jrdsctt: Finding Beauty in What’s Broken

Taking the Glitchy Path to a Lucrative Crypto Art Career, What Blockchain Art Communities Need & More

Ann Marie Alanes
50 min readOct 15, 2020
Click the image for the full interview! Cover features Die Verwandlung by jrdsctt

Rare Digital Bird, Episode 1

Glitch artist jrdsctt talks making money selling to crypto art collectors, what blockchain communities need, glitch culture, NIN, L337 / leet speak, Franz Kafka, meta roaches, and his fascination with the augmentation of humans.

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MakersPlace: https://makersplace.com/jrdsctt/

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Table of Contents

[00:00:00] Coming Up!
[00:00:50] What’s Rare Digital Bird?
[00:01:03] What are blockchains?
[00:01:24] What is Nervos?
[00:02:33] About jrdsctt
[00:03:52] What started your artistic journey?
[00:17:04] What is glitch art?
[00:18:33] What are the processes for creating glitch art?
[00:27:02] Does a glitch culture exist?
[00:29:51] The 5huffle music podcast & the ICP-cidents.
[00:35:29] What is leet-speak?
[00:39:21] The Franz Kafka piece & the Easter egg.
[00:45:09] The Augmented Humanity Pieces & NIN
[00:52:26] What persuaded you to make the jump into blockchain?
[00:58:05] The blockchain user experience & jrdsctt’s personal struggles with blockchain
[01:04:48] What are crypto artists struggling with?
[01:07:17] What are the joys & benefits that you & crypto art community have experienced?
[01:12:44] What’s your advice to new artists thinking about exploring the crypto art world?
[01:15:35] What can blockchain developers do to create a better blockchain experience?
[01:19:32] The “bridges” are important.

You can read all this, or you can click HERE instead for Episode 1 of the “Rare Digital Bird” Series — with closed captioning!

🙏 Appreciate this transcript? Help me reach other readers by smashing the 👏 button for up to 50 claps at the bottom of this transcript, please and thank you.

[00:00:50] 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.

[00:01:03] What are blockchains?

Now, just in case you don’t know what blockchains are, they’re essentially operating system softwares, like Windows, Mac OS, or iOS. They live on the internet, and you can build things on top of them just like the apps on your phone. The most common blockchains you’ll hear about are Bitcoin and Ethereum. But there are many other projects working to improve on these systems, like Nervos.

[00:01:24] What is Nervos?

The idea for the Rare Digital Bird series grew out of a conversation I had with a couple of members from the Nervos community. Nervos is an innovative blockchain. You can think of it as a small digital computer that’s more powerful than Ethereum, and any developer can upgrade it.

People have built a variety of things on blockchains, including art marketplaces and virtual galleries, which offer benefits like royalties, provenance, and digital certificates of authenticity. Now it’s in its early stages of development which means that this is a critical time for us to start tapping the minds of pioneering artists already using blockchain, so the developers can create something better. The biggest takeaway that I got from the conversation is that art does not evolve in a vacuum. The medium in which you create art is just as important. Blockchain is a new medium.

Now if you’re an artist who’s considering exploring blockchain tech, or if you’re a blockchain dev interested in creating something better that artists will want to use, consider clicking on the subscribe button and the notification bell.

Self Portrait — Day 1 of Jlitch365 by jrdsctt

[00:02:33] About jrdsctt

Now for our very first episode, I am super excited for today’s guest, jrdsctt. Jarid is, first and foremost, a glitch artist. He’s also a graphic designer and photographer, as well as a rare digital artist / blockchain artist / crypto artist. They’re kind of interchangeable depending on who you ask. He’s been in the online magazines, Inverse and TechCrunch. His work has been featured in the shows: “Nights of the Living Glitch Art” in Minneapolis, “Fubar” in Croatia, “Digital Decade’s Future Selves in London, and “Rare Digital Art Feast” in San Francisco. Currently he’s exhibiting and the MakersPlace Doom District Art Gallery in a blockchain-based virtual world called Cryptovoxels. Notably, he was the very first ambassador for the ever-growing, robust MakersPlace art community on Discord.

jrdsctt currently exhibiting in the MakersPlace Doom District Art Gallery in Cryptovoxels

[Interview begins]

Ann Marie Alanes (AA): Welcome, Jarid. How are you doing?

jrdsctt / Jarid Scott (JS): Good, how are you?

AA: I’m great. So I guess we should start from the very beginning. During your childhood, did you have any experiences that kind of started you off on this artistic journey?

[00:03:52] What started your artistic journey?

JS: Yeah, definitely. When I was a really young kid for some reason I always wanted to be a cartoonist and then I very quickly learned I had no ability to draw whatsoever. But another thing that kind of serendipitously happened was I had really poor eyesight as a kid. In the second grade I had to get these huge, thick glasses. I hated them and I’d take them off whenever I could. And then by taking them off that’s kind of when I realized we’d be driving around at night with my parents and if I took my glasses off my eyes were so bad that all of the night lights and the traffic lights, and buildings — they would turn into these giant spheres of light and color. They’re these willow wisps almost. And it was kind of this little magical world that I could escape to whatever I wanted. And I think that really kind of gave me this first idea of distorting reality, and how there can be hidden worlds. And I think that’s something … I’ve kind of experimented with many different mediums and different art styles and I think that’s the one through line that I can see looking back. It’s like I’m always trying to distort or corrupt a reality to kind of create this little hidden world. And it really makes me think of just taking my glasses off and looking at the lights at night time.

AA: That’s awesome. Yeah I actually had astigmatism growing up and that definitely was not my biggest takeaway. You’re taking it the next level up, so that’s awesome!

JS: Well I don’t know how cognizant I was. I mean at the time I was just kind of like, “Oh this is really cool.” And then it was actually, it wasn’t until probably my freshman year of my undergrad when I took my first college photography course and we had a project where we had to find a new professional photographer, study their work and kind of make a project that is kind of in reference to them or inspired by them and I came across this German photographer — her name is Uda Barth. And she takes these amazing photos with no depth of field whatsoever, so they’re just these super blurry abstract images, but she’ll go on the streets, a city so you kind of get this really vague idea of the city but it’s very blurred and everything is very soft. And again those giant spherical green and red lights which would show up in it and I was like “Oh! That’s what I used to see,” and then that’s what kind of got me into abstract photography and then it kind of all just exploded from there.

AA: Awesome, awesome. Very cool — I know that you had mentioned to me before that there was a point in time when you kind of lost interest in what you were doing. Can you can you talk about that? It seems like you were lost, and how you found yourself?

JS: Yeah totally, so I went to the University of Minnesota Duluth. I guess I’ve been talking about this school and I mentioned where it was. And I got a degree in studio art with an emphasis in digital art and photography, so I was taking photography classes and graphic design classes and some 3D stuff. And I think I got really conditioned by having an instructor giving you a prompt to make a project from. Here’s a project, go do it. And then once I graduated, I no longer had someone telling me to do something, I just stopped making art. You know I graduated, I tried to get into grad school and it didn’t happen. So I just kind of started working and had jobs and I kind of just lost the passion to make stuff. And I was still kind of … I’d shoot photos sometimes but it really wasn’t anything substantial. And it was probably … well I graduated in 2012 and it probably wasn’t ’til about 2016 then I kind of started things back up. I kind of just, I felt like my creative endeavors had just been on pause. They were in this weird stasis. And one day I think I was on Facebook or Instagram or something, I saw that a friend of mine had just finished doing this challenge where she tried to take a picture everyday for a year just as a little fun thing to do and she said that it really reignited her passion for photography and it was kind of really cool to see how much her work changed from day one to day 365 and I was like, “This seems like a good way to kind of trick myself into start making things again,” and I knew that I didn’t want to do just straight up photography. That was what my degree was in, but I was kind of like I wanted to say, disinterested in it, but I was a lot more interested in kind of the post processing work of photography after I took pictures I liked editing them and playing with them and like Photoshop way more than actually taking them. So I was like, what can I do every day for a year that I could feasibly do on top of working a day job. If I only have a couple hours to work on this. And it kind of reminded me of this thing I had learned about a little bit in college — glitch art — and some of my favorite artists were glitch artists but I never really tried it that seriously. And there was some cool little phone apps you could use to do it, so I could snap a picture with my phone and glitch it with an app and that’s something I could feasibly do in a day. And then throughout the year, I started kind of experimenting and learning other ways to glitch and it kind of just went from there and now here I am today. It kind of all started with that project.

AA: Yeah, 365 days — that’s crazy. So I don’t know if the audience know, but I used to work for MakersPlace. I was the Community Marketing Specialist and that’s how Jarid and I actually met. And he actually was one of the only artists that did a piece every single day for a hundred days. And so now I know how you were able to do that cuz you were doing for a whole year which is crazy! Are there any other challenges that are like that for the whole year or is that … cuz I’m pretty sure that’s something that you created, right the j-litch … Jlitch?

JS: Yeah yeah, so I called it Jlitch365. Jlitch was just this term I came up with. You know, my name is Jarid and I’m making glitch art so I called it “J” — it’s the word glitch but it has the J instead of the G. It was kind of like my little branding thing. So you know there’s lots of people that I think do — they call them “Everydays” on some of the social media. There’s this one guy — he’s very famous — his name is BEEPLE — Mike Beeple. He’s been doing images every day for I think going on 13 years now.

AA: Oh my god — ok.

JS: He’s been a huge inspiration. He’s very big in the Cinema 4D / 3D animation world and it is very similar to mine. It started as a way of like, “How can I get better at this? How can I reignite my passion for something?” And it was just, I’m going to make something every day for a year. And some years he focuses on photography, some years it’s graphic design. And he’s like there’s no better way to get better at something than to just do one everyday. Even if the first one’s bad. By the next 10 days it will get better. So that — and I will say, speaking to your project, I would say that your 100 Day Project was way harder than Jlitch365 because I couldn’t make something until I got the prompt from you.

[To audience] Everyday, Ann (Marie) would post a prompt about what we needed to make.

And so with the Jlitch365, I could kind of cheat a little bit where it’s like if I have a day with nothing going on, I could make five of them and knock them out, if I had to. I tried not to. But with the 100 Day Project at MakersPlace, I literally like 8 or 9 a.m. every morning I get the prompt and then I was boom I have 24 hours to make something. So that was, I will say, like with the Jlitch365 — and actually I’m in the middle of another 100 Day Project right now, another self-imposed one. Both of those I had to cheat a little bit on. Like there’d be a day or two I missed. The 100 Day Project at MakersPlace was the first time that I actually, for 100 days straight, made something from start to finish. That was a gauntlet.

AA: Yeah, yeah — when I was coming up with the prompts for 100 Day, I had a whole bunch of prompts at first and then after awhile I was just like, “I’m just so busy I can’t do the prompts ahead of time”, and so every morning around I don’t know, somewhere between 8 and 8:30 somewhere around there — 7:30? I can’t even remember anymore — I would be in the car and my friend and roommate would be driving us to the city to go to work and I’d be like, okay you have to shut up. I have to start thinking about what the artists have to draw, or to create. And I would come up with … I tried to make it colorful, the language you know, to help with inspiring all the artists. And so yeah it was 100 days of that. It was, it was a lot.

JS: It was a lot. But I appreciate all the prompts though because it really forced me to get out of my comfort zone. Because, knowing me I have trends and things I can fall back onto for subject matter for my pieces — usually kind of darker broody or cyberpunk-y or edgy stuff. And with your stuff, I had to do a lot of more happier themed things.

AA: Ahaha! Oh wow!

JS: It was, it was fun, because it’s something I don’t make all that much.

AA: That’s interesting — those happier themed things. I guess maybe I was projecting my own kind of (out)look — view of life cuz I tend to be more happy about things.

JS: Yeah — no, it’s good.

AA: There were points where, I think a problem was about, I don’t know, viruses or bacteria or things that live on you. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the documentary about all the bacteria and little bugs that live on your body and in you. You’ve never seen that one?

JS: I don’t think I’ve ever seen it but …

AA: That’s what inspired me, the whole bacteria prompt. Yeah I think it’s “Live On Us”? … “Life On Us”!!!

JS: “Life On Us?” I’m sure it’s fascinating and horrifying at the same time.

AA: It is! It is. Oh so that’s probably the only thing maybe that was horrifying and not happy.

So you know we’re talking about glitch art and I guess a lot of people may not know about it, so if you could tell me about, or tell us about what glitch art is and also all the processes, which I think is really interesting.

[00:17:04] What is glitch art?

JS: So I mean simply put I think everyone’s familiar with the idea of a glitch. Something that is not working as it was intended to. You know, your internet connection glitches out, your signal on the TV. I’m sure everyone’s been watching Netflix and all of a sudden you kind of see, the pixels kind of stay on the screen for a little bit and you get a weird effect. So that right there is a very popular form of glitch art. But then people take the glitches and intentionally apply that effect to something. So if you’re watching Netflix and you noticed there’s a character on the screen, and all of a sudden they kind of move but they’re still kind of a ghostly blocky image of them that kind of disseminates? That’s called data moshing. There’s so many terms. There’s ones I don’t even know about or use all that well but so data moshing is usually done with video and it’s kind of just that process of keeping pixels on screen when they’re meant to be turned off so you can get these weird monstrosity form that can appear on the screen.

[00:18:33] What are the processes for creating glitch art?

JS: Predominantly what my images use is a technique called pixel sorting. There are a variety of ways to achieve this at this point. Basically with pixel sorting is is a program has a script that basically takes a image or JPEG and then based on the light and dark values of the pixels will separate it to two different parts of the screen so that’s how you can get that weird, stretched, spiky kind of effect on the image. And one of the easiest ways someone can do it is if you have Photoshop. If you open up Photoshop put an image in there and you go to the pre-built effects in Photoshop there’s one called “wind” — that’s that’s pixel sorting right there. One of the most controversial things in the glitch art community is how good the apps are getting at it. There’s an Old Guard of elitist old school glitch artists who are very set in the ways of “you have to do glitch art traditionally, you have to actually prep the file, you have to, have a VHS with a magnet and you actually corrupt the magnetic tape on the VHS”, because there’s all these awesome phone apps you can download: Glitch Lab, Decimate — there’s a ton of them, with a click of one you can recreate this effect that people used to spend hours trying to manipulate and perfect. And I don’t blame them for being a little bitter cuz it’s kind of, it’s the same thing with how digital photography has kind of consumed dark room photography cuz it’s just so much more cost-effective and quick and it also just allows so many more people to get in on it without having to have all this expensive old-school analog equipment or anything like that. So and then I don’t need to ramble on about this forever but I’m looking to my left right now and I’m recording audio with Audacity — it’s a free to download audio program. You can actually glitch images with audacity. There’s a way to open up static images in Audacity and Audacity will convert it into a sound file. I would not recommend you hit play on it cuz it’s going to just sound like horrible static high pitch noise. But then you can apply audio filters to it, re-save it as an image and it’s kind of a toss of the dice of what’s going to happen. You can get really crazy effects from it. One other quick one — anyone with a Mac can do this. If you open up the Wordpad app on your Mac and you go to “file open” and you try to open a JPEG in it, it’ll bring up this giant list of just, it looks like gibberish it looks like someone just smashed on the keyboard forever. Cuz what it is, it’s the code of the image. You can go in there and just start messing with things. You can delete sections, you could copy and paste the Declaration of Independence into it, you can take text from another image and put it in there and then save it and just kind of see what happens. Sometimes you can corrupt it to the point where the file won’t open anymore but sometimes you can get really cool glitches from it.

AA: So you would save it as, a JPEG?

JS: Yeah so you take a picture, you have a JPEG on your desktop, you open up Workpad, you going to “file / open” and then you select that JPEG and then when you save it you just make sure that you save it as a JPEG still. Don’t save it as a .txt file. That’s the very first way that I ever learned how to do it, was just messing with the data on the JPEG.

AA: What is that process called? Is that data bending or something like that?

JS: Data bending would be more so like what I was describing with using Audacity. You know the jpeg text edit, I guess, would technically be data bending cuz what you’re doing is you’re bending the data of a file. So yeah, actually you could describe it as that. Anytime you’re messing with the code of a file to achieve a glitch effect that is data bending.

AA: Awesome awesome. Who started glitch art?

JS: I’m trying to … there’s a really great Facebook group called The Glitch Artists Collective. They are really great historians — of the history of glitch art. I’m probably doing them a disservice right now cuz there’s a lot of names, but I’m trying to think of — you can go all the way back to the 1970s 1980s and people were already trying to mess around with this stuff. There’s these old analog synthesizers that would convert audio into kind of like an image — um, what was his name — the Rutt-Etra-Izer — I think is what it’s called. It kind of looks like just lines. But you can kind of see the shapes of stuff in it and that was just done by using like I said the synthesizer which was converting sound into shape. I feel like that was kind of like the birth of it and then I think in the 90s it started to become a little more popularized because people were starting to use it as an actual aesthetic. For instance the band Nine Inch Nails. They were kind of using it for the imagery of their artwork, even as probably starting around the late 90s early 2000s. That’s actually kind of how I probably first got into it. Nine Inch Nails is like one of my favorite bands, and specifically right around the late 90s, they hired a new art director — this young kid named Rob Sheridan. He actually built a fan-made Nine Inch Nails website that Trent Reznor the lead singer and creative mind by Nine Inch Nails likes so much that he hired this, fresh-faced 18 year old kid as his art director. And he was really the one that started injecting the glitch aesthetic into the Nine Inch Nails’ imagery. Actually this shirt was designed by Rob Sheridan. This is one of — he’s one of my heroes. And he really got me into it, and I think his passion from it kind of just came from growing up as a teenager in the 90s and kind of seeing this relationship between humanity and technology just growing closer and closer. They were probably the first teenagers to grow up with an internet connection. And I think that’s kind of really has its basis in a lot of glitch art — just this connection of humanity and technology. I feel like if something’s around long enough, people are going to start pushing and bending and seeing how far they can play with things. That happens in all forms: Rock and roll music, all art forms. When something’s been standard for so long, people want to break it. People want to push it. People want to experiment with it. I really think that’s kind of where glitch art comes from. It’s like, we have all this technology around, what can we do with it? Pushing it to its limit.

AA: So is glitch, is it also a culture? Cuz I mean, going back to Nine Inch Nails, I used to listen to Nine Inch Nails all the time and it sounds glitchy. Is there an actual culture around this?

[00:27:02] Does a glitch culture exist?

JS: Oh! I definitely think so. I think glitch as an aesthetic is permeated beyond just imagery and art. Video, music, fashion. The way he made this shirt was that he has an old Betamax VHS, and he would put tapes in it and play with magnets and photograph the screen. And then now we’re putting it on fashion, and I definitely think on top of it being an art form. It’s a mentality. It’s finding beauty in destruction and then recreating, like breaking something and building something new out of it. It’s kind of like uh — not to get pretentious, but like a philosophy almost. Yeah — it’s definitely like you said — kind of like a culture. I definitely think there is a world surrounding it.

AA: Yeah — it’s like making lemons out of lemonade. Yeah that’s pretty interesting how it’s a philosophy as well. I mean it’s cool that you would break something on purpose to get something beautiful out of it.

JS: I think that if you were to break glitch art down to its most rudimentary elements, it’s that — that’s it — breaking something and then making something new from that. I want to say it’s like green or recycling but it’s like using something that already — I mean sure at this point people are intentionally making new things that are glitch. But I think it’s basis is in taking something and re-mixing it, re- appropriating it, doing something new with something that’s already there. That’s really the basis of it.

AA: It’s kind of like memes.

JS: Totally! I mean, it probably really sells it, why it’s a culture because for as much glitch art there is, there’s glitch art memes. There’s glitch memes. There’s totally a meme culture within it.

AA: Oh wow I didn’t even I didn’t even think about that. It’s kind of almost meta. That’s awesome. I want to go back to your love of music cuz you had a podcast. Tell me more about that.

[00:29:51] The 5huffle music podcast & the ICP-cidents.

JS: I did. So it kind of really coincides with my diving into glitch art and trying to be a professional artist for a living. I think I kinda went from 0 to 60, cuz not only did I start doing this on 365 glitch project but I also decided to launch a podcast right at the same time. It was as you said a music-based podcast. I’m not a musician by any means. I’m just a huge fan of music.

It was definitely around the time I was working this dead-end landscape job and all I did all day was listen to podcasts and I was like, “I want to make a podcast”. This is something I could do, it would be fun, but what could I do that not only is something that I would want to talk about but what would people want to listen to from me. Anyone can make a podcast but I’m not saying it was hugely successful or anything, but I was like, “It’s gotta be something that people want to listen to.” I know it’s kind of niche, but knowing me and my friends, there’s people out there who want to listen to people blather on about music. And I have this really close friend who was at this time I was living in Pennsylvania and he lived there with me. His name is Dominic. I actually met him at the time my girlfriend was going to grad school at Penn State and he was also going to grad school at Penn State so I met him through my girlfriend and he was just this dude where no matter what, we could just talk about music forever. So I’m like, “Let’s make a music discussion podcast but it’s got to have something interesting that makes it worth listening to.” And at that time I had this giant iTunes library full of music that I just collected over the years. I think it was over 60,000 songs. Yeah it was so much and that was my thought and I haven’t even listened to a tenth of this. Cuz I’m the kind of person where I would hear one song by a band I liked and I’d just download their whole discography. Now I wouldn’t always listen to it all, but all of a sudden I would have 8 albums by this band and 10 albums by this band. And I’m like, “This could be a way to try to get through this library a bit.” So the podcast was called “Shuffle”. And the reason why it was called Shuffle is, before every episode I would turn random shuffle mode on my iTunes library, I hit play, and then I hit skip five times. So I’d make iTunes spit at me five randomly shuffled songs and no matter what those songs were, those would be the five songs that me and Dominic would have to talk about. So then this would happen about a week before the podcast, I’d send him the playlist. We’d both sit there and listen to the songs, kind of formulate our thoughts, and then we’d sit down and record about an hour of us just talking about what we thought about these songs. So that was kind of what the whole podcast was about.

AA: Was it all kinds of music or was it a particular genre?

JS: No — I mean I know everyone always likes to say, “What do you listen to?”, “Oh! I listen to everything!” But I have a very wide variety and diverse set of music on there. For instance there was a lot of Nine Inch Nails, but my dad had this big collection of hundreds of religious hymns sung by giant cathedral choirs. I had over a hundred and twenty songs of that stuff in there. There was really experimental-noise music, lots of hip-hop, rock and roll, indie — everything. There was even where we had this recurring segment so without getting into it too much, I somehow had all of the Insane Clown Posse’s music in my iTunes library. And it did pop up on the show a couple times and it got to the point where I am I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a big foundry or factory there is always a big sign where they’ll say “It’s been blank days since our last accident.” We would start every episode by saying, “It’s been blank days since our last ICP-cident,” where Insane Clown Posse showed up on the podcast and we were forced to talk about Insane Clown Posse music. It only ever happened a couple of times, but yeah.

AA: Oh that’s great. I like that concept. I guess it’s a good time to start talking about your actual works. So you shared with me three works. I noticed there was some leet-speak in there too. And I think even your music podcast, the official title is like a 5 — S, right?

JS: The word Shuffle but it was spelled 5-h-u-f-f-l-e to signify that we’d be talking about 5 songs.

AA: Right, oh wow! That all fits so well together. That’s awesome. I geek out over that stuff. That’s pretty cool, yeah! Maybe it might help to talk about what leet-speak it to the audience.

[00:35:29] What is leet-speak?

JS: Yeah, I guess this kind of goes back to glitch, internet culture. Leet-speak is — I think at one point it was supposed to be taken seriously but I think it kind of became a meme and kind of just became something that internet cultures do. Originally I think the idea behind leet-speak was it was a way for internet hackers to communicate with each other in code. Instead of using the letter A, we’ll use the @ symbol like the email @ symbol. And it was kind of a way to replace the traditional alphabet with different characters as a way to talk about hacking without being caught by the authorities. But I don’t know however seriously that was taken, because if you look at leet-speak the whole reasons you can usually kind of work out what it says. if you saw the word “Shuffle” still with the number 5 instead of an S you’ll probably be like, “Oh that’s probably supposed to be an S”, so I don’t know if actually it was ever a legitimate hacker language. But it arrived on the internet in the 90s and it kind of just became this meme for internet culture, leet-speak. And you know it’s often stylized as L-3–3–7 instead of L-e-e-t. And you know it’s just kind of a little nod to internet culture. So often with my pieces if I’m title-ing it, I’ll add some leet-speak to the images because I feel my work deals with digital technology so much already as it is and I never want to be taken too seriously so it’s kind of like a little joke. And it’s an in-joke. People who are from the internet are like, “Oh yeah, I remember leet-speak.” For other people who don’t know what it is, I find it’s a point of Interest, like someone’s like, “Oh what is this gibberish? What does this mean?” I can kind of create a little spark of Interest maybe.

AA: Yeah for sure. That’s interesting that you said it was possibly created because of you know, privacy concerns and things like that. That brings us back to blockchain. Yeah! I guess the group of people that started that I guess would be the cypherpunks. And they talked about being able to communicate with each other in a way that was private and gave them freedom of speech and that was really important to them. And blockchain came out of, was birthed out of that, those ideas. So that’s awesome that it kind of goes back to that.

JS: Yeah I didn’t even think about that connection. Yeah it all was probably born from the same idea of wanting the internet to be this free place and the constant threat of it not being one.

AA: Yeah, yeah, for sure. So we kind of went on a tangent, but let’s go to your pieces, starting with the Franz Kafka one. I actually, I was like, “How do I say this?” I actually found the pronunciation for it. Let me play, I don’t know if you could hear it but … (recording of audio in German plays) “Die Verwandlung — Die Verwandlung. Die Verwandlung” She says it fast, too “Die Verwandlung”. Die Verwandlung! Yeah so this is the title to to this piece so tell me a little bit more about it.

Die Verwandlung by jrdsctt

[00:39:21] The Franz Kafka piece & the Easter egg.

JS: Sure, so this piece was for one of the many MakersPlace contests that I was part of that you helped organize. At the time we were doing a triptych series which I really enjoyed because having gone to art school, I learned about triptychs in art history and it was really fun to kind of bring a very traditional art style to kind of this new digital crypto place. So the cool thing with the triptych series was there was I don’t remember how many but there was a series of prompts that you guys came up with and you came to us artists with it and each artist could only work with one of the prompts once but at the end there would be three pieces from three different artists that were inspired by the same prompt and they they were displayed together as a triptych — three pieces set side-by-side. And it was so interesting to see how different artists interpreted these different prompts. The prompt for this Kafka piece was “metamorphosis” and I think … I can’t remember. I definitely didn’t make the first piece in the series. I think it was either the 2nd or the 3rd. So the cool thing about it is we got to see what the artists did before we did every week. Every week we would submit one so we got to see what was made before it and I think it was something involving a butterfly or a caterpillar of some sort so my mind instantly went to, “How do I use the word metamorphosis in a very different way”. My mind went to Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis”. And I guess for anyone who doesn’t know, it’s a very famous story about a man who wakes up in a bed to discover that he is transformed into this giant cockroach bug monster. But then he goes and lives his day and all of his interactions with people are very ambiguous as to whether or not he’s actually this bug or monster, or if he’s a human. The whole time you never know if he’s just going crazy or if he actually turned into this bug and he’s being driven mad by the fact that he doesn’t know if he’s going mad or not. It’s a brilliant … I mean I’m sure many people have read it — metamorphosis-theme, insects transforming into different versions of themselves. And so I took a portrait of the author, Franz Kafka, and I did my normal glitchy thing. But something I did a little different to it that I don’t really do is I kind of hid things in the image. It’s subtle but if you look very closely, there are just kind of a pile of cockroaches photoshopped in this … there’s a cockroach texture scattered throughout the piece. And I was hoping it would kind of … I guess I kind of ruined the secret but similar to the character in Kafka’s book doesn’t know if he’s a cockroach or not — I kind of wanted people to look at it and be like, “Is that a cockroach or am I just projecting that onto the piece?”

AA: That’s awesome! Yeah I saw it yesterday and I was like, “Oh my God!” I remember you mentioning it and I didn’t realize until yesterday to look closer and yeah wow it’s pretty cool. So that’s … I wish you would do that more often actually. I love this Where’s Waldo stuff.

JS: I should — that’s a great idea.

AA: I love eggs, e-eggs — Easter eggs that you would find in movies and music and then also art . That’s pretty awesome.

JS: Thank you.

AA: So is there a reason why you chose this particular description for this piece?

JS: So I’m definitely not going to try to …

AA: I actually … I used Google translate so. I love Google translate They have this option where you can actually … (recording of audio in German plays) “Als Gregor Samsa eines morgens aus unruhigen träumen erwachte, fand er sich in seinem bett zu einem ungeheuren ungeziefer verwandelt.” Yeah so I guess the translation would be, “When Gregor Samsa woke up one morning from restless dreams, he found himself in his bed transformed into an enormous vermin.”

JS: Yeah so the thing that I never realized about The Metamorphosis is when Kafka wrote it, he was intentionally trying to be as misleading as possible with all of the sentences throughout the whole story so every time you start a sentence he’s trying to create an intrigue that isn’t satisfied until the very end of the sentence. So instead of simply saying, “he woke up as a cockroach”, the word vermin isn’t used to the very end of the sentence. But it’s kind of a long sentence so the whole time it’s like building up this tension of … it kind of just keeps going and going and you don’t know what’s happening ’til the very end. And I just thought that was so interesting that he got that specific with the sentence structure. So that’s why I use that as the description of the book. It was just a really great example of kind of all the other themes already playing into the image in the story itself.

[00:45:09] The Augmented Humanity Pieces & NIN

AA: I’m glad I asked about that cuz I I did not know that. Very cool. Let’s go to your next your next pieces so these were part of the Series 7, right? And I see a lot of leet-speak and and Nine Inch Nails lyrics.

JS: Yes — it all comes back around.

AA: Yeah yeah! Tell us more about these.

JS: So the Series 7 was again another prompted series from MakersPlace. In this one, the idea was a pool of different themes were presented to us artists and we had to choose one and then for 7 weeks straight we had to make a piece that was related to that theme and the idea was, is that at the end you would have a series of seven pieces that kind of conceptually fit together. And the theme that I chose was “Augmented Humanity” and what I really liked about it is that you didn’t really give us any more than that so we weren’t really being biased by, “What do you mean by augmented humanity?” We just had the phrase “Augmented Humanity” and then we were left to interpret it however we saw fit. And so actually both of these pieces are from the augmented beside the other two pieces of the three are from the series and the phrase “Augmented Humanity” kind of just really jumped out at me because it’s stuff that I’m already so interested in: the fusion of technology and humanity, and cybernetics, and cyberpunk, and cyborgs. And I kind of just wanted to explore all the different ways that the line between humanity and technologies blurring more and more everyday. Which of the two are you looking at right now?

@|_|6/\/\3/\/73|) |-||_|/\/\@/\/17'/ 0/\/3 by jrdsctt

AA: I now am looking at “Augmented Huma…” it says 3 at the end. It’s leet-speak so I’m trying.

JS: So all seven of them almost have the same title. This one is leet-speak for “Augmented Humanity One” is what it says. The last characters are 0 — /\/ — 3. In the description I put a normal title where it says “augmentedhumanity1. Jpg”. So this one was the very first idea that came into my head after hearing this prompt. Because Nine Inch Nails has this great song off of the “Downward Spiral” called “The Becoming” which is this very dramatic and dark brooding song about I mean it’s literally about a guy who’s becoming into a machine but you know metaphorically it’s just kind of about how horribly sad and jaded Trent Reznor is to the point where he’s a cold unfeeling machine cuz you know he’s upset about something. I’m not trying to belittle it but it’s kind of working on multiple levels. But if you look at the lyrics of the song it’s literally talking about this man becoming a machine and his body is being replaced with wires instead of bones and blood vessels and stuff. And I made this image of a man kind of on his knees where he’s just completely wrapped and cocooned in wires and phones and power cords and he’s got a VR set on his head. And I just kind of thought it was kind of like this perfect representation of augmented humanity because I think for as much good as humans and technology coming together, that there can also be a lot of bad. I mean there’s a kind of some obvious metaphors of people being sucked on their phones and social media and some of the obvious downfalls of technology on the planet so I think it’s kind of a pretty blatant metaphor of technology enslaving humanity in some ways. And kind of some of the negative things that it can do to us.

SOLD OUT! @|_|6/\/\3/\/73|) |-||_|/\/\@/\/17'/ |=0|_|12 by jrdsctt

AA: Yeah — yeah you definitely see that in the piece. Very cool so let’s go to that next piece and that would be 4 spelled out.

JS: Yes — Augmented Humanity 4. So this is another song from the same series inspired by another Nine Inch Nails song. This one is from a song called “In this Twilight” which is off of the Nine Inch Nails album, “Year Zero”. “Year Zero” very coincidentally is a concept album that kind of is supposed to be taking place … The album came out in 2007 but it’s supposed to be about the year 2020–2021 and it’s kind of about this bleak, dark future that humanity’s heading towards.

AA: Interesting.

JS: There’s a lot of very scary illusions to what we’re living in now with a very divided country and what some might say a tyrant in the office and race Wars and also just the planet being decimated by pollution and the song in this Twilight is kind of this really somber piece about the world getting past the point of no return and just kind of sitting back and watching everything come to an end. I’ve been like, “We messed up. Let’s just sit back and let it happen,” and the image is a figure in a gas mask kind of looking up at a very polluted corrupt sky just kind of being like what else can you do.

AA: This is a very familiar scene. I’ve been seeing a lot of this lately.

JS: Yeah — lots of gas masks. So I mean ironically, these pieces were made before this crazy year of 2020 happened and it’s just very apt that it’s happening now.

AA: Yeah, yeah. Alright so I guess we can — this is awesome thank you. I guess our next step would be actually talking about blockchain. You are a blockchain artist. Can you tell me how you actually got into it?

[00:52:26] What persuaded you to make the jump into blockchain?

JS: I will preface this by saying that I’m still learning a lot about blockchain technology in the crypto world. It’s still new to me but …

AA: Everyone is. Everyone is.

JS: That’s true! Yeah I mean I’d say it was about a year-and-a-half ago. I mean I knew what the word “Bitcoin” meant. I knew that much. But even still at that point I hadn’t gotten my head around it. “What do you mean it’s money, you can’t hold it, and it exists online” and I remember just spending … like I’d try to watch all these YouTube videos that tried to explain to me like, “How do you mine a Bitcoin?” And all these people were buying these fancy gaming computers to mine Bitcoins. And I was like, “What does that even mean?”

So I had joined this social media platform called “Ello”. People don’t know what it is. I’d say back in 2013, it was being marketed and sold as this alternative to Facebook. It was supposed to be, very minimal, we’re not going to sell your data, it’s going to be very transparent and open and free and it’s supposed to be kind of like a refreshing social media platform that’s not what Facebook has become. And this was back in 2013. This was before even Facebook was where it’s at now. And I don’t think they had a lot of success. So I remember, I got into the beta for it. I got to really test it cuz I had a friend who had gotten one, gave me a pass, and yeah it was cool but it was just another social media platform and I had kind of forgotten about it. I thought it had died off. And then I noticed another artist friend of mine was posting on Facebook like, “Hey! Check out my Ello page.”And I was like, “Oh! I forgot about Ello.” And then I looked into it, and they had kind of rebranded themselves as an artist social media platform, kind of like deviantART, but maybe a little more classy and a little more … I want to say “respectable” but DeviantArt has its own stuff going on. Less furry art, I guess. And so I guess, oh this is kind of cool, so I started uploading my art to it and Ello has this cool system where people can reach out to you if they want to hire you or work with you on anything. And I got an email about something called MakersPlace and I have done other emails from people saying a check out a new platform, And honestly I kind of disregarded it and kind of put it out of my mind. And then I have this glitch art friend. His artist name is “Cyberart by Justin”. Check him out. His stuff is great. And he had posted about how he had just won a contest on MakersPlace. And I was like, “That name sounds so familiar to me.” And so I kind of asked him and he was like, “Oh yeah, they call it crypto art.” And he invited me to their Discord server and I popped in, and I was like, “God this sounds so familiar”, and then it clicked. And I was like, “Oh wait. These are the people that reached out to me on Ello”, and then I looked in my email folder and I had gotten seven emails from MakersPlace and I had just assumed it was an automated thing. But no, they were actually all worded differently, and it said, “Hey, Jarid! Just want to make sure. Did you check that out yet?” And I was like, “Oh wow”. And then I remember I messaged you and you got me all signed up. And yeah it was about a year-and-a-half …

AA: It was like — March.

JS: It was like the beginning of last … yeah, yeah. It was the beginning of last spring, end of winter. And that was the beginning of my crypto art career I guess.

AA: Yeah, yeah. I didn’t realize how close … I thought you were on there before I was. I don’t know why I thought that. Because, when …

[To audience] I mean you have to understand - Jarid is an awesome Ambassador.

JS: Oh, thank you.

AA: Even before we gave you that official title of “Ambassador”, you were already just naturally helping people and you had a pretty good grasp — I mean you had a pretty good grasp of the platform. And so it was just automatically the first name that popped up when I was like, “We need people to help us on our Discord to grow the community and to help with support and stuff,” and that was something you were just naturally doing. So we wanted to officially give you that title.

JS: Well, thank you very much.

AA: Yeah yeah yeah! So being a part of the Discord community you see a lot of a lot of what you know doing support you see a lot of what the artists are having struggles with, challenges, things like that. And also you know personally I would love to hear your point of view of what those struggles are working with blockchain and what you see the artists overall who join the MakersPlace Discord community — what their struggles and challenges are.

[00:58:05] What were your personal struggles with blockchain?

JS: Sure — I think the first and biggest hurdle that any person new to MakersPlace or the crypto art world is going to get over is just understanding how it all works. Being someone who grew up on the internet and then being an artist on the internet, I felt I had a really good grasp of how internet communities work, how internet platforms work.

And blockchain technology is very different from other things:

Simply put I’m used to like … I have a print shop where I sell … It’s a Society6 page where you can buy prints of my work. I’m very used to going on Society6, uploading a piece, and then boom — it’s in my shop.

You go to MakersPlace and you upload a piece and depending upon the gas price that day, it might pop up in 10 seconds. It might be 3 hours. It might be a week, and just … That was something completely new and alien to me. It’s like gas prices and the fact that, you know, since MakersPlace is nice enough to pay the gas price fee for uploading it. They have a system set in place where the price of gas has to drop below a certain threshold before a transaction will go through. And then not only that, but after it goes through, anytime you make a change to your piece like … That was another thing that was very new to me. It was like, “Oh once you upload this, it’s there forever until you burn it out of the blockchain. You can’t go in and change the title.” Oh, I accidentally … There’s a typo in the description. “Well you should have double-checked before you hit submit, because it’s permanent.”

That was something very new to me also. Especially — it makes so much sense but it’s very backwards from the digital mindset cuz one of the best things about going to digital photography is the undo button and that doesn’t really exist in blockchain technology. [00:58:36]

And so it’s kind of really awesome that blockchain can kind of be this marriage of … well especially speaking about crypto art, specifically. I’m not speaking for all blockchain but there’s so much tradition in history and art, of painting and printmaking where you have unique one-of-a-kind things, and then digital came along and killed that idea. And now blockchain with crypto art is bringing that back. But that’s still also one of the things I feel like the other big hurdle is just really trying to conceptualize what it is someone is buying and selling. It’s so foreign and such a weird idea of this thing I can’t hold, but it’s a unique one-of-a-kind thing that no one else possibly owns. And then just the endless sea of skeptics that you talk to on Discord, “ Like, but what’s to stop me from selling this somewhere else? What’s to stop me from doing this and that?” And then just trying to explain how block … like until you understand how blockchain works, of course you’re going to think, “No one’s going to buy this” but once you understand it’s like, “Wow this is actually a really cool unique one-of-a-kind thing.” That’s more secure than anything else online. Every time I upload something to Facebook or Twitter, Instagram literally anyone could just grab that and put it on their website and say, “I made this. Not Jarid”. That’s so ironic that that’s the first person’s argument … the skeptics arguments be like, “what’s to stop someone from doing that when it actually inherently blockchain and crypto is to stop that.

That can’t happen because there is a unique one-of-a-kind idea and address associated with that piece. That even if you take a screenshot of it, you don’t own that, cuz you have to own the address, it needs to be in a crypto wallet which is one of the most secure things of all time and I don’t really understand that stuff anyway, but I know that you can’t steal a Bitcoin. You can’t steal a crypto art piece. That’s just not how the blockchain works.

AA: Right right right. Yeah I mean, you are essentially creating a new value system, right? So we all value this piece of paper, you know, the dollar. And the dollar has a particular serial number and if there’s another dollar that has that same serial number — okay, it’s counterfeit. So it’s basically the digital version of that. Those are use cases. There’s the cryptocurrency and then there’s also art. They’re both the same kind of similar use cases. So yeah — yeah I love that.

JS: Totally. I think the other thing — I’m just going on what you were just saying, I feel like people just assume that paper money has value because it’s always had value. When really the phrase, “legal tender” means as an American, at least in America … as an American citizen you legally have to accept this as money because the law requires it. So you’re basically saying I give that value, therefore it has value. The same thing works with crypto art. As long as a group of people agree something has value, it has value. And it’s actually just way more secure and safe. I just think people don’t realize, it’s the same thing, just because one’s been around forever and the other one’s a new thing. Everyone’s scared of the new thing.

AA: Yeah yeah yeah — people are scared of change. But I really — I do love that idea of — we have to agree on it. We don’t have to have someone else tell us, “Hey you got to agree on this” — which I think is such a cool concept.

JS: Well yeah, it’s so cool because rather than being told to do something, you have a choice and a say. You have the personal freedom and you can be part of it. Rather than being told something is, you’re choosing to do it. You should feel more connected to it, if anything.

AA: Yeah yeah yeah for sure. So is there an overall struggle that you’re seeing with artists that you’re supporting in the Discord Community?

[01:04:48] What are crypto artists struggling with?

JS: I will say, it’s been very interesting cuz of how fast blockchain is growing as a thing right now. Back two Marches ago, I feel like literally every question that I was answering was something kind of like what I was just speaking about. It was a skeptic coming on saying, “Why would I do this?” Or someone saying, “I just uploaded my piece. Why isn’t it up already”. That was by far the most frequently asked question. It’s been very interesting to see now like the year and a half later, I feel like so many more people are coming into … I should say — most my experience is all through MakersPlace. I can’t speak, like …

AA: Like Known Origin, or SuperRare or the other platforms?

JS: Yeah — I don’t use a lot of those so I don’t know how those platforms are working. With MakersPlace — a lot of people are coming in already aware of crypto art. I feel back when I joined you guys and the team was doing a really good job of finding artists that weren’t in the crypto world and bringing them into the crypto world. And I feel the ball’s gotten rolling enough now where they’re not having to pull in so much, because enough attention’s been already brought to, where people are coming in knowing about crypto art a bit at least. And yes I still think those questions come up but I feel like the conversation is kind of moved now. Because a lot of people kind of had that nice foundation of what blockchain technology is and now it’s kind of opening the room up to rather than being like “how to sell crypto art”, it’s “what sells best as crypto art”. It’s becoming more about what the art is, how to price things. It’s a lot … it’s, to bring the philosophy back, it’s more about the philosophy of it rather than just kind of like the rudimentary math of how it works, if that makes sense.

AA: Yeah yeah, that’s awesome. That’s good progress. I guess that would be a good segue into the joys and the benefits that you’ve seen for yourself and also overall what you’re seeing with the community. Is there anything else you can add to that?

“I can personally say that in the year-and-a-half I’ve been doing crypto art, it’s been like, the most lucrative market that I’ve been selling in. I’ve had more success selling art as a crypto artist than as a fine artist selling prints on a digital store. I mean, I guess, I don’t want to speculate too much, but I just think there’s a great market for it and there’s a lot of people with cryptocurrency that want to buy stuff.” ~jrdsctt [01:07:50]

[01:07:17] What are the joys & benefits that you & the crypto art community have experienced?

JS: Yeah — just personally speaking. I can’t speak for all crypto artists, but I feel in this day and age, if you’re going to be a creative, you’re constantly doing multiple things. We no longer live in a world where you can just do one thing and that’s it. You have to be a marketing person and you have to be on social media and then you know I’m selling prints on Society6 and I’m selling digital cards on NeonMob. Everyone’s kind of doing multiple things.

I can personally say that in the year-and-a-half I’ve been doing crypto art, it’s been like, the most lucrative market that I’ve been selling in.

AA: Wow.

JS: I’ve had more success selling art as a crypto artist than as a fine artist selling prints on a digital store. I mean, I guess, I don’t want to speculate too much, but I just think there’s a great market for it and there’s a lot of people with cryptocurrency that want to buy stuff.

The problem is there’s so many artists out there who are just trying to sell art to other artists and we’re all starving artists so no one has the money to buy anybody’s stuff. When you are pairing art with something that is inherently … I guess I don’t know a lot about blockchain but I think it was invented for cryptocurrency, right? Was that the first?

AA: That was the original (use case).

JS: So when you’re adding art to a technology whose original basis was money, it makes sense that there’s money in that market — I think personally. And I also just think that there’s an inherent appreciation for digital art in the crypto world since they’re so closely united — digital technology, digital art. It makes sense. And I think it’s also just this very new and exciting thing, and I think people want to be in on the ground floor of what’s going to be the next big thing. And just already saying how in the past year-and-a-half it’s grown, I think it’s just going to keep growing. And I think it’s going to get to the point where when I tell someone I’m a crypto artist, instead of saying, “What’s a crypto artist?” They’ll be like, “Oh that’s so cool that you’re a crypto artist.” Because it’s an actual term that people know. I mean I’m still, like last summer my parents came out to visit me and I think we had a three-hour conversation with me just trying to just describe to them what crypto art is and what I’m selling, cuz it was just completely over their head. But now they know, and they think it’s awesome. And so yeah, I think I’ve had overall a very good experience with being a crypto artist. And you know I feel like any creative endeavor, there’s highs and lows. It’s something you got to stay on top of. If you’re not keeping up with it, you’re going to fall into the sea of noise of the thousands of other artists that are putting stuff out there. But that’s not unique to crypto art. Just like any Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. Everyone is constantly putting out content. You got to keep up with it to stay visible.

I guess one of my only … I don’t want to say criticisms, but, you know I’ve noticed some trends in what sells better. And I guess I don’t I don’t want to come across as shallow because I feel some people might get a bad taste in their mouths, in their mouth if I’m just talking about making art for the sake of selling it. You know art should be about art for art’s sake but at the same time my personal goal is to make a living as an artist where I can not starve to death and make art at the same time. So it is very important to me how much money I can make off of it. And there are trends that I can see that pop up in crypto art of what sells better and what doesn’t. And that’s fine because I feel like that’s kind of like any bubble. I feel like there’s going to be a popular thing and then all the sudden the market oversaturate and it’s going to burst. So I found, as long as I stay away from those trends and just keep making my own stuff, I might not be making the most giant huge sales ever but I’d rather have constant steady stuff than like lots here and then nothing after.

AA: Yeah yeah. Yeah that totally makes sense. So we’re coming to the end of this so I guess what would you tell an artist just coming into this space, the blockchain space? What would be your advice?

“ … there’s such a great community around crypto art. There are so many people that are willing to help that you just have to not be afraid to ask questions.” [01:12:47]

[01:12:44] What’s your advice to new artists thinking about exploring blockchain / the crypto art world?

JS: My advice would be … The first thing is … there’s such a great community around crypto art. There are so many people that are willing to help that you just have to not be afraid to ask questions. I think you just need to accept that this is a big, weird, new, scary world and every crypto artist out there was just a scared, confused newbie like you at one point. The only reason why I became an Ambassador at MakersPlace is because I ask so many questions and I learned things. And then when I saw the questions I was asking the week before being asked, and one of the staff members was busy doing something else, I could answer that question for him. That’s the only way you’re going to learn. It’s confusing but I promise you will make sense. And then just don’t get discouraged. Stay with it.

I feel like so many … this could be talked about any creative venture outside of just uploading crypto art. I feel there’s so many people that are infatuated with this idea of fame and success right away. And if you are hoping to just explode and get famous and popular and make a ton of sales right away, you’re probably just setting yourself up for disappointment. Yes — some people will do that but that’s very circumstantial. I feel like you can’t plan for that. I feel like the best thing to do is to stay on the grind. Keep making the art that you would want to buy and the audience will follow, the success will follow, the sales will follow. You’re going to do so much better with a strong set of work than trying to make a viral hit. Any person who’s ever sat down and like, “I want to make a viral YouTube video.” I can guarantee you they did not make a viral YouTube video. You can’t catch that lightning in a bottle. What you can do is practice, refine your work, and make just a really strong set of pieces and then people will buy them because there’s people out there that want cool new crypto art. There’s totally a market for it. You just got to make the stuff for it and the people will come for it.

AA: Awesome, awesome. And also I do want the developers of blockchain technology to also hear what you have to say. So what would your advice be to people who are actually trying to make this software, this technology better for artists.

“… if you’re a new company … establish a strong sense of communication between the users and the developers … especially if you’re a startup, your users are going to help shape what your company becomes. And it might not seem as important but it feels important being on the other side.” ~ jrdsctt [1:18:51]

[01:15:35] What can blockchain developers do to create a better blockchain experience?

JS: I would say that you shouldn’t be afraid to pour resources into some sort of community manager person. Kind of what your role was at MakersPlace. I feel the Discord group was kind of this giant group of people were kind of scared and confused. And the more — I don’t want to say hand-holding, and I also don’t want to speak poorly on MakersPlace — but it’s hard cuz MakersPlace is my only experience. I feel so much frustration comes from this lack of communication because there’s this technology that a lot of people don’t understand and there’s all these users trying to use it. And then when something doesn’t work, it can feel radio silence sometimes. I will give MakersPlace props. They have brought more people on board, and there’s a much better flow of communication between the users and the developers at this point now. I just feel it took a while for them to get there and obviously they’re doing well. The numbers keep growing. But I’m just afraid of how many people maybe got turned off from it because it was like, “I submitted my application 2 weeks ago and I haven’t heard anything about it and then when I come on here which is really the only place you’ve directed me to ask questions, no one’s answering my questions.” And the Ambassadors — they’re there every day and they’re really great at answering little questions. But when it comes to stuff about, “Why is my profile still not visible? Why are my pieces still pending after a month?” We can’t answer those questions cuz we’re not staff members. And I know that MakersPlace is swamped and busy and small and I know you don’t have so many resources that can be allocated in certain ways, but I would say, if possible, put an emphasis on that because without users you’re not going to have anything. You need a group of people using your service if you want your service to continue. And I know when you’re just launching a company there’s probably so many thousands of things that seem like they take priority before that, and of course you will want to make sure everything’s running smoothly. But unless you have people to use it, what’s the point of having it? So just trying to make sure that you’re taking care of, like … MakersPlace did a really great job of bringing all these people on board. But then I feel we were kind of left in this room. And then every once in awhile somebody would be like, “Oh! We’ll be right with you. It’ll just be five more minutes.” And we’re all just kind of like, “Okaaaay.” So yeah.

AA: Yeah those are definitely the challenges of being a startup.

JS: Yeah totally. I’m not trying to throw a bunch of shade or anything because I know everyone is probably … No one sets out to be like, “Let’s bring a bunch of people on board and then ignore them.” There’s no way that was the intent. Everyone’s doing the best they can so I was just saying, if you’re a new company from the get-go, if possible, try to establish a strong sense of communication between the users and the developers because especially if you’re a startup, your users are going to help shape what your company becomes.

And it might not seem as important but it feels important being on the other side. Still at this point even though a lot of people understand crypto, I still feel most of the questions are, “Why haven’t I heard from anybody? What’s taking so long? Maybe just a little more transparency, I guess would be a good way to put it. I don’t know. I don’t mean to ramble on about it.

“I made a decision a very long time ago to brand myself, and it’s kind of paid off. If you just Google “jrdsctt”, everything about me will pop up.” ~ jrdsctt [1:21:05]

[01:19:32] The “bridges” are important.

AA: No, no, no, no. We definitely need to hear that, you know. I think it’s really important for developers to hear it actually from someone who is not in the blockchain space already. Someone who’s not a blockchain nerd or geek.

JS: Yeah — I knew nothing about it before MakersPlace.

AA: Yeah I think that is so important. Your point of view regarding this whole situation. I myself am pretty much the same type of person. Like I don’t really understand 90% of the conversations that happen at Blockchain Meetups. But I understand the principles and I do believe that people like you, people like me — we’re important bridges between the regular world and the blockchain world. So thank you! Thank you so much for sharing everything that you shared. I think it would be really good to talk about where people can find you.

JS: So my screen name handle that I go by is my name with no vowels. So it’s jrdsctt — j-r-d-s-c-t-t. I can promise you, if you go on any platform whatsoever and type that in, you will find me: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, MakersPlace, my website: jrdscott.com. I don’t know if it was a good idea but I made a decision a very long time ago to brand myself, and it’s kind of paid off. If you just Google “jrdsctt”, everything about me will pop up. I’m pretty active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and MakersPlace. That’s my handle on Discord, too, if anyone wants to ask me anything, but yeah — jrdsctt.

AA: And also he has an exhibit currently in Cryptovoxels again in the Doom District for one of MakersPlace’s galleries, so it’s a great place to actually check out his work and also on Makerspace.com as well.

JS: Yeah — there’s a lot of pieces on there because of that 100 Day Project.

AA: Yeah, yeah for sure and also he has his website jrdsctt.com. Alright so, I guess that’s it. Thank you so much.

JS: Yeah — thank you so much for having me. This was a lot of fun.

AA: If you haven’t already, click on that subscribe button. Thank you my rare digital birds. Until next time, fly high.

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Ann Marie Alanes

Pastry-loving stan of the NFT crypto art and music space, and your self-appointed stylist. I am not funny.