When I joined Twitter as a mom of three in my mid-thirties, I was hardly expecting fireworks. The pandemic was in full swing, and I’d found myself forced to return to work after taking a few years off to be with my three young kids. So here I was, back at work full-time in EdTech, with my oldest two trying to adapt to online learning amidst a global shutdown. My littlest, 5, not yet in school, remained glued to my side, drawing on her iPad, while I attempted to work from home.
I initially created that Twitter account to learn about digital collectables, or NFTs, which seemed like the perfect distraction from my Covid reality. My first love is the arts, and I was excited at the prospect of collecting these beautiful, digital creations — and directly supporting the artists who made them. Traditionally, if an artist sells an original work of art, they do not continue to profit from that work if it’s sold again in the future. But NFTs are different. The secondary sales of these pieces can continue to support the original artist via royalties set in a smart contract. As little as I understood at the time, I could tell this was something revolutionary. So I set out to learn more about the blockchain technology that enabled it.
I began my Web3 journey by discovering different artists in the space and carefully dipping my toes into the NFT waters. But it wasn’t until the emergence of women-led NFT projects that I really found my place and my people. I was ecstatic to find projects with diverse female artists and founders creating art that celebrated women! These projects had carefully thought out roadmaps, admirable goals, and large charitable components benefiting causes I believed in. As I explored the different collections, I saw how each project had cultivated its own unique community. And immersing myself in these different Web3 communities was truly transformative. The support and love we gave to one another during this difficult time was unlike anything else I had ever experienced. The world around us was crumbling, but here we were, learning, growing, exploring, and traversing this new technological terrain together. We were listening to and uplifting one another, often chatting day and night, and excitedly sharing any new knowledge or skills. It was exhilarating connecting with women from all over the world over our shared values and passions, all within the context of this groundbreaking art.
My littlest, who was right by my side during this time, was just as excited by this whole process as I was. We would spend hours exploring these digital collections together, basking in their tremendous beauty. Meanwhile, she had been spending her days creating her own works of digital art on her iPad — a collection of magical unicorns holding their favorite sweet treats. Of course our online explorations sparked ideas for new traits she could draw for her unicorns. “Look at the rainbow teeth on that Bored Ape! I want to make something like that for the unicorns. Check out the astronauts in the Women Rise collection. They’re ALL girls! And so are the Boss Beauties! Wow, all of the World of Women are soooo beautiful, Mommy!” It was magical seeing the collections through her eyes, watching the art inspire her, and then witnessing what she would create. Before long, she had drawn hundreds of traits for her unicorns — a similar number, we learned, to those featured in the large collections we’d been following. As we explored together how these collections were made, we learned about the process of generative art, where all the traits are imported into a system which randomizes them and spits out a collection made up of individual pieces that are similar, yet unique. Then one day the idea just clicked: these sweet unicorns with their hundreds of traits would become their own generative art collection.
Since that time, my daughter’s characters have evolved even further — they’re now the foundation of an early childhood educational media company with the goal of educating and onboarding more parents and kids to Web3. We break down the technical concepts so they’re easier to grasp, and we help families explore Web3’s incredible potential. Never in a million years did I see myself founding a company, but the opportunity to build something impactful, together with my child, feels like a dream come true. Who knows what will come from this new venture, but it has solidified for me that we are never too old (or too young!) to start something new.
Ariel Rosen is Director of Innovation and Strategic Partnerships at LawShelf and founder of SweetCorns. You can find her on Twitter at @SweetCorns_NFT.