounts that are not responsive. 
  16. Remix posts from active followers and share them to my stories. Add music, fun stickers, gifs, scribbles, text and mentions.
  17. When a follower adds the above remix in their stories, immediately share to my stories.
  18. Use voice memos or calls where possible. 
Photo by Steve Johnson

If you are interested in testing this approach, try it on your Instagram account. I must point out that I am niche specific. I am an artist in the NFT community. I focus on graphic design and I’m interested in paintings from visual artists. And though I never tell Instagram what my specific niches are by using captions or hashtags, the smart tech introduced me to blockchain specialists, abstract painters and 3D/animation artists in the NFT space. Then, bear in mind that I spend no more than 30 minutes a day creating at least three stories. I also respond to all of my messages.

No selfies, no bikinis, no bare butts. Only plenty of good music, interesting stickers, and artwork to inspire me. Best of luck.