July 15, 2022

Ep 41 – How Rachel Wood went from getting stranded in a petrol station to becoming the founder of Artverse with a mission to connect the community of art lovers and amplify artist voices

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The Art of Photography
The Art of Photography
Ep 41 - How Rachel Wood went from getting stranded in a petrol station to becoming the founder of Artverse with a mission to connect the community of art lovers and amplify artist voices

Hello Wicked Hunters, 

Welcome back to The Art of Photography podcast, today we have Rachel Wood with us sharing her journey and passion. 

Ever since she quit her office job and bought a camera in 2019, she has been on a world tour of exploration and discovery as a professional photographer. Some of her favourite images were captured in uncommon places: a Paleontology dig in Argentina, a solo expedition in Mongolia, and on a journey to Antarctica.
She’s passionate about using her photos to advocate and raise funds for conservation and charity organizations. She also prides herself on being a patron to women in photography and BIPOC artists.

Although you will typically find her taking photos in odd positions, I will oftentimes be spotted at the nearest food truck, trying to taste everything on the menu.

If you want to learn more about Rachel’s work, you can find it here:

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Don’t forget to leave a review on the podcast if you enjoy this conversation. It would help us to get found and help to inspire other photographers. 





Rachel Wood  0:00  
If I was driving in my van across the USA, I hadn’t had that many sales. And I was stuck at a gas station in the middle of like Kansas or something. And I could see the gas. But I cannot even afford to fill up my tank, because I was broke. And I knew I wanted to get to my friend’s place, which was in like the next state over, but I just couldn’t make it there. Because I couldn’t afford it. And so that’s kind of like what I was like really debating on is NF T’s worth it

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  0:45  
Hey, wiki hunters, welcome back to The Art of Photography podcast, where we share photographers journey and show how photography has given us hope, purpose and happiness. And to hey, we have somebody who have given a lot to the community who have worked very hard, you know, around a project in NFV, as well as outside of NFV. And I’m just so excited to have her in, in this podcast and share not only about her successes, but also her journey and what makes her you know, the artists that she is today. Hey, Rachel, how you doing?

Rachel Wood  1:23  
I’m good. I’m good. Thank you so much for that great introduction. I am very happy to be here and share a little bit more about myself.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  1:31  
Yeah, I’m excited. You know, I’ve been following you for quite some time now on Twitter. And I’ve been seeing not only your great photography, as well as your digital art, but what you’ve done for the community is just incredible. So I I’m just excited to have you here. But before we get started, tell us a little bit about yourself, right? What, what make you fall in love with either photography or digital art yourself?

Rachel Wood  2:04  
Yeah, so that’s a good question. And I think many people expect my photography journey to be a lot longer than it is. But I didn’t do photography. I didn’t take pictures until 2019. So that’s only about three years of actually taking photographs. Of course, before I would take photographs on like, your phones, or like, you know, point and shoot cameras on your travels, but I was never really for photography. Really, my love of photography sprouted from my love of travel. I am I’ve travelled quite a bit on my own since I was 12 years old. And I would always come back and just be like, Hey, everyone, I had this great experience. You want to see pictures of cars, it’d be like those five megapixel like camera phone like blurry out of focus, like not really able to see anything in those pictures. I’m like a, like, how can I help share the life experiences I was having with other people. So yeah, that kind of sprung from that. But with our I always loved art, like growing up, I was not in public school, I was in a Waldorf education system. And they do a lot of like experimental observation and hands on learning. really delving deep into the art. So I’ve done everything from metal smithing to stained glass, lamp making two weaving to painting with like acrylics or oils or every other medium. I grew up surrounded by art, and I never really wanted to be an artist growing up because I was like, Well, It’s so fluffy and light, like I want to be someone people can respect and have like, you know, some sort of clout in in life be like, yeah, because my entire extended family is like lawyers and doctors, you know, all those heavy, hard stem people, and they’re brilliant people. And I think growing up I always thought artists were not smart. Which is why when I went to college, I, you know, went hardcore into like, pre med, medical anthropology. I wanted to be a doctor. But after about two years of no art in my life, I realised that I was really ignoring a big part of myself. I have a brain where I need both the logical and the creative sides and I think they both go hand in hand. But um, picking science over art was a was a bad choice. For me. Personally, I still love learning about you know, medical practices. I still love reading those like papers and research and things like that, but I know for myself, I need to have that balance of creative infrastructure. And actually, that’s where photography kind of comes in, you know, there’s so much more to just snapping a picture. When you start learning photography, I mean, it’s takes people’s years, years just to learn how to use their camera. I know for me, I still don’t know how to use my camera fully. But yeah, it’s, it’s fun. And it’s creative. And it’s enabled me to interact with the world in such a personable, but also comfortable place, because I’m not someone who just like inserts herself I like to observe life as it happens before me, I like to live in the moment. And photography really lets me to find a place that I can be comfortable in and partake, and essentially preserve those stories that happened around me.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  5:57  
Wow, I mean, knowing you’re gonna be inspiring, but you know, we just started and you’re already, there’s so many inspiration already in the you know, and I can relate so much. You know, growing up in Asian culture, the goal was to either be an accountant, an engineer, or a doctor. It was like the trifecta. So it’s, I can totally understand where you’re coming from. But it’s crazy to learn that, you know, you have, you have so many different art. You have tried so many different parts of art, as you were growing up, and you know, trying different things. So it sounded like photography has come a little later, but art come first. Is that is that? Is that accurate? Cool. So like, you know, what really draw you into? I mean, you cannot say that it’s it’s the travel, right, but you also say that you’ve been travelling since you were 12 years old. So why two years ago? What was that one thing that really like, you know, push you to pursue the art of photography?

Rachel Wood  7:06  
Yeah, that’s a good question. Well, I think a lot of people grow up on like, National Geographic and like Lonely Planet, and we see those travel places. And we’re like, Oh, I wish we could go there. I was like, Oh, I wish I could see that. And in my travels, I was, I was seeing a lot of those things. I’ve been around the world many, many times. I think I’ve flown over a million miles, like 10 years. But it’s so hard to find your way in travel. And after college. With my travel background, I was actually a travel specialist for a really big company. Because this is recorded, I don’t think I can say, but I worked with some very, very wealthy people. And that really opened my eyes to a different way of travelling because before I’ve always been in the Volunteer Study Abroad sector of like, I’m a kid, I swear on this. Like, shit as poor student just trying to, you know, travel. So I would take every opportunity to raise money for my trips. My parents didn’t really help me, you know, fund it, like, I wasn’t ever, you know, just given trips abroad. Like I had to work for it. I had to earn it. And I also had to work on the trips. But then, with my college, what post college job as a travel specialist, I was working with these budgets that were so far beyond my limited worldview, even though I had been around the world, my world view, my perspective of the world was through a smaller budget. And suddenly, this job opened my eyes to experiences I never even thought possible. And I stuck with that job for like 10 months. But I was able to pay off my college debt with it. I sold everything I like got rid of my apartment, I got rid of my beds, like everything. And then that Christmas, I asked, you know, Santa or my family for Christmas money to buy a camera. So I took my Christmas money in 2009 18 I bought my first like, big camera that I had no idea how to use. And that was a Nikon D 850 Wonderful, wonderful beast of a camera. It’s an amazing camera, but it’s very heavy. And I realised that when I wanted what I wanted to do was traveller, and how can I make money on the road? And I was like, I’m gonna try photography. Even though I don’t know what the heck I’m doing. I have no experience, whatever. I’m going to do it. And I think a lot of people want to do the same thing they see the slight If and they’re like, Oh, I wish I could do this. But I’m someone who, when I see something of like, I want to do that I have to do it, well, I will try my best. And it was great. I packed up a backpack that January, I was in Peru with a group of other remote people. And I was able to connect with a woman who was working on a food documentary, down in South America. And that was my first sort of, like, official job. And I had a lot of fun, a lot of fun, too much fun that year, just chasing every opportunity to get that experience with a camera. So, yeah, I still have a lot to learn, but I think it really shaped me to work fast, to really understand that I have milliseconds to capture something before it never happens again. And that really helps me with my, my workflow.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  11:07  
That’s incredible, you know, just hearing your courage to go through everything that you have gone through, and then to push through and try to, or I shouldn’t say try, because you chase a dream that you kind of, you know, doubted it in the first but then you just take a chance on it and just go on a leap of faith and jump head in first and just go and do it, that is something that I find very inspiring. So I see that you have you do a lot of digital artists well, and you know, like a composite as well as you know, like, illustrative, which are incredible. You know, I think I saw you know, is that your, your foundation piece, the one that you have it like, you know, and Twinkie II was just, you know, when I first saw that it was just such a dreamy work. And you know, it was so beautiful. So how does photography and digital art kind of complement each other in your world.

Rachel Wood  12:16  
So, yeah, I got into photography, because I wanted to capture the world around me and share those experiences and those moments. But digital art, it’s very hard to say I’m a digital artist, even though I technically AM. And that’s how I kind of white the permission that NFT in the NFT space has given me the ability and kind of courage to say that I do some digital art before when I came into NFT since December of last year. So I’ve only been in the NFT space for about six months. And you know, coming in, I had like this whole big plan and ideal of what kind of photographer I’m going to be known as you know, it’s reset. And within like a week, I was like, Well, shit, I don’t know what I’m doing. I have the whole world in front of me. And why am I pigeonholing myself into this ideal of, of who I thought I wanted to be when I was coming from a very limited web to Instagram mindset. And that’s why I mented not a photograph as my Genesis piece I invented this wandering Wildling composite work, lead from many different images. And I animated it and I wrote a poem to it. And to me that was that was a promise to myself that it was okay to be something other than who I am, or who I was. To me that that is such a personal piece of art. Because it came from a really dark time when I was questioning photography last, you know, in 2020 I, you know, when I was like kind of a shitstorm everywhere, and there’s so much uncertainty and you know, people were telling me left or right of what I needed to do as a photographer to make it. I felt that NF T’s and the NF T space gave me that sense of it’s okay, Rachel, you don’t have to listen to everyone and you don’t have to follow in the footsteps of the great people because that’s their story. Your story is different. And that’s, that’s me, you know, my poem with that my Genesis wondering Well, the thing is, it’s about travelling, it’s about having that restless soul. Which I know I’m incredibly privileged in lucky to have such a life and to have had the experiences and I know people would be like, If only I had half of your experiences, I would be happy but um, you know, sometimes it’s like once you have a bite, you get bitten by that Trouble park and you just can’t stop. You know, it’s with you forever. And I’ve had to work through those emotions, of why do I? Why am I so restless? Why? Why am I not happy with what I’ve had? And I am happy. But you know, there’s always going to be a big part of me. That’s going to be like, Okay, what next? Where to next? Let’s go.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  15:24  
Wow, that’s just, you know, that was a big inspiration you drove right there, that was just incredible, you know, sharing that whole journey, what you feel, you know, I think it’s, it’s really hard, especially in this social media era, we see people who are succeeding. And a lot of times, you know, people would say, Well, why don’t you just model their, their, what they’re doing, and then you know, you should be somewhat successful if they’re successful doing what they do. So we get a lot of that, or impostor syndrome, and, you know, having to kind of follow what everyone who had success in this space and try to model what they’re doing, but it’s just such an inspiration, how you decided to, you know, do to put a stop on there and say that, okay, well, that is one way to go about it, but you decided to go to find your own path, right? Whether or not it’s, it’s the right way, we never going to know until you try it. And you know, I think that is the biggest courageous to just give it a go. So you mentioned that there was so many, so many advices, so many voices coming left and right of you know, what you should do about your, you know, what you should do what you should do in the future to go about, you know, your photography, what are I’d like to know, what are some of the advices on that? And what you know, because I know that you say that, in the end, you decided to just, you know, follow your own path? What are some of those advices? And whether or not you have tried to follow that through before you find your own path to get there?

Rachel Wood  17:13  
Yeah, wow. Okay. That’s a really good question. And I am stalling while I think about the answer. I think for me, I’ve always viewed the now as a perpetual launching pad. I know in the past, I’ve been a perfectionist where I don’t want to, like do anything without it being perfect. And I think a lot of us do the same thing. Like we don’t feel confident in what we’re doing. So we hold back, we actually hold ourselves back by saying perfection is what we’re trying to obtain. But really, we all know that saying it’s not perfect is just saying it’s an excuse. And there’s no perfect moment for when you know, you should do something. And as creative people I know of Absolutely. It’s very hard for us to do something that we don’t feel that excitement to do. But I think that’s where my sort of more like logical structured brain comes into play. Because I know that motivation doesn’t happen every day. But when I chose to do photography as my job as my career, couple years ago, I acknowledged that I would have to work even if I didn’t feel motivated, I would have to do things, even if I did not want to do them. And that’s something that people forget, when you choose to do an art form as a career or business or even trying to sell your work, you’re gonna have to not just do the art, you’re gonna have to do a lot more to everything. Basically, we have to be little birds and jump out of our, our nest and grow wings as we fall. Because there’s no other better way to learn how to do something in my opinion, like, by walking and struggling, that we we get to forge something different within us. And that’s what makes it stand out. So I’m in the NFT space. Yeah, you know, every when I came in, in December and January, everyone was like, Oh, we have to sell an Pricer one of one works super high. And, you know, like you said before, like we get this impostor syndrome, and we tried to replicate these amazing people in the space before us because we admire them. We respect them, and then they’re in a place that we want to be in. But what we forget is that we’re taking their stories, we’re taking what they’ve done out of context, we’ve taken it out of the time situation The history, the even the privilege of what those people were doing at that time. And we’re trying to apply it to ourselves. And of course, ultimately that fails. Because we’re, we’re just repeating something that did work once might work for another person, but won’t work for everyone else. So, for me, I heard what people said, I was looking at what was happening. But really what I was doing that first month was I was learning about the space, what was going on, I was learning more about the technology of what made nfts different than just selling a digital image. And I think I was one of the first people to bring back addition, the additions were done last year. And when I proposed the idea of additions to people, they’re like, Hey, don’t do that. No, no, no, like, that’s just a race to the bottom, like, now we’re going back to stock images. But what I think people forgot, when they’re talking about editions was one editions is a great way to be more affordable to more people. And also, when it sells out, or even if you price it right and sell out halfway. You’d get way more money for that image faster than if you had, you know, priced at super high and waited like 810, four years for it to sell. That is not me. I am someone who likes results. And I am someone who, as I said, chose to make photography, my job, and my income, I needed sales. And I know a lot of other people need sales, sales are great. We love sales, I do not support this whole, like starving artists mentality. Because as an artist, I don’t want to be starving. Sometimes I am sometimes not.

But that’s not the goal, the goal isn’t to just starve, and Mike’s great myself for my art. Like, the goal is to make my art be that ticket to financial freedom, so that I can continue making art and also do other things. And not just, you know, be a slave to marketing myself or things like that. I’m totally rambling, I totally forgot. Okay,

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  22:18  
all right, you just dropping a lot of inspiration, you know, I love how you would just share a lot of that hardship. And I’m pretty sure a lot of that, you know, I was not sure if you’d notice, but I was like noting the whole way through because like, I know, at some point I was feeling that, you know, and some of the I still feel the same way. So I think a lot of people are going through that same thing. And, you know, being able to, when I started this podcast was that I came across this burnout and I was just want to know, you know, what people gone through to, to be where they are. So hearing people journey, and you know, hearing that peep other people who have succeeded in this space, also come up with the struggle, it really helps me helps them right. So I’m very grateful that you are happy to open that up to us and to share and be vulnerable around that. So, you know, very much very grateful for that. So if we had to think about, you know, what was the hardest moment in in this journey that perhaps, I’m not sure if you ever had a moment where you feel like, you know what, I don’t think it’s worth it. I’m just gonna quit, or whatnot. But if there is a moment like that, then what what was that moment like?

Rachel Wood  23:37  
Wow, that’s yeah. So despite all of my highlights and wins, I definitely have had moments where I wanted to just sell everything and go to an easy nine to five, boring job. Because having been art like an artist, and travelling as much as I do, it’s not stable. It’s not easy. Anyone who’s ever tried to find a job in today knows that finding a job is really hard. And I have to essentially find a job every single day to work for every week, you know, and so, it’s different and it’s hard and it does Mentally take a toll on you. One of my first bigger breaks was during COVID You know, I had been travelling a lot and suddenly COVID hit so I went and bought a house in like Oregon. I did not know anyone everything was being shut down. I had no friends. And it was just really hard for me to to readdress to life in one place. And I know that sounds super privileged but it was just the way my brain had been working for the past several years was just constantly moving in and when I was stuck and not being you Well to even experience Oregon, that was hard. I felt like I was just this rainbow sheep of my family far away from it people. And yeah, it was very disconnecting. And I think that really showed me that I am an introvert. But I’m a social introvert and I do need people and human interactions in my life. But with NF T’s, I think probably one of my lowest points was actually back in. March, I was driving in my van across the USA, I hadn’t had that many sales. And I was stuck at a gas station in the middle of like Kansas or something. And I could see the gas, but I cannot even afford to fill up my tank, because I was broke. And I knew I wanted to get to my friend’s place, which was in like the next state over, but I just couldn’t make it there. Because I couldn’t afford it. And so that’s kind of like what I was like really debating on is NF T’s worth it? Am I putting my efforts into the wrong place? Like, can I realistically, like, give so much of myself to this NFT community to selling NF T’s of my art and things like that, to make it worth my while. And I think that’s what a lot of people need to do is they really need to take a hard look at their situation, and know exactly what they want, what their ability is to contribute, and then understand just how much they want it. Because in my opinion, that struggle, the struggle, like some of the hardest times of my life has led to some of the best decisions of my life. Because from that hunger of that physical hunger, as well as that mental hunger of something wanting something better. It pushes people, in my opinion, to do something new. And that’s kind of like you asked me a piece of advice. And for me, it’s that if you want something more with your life, you have to become something more. And that is like kind of the catalyst. For most of my struggles. When I am in the gutters, when I’m like in the ninth late layer of Dante’s hell, I realised I have to change. And change is painful, but it’s short term. So when I change, my situation changes when like, I want something to become better, I have to become better. And that’s a hard truth to hold with someone within yourself is to like be like, Okay, I’m not good enough, but not dwelling that I’m not good enough. Be like, Okay, well, I’m not where I want to be, because I’m not that person yet. So when I tell this a lot to my people, is when you’re thinking about your past, when you’re defining who you are right now, by your past wins. You’re basically limiting yourself by who you were, instead of being like, what would Rachel do? Or like, what would this because I’ve accomplished this in the past while does that lead to a better future? I should be really thinking on. If I want to be this in the future. What would they tell me? And they would tell me vastly different things than if I were to my past self.

And I think that’s something that we can all work on. I still work on it every day to be like, Okay, this is where I want to be. What would they tell me? What would they tell me to do to get to where they are? Yeah.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  28:53  
Wow, that’s a good piece of advice right there, Rachel? You know, I think there’s a saying that, that says, you know, if you think it was from by Albert Einstein or something like that, but you know, if you the definition of insanity is when you try to do the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So if you don’t look back on the past, and you look to it as an LED judge your future, as you said, you know, it’s essentially doing exactly just that, you know, if it didn’t work on the past, well, then it’s time to do something different, find a different path, you know, talk to different people. No, you know, thinking about those in the past and let it define your future. So, yeah, like I totally agree with that. You know, that quote, really something that really stuck in my head and I was struggling with that as well actually quite a bit up until last year until I took like a few different like seminars and coaching and so forth. So now, talking about NFT I know we can talk about here You can tell your story here and there. But when you first find out about NFT, what really draw you into an FDA? And what makes you want to be part of this movement?

Rachel Wood  30:15  
Yeah, so obviously, I think like many people, I was intrigued by this ability to make money off my art. A lot of my friends were in the space in 2021. And, you know, they were having a lot of success, it seemed it was like, pretty easy. And I was just like, Oh, cool. Another way to make some money. Great. So I got in, but I realised it wasn’t as easy. And that’s when I started. Like I said, Before, I was starting to learn more about what is an NFT? What is the blockchain? Why Aetherium? What exactly does this kind of technology mean? And for me, I thought so excited. I’m not a technology person. I’m like someone you have to explain the something for Dummies books too, because I’m technology is not my friend. But then I got so excited learning about this and learning kind of the steps that have led to what is now NF Ts and NFT art. I was, I realised that this was something that was still happening, still growing. And if I could come in, and help shape the future of what this looks like, I want in like that, to me, it’s a matter of not just learning but shaping the future, that better serves us artists that better serves us as individuals, I was like, I would regret not being a part of this movement. And that’s kind of like my bigger philosophy in the space. It’s not to be, you know, the highest selling photographer, I know, I’m not going to be even if I like killed myself, I pretty sure I won’t be. And that’s not what I want to be in the space. Like, I want it to be someone who comes in and whose voice is heard. One of the biggest things that a lot of motivating idols of my life have said was, they regret not speaking up louder. They regret not speaking up sooner. And for me, this is exactly my mentality coming into the space. Right now. I’m about building and connecting and listening and learning of what’s going on of what’s you know, happening and trying to find solutions, I am a results driven person. Like I need those wins, I want those wins, I want those connections in those. Those building blocks that lead to somewhere it can’t just like end at a specific transaction. And for me, that is basically my driving force with art. First is after having the wins that I’ve had in the space, which I’m incredibly thankful for. I realised that I’m not just an artist in this space. I’m a builder, I want to be known as a builder. In this space, I want to connect people, I want to help other people. And I think when you ask any, any creative, like any photographer, really, we love to share the knowledge that we’ve taken years to acquire and help others. I mean, how many photographers do you know have workshops, how many of them, you know, are always open to you know, sharing what they know and helping someone learn how to take photographs, like we’re educators, I mean, we intake information, and we, you know, process it, and then we have to output it somewhere. Sometimes it’s in an in an image, sometimes it’s in a workshop, sometimes it’s in a tutorial, sometimes, you know, it’s an email list and PDF forms like you know, recreate. And that sort of drive I think is why so many of us artists are here is we are in taking all of this information of what is happening in the NFT blockchain space. And then we are kind of picking it in and kind of like with the rest of my life, I have to put something out I do not settle. I do not sit. I do not, you know, hold myself back away in the way I did in the past. So, yeah, for me, it’s very exciting. I am so excited about everything that’s happening and what will happen. And I’m trying to incorporate all of those little bits of information and building something which is my art first community

into something that will help other people right now, of course, you have to pay me to get into it. Because I don’t have big financial back There’s so but this is more grassroots effort of, you know, coming together as artists coming together as collectors and growing and shaping a future that will benefit us artist, you know, helping to establish this art in the metaverse because there is a lot to fts. It’s not just photography, and I think a lot of us forget that. And that will become even more. So if I can start. You know, establishing art in a way that is valued in a way that helps people in a way that people can easily get into easily can support and easily connect with each other. That, to me is what this technology is facilitating, is that ability to connect and communicate and have compounding benefits for both sides. Now, I’m rambling. So Yes.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  35:57  
Fantastic. Yeah, I love hearing about, you know, your journey and how, you know, the mindset behind the whole NFT as well as the it’s a tool, right? I think a lot of people forget that a lot of people think that NF t is just a way to make money that you know, but it’s bigger than that, like you say it’s just a tool and the tool. The thing that’s so exciting that I think many people forget about NFT is that it is is a technology that is still very new in this space that have so many potential on how we apply in, in real life as, as an artist, right? So, yeah, I’m so excited about what the future holds for sure. So you talked about our verse and you know, building a community, and you cannot touch base into different things of you know, what, what you’ve done, what, what is going in the future? But why not introduce it in a more formal way? What is art verse and what it is that you’re, you know, what was the vision behind it and what you’re trying to build out of it?

Rachel Wood  37:09  
Absolutely. So briefly, how it started was when I made my first one on one sale, when remember, when I was talking about how was at a gas station, couldn’t afford gas even get to where I needed to go. I decided to drop my first image that I ever sold as a canvas prints the year before. I dropped it on foundation, and I dropped that reserve price to point one. Yeah, it was point one and everyone was like, Don’t do it, Rachel, don’t do it, you’re basically shooting yourself in the foot. Like, you got to stay strong, you got to just you know, maintain that trust and whatever in yourself. And I was like, You know what, I cannot fucking afford, I’m sorry, I cannot afford to wait 10 months for this thing to sell. I need eith now so that I can get to where I need to go. And so, you know, I didn’t just throw any image out there, I threw out one of my most beautiful images, in my opinion out there. And it meant a lot to me. And, you know, it was it was a little hard pill to swallow to think that I could sell this image only once for 200 bucks at the time. But you know, it, it ended up being amazing. And I had big wars, the community was pumping me out because it was my first sale. And it fills me with such a sense of gratitude that I had to take what ever I could do and repay back the community in some way. What can I do? Myself that would help other people find that same sense of fulfilment and happiness in sales. And the collector of the piece, Miyama Matt, he basically told me in a message, he was like, Rachel, I wasn’t going to spend that much on you. But by the community showing up and hyping you and really supporting this, I went higher. I went higher than I originally thought. And it wasn’t because my image was just that much better. It was because of my community. And I realised just how strong that social proof aspect of web three is to sales. I was like, wow, how can I do that? And that’s what led to our first. Our first really is a community of artists and collectors where people are trying to do everything on their own. In my opinion, it’s a way for artists to find their voice and to elevate their voice in this space. They don’t need to speak louder. They don’t need to post more. They don’t need to like you know, need The best. But how can we elevate them in this space where they can be respected and acknowledged and known. And that comes from a community. So what the art first does, and this is just in the past, in the first month of it being a community is we’ve had one on one coaching. With artists where they learn how to talk about their art, we get to like deep dive into their social medias and how they’re presenting themselves and try to find ways that they can improve their own presence within this space, because I think that’s very important. We are artists, but sometimes we don’t always present our best foot forward. And that’s, that’s just normal, that’s human. We also have websites and newsletters coming out. We have, you know, a discord going, but I’m terrified of discord. So actually, a lot of the artwork first community are not the biggest fan on Discord. So I’ve listened to them. And we are actually in the process of making the art first app. I’m playing around with the name of it, but they will be a lot more centralised, into an app with all the benefits of the art verse.

One really exciting part is we’re creating the ability to have more of these onboarding sessions of were like little modules or lessons that people can actually get answers to. Because you know, on Twitter, we have a lot of spaces, lots of great knowledge, but I hear a space and then I forget it by like the next hour, no matter how amazing it is, like I forget it, I need something that I can go back to that I can, you know, read that I can, you know, listen to again, and not lose all of that really good information within the stream and noise of Twitter. And that’s what they are versus it’s going to be this centralised point for education and connecting people and artists and collectors, and finding answers, you know, because I think a lot of people who come into the NFT space, they’re like, I just talked to my friends. But I don’t know what the fuck is happening. Like, like, where do I find this information? Where do I even start? Like, there’s so many different people saying different things like, I think for me, that was like, what took me the longest of finding a community in the space was just trying to find information. And so that’s, that’s a big part of art versus having that centralised Information Resource aspect to the app and you know, to the community. But we’re also do like for collectors, if you want to, if you’re a collector interested in the art first, a lot of the art first artists will be able to, or they have been offering the collectors of art first discounted prices. And I know that word is a little tricky. But essentially, it’s a way that artists can get their work out in front of collectors, before the rest of the public. collectors can know what’s happening with these artists that they may like and follow our new artist without the noise of like being forgotten in the Twitter feeds. Because for me battling the algorithms of social media, it sucks. We all know, it’s like a whole full time job, even if art is not your career, just to be on Twitter is like a full time job to constantly promote yourself to kind of still like post things that like you know, to engage with other people. It art versus really trying to find ways and systems where they can post things we can engage. But that has compounding benefits in the future where it’s like they do it once. And it will be taken forward in a way that really highlights their work. It’s not just going to be lost to the ether. So the internet. So that’s exciting, lots more coming to it, but can’t really talk too much about it.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  44:15  
Well, I think you’ve shared enough and I think the biggest thing you know, the biggest thing that I want the audience to hear is just how I think first of all, how you show I think this is a great case study where you show people that are NFT is not only about sales, right? You utilise the technology of NFT and you build a community around it to not only generate sales but also to benefit other people to help other artists to build a community so that you know you’re you’re fighting the algorithm which is which everyone hates right I feel like if there is any biggest wall between us and our dreams as an artist, it’s the algorithm. So anytime, people saying that we just like, Oh, hallelujah, thanks for that. Right. So, and then, you know, secondly, you, us show people that how important the community is. And I think, you know, coming from the Instagram sort of era where it’s more about showing who you are and what you’re doing, you know, the web 3.0 is a bit different, it’s about, you know, how you can give back to each other. So, that’s really good to be able to see that and to have you kind of demonstrate that. But you know, lastly, I think there are a lot of artists out there who are a great artists, a great photographer, and their photos are amazing, but their voice hasn’t been heard, they’re, you know, the art hasn’t been seen, and you are, you know, building something where it can help them and facilitate them to get all that happening. So, wow, you know, that’s just, it’s so inspiring from somebody who, you know, not sure if art was the thing, don’t know what they wanted, you know what she wants to do, getting stuck in a petrol station, not knowing how to get to the next to the destination, and here you are building a community, and it’s been something that’s quite successful in the NFT space. So massive kudos to you. Now, one thing that I got me wonder, right. You shared some of your hardship, you know, all the struggles and the things that you have to go through to be where you are today. And you also share all of this successes as well, that goes with it. Now, I know that it’s not easy to kind of push through all this hardship and get to where you want to be. But what are your motivation? What is there like that one motivation that you always think of? Or you always remember, when basically, everything come and fall apart? What is that one thing that keep you going from day to day and just keep at it to pursue this dream of yours?

Rachel Wood  47:21  
One is food. I love food and food costs money, and I need money to buy food. That’s a fun answer. That’s the fun answer. What keeps me going? I think it’s a it’s a complicated question. Because you know, every day that my purpose and y changes, my goals change and with my goals, changing my purpose has to pivot and change. And for me, I think it’s a matter of not wanting to live the same day over and over again, I don’t want to wake up in like 10 years and be like, Wow, I cannot qualify my life and more than just what I can do in a week. And for me, that’s just kind of my, my blessing and curse is that I cannot settle. I do not like routine. I do not like you know doing the same thing. And that might be my creative soul speaking out. Yeah. But you know, I think for me, it’s a matter of the future. I live in the moment I live so fully in the moment, like I tried to practice mindfulness, of being grateful of where I’m at, of what I do have what I have of, you know, really assessing things. But then I also have my eyes set to the future. And I have a lot of hope. Like, I have a lot of hope and belief, and not just photography and not just NF T’s but like, in where I want to be in life. I don’t want to always be struggling. And I know everyone doesn’t want to be struggling. And I know that if I want to change my situation, I need to push hard. And that’s okay. Because I love working. I think people see discomfort as a bad thing they see work as a bad thing. But even as a kid, I love doing homework. I love doing what I do, even if like the task itself is not very exciting or like worth it, in my opinion. If I know it’s a stepping point to where I want to go done. It’s happening. So, there’s this I think it’s the Marines who say, when your body is ready to give up when your mind is telling you you cannot go further. You’re only about 45% of the way there you have, what is it 55% more capacity to keep going. And I think that’s something that I really hold strongly for myself. That’s the standard. That’s a life mindset that I hold to myself where I’m like, okay, when I’m ready to throw my computer against the wall, and I’m ready to like, delete the Twitter app, or, you know, stop backpacking or whatever, I have to remind myself that I’m not even halfway to my potential, I’m not even halfway to what I actually can achieve. And that pushes me, because it’s like that, that saying, You have to believe in yourself, because no one else will, I think there should also be the follow up, you have to push yourself, because no one else is going to push you harder than you are going to push yourself. And if you don’t push yourself, like, Yes, there’ll be other people rooting you on and supporting you. But if you’re just writing on the support of others, you’re not going to achieve anything more than what they believe in you. And that is dangerous, as so dangerous to live your life based on what other people think of you, and what other people expect of you. And I’m not going to go into it. But due to some childhood things, I realised that I could not listen to people, even people I trusted, even people in positions of power, I did not want to give them that I have power to define who I could be. So that’s where I have a lot of faith and hope and belief in myself. And that drives me forward. Even when I have rough days. Even when I have impostor syndrome days, I remind myself that I am 55% able to keep pushing, I can keep going. Because there is much more within me, even if sometimes that answer or action is unknown. I know there’s so much more inside of me that I can do. So that’s yeah, long story short.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  52:09  
Wow. You know, I’d, I totally can relate to that thing, you know, it. And sometimes the people who are closer closest to us are the one that’s, that’s the most dangerous to listen to right? Now, because they not because they don’t want us to be succeed. But it’s, it’s because of that, it’s because they’re, they love us. And they speak from the love, right? And they don’t want us to ever suffer. But if you never suffer, then you’re never going to expand and grow. So it’s I think it’s a big mindset that our parents perhaps because I know, like, you know, my parents, she, you know, they had to, you know, like, work a lot to be able to raise us and give us a comfortable life. And you know, just like what you say, you know, they, they sometimes they don’t know where the next money gonna come from, you know, to provide and stuff like that. So I think you know, out of that, they don’t want their kids to ever felt that again. Right. But yeah, like, you know, if you if you have that mindset, then you’re right, like, we just gonna hit that, that limitation of what of that belief system. So it’s absolutely important to just stick through with your dreams and just keep going. Yeah, that’s amazing. Well, Rachel, you know, it’s been a great chat. It’s been so many inspiration just talking to you. And this is what I love this podcast, right? I really get to know the person behind what they the 160 characters that they put out on social media, you know, so I really appreciate this. This, you know, getting to know you through this podcast, and I’m sure our listener would too. You have mentioned, you know, usually asked this question about, you know, that one piece of advice, but you have mentioned that one piece of advice. Is there anything that you want to add in terms of the one piece of advice that you would tell your younger self, if you if you could?

Rachel Wood  54:08  
Well, okay, so right now, I just had my birthday. I’m 28 years old, and thank you. And my goal for this year is growth. That’s my that’s my word of this year. Last year, it was pivot. And that was just so that I could pivot into whatever was happening. That’s how I got into NF T’s. I was like, Okay, this is something I’m pivoting into, I’m gonna lean into it. But now I found a place that I feel really happy and confident and and I’m like, Okay, I’m here. How can I grow? So my last two little bits of advice as my My top sort of missions for this year is, I need to do something right. I don’t need to do it right now. And that gives me the permission to take my time to not FOMO into things to, you know, really give myself the grace to do it, right. Because you know, everyone works at a different pace, I take a lot longer to do something, which is why I’m always on. And people like, Oh, you do so much. I’m like, Yeah, because I’m just constantly chipping away at this massive boulder to carve something that I want to have a thing of beauty, in my opinion, and it takes time, little knock by the chisel at a time. So doing something right does not mean doing something right now. My second piece of advice I would tell my younger self. And I’ve learned this recently was that I think a billionaire, I forget who it was, he said that there’s going to be doors, that slam in your face all the time, you’re going to have failures, like there’s going to be things that just don’t work out for you. But you have to keep going. That’s the first piece of advice. The second follow up is that you have to show up every single day, with the same amount of energy you had in the beginning. Because, you know, it doesn’t mean you have to be heavy and fun and rosy all the time. But it just means you have to give everything you do with the same enthusiasm. And that’s what I tried to do, I try to go things at it in a way that even if my past decisions and actions were kind of failures, I’m still going, like, I’m not going to get downtrodden yet sometimes, you know, I feel, but most of the time I keep pushing myself to show up with the same passion and drive and you know, bubbliness as I can. And that has helped me, you know, just to keep going forward.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  57:08  
That is a great, you know, couple of great advices there. And well first of all, I didn’t know it’s your birthday. So happy, happy birthday to you. Because that’s great. So thanks a lot for you know, for everything that you’ve shared with us for opening up, you know, your struggles, and you know, all of these things that that people would have realised that success is not it’s not, you know, a finger snap that you have to work on. And like you say you have to be consistent every single day with the same amount of energy. You know, because it’s, it’s, it’s easy to be excited at first, but it’s hard to be consistent. And it’s easy to be consistent. But it’s hard to be consistent with the high energy so, man like it’s a tough job. Right. But I think that’s it’s it’s it’s not it’s not complicated the road to success, but it is not easy. Well, Rachel, it’s been really fun conversation I love I love you know, hearing all your stories, getting to know who you are, as an artist as well as as a person. And I very much appreciate, you know, your your time to set aside, you know, after your birthday party to be here with us. For people who cannot want to learn about, you know, what is our verse or who you are and some of the art that you are working on or you’re planning to work on, what is the best way to get to know you and find you?

Rachel Wood  58:36  
Well, you can find me on Twitter, and right now my name is a little bit crass. But it’s 0x Wonder bitch, and the reason why it’s wonder bitch is because whenever I told people, I’m a photographer, and I travel, they always look at my Instagram. And then they’re like, Oh, you you take pictures. Oh, they’re so good. I’m like, Yeah, what do you think I just said, and I think the idea is that they think I’m some sort of like influencer model. And I’m like, No, four foot nine of me is not in front of the camera. I do not flow around fluffy dresses all the time, which are beautiful shots. I don’t fault them, but that’s not me. And so, you know, I’ve met several people who are like, Oh, I’m a wonder babe. I’m like, Are you really? I know. I see you laughing. But it’s like I travelled to very remote places. I push myself physically to get to some of these places where it’s like backpacking for days or things like that. And it’s not just camping gear, it’s camera gear, so it’s extra heavy. And for me, my Twitter name is kind of like a little dig. Where I’m like, I am a wonder babe. I wonder all the time I travel I I love travelling and exploring the world but I’m also a bitch because it’s Uh,

so that you know it just something different, you know, something that I was like, this makes me feel better. But you can find me as the travelling elf, like the travelling Elf on Instagram. That’s fun. I don’t, I’m not nearly as active on it anymore, but um, I still sometimes post stories of what I’m doing. And if you want to learn more about the art first, the art first website is art first You can also find it on under the Twitter handle art first project as well. But uh, yeah, we’re minting right now, the second expansion for a membership is live right now, which is really fun to see a bunch of new people joining. And we actually have an NFT treasure hunt coming up on July No, June 30. And July 1, Art first holders are able to join and actually win NF T’s for free. Some of them are like blogging Academy to Johnny melons, mint pass. Incredible, incredible successful man who’s been able to make a living from his blogging, he knows his stuff. And that’s, that’s an incredible ability to win something like that for free. We have like cybersecurity books we have like the first sci fi book ever mentioned to the blockchain as one of the prizes that people can find we have art from a lot of the art fairs holders. And that’s just a few of the things like we have a lot of fun stuff in this NFT treasure hunt that we are doing. But let’s just you know, just the fun opportunity that we bring to the art first holders. There’s much, much more to it than that. But you know, we’re also still growing. And it’s just been amazing. Just seeing how the artworks has grown. So, yeah, people can who want to come in at the super, super low price of 0.0 Aetherium can come in. But the price does raise on July 1, just because the cost of running art first is a lot. And we want to be able to continue providing benefits and perks and goodies to our holders.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  1:02:24  
That’s exciting. That is That’s amazing. And I love your little back story of the Wonder bitch absolutely enjoyed that. I know. You know, I usually mute my mic when I when when you talk because sometimes it can be distracted by others is loving. So my partner’s, like sleeping upstairs like it’s, it’s been such a pleasure, Rachel, thank you very much for being here and sharing all this and for everything you’ve done with, you know, to the community. You know, I I joined in your second month I missed out on the first man because I was in Nepal at that time. So when I came down, I was like, oh, okay, it’s everything exciting always happen, apparently always happen when I’m away. It’s really annoying. But yeah, I’m glad that I can be part of it, you know, through through the second minute. So that’s how we actually connect. So yeah. All right, well, Rachel, I know your your time is limited, and you’re busy with everything else that you’re trying to build and make impact in this world. So we’re just gonna wrap this up. And like I say, one is, you know, give you a sincere gratitude to for let you share this story of yours and bring some inspiration to those who might not dare you and who been wondering if they’re on the right path. Thank you very much for being here, Rachel. Yeah, appreciate that.

Rachel Wood  1:03:58  
Thank you so much, Stanley, for having me on. I really appreciate just having this time to, you know, share a little bit more of who I am. I know sometimes I focus so much on others and trying to raise others. I do forget myself sometimes. So it’s been nice. It’s been really nice. Just to talk with you. Yeah, I’m

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  1:04:17  
glad you you have that, you know, you feel you feel that way. You know, I think a lot of times we’re so focused about content and sales that we forgot to share our story, you know, and that’s, that’s actually how I get inspired to follow photography is from people’s story. So, you know, I think our story has a lot, a lot of impact other than our art as well as our project. So well we can this thank you very much for tuning in. And I hope you are you know, taking a lot of notes there because there’s a whole bunch of wisdom and advices that you know, Rachel has dropped it was it was such a great conversation and don’t forget to subscribe and Leave us a little comment below and so that you don’t miss out on the next guest and the next podcast but with that being said I’ll see you guys in the next week have a wicked wicked week and I’ll see you later bye


The Wicked Hunt by Stanley Aryanto Copyright 2020 All rights reserved.