Gifted artists have ability to see where the world is going before the rest of us stumble into the future. They have an uncanny ability to confront the absurdities of life and point us more firmly towards reality.
This would describe Stellabelle, a prophetic commentator on popular culture who loves to poke fun at the inconsistencies in the world while trying to chart a better course.
Approach to NFTs
Humor and symbolism course through Stellabelle's work. She especially likes to poke fun at inconsistencies and inequities in the nascent NFT scene, such as fascist overtones in the Bored Ape Yacht Club or gender inequity in NFT valuations.
Stellabelle applies her deep understanding of the space not only to NFT designs but also the game design of the sales process. Instead of merely listing new NFTs on OpenSea, prospective collectors often have to solve difficult puzzles to able to join the community. Adding roadblocks to the purchase process may sound counterintutive, but Stellabelle believes people value their art more when it took some work to get it. And they'll value the community around that art to a higher degree once they are in it.
In this way, Stellabelle says she is filling a void for "smart collectors who are having a hard time to find where to put their money". Creating art with intent and cultural critique is labor-intensive and cannot merely be algorithmically mass-produced.
The appeal of ArDrive and the Arweave network
Stellabelle has used a number of different blockchains in her search for protocols to support her art. And many other artists she knows are "trying to solve the problem of centralized service. They've seen art projects go defunct!’
When artists rely on centralized services, the server with their art files has to be paid in perpetuity. When someone fails or forgets to pay for it, the art project is simply lost. "We need a storage solution that does not rely on a centralized system," Stellabelle avers.
While seeking a better way, the name Arweave kept coming up in online forums. Stellabelle knew other artists that used Arweave and ArDrive so she gave it a try, loved it, and came up with a simple system to use it on OpenSea.
First, Stellabelle uploads her NFTs onto ArDrive then records the metadata for each piece. Then when she lists a new piece on OpenSea, she adds a link to that metadata in the official description. As the description is intrinsically linked with the art file in OpenSea, the Arweave metadata also becomes attached to each artwork. This also helps save on gas fees as she no longer has to to pay additional gas to "freeze the metadata" on Open Sea.
“I like paying for it a little bit at a time. Paying once and storing forever is a way better solution”.
“They definitely notice!” Stellabelle's collectors love the fact that she has taken the extra step to save the work permanently, and this reflects well on the art as a whole.
Using Arweave differentiates her work and ensures the art piece they are buying is secure. It turns out to be a great selling point for her and another way to connect with collectors.