NFT's may seem scary. Terminology like minting, smart contracts, Token ID's and blockchains can cause blank stares. Many artists shut down when they hear this topic because most don't understand NFT's and how they can be of benefit to us in more ways than one.
I chat with Ishita Banerjee of @SoulCurryArt, a traditional artist who has taken the NFT art world by storm and has made it her primary source of revenue. Ishita shares how she takes her traditional artworks and turns them into NFT gold!
Originally from India, Ishita has been an artist for over 30 years. She holds a Masters degree in Fine Art, is multi disciplined and has worked for some of the top broadcasting firms across the world. In the midst of lockdown she became intrigued by the NFT movement and began immersing herself in the community. @SoulCurryArt is also part of Meta's NFT Beta test group so she has an excellent understanding of how digital collectibles work on Instagram too.
Ishita breaks down the basics for us (lingo included) and 3 main reasons why she decided to start minting, listing and selling art on marketplaces like OpenSea. As well, the importance of art ownership and her frustrating experiences with online art theft and over 67 internet sites who have blatantly plagiarized and sold her work.
You can find Ishita on IG @soulcurryart and Twitter Main website: https://www.soulcurryart.com
Ishita's NFT's on OpenSea Marketplace
[00:05:00] I was doing it at a time where we didn't do anything on the computer.Typography was hand done, and we learned things the hard way. I learned screen printing, I learned lithography, I learned photography, and I went down that, that route of really learning the basics first and then evolving as technology came in, as computers came in, as software came in and understanding where the line between art and design kind of blend.
[00:09:00] it was something that I started understanding early in my journey and my finally master's dissertation was on the Cubist movement. And there is a lot of parallels between the cubist movement and what was happening in India in the early twenties. Right. Which was the Big World School of Movement. This is, I grew up in India, so I grew up with this kind of art all around me. So there were a lot of parallels in, contemporary Indian artists and cubist artists.
[00:12:00] they were being plagiarized, and I found them all over the internet one day. And that was a huge, huge moment for me because again, you know, as artists, we were never taught about intellectual property, how to protect yourself, right? I was not taught about copyright, I was not taught about any of these things as a student. And I literally had to learn how to protect myself. And, you know, first of all, this is huge mental, and, it takes a huge toll on your mentally as an artist.
[00:15:00]And I also wanted to learn something new. We were in lockdown, I was cravi
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Jane: [00:00:00] I'm going to say one word and I would love to know what kind of emotion this stirs within you. Ready?
Do you feel scared? Do you feel excited? Do you feel overwhelmed or are you just sitting there right now with a blank stare? I understand how you may feel because NFTs is a huge topic of debate, especially amongst artists.
Let's face it. Technology is not going anywhere. And this is the way of the world. So you might want to buckle up, grab a notepad and get ready to really dive in and explore the world of NFTs.
We are going to be chatting with Ishita Banerjee of Soul Curry Art, a successful artist who's adopted and taken the NFT world by storm. I'm really excited to share her success. And [00:01:00] really help you to understand how NFTs can potentially open up another stream of artists income for you. So stick around that's coming up next.
Jane: Hi there, Ashita, welcome to the podcast. [00:02:00] I'm so excited that you're here with me today.
Ishita: Thank you. Thank you so much. I'm very excited. I've been following you for such a long time, and just to be able to participate and have this conversation with you is really very exciting for me.
Jane: Oh, that's wonderful to hear because I've been following you for a long while as well, and I'm so excited what's been happening on your account in the last several years and the direction that you've taken, which is why I wanted to have you on the podcast.
I've been looking forward to chatting with you today, and specifically around the topic of NFTs or non fungible tokens, which I know right now artists who are listening are going to start cringing and curling up in a ball because I know it's a confusing topic and I really wanted to have this on the podcast and discuss this in conversation with you because you are what I now perceive to be an expert in this area.
You've been doing it for a while and you've had great success with it. [00:03:00] And I feel as though right now on social media and specifically with some artists, there's a little bit of pushback. I think some of them, I don't wanna say make fun of NFTs, they'll say, Well, you can't hold an NFT, it's, not traditional art. And I think the reason that they say those things is because honestly, deep down, they really don't know what NFTs are. And how they are positive for somebody, how you can generate that additional stream of income as an artist because it really just don't understand, myself included. I have a little bit of an understanding, but I don't know enough. I know it's blockchain technology, and then we can, start going down that rabbit hole of terminology, which will really scare people. But let's just start right from the beginning.
I'd love for you to share with everybody a little bit of your background, how you arrived at where you are today with your art and what made you, embrace NFTs. Cuz that's what you've done. You've embraced [00:04:00] it and you've been very, very successful with it. So please share with the listeners your background story and how you've arrived to where you are at today.
Ishita: That's quite an introduction. And straight off the bat, I'll definitely tell you that I'm not an expert by any means. This is a, this is a new world, a new technology we are all navigating. But yeah, I've spent a great deal of time understanding it, learning it, and also jumping in both feet first, and really just enjoyed the whole experience.
So I'd love to talk to you about it. Of course. I've been a contemporary artist for over 30 years now, so I trained as a fine artist. I went down the art school route, so I trained as I did my bachelor's in fine arts. Then I went on to do my master's in fine arts. I also studied publishing, visual communication, and, art has been my life.
You know, it's been my bread and butter pretty much all my life. And, as a young, student, from art school, when I was studying in art school and at the risk of dating myself, [00:05:00] I was doing it at a time where we didn't do anything on the computer.
Typography was hand done, and we learned things the hard way. I learned screen printing, I learned lithography, I learned photography, and I went down that, that route of really learning the basics first and then evolving as technology came in, as computers came in, as software came in and understanding where the line between art and design kind of blend, that has been something that I have, I have explored in my journey.
I studied fine art, but I also studied, sculpture. I studied, photography. I've also studied, commercial art, graphic design, and the role that it plays in visual communication. And, for, the good part of my 30 years have been trying to assimilate where art and design really intersect how, art becomes a part of our life, how we adopt it, how we look at it, and how it evolves as our journey goes along the way.
As you know, [00:06:00] I've been exploring in different mixed media all my life, but I've also, my day job for 25 years was in broadcast television. Yeah. Everything you, you see visually on your TV screen is designed by somebody like me. So when you turn on the news, the ticker is designed by somebody like me.
The weather is designed somebody like me. That is, that was my day job for 25 years. Oh, wow. And I've, I have designed for some of the biggest broadcast names that you can imagine in the world. Oh, cool. It was, it was a fantastic experience. So I was no stranger to designing on a software. But at the same time, I trained as a fine artist.
So for me, having that connect with something tangible where I could create something with my hands, have that tactile experience, have that whole visual immersive experience was also very important. Right. It's almost a natural, natural transition for you. Mm-hmm. . Exactly. So, you know, I was, I was working with title [00:07:00] sequences and animations way before it was even cool to do that
So, uh, , I learned Photoshop before and Photoshop was even Photoshop. So it was a journey where I've seen software and I've seen design and software and I've also been able to see how art and technology collide and where we could take that. Right. So, that's how you know my background has been, I've been a traditional artist all my life.
I've never really used design softwares in my own art practice until very recently. So I was doing mixed media on paper, mixed media, on canvas, ink on paper. That is, that was my main media. Right. And, my style, I love call it Mad Man Modern.
Jane: Your style is, your style is very recognizable. As soon as I see an image come up, on my feed, I know right away that it's your work.
Like it's, I know it's yours. And I know it's something that you've been evolving with over the [00:08:00] course of those 20 years that you just mentioned. So it's not something that you've just come up with overnight. You've evolved over many years to come up with that style and it's very unique to you.
Ishita: Mm-hmm. and it's something that I've dabbled in a lot of different styles As a trained artist, I've, I started my career working with, very realistic. Then I went on to doing very abstract, and one of the things that I really learned in art school was you really need to know the basics before you try to abstract them.
And one of the biggest lessons that I learned was of my professor who said that, don't use abstraction as an excuse. Use abstraction as a reason. He said, Don't use abstraction as an excuse of not to do something. Well, to dis simulate something. So you have to know the rules before breaking them.
So I took that very seriously.
Jane: What a great line. Wow. That's a great quote. I will want to use that myself down the road. I'm sure. Yeah. That was great.
Ishita: And that really stuck with me as a student, and I told myself that I have to know [00:09:00] why I'm doing something. The why of it was something that I started understanding early in my journey and my finally master's dissertation was on the Cubist movement.
Yes. And there is a lot of parallels between the cubist movement and what was happening in India in the early twenties. Right. Which was the Big World School of Movement. This is, I grew up in India, so I grew up with this kind of art all around me. So there were a lot of parallels in, contemporary Indian artists and cubist artists.
And I started exploring faces as my main medium of expression. Mm. At the same time, I was working with a lot of abstracts. I was doing realistic work, but I kept coming back to faces over and over and over again. Mm-hmm. until it became something very intuitive, something I would keep coming back and doing it , in various different styles.
And that kinda became how my style evolved and how I really picked up what I thought I could express best with. And, I call it madman modern. It's a modern take on Cubism. Right. It is [00:10:00] loosely based around cubism, but I have influences from the Baja movement, from, from the technology that I, the colors that my, you know, my Indian roots give me.
Yes. So it's an assimilation of who I am and where I come from.
Jane: Absolutely, yes. It's very, very colorful and as I said, very unique. Those faces are predominant in your work, obviously. And so when did you jump on the NFT bandwagon. I mean, obviously they've been around now for a while, but what was the deciding factor for you to move into that area.
Now, was it because you had it been experiencing or battling online theft with your work? Because I remember seeing some posts with your frustration level of seeing your artwork on other sites that were, selling your work and you were not able to do anything. I mean, other than report it to, I don't know who or where or how that, even if that even had any impact.
But as an artist seeing that, that must be so [00:11:00] frustrating and, uh, I, I just can't even imagine not being able to do anything. So was that sort of the deciding factor that, made you want to jump on that NFT bandwagon?
Ishita: That was a huge part of it. Partly was because I also wanted to bring my experience with technology and design softwares and try and bring my art with it.
Like how do I bring what I've been doing in my day job for 25 years and adopt it into my art practice? So I started looking at how can digital art start playing a part in my traditional art? How do I bridge that gap? How do I start drawing on an iPad? How do I bring the same textures, the same tactility, the same movement, the colors into it.
So I started exploring both the traditional and the contemporary media. And while this was happening, it was late 2018, early 2019, where I started seeing, some of my biggest pieces. There were five of my biggest pieces, my biggest sellers, some of them that I consider my signature [00:12:00] pieces, they were being plagiarized, and I found them all over the internet one day.
And that was a huge, huge moment for me because again, you know, as artists, we were never taught about intellectual property, how to protect yourself, right? I was not taught about copyright, I was not taught about any of these things as a student. And I literally had to learn how to protect myself. And, you know, first of all, this is huge mental, and, and you know, it takes a huge toll on your mentally as an artist, this is my, this is the things that I've developed 30 years doing.
And then just to see it blatantly been taken away from me Yeah. Without having any kind of control. And I completely felt helpless. I went to the press, I did everything. But, you know, there is very little recourse that independent artists can take against giants that have, overseas giants that have, uh, you know, plagiarized and put your work out there.
There was a month I found 67 companies online who were posting from this third party [00:13:00] company and just, it was just a battle. It was just me, a small fish trying to battle the Goliath and, um, Wow. I was 67. Oh my goodness. And, and counting and counting every day I would like reach out and it was horrible.
You feel violated as an artist. Yeah. You know, this is, this is literally my baby that I, you know, developed and there is a fine line between inspiration and plagiarizing. So it was not about being inspired. They literally took it as it is and they started selling it.
There was no sense, there was nothing on it. No. It was duplication. Like it was duplication of your art, not somebody trying to recreate it. No, it was, Yeah, yeah. Straight out there. Yes, exactly. And, and it was around this time that I started hearing about NFTs, it was, I think it was late 2020. We were all in lockdown and, my husband understood crypto, and he was trying to, just school me a little bit and mansplain me, let's say , [00:14:00] I was like, Is this, I don't wanna be mansplained.
But, yeah, I did get a little bit of, doses here and there about crypto, but I was never interested until I started paying attention on it myself. We were in a lockdown. And one day I stumbled upon this, this app called Clubhouse, and I stumbled into this room by accident about people talking about NFTs, ah, and the revolution.
And, they were calling it a digital renaissance. And it got my interest. A because I thought that this could be a solution to the theft that I had encountered, which was a huge, I was still battling that. Yes. Number two, I thought about this could be a way of bringing technology with my traditional art.
And I also wanted to learn something new. We were in lockdown, I was craving for this group of people that were speaking my language that had the same interest. And I was literally in Clubhouse University for two months, literally 20 hours a day just learning about NFT's.
[00:15:00] Right. Yeah.
And I immersed myself fully into it, and the more I started understanding it mm-hmm. , the more I thought I would just wanna try it out. At this point of my career, I just decided growth as an artist was also important. And, I mean, history has told us that technology's always been one step ahead and humans catch up to it.
Right. Steadily. And we were in an age where Zoom was the norm, where, voice apps were the norm where we were living our lives online and digitally more than anything else, especially during the lockdown. Right. And this is a way of connecting with an art community, with, conversations on art and ownership.
Mm. And what NFTs gave you was the sense of ownership. You wanted to have a unique piece of ownership. And NFTs were nothing but a contract between a buyer and a seller. NFT's is just a token and Right. And NFTs could be attached with anything. And for what I was hearing was art was a [00:16:00] huge thing, where it was attached.
And that got me very excited and I started exploring.
Jane: Yes. And you were one, as I said, one of the first artists I came across, that were embracing NFTs is, and as I said myself, I really don't understand it fully, but through your feed I started getting a general understanding of it. And I think, was it Open Sea that you initially started on that platform there?
Which, and I know that you've been huge on Open Sea, you've sold many NFTs on that platform, which, and I guess what I would like to do, or if you could explain or break down, I guess, the process of NFTs, because I think it's still confusing for artists, even though they have a general understanding. But what, what does that really mean?
So that through blockchain technology, open sea being just one of many platforms that you can, is it mint and trade your NFTs on. [00:17:00] That then they can be broken down into little pieces and then sold to other buyers, right? That can then hold on to that piece of your art work and then it not be replicated or duplicated at all.
It can't be right? That's the general understanding or basis for NFTs. Am I right?
Yeah, that is the broad overview of NFTs. Anything that is an NFT cannot be broken down into, subcategories of its own. Like for example, if you give somebody a $10 note, if they can break it up into two, $5 notes, So the value of it remains the same.
You know, it can be broken down, but if you give somebody a painting, they cannot split the painting into two paintings and have the same value of that painting. So that painting becomes something called non fungible. Right. It's, it's like owning a house. If you have a house, you cannot break it up into two houses and have the same value.
Right. But if you have a $10 note, a $10 note, for example, is fungible. If you break it down [00:18:00] into $5 notes and give it back, it's the same value. A non fungible token is something that cannot be broken down into the same asset class of its own. I see. Yeah. What the blockchain does is it allows you to make something called a smart contract.
A smart contract is a contract between somebody who's selling, In this case it is the artist and somebody who's buying, who's a Collector. And this smart contract then will tell you who's the creator? When was this created? What date was this traded? How much was it listed for? And everything becomes transparent on the blockchain.
What it does for me as an artist, it gives me provenance. Number one. Number two, it gives me the opportunity to list my 'one of one' works. One of one means there is no other copy of it ever in the world. That is just one piece of it that is available and somebody who's willing to pay for it and willing to buy it then owns this one piece of work.
[00:19:00] Okay? So you know, that is, it becomes a contract. And that smart contract is then has a token ID to it. That token ID is called a non fungible token. I see. And there are different blockchains that allow you to do that. There are many blockchains right now. One of the most popular blockchains is the Ethereum blockchain.
And blockchains have many marketplaces that allow you to turn your artworks into NFTs. And the process of turning your artworks into NFTs is called 'minting'. So the process is called minting. When you say that I'm minted an nft, that means you have taken an artwork, you have put it out there, and there's been a smart contract and a token ID generated for that artwork.
The minute that is out there on the blockchain, that is the process that is called minting an article minting.
Okay, I understand. Yeah, that's somewhat confusing to people I'm glad you explained that. And then once that's, that artwork is minted, then you have the option of whether you want to sell the [00:20:00] artwork or not.
So it is after the minting process that you decide if you want to list it or not. It is completely up to you if you don't want to list it. Okay. For me that there are certain pieces that I feel are my legacy pieces and I don't ever want to sell it, but I do want that provenance going back to me as the artist in perpetuity.
Right. The blockchain is transparent, which is not owned by a centralized entity. What that means is it's not owned by Google or Microsoft or Apple or any big entity. It is completely transparent and it lives on this decentralized platform. And it lives on forever.
Right? Long after I'm gone, it will live on forever. So that is the benefit of, using NFTs for, provenance, going back to the artists. I see number two. Number two is that you can sell an NFT. By selling an NFT somebody can actually own it. Somebody wants to own a piece of my work that nobody else in the world has. I can enable that and list my [00:21:00] minted NFT for sale where somebody can purchase.
When they purchase an NFT, they purchase the smart contract, they purchase the artwork in itself. They're actually getting the token, The artwork is just attached to that token.
So to clarify, after you've minted, it's listed, you don't have to sell it.
If you just keep it minted, then you're not listing it for sale.
You're just, you're doing it just for generating the smart contract and you want all the provenance going back to yourself. You've put the token idea associated with the artwork that lives on forever and the blockchain immutably. But as an artist, if you want to sell it, If you want that artwork to be owned by somebody, then you list it on a marketplace.
I see. And so you have the decision, the option to either, have multiple owners of like little increments of pieces of your art. They own would you say I could call it a share in your art? Is it like that?
You can do two things. You can have a [00:22:00] 'one of one' piece in which there is only one piece of that art available.
Right. Or you can list it as additions. It's like having limited edition prints. Oh, that's a great, So, okay. Makes sense. So I, I can take an artwork and I can make only 10 copies of it available in the world. Okay. But that I have to decide before I mint it. When I'm minting it, that is when I have to specify the supply, whether there'll be five prints, whether 10 print, whether there'll be 500 prints available, that those are called editions.
I see. So if you decide as an artist that, I want to list this particular artwork, but I want only 10 copies of it available in the world. So you list it as an addition of 10. Okay. But once it is minted, then you cannot change it. So that 10 remains as 10 and the supply will always be 10 and it'll never be more than 10.
Okay. So you have to make the decision right up front. Can't change it halfway through. Okay. That's good to know. All right.[00:23:00] And, once it's listed and when somebody's bought the nft, that token owner, the ownership that I had created as the artist that I had minted with that token, ID then gets transferred to the collector of that art piece.
Ok. So that is how that ownership gets transferred. And then again, that is locked on the blockchain. You'll be able to see who's bought it, right, what they've paid, what time they've bought it. So, you know, all those transactions are very, very transparent on the blockchain, which, you know, we artists really never had before.
Mm. I mean, come to think of it, you know, whenever you're looking at provenance of an artwork, say, hundred, 200 years down the line, There is this, you're not sure about where it came from, who's the artist, how much was it sold for? And a lot of times in large art galleries, museums, this has always been a problematic area.
Right? Yes. So it's almost as that token, you could say, somewhat represents, or is similar to that of a [00:24:00] certificate of authenticity almost, Right?
Ishita: Exactly. Mm-hmm. . Ok. It's a certificate of authenticity that is locked on the blockchain that is immutable. And one of the best things about NFTs is that because it is a token that is transferred, this can also be sold further on by the collector of the artwork and the artist in question, then get continues to get royalties because that is how it is set up in the smart contract.
Jane: Yeah, that was going to be my next question. Okay.
Ishita: So it becomes an asset class in itself. Just like you trade shares, you're trading an nft. Okay. Yes. For a profit.
Jane: Right. Okay. That's exactly what I was going to say. It's almost like being on the stock market and your trading shares in something.
So in this case, you're art. Well that's great that's, gives me a little bit, more of an understanding, simplifies the process a little bit more. And I guess then the next question is how then do you go from taking your [00:25:00] traditional art with your paints and your canvas.
Taking that, convert that to digital, Do you use procreate? Is that what I saw on, I think it broken down on your website there, how you transfer or transition to a digital asset.
Ishita: Yeah, you could completely take any traditional piece of art and you can scan it, you can Okay.
Photograph it. You can digitize it by any means that you like. Okay. Me personally, I like bringing in my traditional and then I work over it. Procreate. Okay. So it gives me this, this aspect of having used the technology itself to create something.
Jane: So that's, I'm glad you explained that because I think that's a common misconception as well that artists just automatically assume in order to sell, an nft it, has to be strictly, originally a digital thing like creating digital drawing, which is no, not the case.
You can turn it into a [00:26:00] digital, product, however you choose to do that.
Ashita: You can take your traditional piece of art, you can take a sculpture, you can take poetry, you can take pieces of music. People have shot videos of them dancing, and they've turned that into NFTs.
Possibilities are endless. If you are a creator and you have a creation, you can turn this into an NFT no matter what.
Jane: I don't wanna get into too much terminology cuz I think that will really scare people away. And I think if people are interested, they would be best suited to go to your Instagram account, Soul Curry Art, and then they can click on the link there because you have a really good explanation of NFTs your process and the process in general, just so people can really get that understanding of how they truly work.
So if you are listening and you're still needing a little bit more clarification, then I would highly suggest going to @SoulCurryArt and checking that out and then getting that understanding there as well.
The other question I wanted to ask you [00:27:00] is your feeling or thoughts on the Instagram movement?
And them now embracing NFTs as well. Have you taken that step to put some of your art on Instagram as an nft?
Ishita: To be honest, I'm actually part of the, beta testing that is going on with Meta that Meta is doing behind the scenes.
Jane: Oh, are you?
Jane: That's wonderful.
Ishita: They're part of their, launching their, own way of, having digital collectables. Yes. And, yeah, I'm very excited to see, I feel like, the space moves so fast and I definitely want to say something to your listeners is that, I come from a traditional art background and I also come with a lot of traditional understanding of what it was like. For me, coming into the NFT space meant a lot of unlearning as well, learning about what exactly is an nft, how does ownership matter?
Why do people want to collect digital collectables? Understanding that [00:28:00] process was the hardest for me because I think I came in with a lot of traditional world art world, real world, logistics that, was meant to keep people out rather than bring people in.
When you look at it, you know, there were, the gatekeepers of the art world told you what was good, what was not, What galleries accepted you, what didn't, what worked, what didn't? You know, we had these, digital artists were never accepted. They never had a platform to sell their art before.
They all always worked behind the scenes. Provenance was not a priority for anybody, even if you're a digital artist, it was not something that was commonplace. And I feel NFTs is leveled the playing field for art everywhere. I feel like it, it has been a very welcoming space for so many people who've never had this platform before.
And that is what excites me the most because, coming into this space opened me up to so many experiences that I wouldn't have thought of before. Mm-hmm. . And, um, I mean, [00:29:00] I did, I, I was scared coming in. I mean, how do I, how do I fit in? I have an established practice. How do I, how do I even communicate cryptocurrency and digital wallets and minting and listing to my people, But, but slowly and steadily when I start, you know, producing work that people are really excited to own when I see people making money from my art and, and being able to make huge profits out of it.
Mm-hmm. that validates me both as an artist and also something that, creates this chain of, the flow of royalty coming back to me in perpetuity. Which I, I don't think any of the artists, we've never had this before. We've never had these kinds of options available to us before. That's right.
And so that excites me most about being in the NFT space is about, the possibilities that you can explore from it. What ownership means, what provenance means, how to protect your intellectual property. And [00:30:00] seeing, where you could take it.
Jane: Yes. And the more the information, gets out there for other artists to be aware of and educate themselves, then the less scared they become to want to embrace something like doing NFTs that you're doing. And so is primarily your income that's generated now through doing NFTs? That is correct. Yeah. Yeah. Oh, that's wonderful. That's great.
Ishita: NFTs have given me a different kind of audience that I would not have had, had I just stuck to my traditional art practice. Yes. I mean, I had a, I had a wonderful group.
I still have a wonderful group of supporters community, but also for me as an artist, I wanted to also showcase my growth. Look forward, look ahead and see what technology and what, the changing world is offering to us. Mm-hmm. For me it was, I started with wanting to address, art theft, wanting to establish provenance, wanting to protect my ID, [00:31:00] but it gradually, it becomes so much larger than what you had envisioned.
Yeah. And, over the last 18 months, life has changed in such a way that, it would've taken me 10 years to get here what I did in the last 18 months. Yes. So it has been that kind of a change, you know? Being an early adopter is always a good thing.
You Whenever there's something new happening, I would want to be in early and adopt and try it before,
Jane: yes. Even if you're scared, and it's like that saying, when you're scared, that is the time you should jump and take action because you just don't know where it will lead you unless you try these things.
The unknown can lead to some amazing things, and that's obviously what's what has happened for you so far. So I'm so excited and happy for you because as I said, I've been following you for quite a while and I've seen your audience, and your followers grow and it's amazing what you've accomplished.
And I hope that by having these kinds of conversations, then it allows others to hopefully follow in some [00:32:00] of the same direction as to what you've been taking. And I think it's so important for artists to have those options and have those multiple streams of income.
Yes. And in today's day and age, you can do that, like you said, 20 years ago we didn't have these options, so why not take advantage and make the best of it? Because there's a great success that can be found from taking some of these directions. And NFTs is definitely the way to go.
Ishita: Absolutely. And I feel like you know exactly what you said. You need to look at multiple sources of income. You need to look at what the world around you is telling you. Like the world around us is going digital, we are talking about the metaverse, we are talking about so many things that are, that foreign language is to us. You know, just the matter of two years ago, it was a foreign language to me.
Yeah. But just to see how it's going. And I mean, I was talking to somebody and we talk a lot about Web three and, Keith Grossman of Time Magazine was something that, we, he talked a [00:33:00] lot. He talks a lot about what is web three? We talk about Web three. Web three is really taking ownership of your own content.
Still the time. The web two was where you put content on other people's platforms. Like you put it on Instagram, you put it on Facebook, you put it there. You were basically renting space from other people. Yes. In Web three, we become owners. We are no longer renters. We become owners of our own work, which is so important.
That was so important and that helped me see where I was going and how I wanted to go. I wanted to be the owner of my own content. And you create so much content for yourself and I feel like, you know, even if it's not just artwork, it is just the courses that you're giving, the classes that you're giving, it's literally an experience.
You know, where people immerse themselves and learn and grow and tell people that this is where we, we got it from. And you are being the owner of the content need to be, you know, monetizing this. You need to. Yes. [00:34:00] Teaching your community, you need to be housing your community together. And I feel like, NFT technology is going that way. Yes. Like a lot of artists, a lot of content creators are paying attention.
Jane: I think so too. And a huge artist that I recently saw who has embraced NFTs is Callen Schwab as well. Yes. Right. He has taken off in that direction. And a few others that I've seen, Damian Damian Hurst. Damian Hurst.
Ishita: Damian Hust he was an earlier adopter right there from the beginning.
Jane: Yes. So it's definitely becoming more mainstream and it's just nice to see those options, available to artists. So I hope that artists will take the time to, Look into potentially creating, an nft, not just sticking with the same mindset, with just traditional art.
I know it's a big stretch for some, and I'm certain there's going to be a handful of artists that just won't be able to take that leap. It [00:35:00] just depends on, their background and who they are I think as artists. But having this conversation should at least open up the idea and the possibility, and hopefully get people excited as well for that direction.
Ishita: I mean, I'll give you a idea. I'm 49 years old and I'm doing NFTs full time, and I'm really having the time of my life being with the young kids. And I love it. It's, you know, it's not about, it's just about opening your mind, you know, It just open your mind and just have fun with your art.
Jane: That's so wonderful to hear. And I know you've been to NFT conferences as well. You went to one this year, and I think I saw you post something about your art being on the big screen in Times Square. Was, is that correct? How cool is that?
Ishita: My art would be on Times Square on all the screens there. Oh, so cool. It was incredible. Yeah. And, and one of the things that I did do when I started getting deeper into the NFT space, was that I found that there were not too many people like me, [00:36:00] there were not too many, people that, came from the traditional art background.
There were not too many people that were from my heritage comes from India. There were not too many brown women. There were not too much, diversity in this space, especially women felt a little intimidated by the talk about cryptocurrency and the technology.
So I wanted to become somebody that people could feel comfortable coming and talking to, just exactly what they're doing right now. And, I could break it down in easy to understand ways because I got so excited about how I started learning. And I understand coming from, the traditional background about how much a pushback there is, in terms of what's in our mind and also what we've been conditioned to believe.
Yes. So, just undoing that does take work and it does feel intimidating in the beginning, right. But the more you get accustomed to asking questions and hearing this conversation, which I feel like is going to be there for a very, very long time. Mm-hmm. . So the sooner you get used to [00:37:00] asking questions and just immersing yourself the better.
Jane: Yes. It's not going anywhere. It's here to stay anywhere. Yeah, absolutely. So if we were to leave or end this conversation with one tip or a piece of advice you could give another artist, if they were interested in wanting to learn or go down this path or this direction, where would you suggest starting or, what kind of research would you recommend that they do? Where, where would they begin?
Ishita: I would say that the first thing that, another thing that I definitely didn't talk about here was the crypto community and the NFT community lives on Twitter.
One of the things that you have to do as an NFT artist is establish a Twitter presence. Okay? Find the people that you know, you vibe with, find artists that you really like. See what everybody's doing and be part of community. One of the biggest things that people talk about in Web three and NFT is community.
[00:38:00] And community is not just the audience that you're bringing your art to. Community is the person next to you who's gonna help you understand minting. It could be a developer, it could be, just the conversations about how fast this space changes. It is the people that you're meeting in this space and think becoming a community.
And because it's a new space, because it's a developing space, people are extremely welcoming and they're open and they understand the challenges. So, you know, you'll find such a wholesome and, hearty community. So definitely start your Twitter presence. Wow. Start by following people.
There are amazing resources available on, YouTube. Follow people that have been doing NFTs, that are educators. There are groups of women, who are, very active in the NFT space. I'm one of them. I go to conferences. I speak on, onboarding traditional artists into this space and why I'm excited and everybody does that at their own pace.
I'm not [00:39:00] forcing somebody to do something if they're not ready. But I definitely do talk about how it's been life changing for so many people. It's not a magical end all be all. It is not going to create instant fame and fortune. It is hard, just like any other way of selling your hard work.
Yes. But at the same time, it does open you up to new audiences that you had not considered before. It opens you up to growth, it opens you up to collaborations, it opens you up to, what the future looks like. And, that's what I'm very excited about and I'm here and if anybody has any questions, I'll be very happy to answer them.
I host Twitter spaces, so if you're on Twitter, I host, weekly Twitter space called 'NFT's with Soul'
Jane: and that's great. Because what we'll do is we'll leave in the show notes, links to these things that you're referring to, so people can, find out more from you directly. Because the other, the other thing that I wanted to mention is that just because it's online or you go to YouTube or you go [00:40:00] wherever, doesn't mean to say that the information that they're telling you is accurate.
Yeah. So it's really important that you're going to a really good, reliable source of information and obviously you are one. So we'll definitely, leave the Twitter link and obviously all of your social media handles as well in the show note so people can find you if they really want to get in depth with this topic.
Ishita: Yeah, absolutely. And another great replace find resources, Open Sea, the marketplace. They have a resource section where they will literally walk you through the process and, they even have something called an NFT Bible.
Jane: That's great news. I will go there and download that. That, sounds like a wealth of information.
Well, thank you Ishita, for joining us today or joining me on the podcast. As I said, I, I was really excited to have you and learn a little bit more. I feel as though I have, and I hope the listeners have too. And if they, want to visit your site and your art, which is beautiful, and as I said, very unique and inspiring, [00:41:00] then I would love for people to drop a visit to your account and even give you a follow @SoulCurryArt
and continue on with your wonderful success and your amazing art. I'm so happy for you that you're, continuing down the road with NFTs and it's worked out in your favor, and as you said, you have to work hard at it.
It's not an overnight thing like anything, but congratulations and I wish you all the best in the future.
Ishita: Thank you. Thank you so much, Jane. What a pleasure speaking with you. Thanks for joining me, and we'll chat you soon.
Jane: Well, I think today was one of my favorite episodes on the curious creator podcast, because it really opened my mind to the possibilities of creating an NFT and how we as artists can generate additional income in our business.
Thanks again to Ishita Banerjee of Soul Curry art. And all of her insights, I hope you found today's episode extremely valuable. And if you think other artists would also find this valuable, [00:42:00] then feel free to share this episode with them.
Until next time have fun and stay creative bye for now