Wise Sigma Toad takes us inside the mind of an NFT community manager

Steph Kunkel
September 9, 2022
'Unsigned' is one of Wise's favourite collections, a critique of the gender lines that divide financial reward in art.
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An "art spectator", web3 enthusiast, and a Community Manager at Objkt, Wise brings a wealth of expertise and advice from helping artists navigate the web3 space to building a better user experience. Speaking to Steph Kunkel, she shares her journey, thoughts on what’s next for cryptoart, and what artists need to do to stand out.

Melbourne, Australia, had one of the world’s longest recorded Covid-19 lockdowns. And Wise Sigma Toad had a lot of rabbit holes to explore. A community-minded “art spectator,” she quickly became enthralled by the web3 space upon discovering NFTs for the first time during the pandemic. She ventured to MakersPlace, the curated art platform, and then to OpenSea and Tezos, bouncing from one marketplace to another in search of art.

Wise prefers to be known as a “spectator” rather than a collector, building a name for herself as a web3 commentator and a Community Manager for Objkt, Tezos’s largest art platform. She says it is the perfect job for someone who is “drawn to art that is visually captivating and speaks to you in a spiritual sense.” Her primary focus is on hosting artist spaces on Twitter and helping artists develop their narrative and establish themselves as a brand, though she contributes across the Objkt ecosystem, from bug reports to the Discord server.

“I’m part of the web3 building blocks,” she explains, performing a role where the responsibilities change every day. It's an attitude and a situation that all successful names in web3 can relate too, each building their own communities and projects. “I’m just a tiny little cog in the machine, keeping it moving. I don’t see myself as a personality in Tezos. What I’m doing is more important than my name and identity.”

“I don’t consider myself to be a collector – I acquire art. I am an art spectator.”

— Wise

“I’m just trying to help people, in a small or big way. I want to make the space easier for people to come in and have them enjoy their experience.” As quickly as the web3 space is evolving and as important growth is, Wise places her emphasis on art education and security, and she is also keen to see web3 communities become more open to other art genres such as hip hop music and dance, amongst others.

One collection she has enjoyed watching develop comes from the Operator art house and Anika Meier, titled Unsigned. A collection of signatures from 100 women and non-binary artists, it is a critical commentary on an established fact, that art which is not signed by men consistently sells for less and is exhibited less frequently. Per the artists, Unsigned “reverses the negative value the signatures currently hold through their transformation into art.” Wise hopes the collection acts as a starting point for an important conversation in art communities on Tezos and web3 more broadly, to ensure that the aged legacies of the traditional art world do not rear their heads in NFTs.

Dejha Ti's signature, of the Unsigned collection, by Operator.

When Wise first started acquiring NFTs, she gravitated towards visual elements that were photo and paint heavy — until coming across 0119AI, an AI-augmented piece by Jenni Pasanen. Assisted by a type of neural network called a generative adversarial network, it prompted Wise to explore other interests. “0119AI really changed the conversation for me about what artwork can be. I get the same feeling looking at this piece as I do a real photograph.” Subsequently, Wise has developed an interest in others forms of experimental photography, a style she finds rebellious and values for its frequent focus on imperfections. “Experimental photography says that we’re not perfect, we’re human beings, and that’s natural. It tends to show the darker side of humanity.”

Previously, Wise stayed away from generative art, feeling it was too formal, cold, and lacked any emotional component. Works like 0119AI gradually conspired to change her mind. She became enamoured with ZANCAN's nature-inspired codes, like Lushtemples, which evoke the same feelings one might experience in nature herself. “I can get the same feeling from ZANCAN’s pieces that I do when I actually touch grass,” Wise effuses.

0119AI really changed the conversation for me about what artwork can be. I get the same feeling looking at this piece as I do a real photograph.”

— Wise

She collects based on the new elements, approaches, and narratives that artists are bringing to the space. “I like artists that bring something completely unique, signature, and their own.” Wise typically discovers new artists through tags, collector and artist DM groups in Tezos, and following artists like Misan Harriman and Laurence Fuller. “Objkt is like a home for me in Tezos and it will be that way for a long time.” Wise explains that “Tezos is building an artist and collector-focused platform that integrates feedback from the community into the system. We care about the voices of our artists and collectors.”

0119AI, by Jenni Pasanen, “a digital art series that explores new ways of creating art by combining generative adversarial networks with human vision,” per the artist.

Wise is committed to supporting the Tezos community and building a better web3 space that serves all involved. She’s currently working on better ways to onboard new artists to Tezos and providing commentary for Tickle, the Tezos art and writing magazine, as well as continuing to collect artwork. Most recently, she began hosting The Objkt Hour, where she elevates upcoming artists and dispels wisdom for others.

His Majesty uncrowned, an early piece in ZANCAN's Lushtemples collection, a series of generative designs that attempt to capture the graphic harmony and density of nature untamed.

Wise stresses that although artists have more freedom in web3, they also need to wear more hats. Beyond creating their art, artists are responsible for marketing themselves on social media, particularly Spaces, maintaining relationships with collectors, and managing their presence on marketplace platforms.

“AR art is changing the narrative.”

— Wise

Wise helps guide artists through learning these new skills and acts as a point of contact for artists attempting to navigate the intricate world of web3. And she is a "sentimental" one, at that: she explains, “I’m very picky and don’t typically sell on a secondary market unless discussing with the artist themselves.” Closely exposed to art and every step of the artist’s journey countless times a day, Wise is closely integrated into the space. Every day she rotates her screensaver on her Mac and phone to a different collected NFT.

As for what’s next in the web3 and NFT space, Wise believes that collaborations are booming. “Collaboration is becoming more of a sub-genre, where two or more artists are coming together and fusing their styles to create something new. It’s amazing to see.” Wise also has seen a rise in generative artists influenced by the 1960s and thinks this genre is cementing itself in the space. Similarly, Wise expects more immersive artistic experiences to become increasingly common in the near future, predicting “AR art is changing the narrative and is going to be huge in the space soon.” As NFTs AI art and generate art are the home of NFTs and this trend is going to lead to another era of creation.

For Wise, Tezos is a community-oriented platform where all roles play important parts and all are aligned to the same goal of creating an ecosystem with artists and collectors in mind– where both can thrive. “Tezos is not possible without artists, innovators, and collectors, as well as new people coming into the community.”

Written by
Steph Kunkel
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Steph Kunkel is a US-based writer, choreographer, and brand/marketing specialist. She is an art enthusiast with a passion for all things creative. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, drawing, and dancing.

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@WiseApe4

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