NFT.NYC 2021

I feel like this is going to be a long one so let’s start with a quick TL;DR: NFT.NYC is an NFT convention that came to NYC last week. I didn’t actually attend the convention, but I did get hired to shoot a party and I went to a couple more. I also photographed Pak’s face reveal and to promote my own work in this NFT themed post I released the latest five images from my Juggalo NFT photography collection. Now for some details… 

If you don’t know by now I am kinda obsessed with NFTs. I know a lot of people have problems with them that all basically stem from a lack of information, and I totally get that people don’t get it. If you don’t get it, and would like to know more, please reach out to me. I love talking to people about this stuff and I would love to bring more people into it. If you think they are bad for the environment, they are no worse than YouTube and you don’t get mad at people for making videos and there are a bunch of low energy use chains (like my NFTs on Tezos). If you think they are too expensive, there are a ton of very cheap ones. I bought one yesterday for about $6. Personally I try to price mine similarly to my prints. And if you think NFTs are a scam, just buy art you love. I have tons of stuff that I never plan on selling because I want to own it forever. I would never try to pitch you on my work as an investment, it’s just an investment in me. Moving on…

I didn’t actually have tickets to the conference and my back (which has been tentatively diagnosed as a herniated L5) is so messed up I didn’t think I would be able to do anything. Fortunately I reached out to my doctor and he suggested an epidural in my spine to help with the pain. I went to the pain management doctor last Monday and they couldn’t give it to me without insurance approval so they gave me some sort of shot to my hip which had me walking again by the next day. It still hurts like hell, but I can walk! Plus on Wednesday I am getting the epidural, so hopefully I will be doing even better soon. 

Anyway, I missed a bunch of the NFT.NYC events but by Tuesday I was walking a bit and for the first time in two months I got on the Subway and met up with my friend Krystall and walked around Times Square where a bunch of NFT billboards were on display. I ran into my friend Ed from Superchief, met an artist Drift who I really dig and talked to a bunch of NFT people. I eventually walked over to the Discord.Art food truck for some free coffee and met some more NFT artists I talk to on Twitter all the time. It was really fun to meet people in real life. After that we met up with my brother who was in town as well. He had to go off to another thing pretty quickly and my back was really starting to hurt so I waited for Krystall’s boyfriend Dan to show up so I didn’t just abandon her and said hi to him and escaped. I took some photos of all this with my phone and a few more on 35mm, but none of the photos from Tuesday are in this gallery so I guess  you could have ignored that entire paragraph. My bad.

On Wednesday I really wanted to go to the Quantum Art launch party. Quantum is a photography specific NFT platform and I have been following it for months and I am fairly active in their Discord. Justin Aversano is one of the primary founders of it and a photographer I really dig. He also happens to the best selling artist in NFT photography. The party was at Superchief and they threw both my Instaxxx book release parties, so I am always down to support whatever they are doing. But as I was headed to the party I got a mysterious text that just said “Be at Times Square at 6:30. Don’t tell anyone.” I was very intrigued so I kept heading north and got to Times Square around 6:15pm.

While I was there my favorite hockey blog reached out and asked if anyone in the NYC Caps Crew, the Washington Capitals fan club I am part of, was going to be at Times Square tonight. They sent me a photo of the billboard that Alexander Ovechkin was going to be on right at 7pm. I messaged back a photo of the exact billboard that I was just two block north of and could see from where I was sitting. I figured I could two birds one stone it.

6:30 came and went and I was thinking about bouncing but I figured I would stick it out until 7 so I could shoot the Ovechkin billboard. While I was waiting I was checking Twitter and saw the NFT artist Murat Pak Tweeted that you should come take a selfie with him at Times Square. I realized this is what I was here for. Pak is a mysterious artist and he has never revealed his identity. I don’t think anyone has even heard his voice. When he arrived he was dressed like some sort of alien wizard or something and right when I found him he was taking off his mask to reveal himself to be none other than Ezra Miller, the actor who plays the Flash in the DC cinematic universe, among other roles. Was he actually Pak or just playing another role? He was wearing makeup with a blue stripe down his face and a prosthetic over his mouth. He started taking selfies with people as a crowd gathered. After taking a few photos, and a selfie of my own, I walked one block south to photograph the Ovechkin billboard that ended up on Russian Machine Never Break. With that done, I returned to find that Pak had disappeared and I missed out on his final reveal where he took off his robe and was wearing iPhones that displayed QR codes that could be scanned for free NFTs. Oh well. 

After that I ran down to Superchief for the Quantum Art launch. Like I mentioned, I was really excited about the Quantum platform and of course I wanted to support Superchief so it was a no brainer. I got there and ran into some old friend’s Buff Monster and Lamour Supreme. I’ve actually purchased a few of Buff’s NFTs in past (including one about 45 minutes ago) and psyched to see waht Lamour does in the space. I didn’t spend a ton of time at the gallery because it was packed but I got to talk to Justin Aversano again and met some people I am friends with on Twitter. One of them, journalist Andrew Wang, Tweeted that he would give away NFTs to people who snuck up behind him and hugged him. I saw him and waited until he walked past me and just grabbed him from behind while yelling “You did this to yourself!” It was kinda great. It was a cool event, but it was a packed gallery full of photographers so I didn’t actually take any pictures. After that my back was hurting pretty good so I returned to my apartment… but only for an hour.

Later that night I went to Bogart House for a party called Offchain thrown by Squiggle DAO and Tile Dao. I am 1200 words into this article already so I am not going to explain DAOs or generative onchain artwork, but basically it was a party thrown by people for people who love computer generated geometric NFTs. And throwing the party was voted on by members of the DAOs. More importantly there were DJ sets by Sextile, Alan Palomo of Neon Indian, Pictureplane and a performance by Naeem (formerly of Spank Rock). I have known Naeem for 15 years or something and I actually shot something for Pictureplane’s clothing line Alien Body last winter. I should probably do a post with those photos. I was hired by the event by my friend Trevor who is another dude I have known forever. It was a really fun reunion. The party was a blast and I ran into a ton of people who remembered Driven By Boredom from my nightlife days including some friends I didn’t even know where in to NFTs. My brother even showed up. I was there from 9:30om to 2:30am and I did a pretty good job, but when I was editing them you could tell how much worse the photos got around 1am when my back started killing me. It was just really wild to see how much my pain impacted my work. Still I got a ton of photos and it was also the first party (and hopefully not the last) that I was paid in cryptocurrency.

The next day I got to hang out with my girlfriend Shannon who has been very patient with me talking about NFTs all the time. I met her about a month before I got into them and she has had to deal with all of it. I can’t believe she came out with me. My brother RSVP’d us for a party at Hammerstein Ballroom thrown by Creature NFT. Creature is a very weird, strangely beautiful NFT created by a guy named Danny Cole. They threw a party on the previous Saturday that looked insane so I was excited to check it out. We all met up for food and then got in line for the party. While we were waiting there we ran into Krystall and Dan again and suddenly our mutual friend Ronen showed up with Danny and they pulled us inside and we got to be the first people inside. It turns out I had actually met Danny before, Ronen had introduced us at a party months ago, and I had a great conversation with him. The party was absolutely wild and had an inflatable obstacle course. I took a few photos, but not a ton. We also met up with my girlfriend’s friend Jess who is a total NFT nerd herself and Shannon was just surrounded by NFT talk. It was great. 

Ronen vanished again as quickly as he arrived but put us on the guest list for a party called Dreamverse at Terminal 5. It was thrown by Metapurse who are the people who bought the Beeple 5000 Days NFT that sold for 69 million dollars. I actually met Beeple and MetaKovan who created Metapurse. MetaKovan was very nice, Beeple wouldn’t let me take his photo. I get it but kinda a bummer. I did take a few photos at the event and met a bunch more people including two more people I know from Twitter. One of them I didn’t even realize who he was until I posted a few photos on Twitter and he realized who I was because he was standing next to me when I took one of them. My back was hurting and my girlfriend goes to bed by 11 every night so we bounced early, but I had a great time just nerding out about digital art in a huge nightclub. I think last time I was there was to shoot Steve Aoki and Duran Duran for some reason. 

Okay, this is 2000 words long and I gotta just post these damn photos already, but first I need to plug my Juggalo NFTs again. You can read about the project here, and then look at them all and purchase them here. I also have been messing around with a metaverse art gallery for them on a site called OnCyber. Keep in mind this is a very rough draft and the photos are weirdly low res when you get up close to them, but still it’s a fun thing to play with. Check out the gallery here

Okay, now let’s get to the NFT.NYC photos. In the gallery below we have pictures from the Pak face reveal, thirty of my favorite photos from the Offchain party and then a handful of photos from the Creature event and Dreamverse. I shot some iPhone and 35mm stuff too but none of that is here. 

Now click here to see all my photos from NFT.NYC 2021.

Danny Cole

Murat Pak/ Ezra Miller

Tile DAO

Ronen V

Picture Plane & Naeem





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