Rebecca Rose: 'What Goes on Inside That Brain' of Jesse Pollak's?

The artist made an NFT of the Base leader for our Most Influential package.

AccessTimeIconDec 4, 2023 at 1:45 p.m. UTC
Updated Jan 26, 2024 at 3:40 p.m. UTC
AccessTimeIconDec 4, 2023 at 1:45 p.m. UTC
Updated Jan 26, 2024 at 3:40 p.m. UTC
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As part of our special NFT series, we asked the artist Rebecca Rose to make an image of Jesse Pollak, the leader of Coinbase's new layer-2 blockchain, Base.

Click here to view and bid on the NFT created by Rebecca Rose. The auction will begin on Monday, 12/4 at 12p.m. ET and ends 24 hours after the first bid is placed. Holders of a Most Influential NFT will receive a Pro Pass ticket to Consensus 2024 in Austin, TX. To learn more about Consensus, click here.

We spoke with her about her work for the question and answer below.

1. Tell us about how/why you became an artist. Why do you choose to create NFTs?

I've been an artist for as long as memory serves and don't remember choosing to be an artist, it sort of chose me. It's a state of being. In terms of collage work, my analog collage began in '93, digital collage in '98, sculptural collage in the early 00's, and holograms in '15. All of those previous chapters in my career led me to the type of digital collage works I'm doing now, and NFTs were a logical next step to bring everything full circle with my art.

2. Talk about your artistic approach to creating an image for this year's Most Influential.

"No Finer Place" is a 3D collaged motion work. The story takes us from Jesse's desk through his monitor, mind, and coding which brings us to the L2 world he's building with Base. It's part of my ongoing DeepCuts series – 3D collages with depth inspired by songs – and Petula Clark's "Downtown" played on repeat while creating it. If you listen to the lyrics from Jesse's POV inviting us to build a better world on Base, it makes sense. A place where everything's waiting for you and people gather in a bustling epicenter. The buildings are being actively constructed by different communities – art galleries, clubhouses, marketplaces – much like how construction happens in an IRL city's downtown. The environment is much brighter there with pink, blue, yellow, teal, and purple hues used in Base's on-chain summer. The skyline in the background are charts of Base's progress over the year and circuits connect each community to the next. I nearly titled it "No Finer Base"!

Rebecca Rose's image of Jesse Pollak for Most Influential 2023.
Rebecca Rose's image of Jesse Pollak for Most Influential 2023.

3. What aspects of Jesse Pollak's personality and profile did you want to emphasize, and why?

I dove deep into Jesse's public profiles and interviews to get a sense of the motivation behind the man. After studying his background, I wanted to take the viewer inside the mind of his world-building. What goes on inside that brain of his? How does Jesse see our digital world in what it is vs. what it could be? What type of imagination does he wield to build the next iteration of the internet? He cares about community and progress, which is visually captured in the work.

4. Who do you think are the most influential NFT artists today?

The artists who dare to push the limits of their craft will influence the artists of tomorrow. An overgeneralization I know, but what they're experimenting with today, mixed with curiosity and self-driven tenacity, sets the stage for the next generation. The ones who go outside their comfort zone with their art en lieu of dialing it in. Like Bowie's quote "go a little bit out of your depth and when you don't feel your feet touching the bottom, you're in the right place to do something exciting". And you can unmistakably see that type of rule-breaking in their mind-bending work, you can't fake it.

5. What was the most disruptive NFT project in history?

It's a tie between Kevin McCoy's Quantum and Robbie Bharat's AI Generated Nudes/Lost Robbies. The grandpappys of all grandpappys. Both historic and wildly disruptive towards the concept of transacting digital art, auction houses, collectors, and even the courts.

6. Describe your style in three words.

Collaged cautionary tales.

7. Given the rise and the fall of the NFT market over the last 18 months, what's your outlook on the future of NFT art?

The future is bright. More gallerists are introducing tokenized fine art into their exhibition programming, and museums like MoMA and LACMA are welcoming more works into permanent collections. Art movements take time to establish themselves institutionally and we're on the right track. Regarding fine art, I think we're going to eventually meet the art world halfway and adopt these terms they already assign for digital works: media art, internet art, and time-based media for motion works. Granted, digital works are called that without being tokenized, so maybe the terms contemporary media art or modern media art will be used to mark that distinction, and this art movement.

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