User Stories
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6
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Ethereal Avatars: A Traditional Folktale Gets a Makeover in Web3

By

Gabriela Ross

&

NFTs found them in a way they never expected. It was the perfect opportunity to share their story.

September 27, 2023

The best of this space? The people. The stories. The art.

This time, we bring two incredible Latin American artists paving their way in Web3. We interviewed Mark Aguilar and Alyssia Aguilar, a.k.a. The Lofty Mom. They created Ethereal Avatars, a 10k NFT project of mystical beings that have walked through this life and the next with the mission to connect you with your loved ones.

Inspired by the traditional Mexican story of Alebrijes, these creatures are known to be spirit guides that help those who have die cross over into the afterlife. Alebrijes can be in the form of an animal with different characteristics like a snake with wings, or someone with the shape of a lion and a tale of a bird. Vibrant colors and patterns showcase their beautiful textures and cultural references.

Mark and The Lofty Mom (TLM) believe that through pain and loss, beauty can be born. They took a story of loss, in honor of their late son, as a way to bring their creative ideas together and form Ethereal Avatars.

A project to showcase 100% who they are

Alebrijes was a perfect opportunity for Mark and Alyssia to tell their story of loss, connect with their culture, and showcase a new unique twist on a traditional Mexican folktale into a modernized Web3 concept.

Through great lore, authentic art or memes, projects cement their way in the space, but very few collections are tied to the founders’ story in such a personal way. In this case, with Ethereal Avatars Mark and Alyssia are showcasing 100% who they are. It allowed them to create beautiful and unique art tied to their Mexican culture, their journey, and passions.

Their plan focuses on the project evolving and growing towards fashion. They want to involve holders in different interactive ways. For example, bringing fashion into the metaverse and using their brand to engage with the web3 community truly.

How and when was your first approach to NFTs?

The Lofty Mom (TLM): In 2021 I started on Clubhouse and learned about NFTs through NFTS.tips. It was through those rooms that I met many creators and artists who were all learning alongside me. The one who really gave me the knowledge on how to get ETH, and mint my first piece on OpenSea was Lizzy, who’s now the social media manager of OpenSea. It’s amazing to see all the early adopters truly thrive in the Web3 space.

Mark Aguilar: My journey was similar to The Lofty Mom’s, but I was mostly in the background trying to understand what NFTs were about. When I saw the successes she was having as an artist, I knew we were on to something and that’s what led me to become the developer for our project.

Have you had any learning curve moments with NFTs? Were there any roadblocks that you wish you knew about before?

TLM: The biggest roadblock was coming into this space as 100% me. Being fully transparent about my story, being a mom, a woman, and a Latina. Showcasing that and vocalizing it really hindered my value. Many didn’t validate my work because it was too feminine, or not done by an established artist that had an education in art.

Being able to feel the instant lack of support made me understand that I had to validate who I was as an artist. The labels that set me back, were now the stigmas I wanted to break and show that they only added value to who I was and to keep pushing. I was the first to use “#LatinaNFTArtist” on Twitter. I carry that proudly because I kept sharing and wanted the hashtag to grow and be seen by the few Latinas who were coming into the space. I’m now ecstatic to see many more Latinas and mothers who are here to truly add value to the Web3 space as creators.

Mark: My biggest roadblock was ultimately trying to fully grasp what NFTs and Web3 were at the time I started learning about the two. I thought I needed to know about certain topics, or fully understand what the Ethereum blockchain was before wanting to talk in certain Twitter spaces. But the reality was that many, to this date, are still learning what such topics are and that I should have just gone up to join and be a part of the conversation.

In most instances, people are more than welcoming. From a developers aspect, I had a major learning curve, as I had just started to teach myself how to become a developer. I had to not only learn how to compose a website, but also integrate Web3 tools to create a minting DApp. So instead of just learning your basics, such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, I was also learning Ethers, Hardhat, Solidity, and a wide range of other languages to be able to create my website.

How can the NFT community support Latino artists?

TLM: Welcome us. Share our work, and most importantly INVEST IN US! If we aren’t given the opportunity to participate as a whole then we won’t ever get our community to be seen and respected as any other in the web3 space.

Mark: Definitely have more developers at the forefront of projects to be able to participate in this space. Also, Latino artists are still underrepresented in this space, especially on NFT projects. Several projects with over 5K NFTs have launched but many have been sitting there since the launch date minting less than 1K, or even 500. Latinos are severely underrepresented and if a change does not happen soon, we will get left behind in this space. Projects need to sell out in order to participate in a big picture aspect, and with many remaining stagnant, their project will be left uncollected and unable to adequately participate in Web3.

What’s the biggest opportunity you see in NFTs?

TLM: The future. There are so many opportunities for people to come in and find ways of income. It takes us to show up. It takes us to learn, and it takes us to pave the way for the next generation. We need to continue sharing our talents and pushing one another forward because we are here for the younger generations that come after. I don’t want my daughters to have to continue the fight for being validated. I would rather break those doors down, I rather get the pushback so that way when they come into this space, there are no doors shut for them.

Mark: NFTs and web3 combined definitely give us an opportunity to display who we are and what we are aspiring to accomplish. I see NFTs as a gateway for us to break the barriers early on and allow for the next generation to come in and not have to deal with such barriers. I also see it as an innovative way to create my leather goods to utilize blockchain technology, such as pairing the physical with the digital collectible.

What was the process of generating 10K NFTs with Bueno?

We tested both aspects of generative art, one through code and the other through Bueno. To say the least, Bueno is far more efficient than just saving time when generating art. From the developer's standpoint, Bueno helps visually create the art using templates. Whereas in the code it is more complex having to generate so many sample pieces of art to ensure the traits are layered correctly.

Bueno will certainly be a standard in the near future for how generative art is created.

Ethereal Avatars

Bonus: Read more on how to turn your art into NFTs in our latest article.

If you were to do a collaboration with another NFT project or artist, which would it be?

TLM: I would love to connect with the TIMEPieces project. As a Latina, I think it would be an incredible opportunity to showcase my work and story through an iconic and respected outlet. I would hope that having a platform like that would inspire parents, mothers, women, and the Latinx community.

Mark: A fashion project I would love to collaborate with would be The Fabricant, to introduce my leather goods in the metaverse! Another project would of course be Robotos, since Pablo has been successful in this space as a Latino artist and everything he is doing and has done is certainly setting the standard for what we can and should do in web3.

Creativity has no rules in the metaverse

We're excited to see where this new project is going, and we want some of you aspiring artists and creators out there, to remember that success isn't limited.

Artists will continue to use crypto and blockchain as a way to tell their stories, and express themselves in new, exciting ways. Even the smallest acts can have enormous consequences. It illustrates that you never know what's going to happen when you throw someone into an entirely new world.

Try Bueno

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The Author

Gabriela Ross

Gabriela Ross

Content and copywriting for Bueno.

Living in Mexico lindo. Passionate about sharing stories. Always making time to work out—and dance. Diving into the NFT space for a daily dose of inspiration, creativity, and art.

If you liked this post, don't forget to drop a line @gabrielarossmxn

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