NFTSYD Community Spotlight #8 Mekong Collective

Welcome to our 8th NFT Artist Spotlight, proudly presented by Rare Pizzas and PizzaDao. Where we feature inspiring interviews from up-and-coming artists, creators and NFT projects across the local and global NFT Community.

**Today we discuss about art and blockchain with James Ettelson the artist behind
Mekong Collective **

Let's dive in!


Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I grew up in Sydney Australia but move around a lot. I have been a fine artist for 10 years. During the last two I have been creating works on an iPad. Each digital piece minted On Chain is hand drawn on procreate.

How would you define your artistic style?

Pop aesthetics define my style. Vibrant colours with recurring motifs of contemporary culture are what I capture in both my tangible and digital works.

What is your goal when making art?

To communicate the people places and spaces that surround me — that both inspire and amuse.

How did you get started in NFTs?

In 2021 my friend introduced me to a new technology where people were trading absurd Jpgs for absurd prices. Like most others at the time, I thought it was pretty ridiculous. But I also thought it was interesting how fast the Blockchain allowed people to own and trade something digital and scarce.

Being in the pandemic I had a bit of time on my hands, so we decided to comment on the space by setting fire to 12-foot wooden sculpture on my driveway. That project was called ‘Wallet Talk’ it was designed to better understand the space whilst at the same time providing a satirical assessment of digital wallets filled with virtual assets. It was fun and different and lead to Art Basel’ Miami where I was invited to attend the fair. The experience allowed me to walk deeper into the web 3 wonderland and witness the many ways this technology was being used in the arts. It fascinated me. And I wanted to start making sense of what I was seeing over there right away, but I had no paint or canvases so I started drawing on an iPad. The digital medium allowed me to create on the move, bottle the essence and express myself in ways I’d never done before.

When I returned to Australia, I continued working on Procreate —Minting works that are full of fresh colour, commentary the recurring character MEKONG, Who’s my alter ego and tag — an energy who flows through each NFT.


What is your favourite part of the NFT community?

That there are individuals and artists pushing this space in the right direction. Seeing what Snofro is doing at Art Blocks inspires confidence in what the future holds for On Chain Art. Education is what is needed to alleviate so much fear and uncertainty about what this community is all about. Max Cohen, one of the best writers in the NFT space puts it best:

‘While I understand the temptation toward fear, we must understand that the differences between painting, sculpture, and digital art are, on some level, arbitrary: All are simply different ways that humans use tools to express themselves.’

What advice would you give to new artists interested in entering the world of NFTs?

To learn what a Blockchain is and how it can give you an enormous amount of freedom as an artist.
Although the onramps are currently clunky, if you make it through each hurdle, you will be rewarded with an understanding of how much is possible — how this tech correlates with the speed in which we are now moving. If you’re laughed at, or met with indifference or scepticism, keep in mind that almost every new technological advancement has been met with dismissal and disdain. Above all, have fun creating on this new canvas.


Twitter @mekongco


Subscribe to NFTSYD
Receive the latest updates directly to your inbox.
Mint this entry as an NFT to add it to your collection.
This entry has been permanently stored onchain and signed by its creator.