Artist Jesus Martinez joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the success of his NFT artwork and the larger implications of the crypto trend.
– In today’s crypto corner, we are heading out to LA. We’ve got the story of one artist who recently sold his NFT artwork for $38,000. It’s now valued at over $100,000. Not bad for someone who used to help his immigrant parents sell flowers on the streets of LA to make a living. Let’s bring in the artist himself. Jesus Martinez, the decentralized artist, I should say, joining us from LA. We’ve also got Yahoo Finance’s Dani Romero.
This is a great story, Jesus, and I think it really speaks to just how low the barriers are for entry. And that’s kind of been, really, the push for NFTs, right? Talk to me about where you got the idea, and how this all played out.
JESUS MARTINEZ: Yeah, of course, and you know thank you for having me on the show. So it just happened, you know, one of my good friends, David Carey, who used to be the chairman of Hearst Magazines, in the beginning of the year I told him I wanted to dive into the NFT space. And, you know, he was very kind enough to introduce me to his great friend. And you know what, they’re doing a lot of stuff in the NFT space, Keith Grossman from Time Magazine.
And, you know, I’m not sure if you heard, time magazine is doing such a great thing and building a community, going into Web3, and just being genuine with their new audience, and new– you know, a new endeavor diving into crypto. And, you know, from there he just introduced me to a lot of top collectors, a lot of top artists, and just took me under his wing.
And, you know, I just told my story, you know. My family used to sell flowers to make a living. And I feel art in life is all about just storytelling and sharing those stories with one another. And that’s what makes us humans’ ability to share those emotions and share those memories with one another.
DANI ROMERO: Yeah, and Jesus, it’s Dani. Can you talk to us a little bit about the significance behind your first piece, Genesis? And what your royalty fee is from now on.
JESUS MARTINEZ: Yes, so it’s standard throughout the blockchain is 10%. And, you know, the significance of Genesis, I chose that name because it’s the beginning. Genesis, throughout history has references to as a new beginning or something, a new beginning of like, you know, I’ve always aspired to become a philanthropist, and I feel like with crypto, like you guys say, you know, it’s no barriers are no longer there, and you know, like, I want– all the crypto I’m collecting through my artwork.
And so I can do you know social initiatives, whether it’s doing a nonprofit, doing my own foundation, you know, just making the world a better place. And, you know, that’s what I aspire to do with all the crypto and as an NFT artist. That’s just the right to continue to tell to other collectors and people in the space.
DANI ROMERO: Yeah, and can you talk to us a little bit about making the art? I find that very interesting and how– can you talk to us a little bit, like, step-by-step that process and how you’re able to do that?
JESUS MARTINEZ: Yes. So I use various programs. It can be Photoshop. It can be Procreate, which is a pretty common one you hear now. I use Sketchbook Pro. So I basically just like, you know, just get inspiration from what I see daily in my everyday life. You know, people, we all have emotions. We all have like different situations we are going through in life, but what makes us human is, like, you know, it doesn’t matter what we’re going through, but at the end of the day, like, we all feel– we all feel sorrow, happiness, and love.
And that’s what I’m just trying to distinguish in my pieces when I make, you know, those common traits that we feel as humans and, you know, and just share with one another those emotions. And, you know, sometimes a piece can take from a week, two weeks, three weeks. So it really depends, you know, the emotion I’m trying to express throughout the piece. And that’s what I can say with my creative process.
– Yeah, Jesus, what’s it like, though, seeing your artwork sell for so much? Going from, I guess, I don’t know if you hadn’t sold anything before the NFTs that you put out there, but, I mean, what’s that feel like to know, oh wait, there’s actually a higher premium here for what I’m putting out than maybe I thought.
JESUS MARTINEZ: You know, it’s just– it feels like surreal but at the same time like I think there’s still like a bigger mission or bigger thing to accomplish as, you know, get to that state where I can give back more than I receive. And I feel like, you know, everything I do is for my parents and, you know, just trying to help other people. And I got an upcoming drop on New Year’s Day with the Mad Pups, and there’s a lot of artists that are going to be on that, dropped on Nifty Gateway on New Year’s Day.
But it’s pretty surreal the feeling, you know, growing up in poverty. You know, living day by day, not knowing whether the next day you’re going to have enough food, enough money for food, or whether you you’re going to basically be homeless. It’s a pretty good feeling now to have financial freedom, but at the same time you know what I’m saying, I have my eyes on the long term perspective, building for a long time in the space.
– Yeah, and Jesus, I think your story really sort of represents why so many people are bullish on this space, you know, those who say that, look, you can just be an artist sort of putting out your artwork out there without the big names behind you. What do you see as the potential for artists like yourselves when you talk about NFTs and where you think it’s going to move forward?
JESUS MARTINEZ: I think moving forward it’s going to stay here just because there’s so many people entering this space. There’s so many stories being shared. Web3, what we call Web3, is all about community, genuineness, ownership, and I think we’re in a transition now. The pandemic accelerated our growth towards, like, these NFTs, cryptos, like all these terms you’re hearing. Cold wallet, hot wallet.
And I think, you know, crypto is open to everybody. It gives everyone an equal chance to do something great. And I think that’s what makes– that’s what makes this– that’s what makes this new internet beautiful. Like, there’s no– it doesn’t matter where you come from, the skin color or regardless of your situation. Everyone has an equal opportunity to do great and create value in the blockchain.
– Jesus Martinez, decentralized artist, joining us from LA. Appreciate your time today. And our thanks to Dani Romero, as well, for joining in on the conversation.