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A video game industry veteran on making the art behind popular NFTs

Welcome again to Chain Response, the place we unpack and clarify the most recent in crypto information, drama and traits, breaking issues down block by block for the crypto curious.

For our Tuesday episode this week, we talked to James Zhang, a 24-year veteran of the online game trade — first as an artist, then as a founder and investor. Zhang, founder and CEO of NFT artwork consultancy Idea Artwork Home, began his profession as an idea artist at LucasArts, the studio behind the Star Wars video video games.

Idea Artwork Home launched 14 years in the past with a mandate to offer artwork to online game corporations, and in that point the corporate has helped ship over 1,000 video games, Zhang stated. However in 2021, the corporate honed its focus to solely serve prospects constructing web3 video video games as Zhang saved figuring out alternatives at that very intersection.

“During the last two years, we have now had a complete pivot into web3, and there’s form of no wanting again,” Zhang stated.

Idea Artwork Home has labored with each inventive manufacturers seeking to construct a presence by web3 video gaming and crypto-native corporations that lack expertise in gaming and artwork creation, in accordance with Zhang. The corporate has labored on tasks with NFT big Dapper Labs, the corporate behind NBA Prime Shot, and comedian ebook creator Frank Miller, finest identified for writing and illustrating “The Darkish Knight Returns.” Final October, it raised $25 million from investors, together with Animoca Manufacturers, and from angels comparable to Axie Infinity creator Jeff ‘Jiho’ Zirlin.

However regardless of Idea’s preliminary wins in web3, the crypto bear market has hit NFTs notably arduous prior to now few months, making its work way more tough. Zhang stated crypto winter has had three primary results on his enterprise — first, that low token costs have brought on individuals to be extra cautious about what NFTs they purchase; second, that enterprise funding has to last more; and third, that new token launches are now not a serious catalyst for development within the NFT house.

Considered one of Zhang’s primary areas of focus today is on serving to artists monetize their expertise inside web3.

“We wish to create a very highly effective artists’ community that may credential and establish who an artist is and what they’ve labored on in web2 and web3. So as an alternative of making one [piece of] IP, we wish to create a platform that’s actually pleasant for artists in web3,” Zhang stated.

Compensation for the artists behind NFTs has been a controversial subject, with artists comparable to Seneca, who illustrated the pictures within the Bored Ape Yacht Membership undertaking, speaking up about not being compensated in a lucrative way.

Zhang sees each side of the difficulty, saying artists generally are each “underpaid, and so they’re paid what they’re at present value” primarily based on market worth. He thinks artists have some company to enhance how they’re compensated and sees web3 as a instrument that may assist them in that course of.

“The artists who’re extra financially savvy, who perceive neighborhood, have extra energy. They want much less brokers, much less middlemen. That’s form of the promise of blockchain,” Zhang stated.

“I feel sooner or later, you will notice this fork for {most professional} artists — do you wish to attempt to perceive funds extra, your function in it, your function in the neighborhood, your function in know-how and contribute as a extremely expert artist? Or do you wish to simply paint and draw rather well?”

You may hearken to the total episode to listen to extra of Zhang’s ideas on how artists can place their ability units in web3, in addition to how he thinks about mental property and possession points within the NFT world.

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