Meta-verse and NFT's are quickly taking over our world - but how do they really work? Let's find out! We chatted with Leah Ibrahim Sams - founder of Power of Woman ; an NFT collection of 50 artworks to learn more about meta-verse, ahead of our event together at Home Grown Club in May.
Can you sum up how blockchain works in one short sentence?
I'll give it a go! Blockchain is a publicly visible, decentralised database that records the provenance of a digital asset - it's essentially the technology that underpins all NFTs and cryptocurrencies.
For newbies to the meta-verse, how would you explain its use?
I think we're yet to fully understand what the metaverse will look / feel like, but whatever form it takes, it's going to be a truly unique environment in which we interact and connect with each other - in a way we've not experienced before. From creating our own avatars or digital identities, to immersive virtual events, to the trading of digital goods - the potential uses for blockchain technology, virtual reality and augmented reality are almost limitless! When thinking about the metaverse, it's also important to consider what's now being referred to as "Web3" - the next iteration of the World Wide Web that will not only help facilitate the metaverse, but revolutionise the ways in which we use the internet too.
Looking at the metaverse, what excites you the most?
I think one of the the most exciting things about the metaverse and Web3 is the sense that we are part of a truly global community - where creators and innovators are valued and embraced, and where there's an opportunity for your voice to be truly heard. Personally, it's also incredibly inspiring to be part of a technological revolution still in its infancy, where we - as early creators, developers and founders - have control over how we shape the future of the space not only for us, but for our children too.
What has been your favourite NFT and why?
I have two favourite NFT projects right now! The first is Honey Badges, an ultra-cheeky collection of 10,000 NFTs created with the sole purpose of funding real life change-makers around the world (for example Gabriella Amini who is a Congolese poet and passionate advocate for women and refugee rights!) For anyone who's new to NFTs, Honey Badges has one of the most welcoming communities, and a project with a truly outstanding vision.
You can see some of their work below:
The second is The Royals, a collection of 3,000 NFTs. As the artist behind this collection I may be biased, but to me, The Royals is the first NFT project to truly celebrate and showcase a country's culture (in this case, Ghana), while at the same time providing holders with impressive utility (real-life membership perks). It's also one of only a handful of NFT projects with a commitment to onboarding more people from underrepresented groups into a space which still lacks diversity.
What did you do before becoming an NFT artist, and how did your NFT journey start?
My journey into the NFT world started first and foremost with a love for creating art. I grew up in Malaysia and when I left school, I moved to London to embark on an ambitious new phase of my life as a Set & Costume Designer in theatre. While I was fortunate to be involved in some stunning productions around the world, over time I found that the industry wasn't for me, and I began suffering increasing anxiety around my work. In 2019, I started illustrating women - at first for fun - but quickly found I was able to take the elements I loved most as a Costume Designer (researching fashions from different eras, sketching costume designs, and going wild with colour!), and bring these to life in my own illustrations. As my focus shifted towards illustration, I found my mental health improved dramatically too. Fast forward to the start of the pandemic, and the theatre industry more-or-less collapsed overnight. Without realising it at the time, this was the opportunity I needed to dive head first into a new vocation as an illustrator, graphic designer and art tutor. At around about the same time, my partner was also changing careers to become a firefighter, and his first posting happened to be with a watch who invested in NFTs in their spare time. When his colleagues saw some of my artworks, they encouraged me to enter the NFT space, share my work, and challenge the norm of what was (and to a degree, still is) very much an 'all boys club.' It was at this moment that Power of Women was born.
Brands are doing such exciting things in the metaverse: what's your fav campaign, or NFT that you've seen?
I'm a huge admirer of Boss Beauties - an NFT project that empowers girls and women at the forefront of technology, leadership and creativity. Not only have Boss Beauties established themselves as a well-known brand within the NFT space, but they're partnering with some of the world's most iconic brands (including Marvel, Barbie and Hugo Boss) to share their mission well beyond their own audience too.
What do you see for the future of NFTs and the metaverse?
I firmly believe NFTs, the metaverse and Web3 are going to revolutionise how we approach business, education, and entertainment, and so much more in our lives. I also see the NFT space as an opportunity for freedom - not only financially, but creatively too - where art and technology fuse like never before to create something truly powerful.