Hello! This is me, Pawwao. I am a senior college student who has a passion for creating digital art in anime style. I am also an NFT artist creating 1/1 illustration on Foundation marketplace.
I minted my first NFT art in September 25 last year (2021). Now it has been a full year in this NFT world! Eight of my artworks are successfully auctioned and sold. In this article, I want to share the story of three of my artworks; “Forbidden Words”, “New Song” and “Do you like it…?”
Before I go into the deep-dive of those three artworks, let me tell you more about myself and why I started NFT. At the end, I will talk about my opinion toward NFT space after one year in this journey, as well as my future direction.
When I was young, I enjoyed reading blogs about anime art and watching anime music videos. Those experiences have deeply rooted my passion and my dream in creating digital arts.
However, my hometown is small and I couldn’t find any local resources to study digital art, so I decided to apply to several colleges in a bigger city, hoping that, by being in a big city, I would be able to access more resources and activities related to digital art.
I finally got accepted to the university that I dreamed of, with an option to choose two majors; one is the digital art (the one that is most related to my interest), another one is an art education (with university sponsored scholarship, in exchange for doing some volunteer work to the school).
If I attended the digital art major, there would be many out-of-pocket expenses. At the time, my family had financial difficulty so they couldn’t sponsor me. Thus, I decided to join the art educational program to help relieve the financial burden. Even though it is not the ideal program, at least there are several classes that teach arts, and I get to move to a capital city where I have access to many more digital art related activities.
My life in college is quite good. I made many friends and I have received a good education in the field of art education. However, I am very busy with courseworks, in addition to volunteer work I need to do (to maintain the scholarship with the school), so I need to put “drawing digital art” at the bottom of my priority list.
“I will do it later”, becomes my common phrase when I want to draw whatever I want. Many digital-art related activities that I hoped I could do slowly fade away because I was too busy to do any hobby. Although I truly enjoyed spending time with my friends, deep inside my soul I feel like I am lost and I forgot my own childhood dream.
Deep inside I felt like I’m a failure. I couldn’t accomplish my dream of doing digital art. Those negative feelings were reflected in one of my art I created as part of the coursework.
In this artwork, I drew a girl in a school uniform. Her hair is messy. Her eyes have no soul. She is surrounded by a nightmare; so gloomy and depressing. Only things that are colorful are her toys, representing her childhood dreams that act as a lantern to keep her alive and move forward.
I didn’t know if I would ever wake up from this nightmare, nor when the feeling of loss would disappear from my mind. However, while I was creating this artwork, I got to know the world of “NFT” via SNS.
NFT? Crypto? Blockchain?????? I heard of those words before but they seemed to be so far away from me. First I thought, “Maybe I shouldn’t be involved in it since I don't really know what’s going on there”. However, after reading several articles and many stories from NFT artists in SNS, the NFT world sounds really fascinating.
The NFT artists talked about their inspiration behind each work. They had so many opportunities to meet and greet many artists that they admired. They talked about collectors and admirers who participate in the bidding war and their opinions toward the artworks. Those stories made my heart pound. I started wondering if I will ever have a chance to meet those collectors. Will there be anyone who falls in love with my art that was created from a fraction of myself…?
Will anyone want to be my collector…?
If NFT is the Wonderland where I have the freedom to sing whatever I want, to dance whatever move I wish, and meet many audiences who enjoy my performance in my own style, then I would love to learn about this world and be part of it.
After doing some research about NFT, I decided that I wanted to debut myself as a 1/1 artist on Foundation platform. At the time, Foundation was exclusive to the creators who received an invitation from the current Foundation creators, which later on they will also receive a limited number of invitation codes to pass to prospective creators. This system made it very challenging to get an invitation to Foundation.
With limited knowledge in NFT, a small number of recent digital art portfolios, and no initial fund to mint the work (back in the day, minting and selling each NFTs cost several hundred US dollars), I tried my best to present my portfolio to fellow artists. Eventually, Bysne-san helped me connect with Praew-san (praewithme), who saw something in me, and courteously gave me an invitation to Foundation. I truly appreciate both!
Even though nowadays, Foundation platform no longer requires an invitation code to be a creator, but if you, anime artists, feel like you are lost in the NFT space and need some help, for example, minting scholarship, I would like to introduce you to “weeb3dao”, a group of anime-oriented artists and collectors who supported the community. This group is very friendly and has helped many community artists. Please don’t hesitate to contact them for guidance!
Weeb3dao also has a website that curates information about NFT that the starters should know, for instance, introducing the NFT platforms, the commonly used acronyms in the community, etc.
I love this website so much I have it bookmarked in my browser. Thank you so much everyone in Weeb3dao who contributes so much to the community!
Now that I got the invitation code from Praew san, I started exhibiting my work on Foundation (yay!). I want to let the world know who I am, my feelings and my story, through a series of 3 artworks featuring kawaii girls; “Forbidden Words”, “New Song” and “Do you like it…?”
What are the stories that these three young ladies are telling…? Let me start with the 3rd NFT art in my collection, “Forbidden Words”.
Since I started my college, I barely had time to create my own original digital art. Most of the time, I created large scale physical arts as part of the school’s curriculum. In my free time (that is very limited), I created digital arts for commission work to pay for my living expenses month-to-month. Because of a very demanding college program and my financial status is not very stable, I keep telling myself that drawing for my own pleasure or following my heart is a taboo. Many people around me keep telling me that I should not aim to become a full time digital artist. Digital Art should be done only as a hobby/part time as it is not a financially viable option.
As a result, digital art was not in my priority list and I didn’t spend enough time to polish my digital art skill. I even questioned myself whether I can become “good” at creating digital art.
Because of my self-doubt and devaluation, I struggled a lot at fighting with my own negative feeling….I felt like I was not good enough…I was not ready…I should wait…but NO! I’m not going to hold on any longer! It’s time for me to speak what I have in my mind. I know I’m not ready but I want to do it NOW!
I wanted to tell myself that, even though I’m not perfect and I’m not ready for the international market, my determination is strong enough to overcome any obstacles. I will break free from the emotional cage that I locked myself in.
In this artwork, I portray those feelings through a young lady who is trying to say something. The bunting that fall into her head signifying her imperfection, her flaws or her failure. Her long sleeve shirt has the word “FORBIDDEN” as a reminder. But she doesn’t care. She looks shy but her eyes staring at you are so determined. This might be her last and only chance to tell you her feelings.
If you are the only one who can hear that from her. Would you give her a chance and listen to her…? This artwork was given the name “Forbidden Words”
While I was creating the piece, I updated my work-in-progress on my twitter account. There was this one collector who always showed up on my feed. His name is Yissey.
Yissey always comments on my twitter post, giving me encouragement while I was working on this artwork. I felt like he listened carefully to what the girl in the artwork was trying to say.
At the end of the auction, Yissey showed up and won the auction for this piece! I’m forever grateful, Yissey!
I also thank Kiwi-san and Mugen who participated in the auction!
Joining NFT space means I have to learn a lot of new things; setting up twitter, setting up discord. My English skill is not fluent, making me more nervous to communicate in English, particularly when there are unfamiliar words.
My English is not fluent, but I hope my art will connect me with people in this community.
As I told you, I haven't created many digital arts since I attended the university, therefore, all NFT are freshly created specially for minting. Since this space allowed me to follow my heart and sing my own song, therefore I named this artwork, “New Song”.
The story of this art is as the following; A sea bunny turned into a girl (as you may notice two little tentacles on her head). Since she’s from the sea, she didn’t speak our human language well. Song is the only thing she can comfortably use to convey her thoughts and emotion.
This is like me…I’m not good at communicating in English, but I really hope that I could use my art as a key to allow me to become part of the community.
When I was creating this artwork, I didn’t know many people in the space nor have a group of friends I could talk about NFT. I felt quite lonely. At a time, my path eventually crosses with a collector named Kiwi.
Kiwi-san bid on my artwork once. After the auction ended, I said thank you to him for bidding but hadn’t talked much beside that. One day, he contacted me by Twitter direct message (DM) to remind me that one of the portfolio links on my biography is broken. I did fix the link. Having a working portfolio link is very important to make it easier for the collectors to enjoy and support our works. From that moment, I really appreciate his help and his thoughtfulness.
Kiwi san eventually invited me to join uwucrew community on the discord server that he managed.
Kiwi-san advises that joining uwucrew is a good opportunity to share my story and my artwork with other art admirers. I totally agreed so I was not hesitate to say yes.
Joining uwucrew, I met many lovely art collectors and admirers. Being part of the community makes me understand more context of the NFT space. At the beginning, I didn’t speak much since I am too shy to use my broken English, but I am following and observing. In my opinion, uwucrew is a very special NFT project that promotes and values anime NFT art. I am proud of being a family member of uwucrew.
Being part of uwucrew community solidifies my position in the NFT space. At the auction day of this artwork, Kiwi-san and Kevin (another members of uwucrew) placed a bid on my artwork. Kiwi-san placed a bid twice and won.
Kiwi san, thank you so much for your continuous support to me and my fellow artists, and to the entire community!
I also thank anon and Kevin who participated in the auction!
Originally I planned to create another genesis piece which doesn’t really relate to my personal story or emotion so much. The concept and theme are also very different from many artworks I showed above. I initially plan to create a collection of Killer Lady, with sexy looks and various dangerous poisons.
But it seems like I’m not skilled enough to portray the feeling and emotion of that theme as much as I want. So I decided to put this project aside. It impacted my emotion negatively…“Look, you failed since your first try. I told you that you are not good enough to be in this spotlight. Go back to your regular boring life!” My self-esteem was damaged for a while.
When I got a Foundation invitation from Praew-san, I hadn't minted nor sold my artwork right away because I was not sure if I could do NFT well. But I still try to be part of the community and follow the NFT news on twitter ( good opportunity to learn how to use twitter and practice my English @_@~ )
Then there was an NFT art contest hosted by cocoNFT that causes many happy faces to show up on my twitter timeline.
The contest participants checked out each other’s entries, reacted with complements, constructive suggestions and helped each other share artwork to increase visibility. I felt a butterfly in my stomach. “Ahh….I wish I can join this fun festival” I thought that and immediately decided to participate in the contest. 14 hour left before the submission deadline, that’s when I started creating my NFT genesis piece.
My self confidence was at the floor because I wasn’t able to create a “Killer Lady”, but I decided to make a difference this time. I drew a cute kawaii girl with an ability to create colorful items out of thin air. She was not confident at all that she would be able to impress the people around her. That’s why she looks so shy and self-doubt.
The organizer of this contest, cocoNFT, allowed the participants to list their entry in any NFT platform, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to debut my artwork on Foundation!
At the time most of the foundation works were sold at 0.7-1ETH, so I was hoping to place my artwork at that sell price as well. Then I looked at myself; I still need to improve my artistic skills a lot and I have zero reputation in this space (my twitter account had less than 200 followers). I therefore thought that 0.7 ETH would be too high a listing price for me. I wanted to set a price that is more attractive to the collector, but I was so nervous, “would anyone bid on my artwork…?”
For that reason, my genesis piece was named “Do you like it…?” that summarizes the story of the girl. It also portrays my feeling at a time…as I put a message from the bottom of my heart in a bottle and toss it in the big open sea, hoping that it will reach someone who will receive the message.
12 hr of waiting, I finally received a return message.
September 26, 2021
My genesis piece has received the first bid from a collector named Kiwi
I remembered the moment Bysne-san told me that my art got a bid. I was so happy I cried. (I still felt the same every time I received a bid. lol) This one bid was so so valuable.
About the end of the 24 hr auction period, I kept staring at the bidding number 0.337E as I couldn’t believe I received a bid more than the reserve price I set. Then the second collector appeared and the bidding price increased to 0.3708E right in front of my eyes! I was so shocked!
Hattanas-san was the one who finally won the piece. He told me afterward that he really wanted to acquire this piece and he’s glad he managed to place a bid before the auction ended. I’m so glad you took her into your care! Thank you Hattanas-san!
When the auction was finalized, I felt like my Genesis piece hasn’t fully express my feeling that I have to this community, so I continue creating additional 2 pieces that expanded the concept and artistic theme from my original pieces to make the audiences feel like they are connected story, resulting in the two follow up artworks: New Song and Forbidden Words. The three combined told the story of my journey in this NFT space.
I called this collection: Pawwao’s debut party
I wanted collectors to feel like placing the auction in my artwork is like attending a party; full of fun and joy. Even though the three girls represent my lack of self-confidence, imperfection, and struggles, when I joined the space, I finally overcame all those negative feelings and truly enjoyed the space. I want the collectors to feel my happiness and feel happy with me.
Since my first piece started with D ( Do you like it )and it shared the same letter as the Foundation logo, FND, I took that as an easter egg meaning that Foundation is the place where I debut as an NFT artist. I carefully chose the elements in each artwork; bunting, bubbles, and confetti to relate to Foundation logo. The first letter of each genesis piece came from “FND”, which is the abbreviation for Foundation. I also ensure that the name of the artwork represents the story that I want to tell in each piece.
Three of my genesis artworks are successfully auctioned. I thank all bidder participants. I feel like you came to my party to celebrate my debut in this NFT space.
Even though the auction party ended long ago, I still remember the feeling and will remember it forever.
Eventually Hattanas san put my genesis piece on secondary auction. Thank you so much for opening up the opportunity for other collectors to value this piece!
Kiwi-san is back to place a bid on my piece once again. There were also collectors that I never met before participating in the auction; including 0xpyv and Yuka.
Yuka san has given the value of this artwork so high that it was my all-time-high (ATH) at a time, and that remain my ATH for a while (8 December 2021-6 April 2022).
My intention here is not trying to show off…what I want to tell the journey of this piece; how it got collected, how it was put on secondary, how the same collectors come back to place a bid, how new collectors have placed a bid on my work, and how my work has increased in its value. I think that tells me something….
Before I started my NFT journey, I wondered “ Will there be anyone who falls in love with my art that was created from a fraction of myself…? Will anyone want to be my collector…?”.
I think I got the answer :)
Even after the auction had concluded, Yuka continued supporting me and my art. He became one of my best friends who keep motivating me.
Yuka-san once told me the reason that he collected my genesis artwork is because of its name. My genesis artwork became the first artwork on foundation that he collected.
Yuka san, I sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart.
NFT is an open space where a small and amateur artists like me can showcase my skill and talent. It enables me to follow my dream. All the experiences I got here becomes my motivation to keep improving my art skill, so one day I can become a professional digital artist in the future.
Therefore, NFT space is not only about buy and sell. It’s about meeting new friends who share the same interests from different corners of the globe. There are many more fun, challenging, and memorable stories that one might ever imagine. If I decided not to do NFT, be a good girl like what other people told me, I will not be able to follow my heart and eventually I will forget who I am.
NFT enables me can do what I want, and I get my life back.
Although this article is only talk about my first 3 NFT works. But I want to thank you all of my collectors who supported my artwork and thank you to everyone in this NFT space who gave me love and encouragement !
This is probably the longest article I have written in my life. There are so many amazing stories in this NFT journey. But that’s for the later time. Thank everyone who read this article. Hope today, tomorrow and everyday are your good days !
Later this year there will be 3 more pieces added to my collection, COLORS; “Taste of Candy”, “Sprinkle Stars” and the last piece will be in the concept:
A story of an ordinary worm who eats a mysterious fruit and falls asleep. When she wakes up, she found herself having a gorgeous pair of wings, and her appearance changes forever. She questions what all these changes in her life mean to her.
The girl in my genesis piece will return in the artwork named :
Special thanks to Naninna-san for translate this article to be EN version for me :) !