Cover image by Mac Smiff
Since late 2020, Web3 and NFTs have become global buzzwords for people from various walks of life. In Portland, there have been a few local events and articles surrounding the Web3 scene, but not in a mainstream manner.
The beautiful city tends to get the backend when it comes to acquiring their just due in terms of national exposure in the art, tech, and music scenes. For instance, did you hear about ETH Portland 2022? (Be honest). Web3 is still a new technology not fully understood by mainstream media, so the marketing for it in Portland is lackluster. Community members have expressed that while there are pocketed Web3 communities, there’s not a general Web3 hub within the city.
In Fall 2021, Portland-based Eutectic Gallery showcased an NFT-backed ceramics exhibition titled New Ownership. The innovative exhibition granted collectors of a physical ceramic piece an NFT from the respective artist as well.
This intermingling of IRL (in real life) events and Web3 technology can help Portland creatives successfully onboard individuals and expand their reach.
We Out Here Magazine interviewed four trailblazing Portland-based creative-builders within the NFT/Web3 space to discuss their introduction to Web3, roles in Web3, and thoughts on Portland’s current Web3 scene.
Sea Will (a Northeast Portland native) is a cryptocurrency coach, media personality, and founder of Passive Income Network. Sea Will started his journey in crypto because of his interest in financial literacy. “[I] saw a great opportunity with cryptocurrency to build wealth. Once I learned about tokenized real estate and the opportunities to earn a yield, I was hooked,” says Sea Will.
His “Passive Income Network” YouTube channel provides onboarding, blockchain news updates, and financial literacy exclusively on the Algorand Blockchain. Sea Will has a passion for educating people on how to create assets that produce passive income while protecting Earth from carbon dioxide emissions.
When asked why Algorand, Sea Will stated, “Within the crypto space, there is something called ‘the blockchain trilemma’ that includes decentralization, security, and scalability. Alogrand is one of the only blockchains to successfully address all three components. On top of that, it is a green and carbon-neutral blockchain, which I think is important for mass adoption and the future health of our planet.”
He believes the Web3 scene in Portland is minimal at best in comparison to a city like Miami, because the people there are embracing and focusing on cryptocurrency development, which in return creates crypto-related events, companies, and capital. Sea Will hopes that the communities and city of Portland take notice of independent creators within the space that are currently building projects in the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
Check out and subscribe to Sea Will’s entertaining and informative YouTube channel, “Passive Income Network.”
Martin Van Londen
Martin Van Londen (aka Martin Lundy) is a multi-creative cinematographer, photographer, and producer born in Alaska and raised in Portland, OR. He has worked with the likes of Oregon’s own Ridgewalker Brewing, Don Pancho, Majik Stick, Vursatyl, and others on various content creation projects.
Londen became familiar with the Web3 space in 2021 during his downtime and decided to deep dive into research. Throughout this time he networked with creators and builders, onboarded collectors, and supported other independent creatives.
As we know, Web2 and social media can become a popularity contest, Londen elaborates, “You have to feed the machine of social media to receive success. [You] have to create content for the algorithm to reward you. We glamorize corporations yet it becomes demoralizing,” says Londen.
Lundy prides himself on being an NFT collector, builder, and collaborator within this new space. His support for other creatives and their projects in the Web3 space is commendable.
He is currently working on several projects in the Web3 ecosystem as an art director, onboarding coordinator, and community event organizer. Londen, along with other local community members are creating an annual Web3 IRL event focusing on education within the cryptocurrency and NFT spaces.
During our interview, Lundy shared with WOHM his most challenging and rewarding moments within the space. He loves the community aspect of Web3 and the Twitter Spaces that he co-hosts weekly, but he dislikes the hyper-awareness he has to have due to phishers in Web3.
According to Londen, there are plenty of Web3 creators in Portland doing their thing, but everyone needs to come together to make noise inside and outside of the city. He believes social media group chats, Twitter Spaces, and local meetups will build community and give Rose City the buzz it deserves.
Tune in to Lundy’s Twitter Spaces, GM Portland every week to keep up with the latest Web3 community art and news in Portland.
Daren Todd is an illustrator, musician, painter, and storyteller based in Portland (originally from Santa Barbara, California). Daren moved to Portland in 2017 to pursue his music career with a local Independent Record Label called, It’s Future Time. After producing several projects together, the coronavirus pandemic halted their music production.
During this time, Todd decided to focus on his art as an iIllustrator and painter (while also becoming the founder of The Downstairs Gallery). He learned about Web3 due to the chatter in the art community about Beeple’s $69 million NFT art sale. “At first I was skeptical and not interested, and I couldn’t see a way to bring my painting practice to [Web3]. But, eventually, curiosity took over and I began to research. The more I learned, the more obsessed I became and for many months NFTs were all I was talking and thinking about,” says Todd.
Todd began to connect and network via social media and eventually minted and listed his vibrant artwork on various marketplace platforms. He expressed what it felt like to see his NFTs collected, “I’ve been so fortunate to sell a handful of my NFTs, and while I don’t always have the capacity to fully focus on the Web3 space, it’s a good feeling to see a positive foundation being built. The possibilities truly are endless,” stated Todd.
Daren Todd believes there is a promising future for Portland’s Web3 scene and would love to form a community with the Web3 creatives and enthusiasts he meets throughout the city. His current artist mission in Web3 consists of continuous learning and building community.
Follow Daren Todd on Twitter to stay in touch with everything art and Web3 related.
Farnell Newton is an amazing multi-talented musician and jazz artist from Portland, Oregon by way of Miami, Florida. Within the Web3 ecosystem, he is a builder and creator that supports other music creatives in the space.
Newton was onboarded into Web3 by his friend and bassist, JP Downer, a.k.a. Pop Wonder, (creator of Pop Wonder World). Newton states, “Pop Wonder was talking me through his experience as he was diving into Web3 and NFTs. Now he is collaborating with a ton of amazing artists, and influencers like Gary Vaynerchuk.”
Farnell Newton is currently working with H0mew0rk NFT, a generative audiovisual collab project by musicians and visual artists. Newton shared with WOHM that he and his children have sold NFTs within the Web3 space. Newton would love to dedicate more time to the community, but he is currently active with music licensing and custom music.
He gave a shout-out to a few local Web3 creators, “There are so many different collectives, crews, and projects. [I] pay attention to a few NFT artists from Showdeer, Wooden Cyclops, and WeinbagZ,” stated Newton. Newton does not have a set mission for the space but is always down to support creatives doing amazing things.
Follow Farnell Newton on Twitter to stay in touch with everything music and NFT-related.
In conclusion, it seems Portland can have a promising future in the Web3 space if the city shows genuine efforts towards community onboarding, equitable financial literacy, inclusivity, and media exposure. To shift the trajectory of Web3 within the city, historically resource-deprived communities cannot be left behind. Local collectives such as RoseCityWeb3 and PDX Slide_Web3 are here in the city to help onboard Communities of Color. The world of Web3 is bigger than NFTs, where will you stand?
Quinn Foster identifies as a Melanated Afro-Creole Writer based in Louisiana by way of Houston, Texas. Quinn is a multi-creative artist that lived in Portland for 3.5 years and grew to love the city. Quinn is a Portland State University Black Studies graduate who loves to travel, research, eat good food, and write.