Joe Chiappetta: Fine Art NFTS in Little Surprise Packages
Family and friends dispense veteran and fledgling art through ArtVndgMch on the WAX blockchain
Rare Digital Bird, Episode 8
Joe Chiappetta (with guest & daughter, famly.photo) talks about family, NFTs on the WAX blockchain, and fine art bundled and hidden in packs for his latest project, dropping MAY 8TH, called ArtVndgMchn with artists: ROBNESS, mBlu, Fabi Yamada, Laerth Motta, Sean O’Kana, Beth Cohen, Jen Lazaro, Paul Baldwin, Scrilla Ventura, Anna Chiappetta, Luke Chiappetta, famly.photo & Denise Chiappetta.
Joe is first and foremost a family man which is evident in his cartoons, graphic novel and ‘zine work. He is also a community leader and a crypto artist. He’s been in the blockchain space since 2015, and educates others about the space through his articles, talks and his crypto art. He has ventured into different blockchains, including: Bitcoin, Ethereum, EOS and WAX.
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The rest of the ArtVndngMchn family
💚 Beth Cohen
💚 Jen Lazaro
💚 Paul Baldwin
Table of Contents
0:00:00 Coming Up!
0:01:06 What’s Rare Digital Bird
0:01:38 What’s pushing people to explore blockchains outside of Ethereum? 0:03:07 What are a couple of solutions for Ethereum’s high gas fees and scalability problems?
0:04:32 What platforms and blockchains are people exploring outside of Ethereum right now?
0:06:15 Who is Joe Chiappetta?
0:08:15 Joe’s grandparents helped him enjoy art in his childhood
0:09:34 Warhol, Lichtenstein, Picasso, Monet, Manet, sculptures & paintings on his visit to Rome, and Christianity inspired Joe
0:11:08 Becoming a family of integrity was work and was expressed in his art, graphic novel, comics and ‘zines
0:13:05 Cartoonist culture is about parody and making fun of things, but wants to be a breath of fresh air and stay positive with empathy for others 0:15:12 Joe’s creative process: From his #2 pencil to Procreate on his iPad. Joe creates “fresh from life drawings”
0:16:55 Joe uses art to share ideas, as he did at the Rare digital Art Feast to explain blockchain, and shares his desire to get things right the first time 0:18:23 Why Joe is into depicting machines in his art, and what his recent project ArtVndngMchn is about
0:20:22 Joe reminisces about the old Marvel stickers, Wacky Packages, Garbage Pail Kids, Mad Magazine, Crazy Magazine, and the excitement of physical packages of unknown wrapped collectibles
0:24:54 Why Joe would purchase packs but would sometimes not open them 0:26:23 How the name ArtVndgMachn came about.
0:28:01 10% of the profits from ArtVndgMchn will go to school supplies for the kids of Lagos via Mercy Worldwide
0:28:59 Joe lists the diverse group of crypto artists involved in ArtVndgMchn 0:35:04 Joe introduces his daughter, famly.photo (Maria Chiappetta)
0:35:41 famly.photo shares her background in art and creativity
0:39:08 How art inspired famly.photo
0:40:39 How famly.photo joined the ArtVndngMchn project
0:43:42 Joe goes more into detail about ArtVndngMchn, how it’s gamefied, and its affordability
0:47:30 Joe talks about ArtVndngMchn’s other possible use cases: using it in different ways on other platforms.
0:53:04 Joe explains what the WAX Blockchain is and compares it to Ethereum
0:58:11 Joe talks about ArtVndgMchn being a family and friends project, and its collaborative partners, Uplift.Art and EOSUSA.
0:59:56 How emerging artists and new artists can be just as inspirational as OG artists, and famly.photo’s “We’re putting the band back together” post. 1:02:35 How Joe got into blockchain
1:07:34 What Joe’s experience has been like with Bitcoin, Ethereum, EOS and WAX
1:13:09 Joe’ advice to blockchain devs and crypto creative platform teams 1:15:42 What advice would famly.photo and Joe give to artists coming into the crypto art world
1:20:15 Joe advises artists coming into the space should use Twitter, where the crypto art community is.
1:20:36 How to keep up on news regarding ArtVndngMchn and when it will drop: May 8th at ArtVndgMchn.com, and get your WAX wallet ready.
1:26:26 SURVIVAL MODE! While not getting killed?!?!
1:29:28 Where you can find Joe Chiappetta and famly.photo
You can read all this, or you can click HERE instead for Episode 8 of the “Rare Digital Bird” Series — with closed captioning!
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[00:01:06] What’s Rare Digital Bird
Hey, peeps! What’s up? I’m Ann Marie Alanes, and this is Rare Digital Bird — a series about artists, their creations, and their experiences — both good and bad — using blockchain technology.
In Episode 7, we discussed what’s happening in the NFT music space, the ecological sustainability of NFTs in the long term, Async.art making music history with programmable music, and what it was like for London band HMLTD to create the world’s first customizable NFT pop song. Guide your cursor up here for the link to Episode 7.
[00:01:41] What’s pushing people to explore blockchains outside of Ethereum?
Now, on to Episode 8. There have been a lot of points of contention that have been pushing people to explore platforms on other blockchains for one reason or another. If you’ve been hanging out in the NFT space in the past few months, you may have heard debates over the ecological sustainability of NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain, how Sterling Crispin put it all into perspective, but how people are still understandably concerned. And of course, there’s that ongoing scalability problem where the Ethereum blockchain currently can’t efficiently handle the mass influx of people using it to buy, sell, and trade in an average of a slow 15 transactions per second versus Visa’s 1700 transactions per second. There are these spikes in Ethereum’s transaction fees a.k.a. gas fees. There’s also a variety of fees depending on the platform you’re using. Sometimes there’s fees for listing an NFT; definitely minting an NFT, which is authenticating your art or music on the blockchain; collecting an NFT; changing the state of an NFT, like you would with programmable art and music on Async.art; selling, buying, or trading cryptocurrencies so you can pay for the variety of fees for your NFT; and so on. Even though a platform’s commission percentage might be lower than that of a gallery, sometimes when you add it all up, the pricing might be close to comparable, depending. When there’s a number of fees, and the fees rise, there are collectors that stop collecting and artists that stop minting.
[00:03:07] What are a couple of solutions for Ethereum’s high gas fees and scalability problems?
Now, the Ethereum Foundation is working on a solution, however complicated it is. They state on their website that it’s supposed to arrive in 2022. I mean, your contractor has yet to finish remodeling your home in the scheduled time, so I don’t know. But recently, I found something promising for Ethereum. There’s a protocol called Immutable X. They’re in alpha right now, still doing tests, but recently, they’ve been seeing success at 9000 plus transactions per second. What? Yes, 9000 plus transactions per second. The co-founder and president of Immutable, Robbie Ferguson, says they’re currently in talks with all the major Ethereum-based crypto art marketplaces. OpenSea and Mintable are a couple of those platforms that have announced this. Among many other benefits that remain to be seen, one notable thing: you get zero gas fees. You get zero gas fees. You get zero gas fees. You get zero gas fees. You get zero gas fees. Everybody gets zero gas fees. That was my inner Oprah. It had to come out. Of course, you know the solution is not free, so the platforms are going to pay. Then they’re most likely going to pass the charges onto you. But I’m going to venture a leap and guess that it will likely be lower than what you’re paying in fees right now. We’re supposed to hear more about this this month, maybe from OpenSea, but, you know, schedule schmedule.
[00:04:31] What platforms and blockchains are people exploring outside of Ethereum right now?
In the meantime, artists and collectors have been going to seek out new platforms and new blockchains to boldly go where no Ethereum maximalist has gone before: strange and new places like VIV3, the crypto art marketplace on Flow, the same place that NBA Top Shots was born. Hic et Nunc on Tezos blockchain. I mean, hello. I have never seen so many tweets where the words “fun” and “hic et nunc.” “It’s so much fun making art. It’s so much fun collecting again. It’s so much fun swapping. It’s so much fun making art again. It’s so much fun swapping.” Literally, there are consistently rooms in Clubhouse around making, selling, and swapping art on Hic et Nunc with everyone naming off the object numbers for their art as if it were a fun bingo game. And it is. It is fun. I’ve tried and I can’t stop.
And then there’s the WAX blockchain bringing back the Garbage Pail Kids because, honestly, the Cabbage Patch Kids were terrifying to me, so Garbage Pail Kids was the comic relief that I needed. I’m honestly really sorry that I missed out on those trading cards. So, with this blockchain, it’s like Ethereum and EOS had a baby, and they named the baby WAX. It’s a weird baby name, but, you know, it stands for something, and that’s Worldwide Asset Exchange. You know. There’s a little bit of Pitbull in there. And I can understand the macho confidence because I saw on their webpage that apparently this baby blockchain is a boy because it says in big words, “King of NFTs,” which is super confident for a baby, but I can understand because, you know, you got to strut your stuff if you’re going to survive in the big world with the popular high school jocks. Ethereum is a big one.
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[00:06:15] Who is Joe Chiappetta?
Speaking of all these blockchains, I know a person who has been on all of them: Joe Chiappetta. Joe Chiappetta is a lot of things. He’s both a community leader and a person of faith. He’s an author, a cartoonist, an educator, and a pioneering crypto artist. As a community leader, he’s a director for Mercy Worldwide, which provides services to the poor. He has authored numerous educational articles about crypto art, as well as several books, including “Mega Debt-Busters.” As a cartoonist, he won the Xeric Award for his work on his graphic novel, “Silly Daddy.” Silly Daddy Comics is also the title of his ongoing comic strip series, one of the longest-running autobiographical family comics in the world.
Joe created cartoons and art about cryptocurrency and blockchain before any of us could even mint on a blockchain back in 2015. He exhibited 12 blockchain comics at the 2018 Ethereal Summit in New York, and was the only cartoonist selected for this event to create live, interpretive comics covering the show. His work has also been in several exhibits, including the Academy of Fine Arts 17th Annual Independent Arts Festival in Belgium, the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, and the Rare Digital Art Feast in San Francisco. He was also involved in the DADA Late at Tate live drawing show at Tate Modern in London. You can find him on MakersPlace, SuperRare, AtomicHub, and PixEOS, and in the Tomorrow Exhibition at the MakersPlace Gallery in Cryptovoxels.
Most importantly, Joe is a father and a husband. If you’re familiar with his work, you know he loves his family, and you’ll be seeing that take shape in his most recent project with ArtVndngMchn on AtomicHub, where he brings together the art of his family, close friends, and his crypto art family, with some familiar names, such as Rob Ness, Rare Scrilla, Fabi Yamada, and MLIBTY, along with his children, Luke, Anna, Maria a.k.a. famly.photo, and his wife Denise.
Ann Marie Alanes (AMA): Hi, Joe. How are you?
Joe Chiappetta (JC): Hi, Ann Marie. It’s great to see you.
AMA: Great to see you, too. Thank you so much for being on the show.
[00:08:15] Joe’s grandparents helped him enjoy art in his childhood
AMA: So, let’s jump right into it. Tell me a story about how you got into art in the first place.
JC: Well, you know, I can remember just being a little kid at my grandparents’ house. Maybe I was four or five. And they had a lot of art supplies for us kids. There was four of us. And I just took to it like fish to water. They got me some old Marvy markers. I don’t know if they still make those. But I would just tear through paper and markers. And I just love drawing. To me, it’s a second language. Sometimes it can even be a first language. And I just have learned over the years that I just need to use this language of art wisely and gently, and that takes time to figure out. So, I went to art school, did the ‘zine scene, doing my art, putting them in ‘zines (magazines), and comics, and did also some gallery shows. And then, as crypto art came around, art on the blockchain, got into that, and it’s been an amazing ride. I’m still here.
AMA: Yeah. You’ve been in this space for a while, and you’ve also explored a lot of different blockchains as well.
[00:09:30] Warhol, Lichtenstein, Picasso, Monet, Manet, sculptures & paintings on his visit to Rome, and Christianity inspired Joe
AMA: But before we get into that, I’d really be interested in finding out what or who inspires you and your work.
JC: Well, coming up just raised in traditional art training, just kind of the formal college education, I went to Northern Illinois University, so really inspired by a lot of pop artists: Warhol, Lichtenstein, and of course, Picasso. Before that, the surrealists, Monet and Manet. I mean, there’s hardly an old master that I don’t like, too. So, just all that is kind of infused into your head. And then I went to Rome, saw some of the sculptures and paintings there. So this is all swirling around. And in my 30s, I became a Christian, so you got the power of faith just coursing through my veins. And it’s like, “How can I do art and also communicate a positive, faithful, hopeful, joyful message?” And so, this is all mixed together. That’s the main influence in what I do. And of course, family is big. I want to make sure I… I worked at the Chamber of Commerce in Chicago a while ago, and one of the old-time city guys, he’s like, “Listen, we’re going to be in a lot of committees. We’re going to be doing a lot of things. And you got to remember what this ancient saying is, and that’s ‘First, do no harm.’” And that’s an old Greek saying, and that’s also something that I do try to abide by as well is just if I’m going to do something, it shouldn’t be harming people. It needs to inspire.
[00:11:08] Becoming a family of integrity was work and was expressed in his art, graphic novel, comics and ‘zines
AMA: Great. Tell me more about as far as family inspiring you, because I see a lot of that in your work. I see just different family scenes. If you could just talk more about that.
JC: Yeah. Well, it was very big growing up. I’m half-Italian, half-Greek, so the Greeks love gathering, the Italians love gathering. And then it’s all kind of glorified in the movies and all that, so half of it is true maybe. My dad, my mom, they’re incredible people. They instilled respect, integrity, loyalty into me, and into all of us really. They did an amazing job. And then, when I started having a family, then I wanted to really learn, “Okay, how do I do this? How do I make my own family also a family of integrity?” And that took a long time to figure out. It really did. And so, in the early days, I started writing about it and drawing about it in my comics, and it’s called Silly Daddy. And I still do these Silly Daddy comics today. Last book I put out was in 2017, full paperback book. And then I also put out a ‘zine as rare digital art called Silly Daddy Zine, and it has a lot of family stuff in there. But the goal is to… I think in recent times, family kind of gets a negative rap, like “Oh, family means boring. It’s not cool. Oh, I got to go with my dad.” But it’s really cool. Some of my most exciting times, I remember, is with my dad, just doing exciting, adventurous stuff. So, I just really want to make sure that it’s a positive force in society.
AMA: Yeah. Family is also really important to me, so when I see your work, I can relate to it really well.
JC: I’m so glad.
[00:13:05] Cartoonist culture is about parody and making fun of things, but wants to be a breath of fresh air and stay positive with empathy for others
AMA: So, what’s your thought process as well as your creative process when you’re doing your work?
JC: So, it kind of depends on what I’m approaching. If it’s about real people, I want to make sure that… In the early days, I would just be like, “Hey, I’m just going to draw this, and whatever you think, I don’t care.” And that’s kind of how I rolled from 16 to about 30. But then I realized, “You know what? There’s some things I could do that could hurt people’s feelings if I don’t draw them in a way that is…” Like for example, if you’re drawing somebody but you make them look weird or ugly. I have to really be sensitive to that stuff. And as a cartoonist, you got to understand, the culture of cartoonists is you parody stuff. You make fun of stuff. And so, I had to learn how to do that without disrespecting people. And sometimes there’s just stuff I just stay away from. So, I used to stay away from political stuff because usually you’re trying to trash somebody. So I try to do things that are “Okay, well, what’s true? What’s noble? What’s excellent? What’s praiseworthy?” I think about those things. So that’s what I try to write about. Or “What’s funny and not going to rip somebody?” So I want to do that.
I tend to like bright colors. I don’t want people to look at my art and think, “Wow, he just labored over this forever and ever.” I used to do that. But I want people to be able to look at what I create and think, “This is a breath of fresh air. Cool. Awesome. I think I want that,” or “Let me share this with somebody else.” So, that’s what I want to leave people with. Hey, life is good. God is good. There’s hope in this world. Let’s make the most of every opportunity. Those are the kind of things I want to communicate.
AMA: Yeah. I feel like we need that more than ever.
JC: I totally agree. I need it, and I’m not just saying that.
[00:15:10] Joe’s creative process: From his #2 pencil to Procreate on his iPad. Joe creates “fresh from life drawings”
AMA: And what about the creative process, like the actual technical parts?
JC: Yeah. That has evolved over the years. I used to use the old school number two pencil and just kind of hack out my lines, and it took forever, and then you’re erasing. And then I graduated to the markers and the paints and canvases and stuff like that. But now in the digital age, I just have my iPad. It’s got Procreate on it. It’s got a gazillion colors programmed into it, and all these different brushes. So now, I tend just to go right from the stylus, right into the art, with not a lot of redoing things. Now, if you’re doing a really tighter drawing that you have to kind of work out some angles, I may hack through that and trial and error. But a lot of that is really fresh from life types of drawings, or the sketch is captured right away, and then it’s a matter of refining things and layering things and just making it all work together. But at the end of the day, if you’re looking at something I’ve created and you’re thinking, “Man, that just took forever, and I don’t ever want to do that,” that’s not what I want to communicate. I want to communicate with people, “Hey, everybody can communicate in this language.” It’s fun. It’s not going to save the world. It’s not going to save the world in any way, but it’s a great way to express yourself. It’s a great way to communicate, share ideas, and really be able to build community as you do that.
AMA: Right. Yeah.
[00:16:55] Joe uses art to share ideas, as he did at the Rare digital Art Feast to explain blockchain, and shares his desire to get things right the first time
AMA: I was just recalling the piece that we helped you auction at the Rare Digital Art Feast.
JC: Oh, yeah. That was a fun time.
AMA: Yeah. That was one of my favorite pieces that you did because there’s just so much meaning behind what you drew.
JC: I’m glad you saw that. Yeah. I think it was in a time when people couldn’t visualize what rare digital art, what NFTs were. This was still pretty new in the space. And so, let me just… I’m tired of explaining it. It takes 10 paragraphs to explain it if you’re not into this space. So, let me just draw a picture, send you the thousand words, pictures that tell a thousand words. “Oh, okay. Now I see it.” And so, yeah, that was a really well-received piece. I’m grateful that… And, you know, I pray every morning (I think it’s every morning) for this. I pray every morning, but I don’t know if I asked for this. What I pray for is “God, give me the ability to get things right on the first time,” as opposed to doing something, having to redo it because nobody gets it. Just let me get it right on the first time. Because, hey, you know, I’m in my 50s. I’ve probably got more years behind me than ahead of me on this earth. And it’s fine. I’m totally fine with that. So I don’t want to waste time, if I could help it. I want to get it right the first time.
AMA: Yeah. Making the most out of the time you have. Yeah, for sure.
[00:18:23] Why Joe is into depicting machines in his art, and what his recent project ArtVndngMchn is about
AMA: I also noticed that in a lot of your work, or at least some of the works that I’ve seen you do, it has kind of like a machine kind of vibe, or there’s like buttons or things like that. And that brings us to your concept coming up here, an upcoming project that you’ll be launching soon called ArtVndngMchn. Can you tell me more about that?
JC: Yeah. So, the whole machine stuff, early on, I got into surrealism, and it’s just a lot of fun to imagine just sort of different things in life, different ways that things can operate. And as with our more reliance on machinery and technology and things like that, I just had a lot of fun. I haven’t had any terminator experiences or anything like that. Nobody’s coming after me, robots and stuff like that. So I’ve had fun with it. I still remember being a kid playing Mattel Electronics, the big white device, and there’s giant buttons, and the blips were just little blips, and the blips would fight against… There was no graphics. It was just a blip that would fight against another blip and try to…and that was it. So, the simplicity, the lighthearted, fun nature of that, I try to capture in a lot of my work. I think it’s kind of like the next step in the evolution of pop art. Not that I see myself as a pop artist, but it’s certainly a big influence. So, all that has kind of been infused into this new project called ArtVndngMchn. And the whole idea is you can… Already you could go and buy individual pieces of art. That’s cool, and that’s kind of how the market runs.
[00:20:22] Joe reminisces about the old Marvel stickers, Wacky Packages, Garbage Pail Kids, Mad Magazine, Crazy Magazine, and the excitement of physical packages of unknown wrapped collectibles
JC: But I also remember the days where you could go to the store as a kid (and you could still do that), and you would buy a package of trading cards. When I was a kid, there was Marvel stickers. And this was the classic artists: Ross Andru, John Romita, all the Marvel artists. And then, of course, the Wacky Packages, which kind of the next generation, that would be the Garbage Pail Kids. Some people might remember it. But before, there was Wacky Packages, and it was so much fun. It was like a lot of Mad Magazine, Crazy stuff. Crazy, the magazine, not crazy insane, although some of that stuff was both. But when you’ve gotten your pack or your Star Wars cards, you didn’t know what you were going to get. Now, for me, I valued those things as much as people today would value their Picassos, their Matisses, that kind of thing.
And so, what I liked about it was it was portable. You could bring them to school. You could show them to your friends. And if you had doubles, you could trade them. And that was cool. And to me, that experience, I miss it. And we had a taste of it in the ‘zine scene in the late ’80s and the ’90s. I was part of it. I published the early Silly Daddys as ‘zines. And again, “Okay, well, this person is a zinester, and you are, and I am. I’ve got extra copies I didn’t sell out at this convention, so here, let’s trade.” And so, you’re trading these fine art creations. And so, I wanted that aspect to be all wrapped up in a project, and then, lo and behold, blockchain comes around where you could issue your art as a rare digital collectible item. And that’s cool. So you’re selling stuff. I’m doing that in the early days of it on Bitcoin, riding on top of Counterparty, the blockchain, and then also doing it on Ethereum in the early days.
And then WAX comes along, another blockchain that kind of learned a bunch of things from these other blockchains. And so, well, let’s make this awesome for art. And so, what they did was they said, “Let’s build a pack concept where you can’t see what you’re getting. You’re getting a digitally wrapped bundle of rare digital art, these NFTs in a pack.” And the packaging is cool. And you know what the odds are of getting various cards, various fine art pieces in this. And so, they’re already doing this, but not with fine art, but with more on the commercial side. They’re doing this with Godzilla, with…baseball cards is coming out. They’re doing this with just all sorts of…Street Fighter, all kinds of different intellectual properties. It’s almost like, well, is anybody doing this with fine art where it’s not everything is done on a template, it’s not a card set, it’s just fine art but collected in these packs where you could get the surprise of discovering, “Oh, I just bought a pack of eight cards.” In this set, I open up, “Hey, wow, I’m instantly an art collector now. I just have a pack of cards now. I’m an art collector.”
So, I wanted to create that experience. So, how do you deliver that? Well, I thought, “Well, let’s do an art vending machine where you put your token in.” Now, it’s all digital. Imagine. But you buy the pack, and then what you’re going to see when people buy the pack is they will see a video of… And I work with a 3D designer to do this. I drew it up. I told her then how I want the motion to go after I drew up this machine. And so, you’ll see somebody put a coin in, and then the art will spin, and you’ll see a bunch of art that’s in the pack spinning, and then it will stop spinning, some lights will “Beep, beep, beep!” and then out will shoot some art, and you’ll zoom into that slot. Just like a candy machine, you pick your things, you pull the lever, the art comes out, and the angle is going to zoom in and then go dark, into the slot, and then the art that you have is going to drop down. So, we’re recreating the experience of going and buying candy, but it’s art from a vending machine. So, that’s what we’re doing.
[00:24:54] Why Joe would purchase packs but would sometimes not open them
JC: And once you get that pack, you could sit on it. You don’t have to open it. And I did that as a collector. Collectors who have collected cards in the past understand that. “Okay, man, I’ve had this pack for, like, 10 years, of these old Batman cards from Batman movie one with Michael Keaton. I don’t know what’s in this. I really want to know what’s in it, but I like the fact that the pack is still sealed. And the bubble gum is probably still rotting in there, and that’s cool. And maybe I’ll sell it. Maybe I’ll just keep it.” Now, there’s not going to be bubble gum, so don’t get too fired up. But there’s going to be all fine art from, I think, 14 different artists, international, around the world. And you’ll have that sense of discovery where I might have a Rare Scrilla, or I might have a Rob Ness, one of one in this pack. I don’t know. Or I’m just going to rip them open right now. Collector will rip them open. Then you see them. And then I could sit on them in my collection. Or if I have doubles, or if I want to put those back in the market, I could do that. So, that’s going to be the experience of this exciting project called ArtVndngMchn. And just so people know, it’s Art Vending Machine but without all the vowels, except for we’re keeping the A. So, spell out Art Vending Machine, take out all the vowels, except for the first one in Art. That’s how you find it.
[00:26:23] How the name ArtVndgMachn came about.
AMA: And how did you end up with that name?
JC: That’s an interesting story. And there’s images of this in the collection. And I don’t know if we’re going to call them error cards or error fine art. But originally, I was going to call it Art Slot Machine. And I actually have released, on MakersPlace and a few other places, just individual art pieces of a slot machine that you put a coin, you pull the lever, and out comes, you win art from it. So I was thinking that, and then I talked to my lawyer. And she’s amazing. She’s just a great lawyer. She’s been in the crypto space a long time. And she had some very good advice for me. She’s like, “You know, if you do that, you could get falsely tagged as running a gambling operation.” And I don’t want anything to do with gambling, all right? Life is enough of a gamble. So I’m like, “Let’s change the name. But I have all these pieces that still are Art Slot Machines, so we’ll put them in there, but we’ll create new pieces and call it a vending machine.” And then nobody’s gambling at a vending machine, unless something gets stuck. But that’s another story. It’s all blockchain, so nothing’s going to get stuck.
AMA: Okay. All right. That sounds so interesting. I love the interface. I didn’t know that was a part of the whole presentation. So, that’s fun. That’s a lot of fun.
JC: Yeah. We’ve had a lot of fun with this.
[00:28:01] 10% of the profits from ArtVndgMchn will go to school supplies for the kids of Lagos via Mercy Worldwide
JC: And then the latest is we’re going to be giving… So, I’ve been a volunteer in the organization called Mercy Worldwide, and my family too, off and on, for 15 or more years. So I know they do legit good projects around the world, Mercy Worldwide. So, 10% of the revenue from this that I get will be going towards Mercy Worldwide. They have a school outside of Lagos. It’s super needed. It’s considered like one of the poorest floating cities in the world. Now, it obviously doesn’t float. It’s a super poor city, very depressed economy. So, that’s going to be going to buy school supplies for 100 kids in the school.
AMA: That’s awesome.
AMA: That’s so great.
[00:28:59] Joe lists the diverse group of crypto artists involved in ArtVndgMchn
AMA: I also recall you mentioned Scrilla and Rob Ness. So, who else is involved in this?
JC: So, it’s a colorful cast of characters. And just working with everybody has really… I like to draw and stuff, but drawing is actually a very lonely business because nobody’s with you. It’s not like you’re doing [making drum sounds] and then somebody else is… You’re just doing it by yourself. So, creating a project like this, if you’re bringing people together, it’s just so much fun. I do want to do more things like this. So, what I want to do is bring together people who are a mix of roughly half and half of established fine art crypto artists that are considered OGs in this space, kind of like myself, that have been around since the beginning or near the beginning. So it’s like roughly half is those types, and the other half is mostly people who are either established artists but never into crypto, or completely emerging artists that are talented but just haven’t released hardly anything anywhere. So, the whole idea is there’s a lot of mentoring that’s going on in this. And so, that’s really exciting.
So, I’ll just kind of run down the list of people. Aside from myself, there’s Rob Ness. There’s Marko Zubak. He’s an amazing artist from Croatia. There’s also mBlu. And mBlu is just an incredibly talented musician, artist, leader. He’s just an all-around amazing fella. And he also leads Uplift.Art. And he’s also part of Uplift World, which is a Minecraft world where we’ll be able to sell these 3D environments once we build that piece into it, so that the pieces that you get here from ArtVndngMchn will also be able to be bought additionally later in the resell market on this Minecraft world that they’ve built called the Uplift.
And then there’s Fabi Yamada. Fabi is amazing. She’s a Mexican artist, and she’s the designer… She does her own stuff. It’s really cool. And she also did the 3D work on the ArtVndngMchn. And she also did 3D work on Art Slot Machine. You’ll see them both in the collection. And her own work is just so heartwarming as well. Then there’s Laerth Motta. He is an incredible… He is like hip-deep, legit painter. This guy paints amazing scenes with a lot of character, and realistic painter. And he’s from Brazil. Then in Guam, we have Sean O’Kana. He’s basically a rapper, a preacher, a musician, and an artist. So he’s got some really interesting mixes of things in here. And then Beth Cohen. She does all kinds of just hopeful, faithful, joyful, uplifting art. And she’s also a women’s ministry leader, and actually a great friend to our family. Then we have Jen Lazaro. She’s also just a very talented, lighthearted, fun artist. We also have Paul Baldwin. He’s American, and he does a lot of landscapes, watercolors. He has a piece here.
So, Scrilla, Rare Scrilla. A super talented musician, artist, crypto art OG. The piece he has in there is something he did with his 12-year-old son, so this is like that family all wrapped around it. It’s a really cool piece. Yeah. Their name is Rare Scrilla & Son. So they released a piece. So, yeah, there’s just a lot of just household unity built into this. We just kind of built a cool community. I’m just really grateful.
And then, of course, my youngest daughter Anna, she’s my youngest and I had two kids before her. And they weren’t the ones that learned a lot of art from me all throughout the ages. They learned art from me here and there, but Anna is like the most like me creatively in terms of she loves to draw, and she could sit there and draw all day. And she’s super talented. She has already sold some pieces on the Ethereum blockchain in rare digital art. She has a bunch of really cool pieces in this. And then my son Luke, who is very entrepreneurial. And he does a lot of work with AI and using modern technology to craft the art. And he’s got some really cool animations. And he’s got kind of like just an explosive spirit, so it’s exciting to see what he’s come up with. And then there’s my wife. She has a piece in there. She’s a very seasoned, talented writer and editor. She’s written two books, one with me and one on her own. She also plays the harp, a lyre. And she has a piece that she did in there.
[00:34:57] Joe introduces his daughter, famly.photo (Maria Chiappetta)
JC: And then last but absolutely not least is my oldest daughter, the reason why I became a silly daddy in the first place, Maria Chiappetta. And she goes by the stage name of famly.photo without the “I.” And she’s also in the collection. She does a mix of writing, spoken word, and AI generative art, and just a mix of all that. It’s really exciting to see together. So, this is just an international colorful cast of characters. I was very grateful for this group of people. And yeah, we can see that Maria is here with us.
[00:35:41] famly.photo shares her background in art and creativity
Maria Chiappetta (MC): Hi.
AMA: Yeah. So, Joe just gave us a really awesome introduction to you, Maria a.k.a. famly.photo. So, I’m glad that you could join the show today along with Joe. Obviously, you guys are related, so as a part of this project, there’s definitely a family presence. If you could just tell us a little bit more about yourself as an artist?
MC: Yeah. Up until this project, I believe my main form of art was writing. I write poems and stories and also a little bit of music. I play a couple of instruments. Not very well, but I like making music. And yeah, music and writing is kind of my background. I always sang and did musicals over the years and…
JC: And they were awesome.
MC: I don’t know, but…
AMA: He’s your dad, so he’s going to be…
MC: Yeah, he is a great supporter.
JC: She really is awesome.
MC: But when my dad approached me about doing ArtVndngMchn, initially I was going to just do some text pieces, but I sort of veered away from that and started experimenting with making images and visual art and video art. And that’s been really exciting because it’s kind of returning to what we did when I was a kid. It’s something that I haven’t revisited since I was a kid. We would draw together. But I kind of didn’t do that for most of my teen and adult life until now. And it’s been really fun to return to.
AMA: Yeah. So, that’s really cool. You kind of explained there how you got into art. You kind of flowed from words to visual. So you have a little bit of your mom’s influence, I would say, right, because she’s more a writer?
MC: My mom is an excellent writer. Yeah.
AMA: So, what else inspires the words that you come up with, as well as the visual art?
MC: It’s hard to say. I really just try to listen and observe. And a lot of my pieces are combining either poems with images that I just sort of intuitively think belong together, or I think they want to be together, so they go together. It’s a very intuitive process that’s hard for me to explain. But at this point, I’m just trying to experiment and have fun and just listen. And that’s been really rewarding. Yeah.
[00:39:05] How art inspired famly.photo
AMA: Did you want to explain a little bit more about how you got into your creativity? Is there a little story behind that or…?
MC: I don’t have one moment really when that happened. Art is something that just sort of always has been around. I grew up, my dad, he’s been drawing me since literally before my birth. He drew me in the womb. I have been in the comics since then. So, art was just always around growing up. It was a part of my daily life and routine. We would go to a park, and my dad would be drawing. I would go on a field trip, and if he was there, he would be drawing. Drawing and art was always present, so it was just sort of always in my mind. So, even if I wasn’t actively making it, it was still there, which maybe sounds dumb, but…
AMA: No, it’s definitely not dumb.
MC: But yeah. Over the years, writing and music were the forms I gravitated towards just because I really didn’t explore visual art for whatever reason. Yeah.
[00:40:37] How famly.photo joined the ArtVndngMchn project
AMA: And so, you’re a part of this ArtVndngMchn now. So, how did that come to happen? And maybe even tell me about one of your pieces.
MC: Yeah. My dad approached me. I’ll say that I’m very new to the crypto world. I am not someone who can speak about it with any kind of authority. And I previously was very skeptical, to be honest. I was like, “I don’t understand this. I just don’t get it.” And part of me still doesn’t. But I just have a lot of faith and trust in my dad and his vision. And when he approached me, for some reason, I was just like, “Yes, I would love to work with you.” It was kind of this return to, like, childhood joy. And that’s kind of what this has been. It’s just been so rewarding in a profound way.
But one of my pieces is called “Love Flow.” It was a video that had been sitting on my phone for a couple of years. When I say, “I’ve always been making art” or “I’ve always been an artist, but I didn’t really claim that or know that,” it was because I would have these things sitting around and I wouldn’t do anything with them. So, I had this video on my phone that I had taken one night in my room. I was watching a movie or something, and I had a candle going, and the light from the candle and the flicker from the movie was casting this incredible light on this object that I don’t even know how to describe. My mom had sent me groceries. And I don’t know if you can imagine. It’s like a metallic bubble insulated envelope, but groceries came in. Anyway, it was a really nice object, and the artist in me was like, “I’m going to do something with that.” But I never did. It just sat around forever and ever until this very moment, and I was like, “Oh, something very beautiful is happening.” I took a video. Anyway, that sat on my phone for years and years. Recently, I came across it, and I was like, “Oh, now I know what I’m going to do with it.” And I paired it with a field recording I had on my phone that I had recorded of some running water. Anyway, my process is very just sort of feeling and listening. I can’t take a lot of credit for it. What I can say is I just try to listen and observe and use what’s already there.
AMA: Yeah. I mean, that’s just… Even though it’s intuitive, it’s just as valid, you know?
AMA: I think that’s really great.
[00:43:42] Joe goes more into detail about ArtVndngMchn, how it’s gamefied, and its affordability
AMA: So, I guess we can talk more about actually the ArtVndngMchn project itself, regarding maybe just like what exactly is being offered, anything else. I know it’s gamified in some way. You said something about it being in packs, Joe. So, maybe if you could go a little deeper into what’s being offered? How does it work? How is it gamified?
JC: Yeah. So, one of the reasons why we did this is to make… Right now, the traditional art world, it’s hard to have fun in it. A lot of things are still closed. I understand things are opening up, but a lot of the ‘zines are still closed. And even when they’re open, everything is kind of reserved, and you can’t touch anything. You can’t play with anything. You can’t take your art and then do something else with it. There’s less element of surprise. So, one of the reasons why it’s gamified is, like I said, it’s in these wrap packages, and so you don’t know exactly what you’re going to get. And there’s odds of getting certain things. And so, the game is, well, will you get stuff you really want, or do you need to get another pack? And maybe you want more. And so, there’s this kind of mystery of that. I like that.
And there’s going to be two sets coming out. One is going to be called the standard pack of NFTs, and it will be wrapped… So, it will be four NFTs in there, and that will be for a very affordable price point, like it would be $10 worth of WAX tokens. So, that’s the entry level. You can just get four NFTs at a time. And you could buy multiple packs if you want. Then, in those standard packs, there’s all levels of cards in there, but the way it’s structured is it’s a lot more of the non-rare cards. There will be some rare cards, but mostly the common and uncommon cards. And then, in the master packs, there’s going to be eight cards. So, when I say cards, eight NFTs that are pieces of fine art. And in both, it’s all fine art of different shapes and sizes, videos, animations, paintings. And so, you’ll get eight of those, but the rarity is only one of ones or editions of nine or editions of, I think, 35. So, if you get this master pack, you’re guaranteed to get an extremely rare card. And most of the ones by the crypto art OGs are in the rare. But they are in the master pack. That’s where you can get eight NFTs for $100.
Some of my stuff on the Ethereum blockchain and places like MakersPlace and SuperRare, some recent resales have sold for thousands of dollars. So I’m wanting to create this as a bargain where, yes, I know my stuff is selling for high prices. So is Rob Ness and Scrilla and Blu as well. But I wanted to make this “Let’s bundle altogether.” A rising tide raises all boats. Let’s make it affordable, $100 for eight NFTs. And then you’ll be exposed to fresh, hungry people like Maria who is doing it how we got into it. And how, frankly, we got good in the early days is we’re just doing this for fun. We’re just doing this for exploration. And that’s why I know, I just expect her work to be good. And when I see it, I’m like, “Yes, that has it.” Because you’re hungry. You’ve got that eye of the tiger. So, that’s the packaging of it.
[00:47:30] Joe talks about ArtVndngMchn’s other possible use cases: using it in different ways on other platforms.
And I’m not going to promise some of this, but some of the things I’m working on is the possibility of having these cards, these NFTs, these fine art digital items, these pieces of rare digital art, where you may be able to take them and then put them on another network when you own them and stake them. It’s called staking, so you kind of lock them into this other platform, and you may get other things for that. I’m working with other people that possibly developed it, where you could use these pieces as in-game items to battle in like a battle where your art is your shielding. So, that’s not out of the gate, but those are some of the things that we want to do. So, the gamified level one is just what we talked about. I think it’s the first time fine art is in wrap packages as NFTs on the WAX blockchain with multiple international artists. And then there will be more games to come.
AMA: Okay. Wow. That’s really interesting that you can put it on different platforms and use it in different ways.
AMA: And so, you’re going to have 2000 of the standard packs and 200 of the master packs, correct?
JC: Yes. So those master packs, they’re going to go.
JC: I’m actually torn. I’m like, “I kind of want to buy some myself.” I guess I could. I have to figure that out or I’ll just release them all. But they’ll all be released on May 8th.
AMA: I already got my WAX wallet, so I’m like getting ready.
JC: You’re a wise woman.
AMA: So, in the actual standard packs, there will be, I guess, a percentage of the OGs as well.
AMA: So it’s higher in the master packs but a little less in the standard packs?
JC: Yes. So, in the standard packs, there’s every level of rarity you’ll have exposure to. But in, like for example, the mythic level which we call one of one, I think it’s a 0.1% chance of getting a one of one in a standard pack. And then it goes slowly up from there. But in the master packs, the only NFTs you’ll get are the one of ones or the editions of nine or the editions of 35. So there’s no chance of getting an uncommon card or some of those other levels. Now, what’s cool is there’s some art that we’ve released that I don’t want just one of one. Actually, there’s a lot of really good pieces that are in the uncommon set. It’s an edition of 195 or something. There’s some that are editions of 300. So, if you just get the master, you won’t get all. So there’s also the cool game of “Well, how deep do I want to go down this rabbit hole? Do I want to try to get as much of the whole set as I can?” So, there’s a game behind that, too: the fun of “How much can I collect?” or “How much can I get doubles of and then try to trade for?” Because in the WAX AtomicHub marketplace we’re using, you can do trades. So, if you have two pieces of fine art from the collection and you see somebody else that has two, and you don’t have one, you could offer a trade. And it will show up as “Oh, so and so is offering a trade.” And you’re not exchanging any currency for it. You’re just swapping the card for the card, just like you would if you were at the lunchbox school ground playing for that. Or some people will put it on the market and try to resell it, and that’s fine, too. So, there’s a lot of different nuances you can do with this.
AMA: Right. Different scenarios. If it’s unopened, then you could trade a full unopened pack, correct?
JC: Yeah. My guess is most people who have packs unopened will not be trading. They’ll be sitting on them, like huddling, hold on for dear life.
AMA: Oh, okay.
JC: Or they’ll be selling them, like at a premium. So, they’re going to get it for $100, and then a few days later, let’s say it sells out the day of, all those $100, I would be very surprised if people don’t put some back on the market for a higher price. I can’t guarantee that, but that’s a real possibility.
AMA: And so, for the packs that are opened, they can be traded separately.
JC: Yeah. So, once they’re opened, now they’re not connected to the… They’re still part of the ArtVndngMchn collection, but they’re now just individual NFTs that could be traded, sold, or huddled.
AMA: Wow. That’s very exciting.
[00:53:04] Joe explains what the WAX Blockchain is and compares it to Ethereum
AMA: You did mention WAX. And I’m sure a lot of people are not familiar with other blockchains outside of Bitcoin and Ethereum. Could you kind of maybe explain that more? Maybe compare?
JC: Yeah, sure. And this is why it’s so good to have Maria in on this, because she’s not a crypto native. And it was very easy for her to… I just sent her a link, “Hey, go to here, and you could get a WAX wallet.” And now she has a WAX wallet, and then I say, “Oh, let me show you how this works.” Because I am already on WAX, in their AtomicHub marketplace, releasing art individually, not in packs. And it’s doing well. There’s some that I released multiple editions of. And so, I’m like, “Here, let me show you how this works. Let me just send you a free piece of rare digital art.” And so, I sent it to her, and now it’s in her wallet, and she could see it. She could trade it. She could resell it. And so, once people like Maria and others see the ease of this, and that there’s nothing to download, there’s no “I got to go into my bios and change stuff? And I got to do what to my browser?” There’s none of that. It just works.
Now, sadly, with some of these other chains, they have what’s called transaction fees, and they’re mimicking real world where you go to Visa and the merchant has to pay a percentage back to Visa or whoever for their fees. Well, with blockchain, the way they structured it in the beginning with Bitcoin, Ethereum, and a number of others, is the network has these transaction fees. And the challenge with that is even though the art is still moving, but less so on those chains is a smaller number of people want to pay a transaction fee when they can go somewhere else and not pay a transaction fee. They just need to move to another blockchain. So, I’ve seen this a number of times in Ethereum. And I’ve released tons of stuff on Ethereum. I love MakersPlace. That’s how we met. And I love SuperRare, love the people, but I’m a frugal person, and I don’t want to have to release a piece of art and pay $50 in a transaction fee that’s not going to a collector, not going to MakersPlace. It’s not going to SuperRare. It’s just going to some miner somewhere because the fees are all jacked up. But fees, they should be just… Okay, maybe I’ll pay 50 cents. But it’s gotten out of control.
And I understand that there’s some solutions that they’re trying to work out, but this has been going on…this has happened multiple times in Ethereum’s cycle, which is where most of the art market that’s in NFTs is doing business. Meanwhile, WAX comes out, and they’re like, “Hey, let’s just do cards with no transaction fees.” Boom. Garbage Pail Kids, that sells up. William Shatner. Hey, let me put out a set of cards, too. Cool. It does that. That sells out. Then you got Spock’s family, Leonard Nimoy. He puts out a collection. Maria is a big Star Trek fan, and you’ll see some influence with her…
AMA: Me, too.
JC: There’s no Star Trek cards. We’re not messing with intellectual property or copyright. But you’ll see the influence. You’ll see it in the… It’s a really influential thing. So, a lot of different… WAX is already up and running. It works. It’s proven. It’s not like “Oh, this is going to break.” The network is international. It just works. And I’m very grateful. And the community is really welcoming. It is the perfect blockchain for art. It really is. And for new people. Because the growth isn’t going to come from the people who have been in crypto, like us. The growth is going to come from mainstream art world that is just now paying attention. “Oh, wow. I could sell my digital art without having to trade discs on the street corner?” Yeah, you can. It’s called blockchain. And WAX has already figured it out. So, yeah, it’s exciting.
AMA: Yeah. It was very, very easy to sign up for a WAX wallet, so I can totally see people just easily getting into this, for sure.
[00:58:06] Joe talks about ArtVndgMchn being a family and friends project, and its collaborative partners, Uplift.Art and EOSUSA.
AMA: Is there anything else you want to share about ArtVndngMchn?
JC: Well, yeah, there is. I’m really grateful that this is a family project. Literally all of my kids and my wife are in it. And people that I work closely with, like Fabi, and just good friends are involved. And then we’re also doing this in collaboration with EOSUSA, which provides a lot of blockchain solutions for people and companies around the world, and they’re also into the WAX ecosystem. As well as with Uplift.Art, they’re also in collaboration. They also release art and give a great percentage to charity, so I’m basically just imitating them, and then I’m part of that community as well. So, I’m really grateful to be able to do this with these collaborative partners.
AMA: Very cool. I love that whole family angle to this. We always talk about how community is so important in the crypto art world, and to bring family in just makes it a little more heartwarming and just like a tighter-knit kind of community. I love that. I always wish that the more popular artists would kind of do a big brother/big sister kind of setup with artists, newly emerging artists. I wish there was more of that. And so, I think this is kind of like a nice example of something like that.
JC: That’s exactly why we did this.
[00:59:53] How emerging artists and new artists can be just as inspirational as OG artists, and famly.photo’s “We’re putting the band back together” post.
JC: And Maria could talk about this, too. What so many maybe realize, but sometimes it escapes our mind, is, yes, maybe I’m more experienced, and so I could show people stuff, but the people just coming in are also inspirational, too. Like Maria did something that just blew my mind in some of her creative things. She had touched on something that I forgot about, and it just made me even more interested to create more for this project. You want to touch on…?
MC: Which one?
JC: The one where you…it was just a photo you released. Maybe it was a comment with a photo. You said, “We’re putting the band back together.”
AMA: Is this part of the project?
MC: It’s not a piece.
MC: This is just an Instagram post on famly.photo. You could find me on Instagram. No. It was just sort of a silly promotional inside joke that is a photo of me and my dad, and it’s a Blues Brothers quote, which, by the way, I’ve never seen Blues Brothers. Sorry, everyone. But anyway, it says, “We’re putting the band back together.” It was just a joke, but it was true, too.
JC: Yeah. I reserved a few slots in the project, so maybe we need to turn that into an NFT.
MC: All right.
JC: But it’s an old photo when I was…
MC: It’s a cute photo. Yeah.
JC: And she’s…what were you, four or five in that picture?
JC: But that captures the spirit of this thing. We’re in California. She’s in Chicago. Maria is in Chicago. So, yeah, it just has a… And to me, it’s a dream come true to be able to do something with all of my entire family creatively that’s fun. That’s just a dream come true. And then also, to be able to work with international, super talented, additional artists from all over the world. And then partners like Uplift.Art and EOSUSA, and working with AtomicHub to make this happen. So, I feel very grateful. I’m grateful.
[01:02:35] How Joe got into blockchain
AMA: You mentioned EOS and WAX and Ethereum. I’m really interested in how did you even come across blockchain just in general? How did you get into it? Everybody has a story, so…
JC: Yes. So, I mentioned earlier I worked at the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce for many years. And I’ve always been entrepreneurial, putting out books and ‘zines and art projects. And at the Chicagoland Chamber, it’s like the premier chamber for Chicago. And they had an entrepreneurial center. They had an innovation center. So you’re always looking at what’s new, what’s disruptive, what’s possibly going to change different business paradigms. So you’re just kind of trained to look for that.
And then, at the same time, my wife and I, we do a lot of shepherding in the church, and I was just getting bothered (and this was many years ago) by how many people were…people would come in, and they’d want to study the scriptures, get involved, and get some help, and then they just drop off the face of the earth. And often, it’s because they had jobs that they’d take in other states or other cities. They had weird hours and we wouldn’t see them again. And then there’s just a lot of people just struggling financially, and I was one of them. And so, I’m like, “Let me study out what… Let me try to get some wisdom about how do you manage money well?” And so, I started studying economics, money, and what does the Bible say about it? What do some of the best people that I admire say about it, people in my life?
And so, I ended up writing a book. That turned into a book called Mega Debt-Busters. And so, in that exploration, I discovered something called Bitcoin. And it was so crazy. I think at the time, it was still maybe $100. It was very early. And so, I started looking into this. And I showed my wife this stuff, and she’s like, “Yeah, go ahead.” And she just kind of wrote it off. “Yeah, go ahead. Sure. It’s one of your things. Go ahead.” And then, a few years later, I was still following… And so, I started doing comics about Bitcoin. And some of them were released in the Silly Daddy 2017 collection I put out. This is before you could put your art on the blockchain, all right? So this was before NFTs. So, a few years go by, now Ethereum comes out. I’m doing art about Ethereum. And that was the original term of crypto artists is just you’re doing art about cryptocurrency. That’s what a real crypto artist is.
And then, lo and behold, I started finding out, I think it was in 2017, even though I had started in various experimental ways before this, mostly experimental, but that you could actually take art and put it on the blockchain tied to these tokens. So then, this was on Counterparty riding on top of Bitcoin. And I was just like, “Okay, I’ve got to do this. How can I do this?” I’m not that technical, not much technical. So, I finally got with some people that helped me to do it, and so we released this through EverdreamSoft, some artwork on the blockchain riding on top of Counterparty and Bitcoin. And so, that was the beginning. And actually, those pieces I still use today. In fact, Scrilla and I recently traded. I’m like, “Hey, I really like this piece.” And so, he contacted me. I said, “Yeah, you pick.” He opened up his old collection. “You pick. What do you want from mine?” So he traded, just like little kids at lunchtime. And it was awesome. And I got an awesome piece, and he got a piece he likes. And so, that spirit of freshness is what I’m trying to recapture, because I think then, once big money started getting into this, it kind of got a little…I think greed and skepticism and just negativity came into some of the scene. So I wanted to, as Maria said, put the band back together, just recapture that freshness, that innocence and fun about it, and make it affordable. But also, there’s opportunities there.
[01:07:34] What Joe’s experience has been like with Bitcoin, Ethereum, EOS and WAX
AMA: All of your exploration throughout this, you’ve used several different types of blockchains, right? So, it would be really interesting to know what your experience has been like with each of the ones that you’ve used or incorporated in your work.
JC: Yeah. Well, I mean, the first one was, of course, Bitcoin using Counterparty. And it was like the Odyssey, all the things you had to learn. And this was before exchanges. So, you get to learn how to get on an exchange. And it was hard to get Bitcoin in the first place if you’re not mining it. And how do you do that? And so, figuring out that. And then the early process of this, they were still figuring out back in 2017. And I don’t even know if Ethereum had NFT. No. Ethereum, I think, was just starting to have NFT protocols. Shortly after that, they solidified that in that year. But on Counterparty, you had to get not just the Bitcoin. You also had to get this token called Counterparty. So you had to learn about how to do it. And then it’s a different market. And because I knew this was the future, I’m like, “Yeah, I’ll just spend hours trying to figure out this and learning what. And you’re just reading stuff. And it’s not like there’s like official help files anywhere. A lot of these things are decentralized, so you just got to scrounge and find good sources and network and talk to people, a lot of trial and error. And along the way, you meet some friends. So, that’s really cool about it. The people that have made it through that, that gauntlet, so to speak, it’s like, “Okay, I made it through. I figured it out.” You kind of feel like you’re smart, even though you’re not. You just had a lot of help along the way. So, that was like an odyssey.
And then Ethereum comes out. And in the beginning, it was refreshing because it was a little bit easier. You just needed one cryptocurrency called Ethereum, and you just had to download one thing usually called MetaMask, a wallet to hold your Ethereum. But you still also had to grab it from an exchange, and you had to pay these gas fees, and it was hard to figure out. And then places like SuperRare make it easy by creating the market for NFTs, and MakersPlace. And that was great. I’m really grateful to be part of that early wave of things. But again, because Ethereum had a number of just network problems… And they’d tell you this going in. “Hey, this thing isn’t going to be the real thing, the final thing for years.” They tell you that. But people don’t care. They just want to build. They’re crazy about this stuff. They want to build. And so, once an hour, it gets clogged, and then all transaction fees go up, then the problems come in.
And so, it was around that time, in probably the first network clog, I was like, “Okay, guys, we got to go somewhere else.” So I was thinking it was going to be EOS. So I actually worked as a co-founder of another marketplace, and we started a marketplace for NFTs on EOS. And we did that, learned a lot, released some art on there, too. And there’s no transaction fees, and it’s fast, and it’s a solid solution for how to release art on EOS called PixEOS. Meanwhile, WAX says, “You know what? I see the good things from Bitcoin. I see the good thing from Ethereum. I learned from EOS.” And EOS is open source code. “Let me just take the code that runs EOS blockchain and make another blockchain,” which is okay. They’re not like stealing it. That was the plan all along for EOS. “Let me make it and give it exactly towards releasing art fast, learning from all the victories and shortcomings of some of these other groups.” And they nailed it. And the proof is people are…these large brands are coming and using it. And they vet stuff. They’re not like… I’m not going to be putting Major League Baseball cards on some experimental network run by a bunch of nerds in the garage, and hopefully, it will work. They vetted this. And this is where I think not a lot of fine artists moved over to WAX yet, so I’m in kind of that first wave of it. So I think I’ve kind of, by the grace of God, been involved in the beginning of most of these things, so I’m just glad we’re here. I’m glad my daughters are with me, too, and the rest of the ArtVndngMchn crew.
AMA: Yeah. Despite this mass influx of people coming into the space, there’s still so much to explore. So, yeah, WAX is…that sounds amazing.
[01:13:07] Joe’ advice to blockchain devs and crypto creative platform teams
AMA: So, what would be your advice to future blockchains, blockchain devs, crypto art platforms, crypto music platforms? What would your advice be to them, having experienced all of this on these different blockchains?
JC: Yeah. I would do three things. I would pray for wisdom. I would do your research. And don’t just use one chain, because I think part of the insight that I’ve gotten is being able to see these different chains, see what’s good, see what I wish was different, and make your own decision. Because the other thing (I do like to throw out a disclaimer) is that this is still relatively new technology. There’s no guarantees with any… None of these blockchains come with a guarantee. None of them. The internet doesn’t promise you to always work. It’s a network that we hope will always work. But all this stuff, you need electricity and you need the internet for it to work. So, if people are fine with that, and they’re fine with the fact that this is still an emerging market, cryptocurrency is still an emerging market, if they’re fine with that, they do the research on what that means and what some of the regulations are, and understanding that there are taxable events when you sell your art and you receive crypto, that’s not free untaxable money. A lot of people want it to be. If you’re in most governments, they will want to tax that as income. So you have to understand that. Just don’t think, “Hey, I got free money, and it’s all mine, and nobody can touch it.” Well, yeah, that’s kind of true, but your taxing body may have something to say about it. So, you want to comply with whatever laws you need to, and learn about this space. And certainly, obviously, I don’t want to put down any of the blockchains. I think there’s room for all of them, honestly. WAX, Ethereum, Counterparty. There’s room for all of them. And I think as time progresses, they’ll sort out stuff. Right now, WAX has sorted it all out the best at this time. And join us.
AMA: That’s awesome.
[01:15:40] What advice would famly.photo and Joe give to artists coming into the crypto art world
AMA: So, I would love for you, Maria, as well as you, Joe, to share with me what type of advice you would give to other artists coming into the crypto art world. It would be good to get both angles.
JC: Sure. Maria, do you want to go first?
MC: Sure. I don’t know. I would say to keep an open mind, obviously, is probably the biggest thing, because initially I was like, “Oh, no. This seems to be… Is this really in line with my values and my art and commodifying myself and my art?” and all these sort of ideas like that coming to me, which are valid.
MC: But to keep an open mind, because it was kind of opening up to me like, “Oh. Maybe I could sustain myself by making art,” which is the eternal dream, you know? So, yeah, keep an open mind, even if you think it’s something that you reject. Just sort of, yeah, be open to it.
AMA: How about you, Joe?
JC: That’s great advice. Yeah. So, I was in traditional publishing on paper, print books, when the internet came out. And some guys talked me into getting a website, and they ran it for me. And I still didn’t understand what the internet was. This was like ’96 or ’97. So, after a while, they had the website, and I’m like, “Well, what happens when I’m not on the website? Does the website go away?” And I just couldn’t understand that when I walked away from it, it would still be on. That was a new concept. So, there’s a lot of some of these same paradigms in NFT space, crypto art, rare digital art. And so, it’s just learning to be patient. And I think what Maria said is keep… My other daughter is Anna. I went through all the names until I find the right one. Maria, Luke, Anna.
AMA: My mom and my dad do the same thing, so…
JC: I guess it’s a human thing, so there’s nothing wrong with me. So, yeah, keep an open mind. And don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Don’t just throw all your money into this. Just test the waters out, and do your research. Don’t think you’re going to be an overnight sensation. Cast your bread upon the waters. Just get in. Gradually learn. Make friends. Not fake friends that you could step onto the next level, but real friends. Build relationships. And then, even if it doesn’t accelerate at the pace you want, you’ll still be getting a lot out of it. I do think there is a danger of people getting into this because they think they’re going to get rich. And that is a mistake, and they will be let down. But if you’re coming in because this is a bridge to more opportunity, then you get it.
And that’s really what it is. There’s only so much room for everybody to be able to make a living wage off of art. That’s just the economics of it. Think about how many people… The colleges, they’re cranking out artists, even now during a pandemic winding down. They’re cranking out artists, but there’s not jobs for these artists. And because art is at a high price point for the most part, it’s priced out of affordability, like the originals. For most people in a challenged economy, this is something that people will need to understand: that not everybody is going to make a living out of it. But if you look for opportunities, and also study economics and business, you just may be able to survive in this. You really might. But there’s no guarantees. I mean, there’s none at all. But keep doing what you love, and you’ll figure out a way to fund it.
AMA: Yes. That’s just great advice overall.
[01:20:15] Joe advises artists coming into the space should use Twitter, where the crypto art community is.
AMA: So, is there anything else that you want to say that hasn’t been mentioned, or a message that you want to give to the audience? Anything?
JC: Well, for me, I’m old school. I use Twitter, okay? Now, some of the younger people laugh, but in crypto, Twitter is a big thing.
[01:20:36] How to keep up on news regarding ArtVndngMchn and when it will drop: May 8th at ArtVndgMchn.com, and get your WAX wallet ready.
JC: And so, I release a lot of the announcements on this on my Twitter, which is @joeychips, like potato chips but joeychips. And so, any news about the project. Sometimes we give out freebies. We give out free NFTs on the @joeychips Twitter. So you could just follow me there, and you’ll get updates about the project. And then, of course, it will be out May 8th, and you could go to AtomicHub to buy that. There’s artvndngmchn.com, again without the vowels, except for the “A.” artvndngmchn.com. And that will have the full project details there. And I’m just excited. Go get your WAX wallet ready. You just need to use your name and a password. You don’t need to download anything. Get it in-house the day of. You’ll need to get some WAX, so that means you’ll have to exchange. Use a credit card to buy these WAX tokens because it’s not for sale for USD. We’re selling the packs for WAX. So, do that, and you’ll be ready. And if you have any questions, you can contact anyone on the project.
AMA: Okay. And also, if you’re on an exchange…you can exchange it.
JC: WAX, you could buy on Bittrex. It’s another U.S. exchange: Bittrex.
JC: Or if you just go to the WAX Cloud Wallet and just get a wallet, from within that wallet, it has an exchange. It has a vendor where you could buy it from using a debit card or a credit card. So, you actually don’t need to go to an exchange. You can go to Bittrex and buy it, or you could just get a WAX Cloud Wallet. If you just Google “WAX Cloud Wallet,” you’ll find it. And then, from within that interface, once you have the username and a password and address, then you could buy your WAX tokens.
AMA: Okay. Also, Maria, did you want to say anything else, like a message to the audience, a conversation you’d like to have?
MC: Yeah. I’m really excited to be a part of ArtVndngMchn. And yeah, it’s not something that I ever thought I would do, like never. I did not imagine myself getting into cryptocurrency or digital art at all ever, but I’m really happy to be doing it.
AMA: Yeah. And that makes me wonder. Do you see yourself doing more of this?
MC: Well, yeah. So, we’ve all been pretty busy the past couple of weeks within the project, finishing up pieces and writing descriptions and sort of sending them to my dad. And he’s been promoting it, and we’ve been promoting it a little bit. Well, I lost my train of thought. It’s just gone. But anyway, what did you ask?
AMA: Yeah. I was just wondering if you plan to do more work…
MC: Oh, yeah.
AMA: …outside of the project.
MC: I actually have been wanting to ask my dad, sort of like, “Okay, how do I keep doing this? I really enjoyed doing it.” Well, why this was so appealing to me is I like having, like, “Here are the parameters. See what you can do within these parameters.” That’s very appealing to me. So, anyway, yeah, I do want to keep doing it. It’s a lot of fun, and I like just sort of making quick art. Yeah. It feels like play, and that’s why I like it.
AMA: So, as far as the parameters, is that something that you’re giving yourself, or you’re going to seek that from…?
MC: No. I just mean within this specific project, just like in terms of pixels and file size.
MC: The cooking equivalent would be like Chopped or something, a show like that where it’s like chefs have to see what they can do. For me, it was like, “All right. Let’s see what I can make within this square and this file size.” And a lot of things grew out of that.
AMA: So, are there any other projects that you want to talk about outside of ArtVndngMchn? Any exhibits, shows?
JC: Yes. So, we’re doing this as a series, so this would be considered Series One. And when it’s successful and we’ve taken a breather, we’ll probably get the band back together again and possibly do another series of art vending machines. The vending machine will be replenished and we’ll put more art in. And I am in talks with a developer to then create a dedicated site where it is more of a 3D interactive experience with the vending machine, where it would release NFTs. And then we’re also in development in something called the Uplift World. It’s a 3D Minecraft gallery space where you can go and walk in your 3D Minecraft avatar. And you could build a Minecraft as usual, or you can go and view the art as if you’re in a gallery setting. And then eventually, there will be links to buy those NFTs if you want. Or you can just walk through and view them. And there’s two worlds we’re building. One is in creative mode of Minecraft, and that’s easy. Your avatar will… It’s a lot easier to play.
[01:26:26] SURVIVAL MODE! While not getting killed?!?!
JC: But then some of the more hardcore gamers, it’s called survival mode. And so, you have to view the art while you also stay alive and not get killed. Not in the real world, just in this Minecraft world. So, yeah, there’s some fun stuff coming down the line, and the art in this project will be part of that. And I have land in both the survival area and also in the creative area. So, yeah, I think that the sky is the limit with this stuff. Basically, having people like Maria in the project that are fresh, hungry, it’s like the force awakens, and just, all of a sudden, I see it all. And she’s a talented musician, so she may put, if she wants, her songs. There’s some songs on here. So, she may put some of her songs out there as NFTs with the album art, things like that. Because the rare digital art is…the token is you proxy to sell the art digitally online, you could really have any digital item that you have the intellectual property for as a vehicle to trade, or share and gift. There’s a lot of gifting going on in this community, which is really cool. We’re just having fun and creating opportunity.
AMA: Love it. I’m really interested in the whole survival mode thing. I mean, I’m thinking about something like Cryptovoxels on Ethereum, right? There’s not that type… I’ve always wondered, like “Are they ever going to make it something like what you’re talking about, like a survival mode type of thing?” So, that really interests me.
JC: It’s crazy.
AMA: I mean, is that available on any other platform or blockchain or…?
JC: Not that I know of.
AMA: Yeah. It’s the first I’ve heard of something like this.
JC: But I’m not an expert on 3D world. As far as I understand, it’s the first time… This Minecraft thing that is in the Uplift, it’s a Minecraft server that the Uplift runs where you could buy land and build your gallery in either survival mode or creative mode. And this community is going to be run. You’ll be able to earn WAX in here. You’ll be able to trade for items using WAX or go to the links and stuff like that. It’s like the beginning of this sort of online 3D metaverse that people keep talking about. Yeah, because WAX is easy to use and fast, and transaction fees are not there. There’s no transaction fees. It’s a great ecosystem.
AMA: Yeah. Wow. That’s amazing. Very awesome.
[01:29:28] Where you can find Joe Chiappetta and famly.photo
AMA: So, where can people find you? And that question is for both you, Joe, and Maria/famly.photo.
MC: I am on Instagram at famly.photo. And also Twitter, which I’m new to Twitter, but I’ll be using it, I suppose.
AMA: Yeah. That’s where all the collectors and artists are.
MC: And they really don’t let you put in dots in Twitter, so I think it’s just famlyphoto, which I know is confusing. I’m sorry.
AMA: Well, thank you for spelling that out. Some people actually know.
JC: And then, for me, I’m @joeychips on Twitter. You can find me there: @joeychips. Like potato chips, but joeychips on Twitter. And then, if you go to artvndngmchn.com, take out all the vowels except for the A in art, that’s how you’ll find information about the project. Artvndngmchn.com without the vowels except for the A.
AMA: Okay. Yeah. And you’re also on other platforms. MakersPlace?
JC: Oh, yeah. You could find me on MakersPlace as my name, Joe Chiappetta, two P’s, two T’s. SuperRare, same thing. And yeah, you could find me. I’m in a lot of places. If you go to sillydaddy.net, that’s where everything, the books, the art, the blog, it’s all there. sillydaddy.net. You can find me there, too. That’s kind of my official page.
AMA: Awesome. Great, great. Is there anything else?
JC: I’m just very grateful. I’m grateful that you took the time to draw us out. I really appreciate that, Ann Marie. Thank you. Thank you.
AMA: You’re very welcome. Thank you. Thank you so much for being on the show. Thank you, Maria. Thank you, Joe.
MC: Yeah. Thank you.
AMA: That’s it. That’s a wrap.
JC: Oh, awesome. Yes! Thanks so much.
AMA: Yeah, of course.
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