Sonoma County artists and businesses enter the NFT world of digital art


Watts, who has 32,000 followers on Instagram, has since released 19 NFTS of original abstract art featuring vibrant, fluid shapes and psychedelic color patterns.

He said his NFTs surprisingly didn’t get the traction and feedback he expected.

“I have a certain following in the mural and painting world, but when I step into the NFT space — I’m nobody,” he told The Press Democrat. “There are so many artists right now trying to sell their work as NFTS, so it’s like starting from the bottom again.”

“I feel like I’m missing out or being left behind if I’m not trying to evolve and adapt to what’s happening culturally and how things are shifting more towards digital platforms,” ​​Watts added.

A newly discovered hobby

In March 2021, former Girl & the Fig restaurateur Sondra Bernstein announced that she was retiring from day-to-day operations at the restaurant.

After 24 years as a restaurateur, Bernstein has started creating NFTS and Metaverses in her spare time.

“I was wondering, who am I without the restaurant? What do I love?” said Bernstein. “The NFT space has given me something to focus on in my transition. The space really captivated me.”

She created a virtual version of Girl & the Fig in November 2021. As an experiment, she plans to sell the restaurant’s famous “Sea Salt Chocolate Chunk” cookies at the Metaverse restaurant next year.

“These are tests,” Bernstein said. “It’s a different kind of marketing. There are the naysayers and then the people who say this space changed their lives. But it’s also the wild, wild west.”

Four months ago she joined SearchLight, a team and organization that helps artists get started in the world of NFTs.

“The metaverse is what life could be on a digital plane,” Bernstein said. “People can take things into their metaverse that they think are missing in the real world. You can create the world you want to see.”

Artists ready to ride the NFT wave

In November 2021, The Press Democrat spoke to local muralists MJ Lindo-Lawyer and Joshua Lawyer. The founders of The Mural Project, a Roseland-based nonprofit, said they are considering how to implement NFTS across all of their businesses.

This includes their annual Mural Festival, where a group of artists simultaneously create multiple murals in one location.

The couple’s idea is to create and sell an NFT of each mural.

“You get an NFT to sell, trade, and collect, but you can also fund this mural project that pays artists to create artwork for real-world communities,” explains Joshua Lawyer. “We’ve been slowly educating ourselves about what it all means. It’s a difficult concept to grasp.”

Wedlake, a crypto NFT consultant in San Carlos, also advised Ledson on how to convert her paintings to NFTS.

“People entering the NFT space now are considered ‘pioneers,'” Wedlake said.

Joshua Lawyer said artists often feel they are not being paid enough for what their art and time are worth. However, he noted that the NFT space gives an artist agency.

“Artists of all kinds have caught the hardest end of the stick,” said Joshua Lawyer. “Musicians make the music, but the label gets the money, somehow. This space allows artists to own and be in control of their art, which is always difficult once you start to thrive.”

The attorneys each plan to release a collection of NFTS over the next few years but are looking for the right team to help them, MJ Lindo-Lawyer said.

Local brewery non-fungible tokens

In a 31-second video, a close-up shows a person pouring “Dope-alicious,” one of Shady Oak Brewery’s beers, into a rotating glass, along with a description of the beer.

Although short, this video is one of five NFTS that Shady Oak released and sent out for free in November 2021 for the taproom’s third anniversary.

At the event, they hung up a sign-up sheet and the friends and regulars in attendance were sent the file for their “crypto wallet.”

Steve Doty, the taproom owner, explained that including an NFT with every beer sold is a way to retain customers.

“I have no idea what’s going to happen to the NFT space in the future,” Doty said. “We just hope it remains an extra thing that can be a part of what we’re doing. It’s a way to connect with people and people to be a part of the company.”

You can reach staff member Mya Constantino at [email protected] @searchingformya on Twitter.


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