Moon Landing initiative brings neurodiversity to NFTs and supports art non-profits

Nonfungible tokens (or NFTs) are certificates of ownership that represent digital artwork, music videos, audio and memorabilia. Because they allow everyday artists to create and market content, NFTs have gained popularity rapidly over the last year. OpenSea, which is the largest NFT marketplace in the world, has recently exceeded $1.6 billion in monthly trading volume.

NFTs, like physical art, can be sold for charity or donated to groups that offer generous tax deductions. Non-profit NFTs can make a significant impact on society by funding education in Uganda or helping healthcare workers in the frontline.

Cointelegraph spoke exclusively with Lisa Slominski, Nick Dehadray and Moon Landing co-founders. This is a new initiative in neurodiversity within the NFT space. They discussed their upcoming NFT auction to support contemporary artists with intellectual disabilities, and the studio they use. The pieces are based on pop culture and nostalgia. They also include moments of struggle and perseverance that come from everyday life of the artists. The collection is called NFToons and can be viewed now. Public auctions will begin in January 2022.

We are Moon Landing! We’re Moon Landing! Our 1st project – #NFToons by @Project_Onward Preview now @opensea Sales support the nonprofit studio + their artists pic.twitter.com/CDGd4rW0mE
Moon Landing Initiative (@moonlandingnft November 24, 2021

Cointelegraph: Can you please tell me who is behind your NFT project?

Lisa Slominski (Yes, that’s right, so the first project you will see is NFToons. It is eight artists working with Project Onward in Chicago, which supports artists with varying social needs and intellectual disabilities. Ruby Bradford, a wonderful artist, is one of the eight. Her practice revolves around Superman and cats. She associates both with belonging and caring. I have curated exhibitions with Ruby Bradford before. We took her famous Superman painting as a cat and animated it. She also sings the soundtrack of the.mp4 NFT where she does a Superman-themed cat rendition. This is just one example.

Louis Demarco is another artist. He actually sent me one of his drawings back (pointing at the artwork behind her). He also makes very interesting work that he calls “Words To Live By”. A lot of his tech space work is based on mantras that he creates. He also developed his screenplay, much like a musician. He came up with a concept for a TV series called “Toasters”, which is his own mix of “Friends” & “Cheers.” He’s now creating a pilot episode that we will share on Twitter and Instagram so everyone can see it. His NFT is his drawing that shows the apartments of the two characters. He also created his own soundtrack for the TV show. That’s the audio.

CT: Now, let’s read the press release. A portion of the proceeds will apparently be donated to charity. Which organization will this be?

LS: Their charity is their studio. The Project Onward is a day-art studio where all of the artists are employed. Project Onward, a Chicago-based non-profit 501 (c) (3) charity that supports artists with disabilities, is exempt from federal income tax. So, 80% of all sales will be donated to that studio and the artists. Moon Landing intends for every project to be a collaboration between a studio that supports artists with disabilities. We work with artists to create NFTs, and the proceeds go towards the artists and studios. Our second project will be in partnership with Arts Project Australia, Melbourne.

We have calendars, I don’t think you’ve even heard it! You can check out our other post for the general PO Cal. But here’s a sneak peek at the original #RubyBradford! You can find more information in our latest Instagram post. #savethedate #POcal2022 pic.twitter.com/KhfxtotV9z
— Project Onward (@Project_Onward), November 23, 2021

CT: What inspired you to help these artists tell their stories?

LS: Yes, I have worked for the greater field of neurodiversity current art for three years. I was previously only interested in contemporary art. I used to work for a London-based organization called Museum of Everything. They look at what many people call “outsider” art. This is problematic but often includes artists with disabilities, self-taught artists, and artists from marginalized groups. After leaving there, I started to work on my own independent project and discovered that I had been exposed to artists with disabilities. These studios produced amazing artwork.

I thought to myself that they were just contemporary artists, even though their disabilities are a problem. They are young contemporary artists so I began incorporating them in exhibitions I was curating. Artsy has published a few articles on them. These studios are so international that there are likely 30-50 different versions. They provide professional development and creative environments for artists with various social needs and disabilities. Nick was a friend of mine a while back. He did promotional animations for some exhibitions I was curating. So I was able to see that Nick’s interest in NFTs and creative diversities and mine made it clear that this would be a great chance for me to do something meaningful and interesting in the NFT space.

Nick Dehadray, Yes, that’s right. I was struck by the NFT community supporting self-taught artists. It was strong and continues to be. It seemed to fit in with this type of work: neurodiverse artists creating art and teaching others. It makes sense that NFTs might be a great place for them to sell their work. However, I don’t think they set prices as high in contemporary art. They might have a better chance of selling their work in NFTs.

CT: This is more of a technical question. Because Ethereum gas prices are very high, minting an NFT can run into the hundreds of dollars. Do you guys provide financial support to artists during the auction?

ND: We will be going through it via OpenSea as an auction. The people buying the coins will do the minting. We will use Ethereum to do this, but we also considered other currencies such as Polygon, which has no lightspeed gas fees. At the moment, Ethereum has a larger share of uses. It seems sensible to stick with this one for the moment.

LS: Yes, we work directly with the studios that handle all that stuff ahead-of-time.

CT: Would you guys be interested in including a mission statement for your work?

LS: I see. So just a few things to follow up on Nick’s point. There are parallels. I mean diversity in general in the contemporary art field is a struggle. Neurodiversity, however, is a new phenomenon. There are also discussions about, as I spoke last night, ‘Can We Be Artists’. It was about neurodiverse artists creating a space for themselves in the art world. The NFT space offers the opportunity to make things more accessible and allow creators direct access to the public. It is a great opportunity and can help artists who may otherwise have difficulty accessing the art world. This I find very interesting. We are also trying to raise these artists and elevate these non-profits. We know that NFT members are interested in diversity and neurodiversity. It is not easy to connect with them.

ND: This is one of our problems. There are many big influencers, like gmoney, who are posting comments saying that we need more diversity in this space. We aren’t visible right now because we’re just starting out. We’ll message gmoney but he won’t respond.

LS: That’s a good idea. Obviously, the goal is for NFToons to be the first project. Moon Landing could then continue the initiative. We have two additional studios in mind that can support us with further projects. They are non-profits that work with artists with disabilities and allow them to create NFTs. They will be available for artists and non-profits.

ND: It’s a great way to introduce them to people they might not be able work with. We were looking at Terry Williams, an artist from Art Project Australia who has created these sculptures about astronauts. We can 3-D scan them, and we can convert that into an NFT. We might not be able otherwise. There are great opportunities for artists to be able to access technology that they might not otherwise consider or have access too.

Credit reference for artwork: Ruby Bradford,Superman Cat 2021 NFT..mp4Redrawn using Cointelegraph style

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