Erick Calderon: Art of NFT platform blocks rapid growth ‘felt irrational’

NFT art platform Blocks Art shot to excel during the 2021 bull run, with individual examples of generative art created on the platform selling for millions of dollars.

But Art Blocks creator Erick Calderon, aka Snowfro, said decodeGM podcast that the platform’s rapid growth “seemed illogical, felt unsustainable.”

He added that the crypto crash has resulted in “calmer” conditions that “make it much easier for me to have rational conversations with human beings about art.”

“From a mental health perspective, it wasn’t healthy for Art Blocks as a team, and it wasn’t healthy for Art Blocks artists either,” Calderon said of the platform’s meteoric rise in September and October 2021. “Yes, they were around make a bunch of money with a dip, but that’s actually not always healthy, especially when you question the actual value of the work.”

In recent weeks, despite the bear market, Calderon said “Art Blocks is starting to have another resurgence.”

This, in turn, has seen speculation again. “In my travels and talking to people in the contemporary art world to bring value to Art Blocks outside of our little echo chamber, the conversation turns back to speculation,” he said. decode.

Calderon was quick to clarify that, “We don’t have a problem with speculation,” but said, “We want to make it clear that’s not why we’re here. We’re happy when you make a bunch of money and we’re upset when you lose a bunch of money — but those things are really extraneous to our purpose, which is just to curate amazing art from amazing artists in this new way.”

Employing the NFT bear market

The bear market doesn’t seem to have hurt Art Blocks’ ambitions; Calderon said decode that the platform is hiring, “We want Art Blocks to grow and we understand that time is of the essence,” he said, adding that the platform recently brought on an art director.

Art Blocks artwork Fidenza #313 by Tyler Hobbs sold for $3.3 million ETH in 2021. Image: Art Blocks

“We have seen incredible artists appear at Art Blocks; some of them have traditional art backgrounds, but many of them are computer scientists who realize they have a creative side to them,” Calderon said.

The new artistic director will help these neophyte artists develop their careers, he explained. “We need to help educate artists on how to handle their careers, take criticism, get feedback to help them not only through their art project, but their art career.”

Calderon also plans to grow Art Blocks’ engineering team.

“We’re very aware of how fortunate we are to potentially be in hiring mode,” he said, suggesting that companies that hired during the bull market may have overextended themselves. “You don’t really have the luxury of sitting back during a bull market and saying, ‘We’re not going to hire until the next bear market because people are being unreasonable with their salary expectations.’ Because then you get left behind.”

Having witnessed economic cycles before, Calderon explained that during bull markets, “incredibly talented people get hired for tremendous amounts of money that become unsustainable during those down times.” This, in turn, means that during a downturn, “you’re looking at potentially having to let ten people go because you want to keep this superstar because you’re paying them too much. You start to wonder, well, well, maybe I can’t afford to pay that person that much because these other people are actually living normal lives.”

Fortunately, he said, that’s not a concern for Art Blocks, which is “thriving” in the current economy. “We’re excited, we’re lucky and we feel very privileged to be in the position we’re in.”

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