Crypto Art: What It Is and How Digital Artists can Benefit From It.


In the spirit of following my passion for the fusion of art and technology, I recently participated in a hackathon called Hack Ur Culture. The aim of the hackathon was to come up with technology solutions for Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums based in Africa during this Covid 19 period where their foot traffic has been adversely affected. 

My team called Hack Circle submitted two solutions. One of them was a game based in District 6, South Africa; it won an award for Most Compelling project and was exhibited at the Fakugesi Festival. 

The other one was about digitizing the all-female event Strictly Silk based in Kenya which we are excited and humbled to have gotten the chance to continue developing.

This Hackathon was the epitome of the arts and tech industries fusing seamlessly and it is during my period there as a Hacker that I first learnt about crypto art. My curiosity in cryptocurrency led me to attend the hackathon workshop and I am so glad I did. The concept of crypto art felt foreign at that point but it planted a seed in me. 

I could not get the idea of crypto art off my mind. This led to my research on the same and as a result, this article. I hope that it will enlighten you and plant the seed of curiosity in you as well. 

Covid 19 has accelerated digital transformation in all industries and as artists, we also need to jump on board and see how technology can help us grow in our crafts. So, shall we sow the seed now?

What is Crypto Art?

Crypto art is a category of art that is associated with blockchain technology. I bet you've heard of Bitcoin right? 

Blockchain is the technology behind Bitcoin but it is far bigger than that and is used in many industries such as finance, healthcare, law, and now - the arts.


Image Source

"Bitcoin is a simple application that uses the Blockchain technology to send money around the same way Gmail is an application that uses the internet to send emails around" - Gordon Berger

How can Digital Artists benefit from Crypto Art?

Blockchain is a permanent, public registry that is stored in multiple computers such that if one storage location is lost, the information can still be retrieved from the rest. It could be the future for Creatives and here's why:

When a famous artist paints a canvas and signs it, it becomes worth millions because of its scarcity and uniqueness. Digital art has the challenge that it can be duplicated infinitely in good quality, making its value depreciate with every duplication.


Image Source

Blockchain technology has come in to solve this problem. Crypto art adds a unique signature to a digital file of artwork called tokenizing or mining it on the blockchain.

Tokenizing is the digital version of the artist's signature and it represents the scarcity of the art piece while increasing its monetary value. In this way, blockchain technology will allow digital art to be unique in such a way that it can be collected in the same way physical art is.

It is important to note that the token holder is the owner of the piece and can choose to gift it to someone else. In such a situation, they lose ownership, and just like a physical gift the ownership is transferred to the recipient of the gift. 

Here are other reasons why you might want to work with crypto art

  • Blockchain can help in reducing art forgeries because everything is stored in a shared database. Every single artwork can be traced all the way back to its creator/ artist studio. In this way, the artist retains the copyright. 
  • Compensation for future sales is possible; this means when an art piece is sold, a percentage is sent to the original owner who is the artist and the creator of the piece. This is definitely a motivating factor to make digital artists create more art.
  • Digital artists can create digital limited series of their artwork and all the editions will be tracked in the blockchain. 
  • Fractional ownership is possible, meaning you can own a percentage in a certain artwork the same way you can own stock in a company. This translates to, for example, owning 0.001% of Micheal Soi's painting. All these concepts can be used for visual art, music, podcasts, videos, photography, performances, and articles/ blogs.
  • The market for crypto art is growing rapidly and once traded in cryptocurrency, artists can retrieve their money in dollars or euros.
  • Crypto art is also bringing artists together from all over the world. Virtual meeting places called Metaverse and Cryptovoxels are entirely dedicated to art. While Cent is a social media blogging platform on the blockchain that is igniting conversations.

So there you have it. Now it is up to you to water and tend to that seed we have just planted. Do your research and share this along with the other articles you will read on this topic with your fellow artist friends. 

Let's figure out this crypto art thing together. Feel free to share what your biggest take away is in the comment section below. And always follow your passion.

Read More »

8 Team Building Lessons from the Internationally Acclaimed Netflix show Money Heist



Image source

In an ideal world of team building, each person each day is excited to be involved in the project or work they do. Are you?

This piece is inspired by the Netflix series Money Heist and a business training I attended on building an awesome team by IE International University. As a viewer of Money Heist, I was impressed with how the heisters were able to make the general public join them in a rebellion all thanks to the remarkable team they had built.

As a writer in the entertainment industry, I have realized that collaboration is important and in order to collaborate well, great teams need to be built. 

The essentials of team building are purpose, mastery and autonomy. Businesses around the world that are able to successfully achieve these 3 goals usually also succeed in providing motivation, allowing for creativity and improving productivity in their teams. In addition to these 3 essential elements to team building are gender representations, adapting to changepersuasion, recruitment and networking.

Let's talk about all the essentials as inspired by this internationally acclaimed Netflix show.

1. Purpose

The Money Heist's team purpose is to print 24 billion euros and also to complete the greatest heist ever. The fact that they plan to print the money means that they will not steal; that is how they get the protestors on their side.

In a team, things happen and goals change but the larger goal should never change. In order to have a great team like the professor, it is important to educate the team into their behaviour and purpose as individuals and as teammates.

2. Mastery

Education should make sure that each team member has a high level of mastery in their area of expertise. In Money Heist, the person digging the escape tunnel, the person printing the money and the person keeping the hostages in check were the best at what they did.

We like to work in teams when we believe that we're going to get better at what we do or what we like to do. This is highly motivating. 

As a team leader, if you assign a role to someone and they act hesitant or say they don't want it, it's important to help that person understand that they are going to be incredibly valuable - not only in this team but also to themselves as they build towards greater competency for the future.


Nairobi: Image source

Aspiration for greatness inspires mastery. In Money Heist, the aspiration is to a great robbery, freedom, breaking away from traditional society, and its requirements. This aspiration for greatness gives an opportunity for mastery through practice. 

For instance, Nairobi is good at printing money but she goes to become an even greater master when she prints 24 billion euros in the greatest money heist in history. 

Berlin is a master of social, emotional and cultural intelligence. He understands people very well. He knows what makes them tick enough to know what and how to say things in order to persuade them to do what he wants them to do.

3. Autonomy

Money Heist highlights the power of a team that is formed by autonomous people who can make decisions within the guidelines of the culture of the group. Everyone was able to make decisions in order to change and adapt the plan to changing conditions on the ground. There's a culture of instant communication especially when it comes to who is in charge when the professor is not around.

It is important to remember that everything is derived from culture. The professor taught them to have shared values which included spilling no blood, making the money, and getting the money out so that they could improve everyone's lives. 


Denver: Image Source

Team leaders are meant to be driven and passionate about what they do so that the team members can learn by example. Each team member should be self-aware enough to know what drives them personally.

In one episode, the team leader Berlin who was not in full possession of his mental faculties ordered Denver to take Monica's life. When met with the dilemma of shooting her or being killed himself, Denver made a rather clever decision that saved both their lives and led to their love affair. This goes on to show the power of autonomy versus blindly following of leaders even when they are clearly on the wrong.


Berlin: Image Source

Therefore, in order to form a good team, it's important to foster a feeling of autonomy and ownership in each individual so that they can act in accordance with the purpose of the team.

Hierarchy also determines culture: the money heisters hierarchy was that of peer relations except for the professor who was slightly above. This contributed to the openness of the members when it came to communication. There are many moments in the series where different people became the boss. 

4. Gender representation

In Money Heist, there is a balance in gender representation; we see powerful female figures in Raquel and Alicia who represent the former and current head of the police. While Raquel allows for moral ambiguity and questions what the police do, Alicia does not. She is a member of law enforcement with questionable ethics and morality. She will torture and harm people in order to get what she wants. Although they were both in the same team, to begin with, they no longer are because they do not share the same values of good and bad.

Raquel shows her autonomy when she joins the heisters, a team she was once against. This is the beginning of her transformation into developing her own power and her own set of ethics and values. She becomes completely revolutionized, even wearing different kinds of clothing like shown in the picture below. She carries with her all the knowledge she has of law enforcement and becomes a crucial member of the heisters team. 


Raquel: Image source

5. Adapting to change

It is important to note that in every team there will be conflict and resistance. The reasons for resistance are fear, loss of control, uncertainty, surprises and unfamiliar things - all of which stem from change. One of the key features of teams is that they can change' this is highlighted by how the law enforcement team changed once Raquel left.

A radical change also occurred among the hostages when Monica joined the heisters. This is after Arthur dismissed her when she told him that she was carrying his child. The painful dismissal leads Monica to the arms of Denver her captor and eventual lover (Stockholm syndrome). Monica fully embraces her new team and even goes on to take on the name of a city and what better city for her than Stockholm. 


Stockholm: Image source

6. Persuasion

Persuasion is a key skill in team building. And it requires a show of evidence and credibility. You are more likely to persuade people if you show them evidence that you believe they should do the thing you say and you have credibility in it. One should also have emotional, social and cultural intelligence in interacting with a group to increase the chances of successful persuasion. 

The professor is great at persuasion, an example is how he got Tokyo to the team by saving her from a trap the police had placed to arrest her. He also revealed some details about her life that no one else knew and explained how he was going to help her change her life.

7. Recruitment

Hiring is dependent on culture: what culture do you want to create, and who are the people who can help you create this culture? It is important to ask yourself questions such as

  • Will you have a shared purpose with the new member of the team? 
  • Will they be accepting of responsibility and autonomy? 
  • Will they be able to make decisions much like the ones the leader would?
  • What role will they take?
  • How will they fit with the other members? 
  • Will they be able to communicate easily in the group and will their addition be useful?

Mastery should be taken into consideration too because you want to hire people who are capable. For instance, the  Professor hired Tokyo because she was good with a gun and great at being a thief.



New Recruit Bogota: Image Source

8. Networking

Who is in your network? What are the networks of the people who are in your network? Networking helps us access expertise that we don't have and get our goals achieved as a result.

We should all be like the Professor who was a connector connecting networks. He had done his research and figured out a network of thieves with specific skills that he needed for this particular heist. He was so good at networking that he was able to bring Raquel who was once against the team to his side and into his network. 

Thanks to Money Heist we have seen the power of autonomy, mastery and purpose in accessing the drive and motivation of people to really want to be engaged in their work. People seek meaning and a sense of accomplishment as a primary motivation. 

Giving room for gender representation in our teams is also a great way to build healthy teams. We also need to improve our persuasion, recruiting and networking skills because after all, we all need each other. 

Have you watched Money Heist? What was your biggest takeaway lesson from it?



Read More »

Africacomicade's 2020 Gamathon Rounds Up

 As part of the organising team of The Africacomicade Gamathon I would like to share this press release with you.


The two-week-long Africacomicade gamathon program officially came to an end, with the announcement of winners from its 48 hours game jam on Monday, 7th September 2020. Africacomicade is an initiative to create a platform that empowers African creatives by connecting them together cross country to promote collaboration, showcasing their skills and jobs to the world and linking them up with opportunities home and abroad.

Read more...

Read More »

African Creatives to the World with Africacomicade's Gamathon


Did you know that the Video Game Industry is bigger than Hollywood? Well, it is and in 2020, the global games market is set to generate more than $160 billion and increase by 7.3% year on year. In Africa, the market for games has risen from $105 million to $570 million in just four years! The African population is young with the average age being 20 years. This will form the labour force of the future, as well as the gaming community that will raise the user base for games.

Africacomicade Founders

Oscar and Oluwatosin the Co-Founders. Their talk can be found
here.


The Africacomicade Gamathon is a virtual event that is hosted on itch.io. It is an initiative that was started by Oscar Micheal and Oluwatosin Ogunyebi to showcase African Creatives to the World. This is not only limited to the Creatives in the Gaming Industry but also those in the wider Entertainment Industry like film, music and content creation. Gaming is an industry that brings other industries together and this will become even more evident once you register for free and attend the training sessions and talks. 



The aim of Africacomicade is to let the world know we have African Game Developers who are doing well. And to invite Creatives of all kinds from Storytellers to Illustrators, Marketers to Animators, Musicians to Sound Technicians and more to learn how they can plug into this inclusive Industry. It is a chance to show all these people the job opportunities they can leverage.

The Gamathon started on the 24th and will be running till the 30th of this month August 2020. The first 5 days are dedicated to training through talks and panel discussions. A lot of insight into the gaming industry will be shared by Industry leaders. Then on the final two days, Creatives from different African Countries will team up and create games for 48 hours in the exciting Africacomicade Game Jam.

If you are a newbie, not to worry. There will be training sessions in the program such as using platforms like Buildbox which requires no coding to create a game but focusses more on logic. Communication about all these training opportunities will be done through the Africacomicade Discord channel. Gaming and Game Publishing companies will also come in and inform new as well as established Game Developers what they have to offer.

The training sessions are in an effort to assist in the education needed in the Gaming Industry. It seeks to highlight how there are endless opportunities for what one can do with their gaming skills. 

As a player you can become a professional game tester and assist Game Developers with the much-needed feedback during the different development phases of their games. You can also become a Professional Esports Athlete and stand a chance to earn just as much as the professional football players do.

So as you can see there will be lots of activities before the Game Jam this weekend. If you are a Creative and, to be honest, I believe we all are, you may want to register and learn how you can offer your skills in this fast-growing Industry. Also, note that there are lots of prizes to be won. I look forward to seeing more African Creatives building their networks and growing in the Industry. And I hope you will be one of them.



Read More »

Mbira : The Fun and Interactive Game Inspired by Zimbabwe

On the 21st of May 2020 Zimbabwe celebrated the beginning of their culture week. Google Doodle honoured this day with an interactive game of Zimbabwe's 1000 year old musical instrument called the Mbira. The creation of the Google Doodle was a collaboration of different people in different fields, from writers to musicians, to visual artists and game developers.



Every game has a story and the Mbira Google Doodle is no exception.
This interactive experience follows the story of a little girl from the day she first fell in love with the Mbira to when she grows up and becomes a musician that plays the Mbira in a band. I loved watching how her mother was supportive throughout her creative journey.


The interactive experience challenged the player to play 4 traditional and modern songs in 4 levels. The songs are titled Nhemamusasa, Bangiza, Taireva and Chemutengure.

They played by simply hovering over a key on the Mbira at just the right time, following instructions that were laid out at the very beginning of the game. What I found special about this particular google doodle is that the Google team actually took a trip to Zimbabwe and worked closely with the Shona people so as to capture the authentic culture of the people in the game.




In this case, the levels and chapters of the interactive experience are synonymous. This is unlike in normal games where levels are strict and you have to finish one level to proceed to another; I realized that did not apply here. On the final page of the game, you can click on replay and choose a chapter you would like to play again or create your own mbira songs in free play. The game's 4 levels went as follows:


Level 1: It starts with the little girl walking with her Mum who is carrying a baby on her back. When the little girl hears an old Man play the Mbira, she stops right on her tracks forcing her mother to do the same. She then pushes the mother towards the old man's direction. The old Man notices her fascination with the instrument, stops playing and let's her touch it for her very first time. After that we continue listening to some beautiful Zimbabwean music as we are instructed on how to play the first song Nhemamusasa.


Level 2: Here we see a man making a tiny mbira. What's even more special about this particular moment is that the little girl has also participated in making it. We are shown the little girl picking bottle tops and handing them to the man for him to fix them on the Mbira. Once it is ready, he hands it over to the little girl and joy is written all over her face and we later see her hugging it dearly. After this emotional moment the player is taught how to play the song Bangiza.


Level 3: Takes us to the girl - now older - playing the Mbira with her peers who are dancing and playing other instruments. Her mother is still by her side as she is the one who brings her to this space. Before we proceed with the game play, we are taught about how the large calabash gourds used to make Mbiras help amplify the sound of the music. Playing the song Taivera is the next challenge in the game.


Level 4: The young girl is now an adult and plays in a band with a large crowd watching. We are taught that the Mbira can be featured with electric bands in Zimbabwe alongside drums and guitars. Things go full circle when she hands down the instrument to a young boy just the way it was handed down to her years ago. 

This highlights how the Shona people have managed to preserve the Mbira  for 1000 years through handing it down to the next generations. We then play the song Chemutengure and just like the journey of the young girl our journey as players also goes full circle.



It is a sweet story and an amazing interactive experience that introduces us to the special instrument of the Shona people. I'd like to urge you to try it out yourself here.The music from the mbira is soothing and with the current state of the World right now, the Mbira Google Doodle could not have come at a better time. 

Here are some wise words to follow as we stay safe and healthy during this pandemic. 
"Time is a healer, pain is a teacher, music is a stress reliever, be a believer" - Sauti Sol. And on that note I will leave you with these soothing sounds of the Mbira from Zimbabwe. Enjoy!





Read More »

My Little Miracle


My little Miracle.  I had been distressed and in constant search before I found her. Long hours spent on YouTube trying to figure things out left me tired and with a slight headache. Then I  received a message, a sign I believe was from my angels.

The sign I saw was a recurring number, only I do not remember which number specifically. This number's meaning reminded me to ask for what I needed, to let go, and to allow the help I needed into my life. So I did and in letting go I let her, my little Miracle, into my life easily.

I also opened up a flood gate of uplifting messages from my loved ones too - something we all need when we've been pushing ourselves too hard.

Anyway, enough with the suspense already, right? Thanks to Mavis Beacon, I am touch typing on her right now. These words are manifesting in my little Miracle with the ease with which she manifested into my life. She is a lovely 17inch MacBook Pro that has aged with such amazing grace under the care of her previous loving Guardian.



Ng'endo holding up my little Miracle.


Her previous Guardian is my Mentor and a beautiful soul called Ng'endo.  I wrote a little about her here. She has been my human Guardian Angel ever since I met her, guiding me through so many important stages in my life. 

So here's what happened. I had sent her a funny cat video that reminded me of her cat Chairman. The kitten was biting a laptop screen and somehow the conversation led to me casually telling her about my poor laptop.

My previous laptop crashed right after I got a new job as an Online Art Instructor, an opportunity which I also have Ng'endo to thank for recommending me. Before letting go as my angels suggested, I had taken to obsessively researching online to find a laptop with great specs so that when I go to do my Masters in Animation, it will still perform well under the weight of the heavy animation software I'd be using.

I had everything planned out: I would send money to my sister who is scheduled to come back soon from her studies in China. She would buy me a cost effective laptop on her way back. I would send her the specifications of the kind of laptop I needed and she would be my go between with the Chinese laptop dealers. It was perfect.

It is interesting how things unfold, because her first contact whom she had dealt with for long and had built trust with did not have the kind of laptop I needed. Then she met an English-speaking laptop dealer and I could tell from her texts that she was excited; she had a good feeling about him helping us. My spirits naturally rose as well and my hope was renewed. Fast forward to a few days later, he stopped responding to my sisters' texts so again we went back to ground zero.

This is where the overwhelm escalated. And in the nick of time, my angels came to my rescue with the uplifting message I mentioned before. So I let go.

After casually mentioning my predicament to Ng'endo, she texted me a few days later offering to sell me her old MacBook Pro. For how much you ask? 7 Kenyan thousand shillings only. Where on this earth can you get that kind of an offer on a MacBook? To add onto that, she also mentioned that I could return it if it had any issues in 3 months and get my money back. Talk about a warranty.

So we made a deal and the transaction happened. My little Miracle which had helped her make some of her great films was still in good shape. 

Now to take you back to my belief in angels and how they are always communicating with me through various ways, another interesting thing happened when I went to collect my little Miracle. When we were catching up, maintaining social distance of course,  Ng'endo mentioned she had been watching this series and had seen someone that looked familiar.


Sasha Compere from Miracle Workers


After watching it a couple of times, her boyfriend told her the TV character looked like me but she had a slightly different perception. Usually people tell you that they saw someone who looked like you. Never had I met someone before Ng'endo who told me they saw someone who looked like they could be related to me.

To make things even more interesting, the series she was watching is called Miracle Workers. I mean, what are the odds? And when she sent me the picture of the character she was talking about, I saw my Aunty Kamene at first glance. 


My Aunty Kamene and I enjoying a selfie moment.


I was so excited and went round the house asking my Mum and Sister who they thought this character looked like. They both agreed that she looked like my Aunty Kamene who I have been told a couple of times I resemble.

So I sent a picture of my aunty and I alongside this character's picture to Ng'endo just to let her know that she was right in thinking that way. And when I narrated this story to my friend, she told me she had recently watched a TED talk about how to become a Miracle Worker.




See? That is why I have a strong belief in angels and miracles. I am always receiving these amazing manifestations and experiences that feel guided. I wanted to share this with you because I made a vow to share more positive and uplifting stories with as many people as I can. We always need inspiring stories but I feel like we need them even more nowadays with Rona's menacing pandemic. 

So that was my little Miracle. Thanks for reading all through. Do you have a positive story about something amazing that happened to you? Please feel free to share below in the comment section. Let's keep each other's spirits high.
Read More »

My Sketches



The most special thing about this lockdown period for me is the self reflection I have been doing. Today, I remembered the reason why I started writing here 5 years ago was to share my Creative process with anyone who was curious to know. It's interesting how over those years I seem to have forgotten about that little reason.

It just dawned on me that it has been ages since I shared my artwork as a blog post. I have it all over my social media and I have linked those posts to my Archives page - but again I feel like it's time I shared some of them here like I did on my very first post.

So here goes ☺ these are my artwork from quick sketches to illustrations to animations and to pointillism pieces. Have a look and enjoy. Keep staying safe, be kind to yourself and remember that everything that we go through good or bad is just passing by. This too shall pass ❤




View this post on Instagram

I just finished 2 things today ☺ this piece and reading Big Magic: Creative living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. To tell you the truth I did not feel like leaving the book after I started reading it πŸ€—. It's that good. Here are some of her wise words from the book."I believe that our planet is inhabited not only by animals and plants and bacteria and viruses, but also by ideas. Ideas are a disembodied, energetic life form. They are separate from us, but capable of interacting with us albeit strangely. Ideas have no material body, but they do have consciousness, and they must certainly have will. Ideas are driven by a single impulse: to be made manifest. And the only way an idea can be made manifest in our world is through collaboration with a human partner. It is only through a human's efforts that an idea can be escorted out of the ether and into the realm of the actual."
A post shared by Wendi Art IT (@wendiartit) on 











Can you guess who the last 3 artists are.?Come on, take a guess ☺.
Read More »

Powered by Blogger.

Email Subscription

Facebook

Instagram