A calligraphy artist, Sarah Richardson (who works under the name Sarah Script) had been making Instagram videos of her work for roughly seven years before learning about non-fungible tokens (NFT). “When you do calligraphy, you only get one shot to get it right. You have to stick the landing,” she said. “I would film videos for hours of one or two words that would last all of 15 seconds after edits.”
The work can be tedious, but Richardson found it lends itself to the NFT format. “Cementing” her videos on the blockchain has made her feel a sense of ownership that she didn’t get from posting on Instagram. “I would love to see more calligraphy as NFTs,” said the bespectacled Arkansas native, who now lives in Brooklyn, New York, “because I think it certainly has a place.”
In learning about her “Most Influential” subject, Carole House, White House adviser on the Biden administration's executive order on “Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets, the 34-year-old Richardson felt moved by the work of another young woman making waves in the crypto world.
“The House, Senate, Supreme Court and other government organizations weren't doing anything [about crypto],” said Richardson, “and here’s Carole House, who’s my age. To see her come in and be this huge part of moving regulations forward was really inspiring.”
More: An NFT of this image, created by Sarah Fontaine Richardson, was sold at auction on Coinbase NFT. A percentage of the sale went to oneearth.org.
How and when did you first learn about NFTs?
I learned about NFTs in February 2021 through Clubhouse. Somebody I met in a room there asked me if I had heard about NFTs, and I hadn’t. It was snowing in Arkansas, where I'm from, and when it snows here everything shuts down. I couldn't go anywhere, so I dove into this crazy world of NFTs.
What was your first ever piece of NFT art and why did you decide to make it an NFT?
It was a digital mosaic that I learned to do in a Skillshare Class a month before. I remember thinking, “What is the point of this other than to share it online?” That sounds so negative, but I really enjoyed the tedious nature of making something look like a real-life mosaic, digitally.
I minted it on Mintable, and I didn’t really know what I was doing. It said, “Je t’aime,” and it was a gif, because I thought NFTs had to be moving – you had to incorporate all the elements of digital you could. That sold to a person I was learning about NFTs with in a Clubhouse room the same day. They were learning how to buy NFTs while I was learning how to make them.
What were some of your main considerations when creating your “Most Influential” portrait of Carole House?
I was impressed by how seriously she took national security regarding cryptocurrency. As someone who's been immersed in this space for the last two years, I never took that into account. It got me thinking, and I wanted to emphasize how important that was. In one of the illustrations [I made before the final piece], the direction is herding cats.
What about House’s work in the crypto/blockchain industry most inspires or interests you?
I like that she's an unsung hero of regulation. She's behind the scenes doing something for the greater good, and not for – in this era of Elon Musk types – taking the limelight for leadership. I like that she's just doing what needs to be done.
Who/what are your main artistic influences? Do they come more from the traditional art world or the NFT art world, both?
In terms of calligraphy, my inspirations are Nina Tran, David Grimes and John DeCollibus. DeCollibus is one of the few living Master Penmen.
In terms of lettering artists, I love Jessica Hische and Louise Fili. In the NFT world, I love Diela Maharanie, who does bright, colorful illustrations and Suzie. I fell in love with her work when she did this series called “Angry Susies.” Something that’s so cute and angry at the same time is funny to me.
Where do you see yourself going in the NFT art world moving forward?
I plan to stay involved and keep my eye on what's going on. A lot of my illustrations reference what's happening in the NFT space. Right now, it's shaky times, so I'm not minting work. My main goals over the next few years are to improve my illustration skills and build out stories. I’m in a children's book writing class right now and trying to take two of my characters from previous collections and put them into a story. I'm not sure if I'll be successful, but that's the goal.
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