August 29, 2023

Ep 57 – How John Knopf turned his stupid idea as a 1.8 gpa student to become one of the most successful & respected photographer in Web3

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The Art of Photography
The Art of Photography
Ep 57 - How John Knopf turned his stupid idea as a 1.8 gpa student to become one of the most successful & respected photographer in Web3

Hey Wicked Hunters,

It has been too long! I’ve been overwhelmed putting together both NFT Bali Artweek as well as Sloika World Photography Day event, and I been struggling to keep up.

I’m very excited that we have gotten 8,000 submissions from the two exhibitions, have 7 satellite exhibitions from the 2 events and reached millions of people. I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed and become part of the event.

Now I am back and I am excited to introduce John Knopf!

With over 15 years of field experience, John Knopf has made his mark in the world of landscape photography through his vibrant, evocative imagery and commitment to conservation.

Embracing the challenge of capturing the raw beauty of nature, Knopf delivers powerful images that inspire appreciation and protection of our ecosystem. An Emmy-nominated, photographer, his work has been recognized by National Geographic, TIME, Red Bull, USA Today, and various prestigious exhibitions including Venice Biennale and Art Basel.

A trailblazer in the NFT space, he hosted the first and largest NFT Photography gallery at Art Basel & NFT NYC. Additionally, he owned two exclusive photography galleries in Las Vegas and Minneapolis.

Despite his accomplishments, Knopf remains driven, crafting limited editions of his artwork using premium materials while constantly exploring new ways to push his creative boundaries.

You can find more of John Knopf’s work on:

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John Knopf  0:00
If this guy can do this, and like there’s only a handful of people doing this in the world, maybe I can do it. And it was like a stupid idea because like, like, just like, I’m just a kid from Miranda, Arizona, like I graduated with like 1.8 GPA. I barely graduated. My parents were you in and out of prison like, Mike, I was told by all my teachers, there’s no way I was going to amount to anything, I was most likely going to end up homeless in a trailer park or just, you know, in prison Ed.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  0:37
Hey, Wicked Hunters. Welcome back to The Art of Photography podcast, where we share artists journey, and how they find purpose and happiness, true photography. And today we have someone who’s been in the space not only in the photography, but as well as in the web three NFT space and he is well known, well respected. He’s been at it for a long, long time. And he actually own two galleries as well, which is, you know, something that not many photographers nowadays have the opportunity to have. So, I’d like to welcome John knop How’re you doing, John? Good. Good. Jim. Thank you so much for having me. I love all your pro equipment there. I’ve got like just a MAC studio speaker here.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  1:25
Yeah, no, it’s, you know, I decided to invest on on on a microphone because it made me enjoy recording when when I hear back to it. So that’s, that’s the main reason.

John Knopf  1:36
I love them and to get set up.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  1:39
Fantastic. Yeah, look, go welcome. And, you know, it’s good to connect with you. It’s the thing that I love about web three, you know, you connect with people very easily, you vibe really quickly. And you just, you know, you you make connection, like like, there’s no tomorrow, right?

John Knopf  1:54
Yeah, yeah, it’s definitely it’s an interesting space. It’s definitely I’ve met so many, like new people within the, you know, like the web three community that I never would have met, if it wasn’t for like crypto and NF T’s and stuff like that. So yeah, it’s been an eye opening experience to just like, meet people like all over the world.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  2:12
Ya know, 100%. And, you know, you have, you know, very interesting story, not only through your web three journey, but also in your photography journey. And, you know, one of the things that, you know, there’s some crazy stories that I’ve heard about you, and it’s so cool that I get to interview you in person, so that I could ask that question. But one of the things that I always like to start is, you know, the beginning, right, I think you’ve Well, according to your website, you know, you’ve been at this for about 15 years, I’m not sure if that’s still pretty accurate. So, so do you actually change that every single year is like, Okay, now it’s 16 years.

John Knopf  2:54
I do I reread I have like the bio rewritten like all the time, like this year, I recently use chat GPT. And like, just went to town for like, 12 hours, it was just like, simulating different voices and things like that, and trying to find different styles. And it just came up with this just like amazing bio, and I was like, done. I love what this is written like it yeah, I feel like changing it up. Because our journey, like constantly changes, I feel like we should always update our bio, our websites, things like that, just as like, it’s it kind of like a journal Right? Like, it keeps track of like everything that I’m doing that way I can remember because we do a lot of shit.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  3:31
No, 100% 100% and I actually, you know, find find inspiration in that because I’m one of those person that’s really lazy, too. I mean, we become photographers so that we don’t, right, right,

John Knopf  3:42
right, that I got for chat. GPT

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  3:46
this year has been an incredible year, because I’ll tell GPD it’s like all of all of my caption now, you know, everything just inspired by Chad GPD and just change little words, you know, so that it’s sound like mine. But yeah, that’s incredible. But to go back 15 years ago, right, what was you know, what was that beginning? Like? Like, why did you fall in love with photography and decided to pursue it full time.

John Knopf  4:14
Now, it’s funny. It’s like, every podcast that I do, like, I feel like the narrative changes every time because I feel like I discover like different things. I like why I got into photography. Like, my most recent discovery was like, you know, I was working at a job. I think I hated what I was doing the idea of work like a nine to five and, you know, if I let go back, like the beginning of like, I started working when I was like, you know, 13 and every job that I’ve ever had, like, I didn’t last more than a couple of months, man, I would always get fired. Like, I’m just gonna be honest, I’m terrible with customer service. That’s why I became a photographer like an outdoor photographer. Like I don’t deal with people. I take pictures of trees that don’t move or talk to me. It’s like, it’s ideal for me and like, as I’m as I was growing up, I found you know, a lot of different jobs I’ve held so good. I’ve worked it Taco Bell, the melting pot. I’ve been fired from everywhere bad. But like that, I think like, when I was working at this car dealership, I was taking pictures of cars as like the internet salesman. And I was, I was just really good at taking photos of the cars, like I felt like, you know, it was just very, like calming. It was like, it was something about just like, you know, looking through a lens and just being able to focus on something else other than everything around me just like it would cancel out all the noise. And so, for a couple of months, I did this. And I finally just, I think it just some point, I was making great money at this car dealership, and I just decided, this isn’t what I want to do. I you know, I can only go out like, once a week because of it, you know, when you’re working, or you’re working at like six days a week, 13 hour days, it’s just like, I was never able to do anything. So I finally just like one day literally just walked in was like, I’m done. I don’t want to do this anymore. I’m going to be a photographer. Everyone’s just laughing. They’re like good luck with that row. But the like you would everybody else. And this is before Instagram before any of that. So yeah, I just kind of like set out on a journey of being homeless and broke. Because there was no way I knew that I was going to make money at this. I just figured look, and maybe maybe could pay the bills. But at the at least, at least I’m going to love what I do and enjoy my life travel, see the world may be get paid for it. But regardless, even if I’m sleeping on beaches, at least I get to enjoy the sunsets. And yeah, I have to admit, like it was even, even today, like, let’s just say, you know, like I hadn’t been any success in it at all, I’m still be pretty stoked, because I really do like continuously try to define success as not like how much money you make, or how many galleries you built, or you know, how much art it’s, do you get up every single day, do what you love, no matter how many times you fail it, just keep doing it. And if you keep doing it, I know a lot of people would say that’s insanity. But if you love what you’re doing, then I’d say that’s the biggest amount of success you could ever have. Because there are so many people that make so much money and sit behind a desk every single day, and absolutely hate what they do and hate their lives. So I wouldn’t say that success. So I look at like any artists that is like, you know, trying to get into it. And it’s like, you know, just just go for it and, like successful eventually come by just continuing to persevere that that is the that is the equation for success. Like, so I just felt like on a tangent about that.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  7:21
Yeah, man, I love that story. I mean, now I had a very similar story. You know, I was, I was an engineer, and I finally walk away, right? And it was the hardest decision in my life. But it’s like you say he was just like, it was worth every, every, every minute, every second of the struggle, the good and the bad. And I just love what you say there and with, you know, so you were doing, you know, you got pre good lifestyle right working in the dealership, you know, you work your way towards that, that sort of lifestyle where you like you say you started pretty hard, and you get fired. And then you finally find this thing that it was kind of a nice cushion, where you decide to leave to leave for photography, right? And I mean, I can relate so much when people you know, laugh at you when you when they hear you but pursuing photography. I mean, when I first started my Instagram, they’re like, why would people follow you? You know, like, you’re not in bikinis. And I was like, Okay, I’ve seen their babies. But anyway, what, what I want to hear is that what makes you love photography so much until you want to do it over and over again and wake up to it every single day to it.

John Knopf  8:48
Good question. You know, it’s been 15 years and I have to say like, I probably don’t have like the drive the crazy amount of drive that I used to, you know, to get up and like catch a sunset or run out and catch the waterfalls, I definitely have like chilled out quite a bit like on my last few trips, I’ve noticed that it’s more of just kind of like enjoying the moments and cat you know, as opposed to just constantly pushing myself to capture them. But I would say like, you know, what drove me to photography. I remember first discovering like Ansel Adams work. And I remember the first time seeing one of his black and white prints and literally getting like chills like throughout my body and was like I’ve never like felt that before by looking at art. And I wasn’t into art I had no I mean obviously we’re all into art, like we but I never really understood it. I had never studied it. I didn’t understand the history. I didn’t even understand what made our but there was something about this, that just like resonated and I didn’t really explore that until like my you know, like mid 20s And it wasn’t until I was dating a girl who her dad was a you know, a well known landscape photographer and like he apart was just blew my mind. And I was like, if this guy can do Do this and like, there’s only a handful of people doing this in the world. Maybe I can do it. And it was like a stupid idea because like, like, just like, I’m just a kid from Miranda, Arizona, like I graduated with, like 1.8 GPA, I barely graduated. My parents were, you know, in and out of prison like, Mike, I was told by all my teachers, there’s no way I was going to amount to anything, I was most likely going to end up homeless in a trailer park or just, you know, in prison. And I was okay, cool. And I think that because I knew that like, ultimately, as long as like, I continue to do what I love. I didn’t really care what anybody told me he had a like growing up, that was kind of like what was instilled in me. So like, when I discovered photography, it really was a therapy to me, because it really did, like allow me to tune all the other noises out. And there was just something about travelling and you know, going to a landscape and the nature and just the silence, and just everything about it was, it really meant something to me at the time now, as I’ve gotten older, my life has become more balanced. And it’s not nearly as chaotic as it used to be. And because of that, I think that I don’t need the therapy as much anymore. And, like, if you look at my Instagram, or like, like litter, I don’t start with, you know, landscape photographer, I started with Dream Chaser, because that’s what I’ve always been, whether I’m a photographer, a filmmaker, you know, community maker, whatever I’m doing, I do it because I enjoy it. And that’s the fun of it. So photography has always been fun. It’s always there’s a love for it, there’s just something about it, that has always driven a passion within me, it’s being told that I can’t do it. It’s, you know, being told that it’s not possible. Being out there in though in the wilderness, and just really enjoying those serene moments. There’s just something about all of these things combined. That just really made it for me. And I think I it’s so hard to answer, like what photography did for me, but all I can say is like, when I saw Ansel Adams work, and I got those chills as a kid, I knew that that was something I knew I probably couldn’t do, but really wanted to be able to do one day. And when I finally got into my 20s, I had the confidence to be able to just chase it.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  12:12
Yeah, that’s incredible. And, you know, I, you say this, you know, over and over again, about as long as I can wake up happy. It’s it’s amount of success for you. Right. And I think that’s, that’s incredible. And one of the quote that got me following my, my passion is from Steve Jobs, you know, if today were the last day of my life, would I do what I’m about to do today? And that’s exactly you know, what, what you say there. So, I love this, right. And most people take a long, long time, you know, in their journey, as a human being, to find this out that it’s important to do what you love. It’s so important to do what you’re passionate about, and we can hear all of that passion from your story, man, you know, but how did you figure this out? So you know, so early in your life?

John Knopf  13:05
That’s funny that you asked that because it’s like, I changed photography to find happiness. And that ultimately led me to a depression, you know, so, like, when I got into photography, I never expected the glitz and glamour of like Vegas and getting a gallery and becoming like, quasi famous in Vegas and like walking on the strip, and people would know me, like, I never expected that. And so like when that happened, it was like, I’m a kid from a small town who was like playing this. Vegas is not a big city. But to me, it was just gigantic. I had never seen these tall buildings. I had never seen anything like this. And so like something about it, like sex, drugs, rock and roll party, and I’d never experienced anything like it. So I got sucked in. And what ultimately led me to opening a gallery in Minnesota moving to the middle of nowhere in the Midwest, finding sobriety finding myself finding, you know, Kundalini Yoga, Jujitsu, all these things that helped me find like found balance. And I think like, what ultimately led me to my happiness was finding depression in in Minnesota because of the fact that I was tied to this gallery that I had opened, I had investors involved, I was never able to leave this gallery, I couldn’t shoot I was given a phase one from phase one and I couldn’t even go out and use it because I’m stuck in this gallery, trying to run it and then like missing the sunsets. And I’m like, borderline like back like, almost to the point where I’m just like, I’m gonna get back on drugs like this is terrible, like what am I doing with my life and back where I’m at, and back in Vegas, I’m about to just move to Minnesota to try to make this gallery run because I’m not willing to accept failure because you know, pride ego all those things can’t fail. And so I’m in in Vegas. I’m talking to a friend My friend Frankie and I go when I moved to Minnesota, you know, I have a paying gig there. At least I have you know, some money I’m getting a salary out of it from investors. I’m at least able to survive. I can bring my family out there and he looks at me goes, bro, there is no amount of money ever, ever that is worth unhappiness, no amount. And that hit me so hard. And I don’t know why that any everyone’s been told that but for some reason, in that moment, it hit. And I said, You’re right. And as fuck Minnesota, I’m moving there. I’m not dealing with this, like, I’m moving back to Vegas, I’m gonna be with my family, why haven’t been with for a while, like I haven’t seen anybody. It’s just it was really eye opening. And because of that, because of that moment, from then on out, I decided no matter what, no matter how much money no matter what situation, I was committed to No, and I don’t know why it took that. But I was committed to never been in a situation where if I’m not happy or having fun, I’m just not going to do it. Because there’s no place I was going to do that. I might as well go back to work in a job where I’m going to eventually get fired because I hate

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  15:45
that is a well quit answer. And, you know, I love how you know, we find inspiration from other people and you know, it opens our eyes. And it’s one of the reason why I love this podcast is always learn, you know, from, from people journey, and I’m sure the listeners there can find inspiration on that as well. Now, one thing that I’m interested in, right, so you say you had a pre rough start to your journey to your life, and you find out this thing, you know, this definition of success, which is I think it’s it’s very important in life, most people don’t don’t know what their definition of success is, right? But you find this definition of success of being able to pursue your passion and do what you love the most. Now, how do you keep that positivity, you know, that that enthusiasm and you know, the will to keep going to be happy? When you know you’re struggling? Like Like you say, right? You know, you when you struggling to, to balance with with work and business and photography, as well as you know, money sometimes can be difficult, right? Especially like, for example, many of the artists right now might be struggling with with this bear market who are because who became a full time NFT artist? How how do you balance that out and still find happiness, and can move ahead with that in mind.

John Knopf  17:15
I’ll tell you, so it’s up and down. I mean, I’m not every day is perfect, you know, but I have to admit that like I wake up very grateful for the the opportunity that I have to be able to do what I do. I didn’t do this alone, you know, like everyone else has been a part of my journey, my collectors, my friends, everyone has been an advocate for, you know, a support system. And so I’m grateful for everything that I have. And because of that, that is kind of like why it would keep going, you know, it’s been 15 years of the bear market, I didn’t start really making money in, in photography until the last couple of years. And I didn’t really make any real money until I started trading NF T’s in crypto and, you know, selling apes and really establishing my trading portfolio and being able to survive off of that. What I would say is that like, no matter what I always say go in headfirst don’t save anything for the swim, you know, back and there also is don’t put all your eggs in one basket. And I know that’s kind of contradictory. But at the same time, you have to kind of flip back and forth. And when you have that you have to find a balance. And I know that’s also contradictory, because there really is no balance right? You have to go in full headfirst. So it’s, it’s kind of like how do you figure it out? Right? What I would say is that like when I discovered crypto when when the pandemic and I had to shut everything down gallery wise everything because there was no way I could survive keeping these places open. And I owed money. And there was just a very tight situation for me and my family. We were living in a really very small spot. You know, it was really bad. I mean, I was borrowing money from a friend to get my car out of the tow yard. I had to sell my camera, everything to be able to buy into crypto when I first found it. So I sold everything nailed, you know, like everything. So I could buy in, though, because when I found it and discovered it during the pandemic, I realised that this was kind of the idea that I had because when the pandemic hit, I knew the government wasn’t gonna pull us out of this, there was nothing that we were going to be able to do. In this situation. If they cut us off from working, and they weren’t going to give us money right away, especially in Nevada, we were the very last to get on the stimulus. So to pay rent, do anything, I had to figure out a way very quickly and I’m a survivor. This is like mice. This is my skill set. When I put in a tight corner I’m able to figure things out. And so I would recommend like any artists to try to develop these skill sets where it’s like, don’t don’t become an artist because you think you’re going to make money you’re going to have a very harsh reality where there’s very few overnight successes in life. It is going to be a pride swallowing siege of hell trying to get through this but if you love it, it won’t matter because you’ll just want to keep doing it. And so I would say that during that situation I discovered crypto and bought in about a theory and bought slot a bottle actually didn’t even buy sister theorem and so meanwhile Exelon and all the all coins when they were really cheap. And then what I found NF T’s one Read on clubhouse, I started buying photography, I was like one of the first collectors of photography, I was buying photography leftover. And I’m just probably like one of the first guys to spend two weeks on a photo. Back when nobody was collecting photography, this is like in 2020. And I was like I was all in on trying to push photography to the next level by buying other people’s work, I had a thought I was able to do it. And I found that really balancing a trading portfolio and not really doing any photography. And I know that’s like crazy to take some time for but at the same time, I’m trying to develop, you know, a way to sustain my photography. And if I can’t make money in photography, find a trading portfolio, find a way to make money. And so this was my way to make money, I developed a trading portfolio, figured out how to trade identities, did all this crypto stuff, and then established a way so that I wouldn’t have to work anymore so that I could just focus on my photography. And so I didn’t even have to really worry about people collecting my work, I could just make art. And that was the whole idea. When I got into crypto, I just want to be able to make our assistants what everyone loves to do when they’re an artist, they just want to be able to sustain and be able to make art. And so I was silly to any artists don’t put all your eggs in one basket. But also don’t save anything for the swing back. So maybe do multiple things, try to find multiple angles, try to find ways of income, maybe we’ll be in photonic gaming. You know, I would never have been Emmy nominated if I hadn’t started like chasing music photography. And like going after that, in one day working with Joshua Bell like that would have never happened. And I just tried something new. And I was like, No, I’m a landscape photographer. Strictly landscapes I’d sit and eat and out man, like I do burgers and french fries. And it was like that was it. And you can’t do everything else. But try new things. Try everything because you never know what’s going to stick and what’s going to change your entire life. And from it was always the most off things they never expected. That changed my entire life. So I feel like, it’s like, how do you stick with something you love? Well, you know, just do it because you love it. And eventually, the money will come and maybe it won’t. But the whole point is, is you’re doing what you love and change it up, try to find new things. That’s the idea, right? Grow every day.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  22:11
100% You know, it reminds me of this could be one of my favourite quotes, you know, from Albert Einstein, right? The definition of insanity is expecting the same result, a different result when you do the same exact things that right? And I love what you’re doing the you know, you because you you just went out and try something and you and keep going and like you say it right? Most people look at you and you say, you know, John was very lucky. And you know, he had an overnight success and, and he just Dolby here, right. And everyone else who’s gonna listen to this, they it’s been a 15 years journey at the very least. Now, going through that 15 years, right? You had a lot of things that going against you, like you say, you know, your parents are in no reason your teacher didn’t believe in you, you practically don’t have anyone believe in you. And you choose a profession that is very famous for being broke. Or hating being an art this is not, it’s not it’s like, you know what, I’m going to be an artist because I’m going to be reaching. See no one ever, right? So one thing that I’m interested in is like, what is the biggest? Like, what is the biggest thing that kept you going that kept you in this journey, during your most difficult time and help you build that confidence, build that self belief to get to where you are today?

John Knopf  23:49
You know, I would say it’s like, it’s weird. But I would say if you’ve survived a bunch of trauma, I would say it’s kind of like having conviction within yourself. You know, like, we’ve all been kind of conditioned. And I believe in ourselves from our school systems from intellect. Our parents tell us to believe in ourselves in that stuff. I feel like we all have been kind of conditioned to just be like, a part of the system. And I don’t know, I just I think what kind of gave me like the confidence of just believing in myself and chase him what I love was that I don’t know, maybe it was like a cheap way out. It was like, You look if I fail at this, everybody fails at it. So look guys, like, it’s like five people that have succeeded at this life. Like, you know, obviously it was gonna fail. So you know, fuck you. Like, I don’t know what it was. But it’s just like, I think it’s just something again, about just like, you find a passion and that’s only so hard for people in life because it’s like it everyone’s so afraid of failure. I feel like, you know, we’re so afraid that what if I chase this, I’m going to fail. I’ve always been under the impression that if I do this, I’m going to be the best at it. Because I’m not going to stop until I knew. And I know that’s I mean that’s cocky. Maybe that’s Like overconfidence, but in my opinion, like, I just have to tell myself that, like, I have to tell myself like, I have this superpower. And I have to chase this because if I don’t, I’m going to feel like a failure no matter what, because I didn’t do what I thought I could possibly do. And so I, I think like, I don’t know, there’s just something about. I think growing up in a situation where you were always poised to fail, no matter what, there’s something about being told constantly that no matter what you’re going to fail, that makes you want to succeed that much harder. And maybe that’s you know, why I’ve slowed down so much and just kind of started to really enjoy the moments in life is because I don’t really have anybody anymore telling me I can’t do something. You know, when I when I got in NF t’s on clubhouse, I was told, photography can never be an NFT we have to animate our art, we have to do it like people, we have to make digital art, he had just gotten the $80 million sale. Everyone in clubhouse was doubting us, there was like a few of us. That gave me their ambition to Chasey you know, it was like, it was like when I first got into photography, and I tried to open you know, like my work in the galleries and every gallery shot me down st photography doesn’t sell its art, you know, you can only sell it for a few $100 There’s just not really a way to make a living off of it. I I drove up and down Monterey, Carmel, all these galleries and everyone was just like, photography just doesn’t sell out here like good luck, kid. And that’s what gave me the drive to open up my own gallery. I was like, No, that’s not no one’s going to tell me that something can’t be done. I’m not know. So I just can’t accept Nope. So I opened my own gallery with the idea that I’m going to sell a photography. And when I found NF T’s and I found a clubhouse and I realised that there was so many people doubting this situation, including all the photographers, like, found home, like this is my spot like this is obviously where I belong. Because I believe that this like when I found like, just to go off on a side note, when I found the blockchain, I believe this was 100%. Native to photography. I mean, photography is mostly now 99% digital and very few people using film. It is digitally native it was it was made of blockchain. And it was like so perfect and symbiotic. And so when people told me no, I was like, we’ll find collectors and might take a few years. But it’s going to happen. I didn’t think it would happen like this. I didn’t expect all this to blow up, you know, but it was like when I minted my work and put it up at the prices, I believed and just didn’t really look at the market because there wasn’t one. I just went for it man. And like, I think that’s the idea of like, how you sustain something that you love is that just chase Chase objectives Chase, you know, overcome achievements overcome obstacles, and right now currently, I’m just enjoying not having any obstacles, join late.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  27:45
Well, you definitely deserve a man. I mean, you know, it’s been 15 years coming, right? All that stuff. I like to call it the success success hacks, right, you’ve paid all that success tax, and you get to reap all the benefit now. So yeah, like, and I love how you, you take all of this, you know, criticism and put downs and it, you take it like an adventure, you know, I know that you love hiking as well. So, you know, it’s like, when you going hiking to a viewpoint in or going up a mountain, there’s always going to be challenges, but you take that all of that setback as a as a challenge instead of you know, as as a wall that that shuts you down. Right. And, you know, without, without you and a lot of the early adopters of photography in the web three space in the NFT space, you know, we won’t have what we have today. But one thing that, you know, one, one thing that I’d like to ask you Is that okay, you know, so NFT web three right? A lot of people even nowadays are still sceptic about them it’s you know, I it’s a scam and all this stuff now. What gives you the confidence to jump into the web three and the NFT world make you believe that it is the next thing of the, you know, the next iteration for photography and digital art

John Knopf  29:13
weightless photo, like when I when I discovered crypto, you know, it’s interesting because, like, I found you know, the decentralisation anarchy and all these different you know, like self sovereignty, and I was like, This is so like, this is what I believe in. And as I slowly you know, developed, like my education and the, you know, what I really understood about crypto, I realised, you know, there was so much more to crypto and the technology that could really like change the world, but when I found NF T’s, I’m going to be honest, like I was like dude, I’m gonna sell some art and make some money. This is amazing. This is a cash grab. We’re gonna make some money. This is great. And I was like, I got to somewhere immediately i joven Firstly, I’d minted immediately I didn’t even hesitate like I just meant it. Because I was like, this is this is it like we’re going to be able to find a new route you know, avenue for like, making money as I I explored the community hung out in clubhouse. spent like a couple of weeks, I started to realise that this was much bigger than us just selling our art and making money, that there was even much bigger than the community, the backbone of the technology for the blockchain to allow us to democratise art, to share it to privatise our legacies on the blockchain. There was so much this was exactly what all of us working for, you know, it’s so hard to create an archival process for a photographer, it’s so hard to do all these things to create collections to, to open galleries to deal with galleries. And if T is how I saw it was defeated the middleman. He got rid of that until they got rid of the curator, the gallerist, the collectors who had you know, markup and build up a price for an artist, all this stuff. Now I know it’s all happening right now. I know that like collectors of curators, and all these things are happening, but it’s slowly building into artists are being curators. Which should be That’s the truth. Like it should be our district jurors. I know, like a lot of people are like, well, the collectors should be the curators, and you know, they’re the ones that collection, but the artists know the art. artists know the art, that’s what they do. They they make art, it should be curing other artists and bringing them in and onboarding a new. And I visualise this beautiful like, utopia of like artists onboarding other artists, bringing in collectors working with artists and like this symbiotic relationship where everybody was like getting along, and not just pumping bags, but like actually collecting art for the pure joy of cherishing it and putting it on their walls that I know, like, we’ve sidetracked because of like the PFP projects. And, you know, we could go into the history on why that all happened. That could take an hour, but it’s like, the reason it all happened is because of the bull run during a pandemic created by a revolution during Art. You know, it was like all these things happen at once that created the chaos that is that today, but I think it will filter out. And what I believe will happen is that our will prevail. And that’s what I saw originally when I got on to you know, NF T’s was that it was the main thing, the main function that I saw was the self sovereigns backbone and the idea that we could really create a legacy on the blockchain that would be there forever, you know, you, you’d be able to share your work show it archivally show when it was created. I think that’s so important to artists that don’t understand how to do that it’s not capable of doing that. And this really just defeated the middleman from the galleries taking a percentage. I mean, you manifold has proven it by we don’t have to work with super rare or foundation or any platform, you can release your own contract and sell out from you know, when I did my open addition to Reuben will and He did all his open, it’s just like, when an artist is traded a community and really establish an ecosystem within their market and their their art, they’re able to cut out the middleman from the auction houses of Sotheby’s to Christie’s just being able to do it on their own. And what could be better than that we’re all tried the dream for an artist is to be able to be sustainable, and to be able to create art, they don’t want to get rich, they just want to be able to make art. That’s all they do is want to create, like I’m talking about someone here. I’m not gonna say I’m not gonna generalise but for the most part, artists didn’t get in it to make money. They got it because they love creating art. So therefore, how I see is that NF T’s allow that ability.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  33:18
Yeah, that’s, that’s awesome. That’s well put, you know, a lot of people kind of I see it that a lot of people are judging what’s NFT is without understanding it. So I love how you share that perspective. Now, I know that you have two galleries as well do you still have the two galleries running at the moment John, or

John Knopf  33:42
No, I shut them down during that when the pandemic hit, there was no way to keep them open sustain the rent and, and honestly like to keep the gallery open, is it is what I would call a time for it takes literally all of your time and you have no time to shoot anything, do anything you’re running the business, it’s the exact opposite of what I want to do is the exact opposite of like, the reason I got out and running car sales and shit like that, it was like I don’t want to deal with customer service or deal with employees or deal with any of that. So galleries to me was like, it was a beautiful dream of mine. But when I finally got there it was cornflakes. I didn’t really enjoy as much as I thought it would.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  34:19
So I love I love that you know, and I want to hear what I want you to share that a little bit more. So what what was you know, I think most photographers dream to have galleries, right?

John Knopf  34:33
I have lights like Oh, it’s so

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  34:36
cool my own my own photos on my own walls that have been and people come and have a look at it. So what what does it take to build a gallery and what what’s what’s your take, like? You know, when people say, you know, you know what, John, I want to build a gallery what what do you think, you know, what advice would you give to people who are still pursuing that dream?

John Knopf  34:58
Yeah, it’s funny when people come to me they’re like I’m gonna build a gallery like I’m really excited about it and I hate to like, like, just totally destroy their dream and I’m like, yeah, so I’m just gonna give you this the truth on all this shit real quick. Like, that was my dream. You know, I went to Vegas, I saw Peter lik gallery and I was like, I’m going to build a gallery one day, I’m gonna sell my art on walls and big acrylic prints and, you know, have been collectors and dude. Wow, that was rough, you know, and I’ll start like, I opened my first gallery in Vegas, when I moved from Tucson, Arizona to Vegas, I had been living in Tucson, it was cheaper, I was doing my photography out there. And I figured I had come to Vegas a couple of times to I wanted to shoot a picture of the strip, I’d never shot a city. And I needed a city, I wanted lights, I wanted that cool effect. And this was you know, 10 years ago, 12 years ago, it was and I’m gonna say like, 2012 or something like that. And so 2011. So going back and forth. This was like, right before the causal was built, maybe 2010, whatever. Right before the castle was built, I had this vision, where this tower has the perfect view of everything, the foul, didn’t strip all the things I need. So I’m gonna go back and forth to Vegas, shoot streets, whatever, figure out what I want to do, while I’m there, figure out how I’m gonna live there. So I moved to Vegas with the idea that I’m going to be a music photographer, and, you know, maybe make some money off of music photography. And I had gone into lounges and seeing this, this photographer, or I’m sorry, this musician playing, you know, in Frankie, and I was like, This guy’s gonna be headliner one day, if I moved to Vegas, I’ll be his photographer. And like, that doesn’t make any sense. But to me, it made all the sense of the world. I was like, obviously, I’m going to be his photographer, and I’m going to be able to make money off of this. And I’ll be able to survive and then be able to open the gallery one day by meeting him and he can introduce me all his friends. Just just crazy, stupid idea, right? This is I want to like just I’m putting this gonna take a minute, but this is gonna put into perspective of what it took to get me my first gallery wasn’t like it just opened up. Like I was so rich kid that just bought into a gallery. So moved to Vegas living out of my car because I can’t afford a place and I’m shooting on the strip like bands locally. And lo and behold, one day that Frankie guy does become a headliner. Couple months into me living in Vegas. So I get into his show, and I speak backstage at stuff my camera, do show shot photos, sneak back mid stage, show him the photos. And I’m like, Hey, man, this is my work. Do you have a photographer any and he’s like, these are amazing. These are some of the best photos. Can you meet me tomorrow for lunch? And I’m like, Yeah, I’ll meet you tomorrow. And I’m, like, stoked, dude. I’ve never even really talked to too many celebrities before. This guy’s like, I go to this restaurant. The next day. He’s got his own menu at the restaurant. Like I’m like, Dude, this guy’s huge. Like, what is happening? He’s like, I just got into the stratosphere Hotel Casino as a headliner. I want you to be my exclusive photographer. Have you ever shot people before? And I’m like, yes, that never happened. I’ve only shot it. But I’m like, fuck it, dude. You know, like, if you’re in the champagne room, go with it. Nobody don’t like act like you’ve been there before. So like Yemen shot people like no problem. Gotcha was like, What do you want to get paid? And it was a split second decision where it hit me and I’m like, I don’t want to get paid. I want you to network me out and introduce me to everyone you know, once you introduce me as celebrities, executives, everybody, because my goal is not to be your photographer. No offence, man. You’re dope. But I need to be my own star. And I want to be like famous photographer who shoots landscapes and own my own gallery. And he’s like, okay, is like we’ll work out a deal. You work for free. I’ll introduce you to everybody. You’ll get a gallery you’ll you’ll do your thing. He introduces me to everybody. I do get a gallery out of this. Six months into it. I’m shooting for him. barely making, like anything like sustain life. Like I’m shooting bands like on the strip for 50 bucks, like barely surviving. But I’m surviving. And one day I’m at his house for dinner. And there’s a guy who walks in dude looks like Professor X. I’m thinking this guy’s rich combined marinara. That’s just immediately I’m a survivor. I’m like, Dude can buy my art. That’s just goes to my head. So I started talking to him. Turns out he happens to be the CEO of the stratosphere. And he wants to know, well, he’s like, you’re not obviously going to work for this chump for the rest of your life. When he says that to me. He goes, What do you want? What’s your dream, your passion, they showed my art or my phone? Well, his wife happens to be a huge landscape photography collector loves my art. And he goes, Do you want to open a gallery? I was like, That’s my dream. Like, that’s why I moved to Vegas. I’m gonna open a gallery one day, I’ve only been here, you know, six months by, that’s what’s gonna happen. And I was like, well, he’s like, Well, what do you want to do? Like what you want to do? And I’m like a casino, dude. Of course. He’s like, would you want to open in mine? And I’m like, Yeah, of course. Like, yeah. And I thought he was joking, dude, I didn’t think he was serious. But he was and he offered me a percentage base rent so that I could not have to pay rent, basically pay rent based on what I sold. And I didn’t have enough money to open the gallery to create any type of like, it had to be renovated. Like the whole space had been opened in 15 years. It was the spot you know, had to be repainted. So dude, I pulled everything that I could I called everybody that I could I sold as much as I could. I made it happen. So the camera sold everything I could To be able to build out this gallon bro I’ve been there at night painting it, doing everything re carpeting it everything myself and I hire a construction crew finally for the stuff that I just can’t do. And you know we’re coming down to like three months and everybody comes in, they finish it off for me. This cost me more than I ever could expect it. I’m broke as shit. But I did it. I got my gallery we opened a grand opening night. They oppressed the whole thing. You know, celebrities come from like if you need Paul’s pen, Tara, you’re like all these like, you know, the Purple Rain, like musicians like all these dope people that Frankie knew Joey Fatone. But for bat like everybody, dude, because cherry on top. It was like the coolest thing ever, for me that I’m just some kid that I didn’t know what was going on. But everyone told me I was never going to make it. So opening that was like a huge, like, I think building block for the foundation of like how I believed in myself, but to get to that point, was next to impossible. And then next level was like opening the next gallery. It tried to create that. But ultimately, when I did all of this, it was all for the wrong reasons. And that’s what I found out. And I can’t express that enough that it’s like, if you’re doing it just because you’re trying to prove everybody wrong, you’re chasing somebody else’s dream, or you think they just gotta make you happy. Really look at what you’re doing. Because you have to deal with employees, you have to deal with security, you have to deal with a real life opening a business, city licences. Everything that I never want to do, I barely can deal with my own bills like trying to deal with a business. I didn’t want to do it, man. I just I’m an artist, dude, I didn’t. This is not where my head was at. And I wasn’t sure I was an entrepreneur, but not in the sense that I wanted to I wanted someone else do all that stuff. That’s not so yes, you can hire someone to do all these things. But when you’re opening your own company, like an actual art gallery, you can’t just hire a dart manager and be like, good luck. Here’s my art. Here’s the stories, you got to be there, you have to train the people, there’s people that call in sick, there’s people that don’t show up, there’s people that get DUIs, and then never show up again. And now you got to rehire all the people all over and you’re stuck in Minnesota for two fucking years, when you should have only been there for six months, it’ll be in the gallery. But that’s the shift that happens. And that is I think what I discovered going through all of these, you know, ups and downs and obstacles and addictions and just craziness was chasing anything else but what you love and really want to do, even though you think you might want to do it really analyse and understand what comes with it, because I’m glad I did it. Uh, don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret any of it. Because I would have never learned this today still be going I want to open a gallery one day. I’m glad I got it out of my system, because and I’m glad that blockchain showed up because this is making it so much more available for us to not have to create brick and mortar galleries. And it’s funny side note, but it’s like so funny to me when people argue on clubhouse or on Twitter’s basis how much energy the blockchain needs to take, and I’m like, open a gallery for a week and try shipping a print to Dubai, I promise you that amount of energy. Without question, you’ll never even cook close to consume that amount of energy by sending transactions to the blockchain. Like we use so much more energy creating these galleries and shipping prints and the acrylic that we use. It’s the opposite of what we’re talking about. And what we’re trying to do, which is preservation protecting the planet. So it’s like, it was hand in hand. But I have to say like, as much as I had the dream of opening the gallery. It was definitely like when it came down to it. And to it, it was the opposite of everything I ever wanted.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  43:30
Yeah, no. I mean, it’s, it’s, I’m sure, you know, we all go through that, that time in our life where we’re like, you know, I’ve been dreaming for this, I wanted this and then you get there and you feel like, okay, this is not the utopia that I’m looking for. And, you know, so you you are, you know, you find that out the hard way. And, of course, you know, at the end of the day, it’s good to kind of go through it because, like you say, otherwise, you you know you lie on your dying bed and you ask yourself What if right, and it’s one of the reason why we should pursue our passion. So that’s awesome, man. That’s the widest story what a story is so inspiring you know that two year old and the amount of dedication persistent and just conviction that you put on your heart and you’re in your journey. It’s absolutely inspiring. So thanks for now. Yeah, man, it’s Wow, just like hearing you just like wow, like,

John Knopf  44:32
I mean, I I got into it to put art on my walls. You know, it was like, I want landscape art on my walls. How do I make that happen? I didn’t think it would turn into this.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  44:43
Yeah, no, that’s that’s really cool. So you’ve done a whole lot of photography, not only landscape you did music you did. Wedding land or so well, Britain already exists. Well, yeah, that’s sick. What? What? What is your favourite Auto, auto, all that what what is your favourite genre of photography and why?

John Knopf  45:06
outdoor landscape all day 100% I mean, I do love music photography in the sense that like, I got to meet the Rockstar idols that like I love their music It wasn’t even about like, the idea like that was cool shooting for rockstars and being onstage and like all these things, but it was genuinely like, I’m a fan of the music, I love music. And so like being able to just like, collaborate and like, shoot and listen to the music like Dude, I got free concerts out of it, there was nothing better. So that was always like one of the coolest and I enjoyed studio photography for a bit like shooting, like, you know, models or like creating scenes that I enjoyed, like that was always fun, but ultimately, it just kind of like turned into like, I never published any of it, I never really did much with it, it was for me, like I’ve really kind of created art my whole life. For me, it wasn’t to sell it, I have so much studio photography, I never charge anybody for I’ve rented lights, and, you know, House of Lords and phase ones. And I just, it was just fun, I just enjoyed it. So like, I would say Ultimately, though, like, my favourite thing in the world is going out into the wilderness, you know, for a week by myself in the middle of nowhere, and just, you know, taking photos and, you know, just travelling around. That’s, that’s one of the best feelings is just seeing places and cultures and seeing things that just, I never thought I would ever see in a lifetime.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  46:24
I can totally relate to that. I think, you know, with with landscape photography, you get this special feeling, you know, a special, ominous and therapeutic and you know, meditation within that, that you can’t get from anything else. And yeah, I can totally relate to that. Man, you know, it’s, it’s been crazy, you know, hearing your story and how you get to where you are today. And what was some of the most what was some of the hardest moment? Have you ever had a moment where you felt like, you know what this is? I’m just gonna give it up? Or have you always had that conviction and belief that no matter how hard it gets us to be like, You know what, this is just another challenge. And you know, the light at the end of the tunnel is gonna be there eventually. Have you ever had a moments like that at

John Knopf  47:19
all, John Deere can’t even count the moments where I just wanted to give up and how many times I’ve just said maybe I’m not meant to be a photographer. I’m just like one instance, you know, when it was, I was five years into photography, I had not really sold like one print. I was just trying to survive, you know, and I said to this famous photographer at the time was sent to him and sold any art. Am I even meant to be a photographer? Is my art even good enough? And he looked at me and said, If you have to ask, no. And that hit heart. Because what it meant was, is not him just being a dick, because I was a dick answer. But he was a point that he was trying to prove, which was are you doing it for the money? Are you doing it? Because you want people to collect your art? Are you doing it because you actually like taking photos? And if you actually like taking photos? Do you give a shit whether people buy your art or whether they like it? And it was like, Oh yeah, I really don’t care whether or not anybody wants to buy my art, whether or not anybody likes it, because this is for me, just for my walls. It didn’t produce this for somebody else’s while I did it, because I couldn’t afford landscape photography. And I wanted that shit on my wall. So I could do it. So I did it. And that was all there is to it. So I think like we forget, you know, we don’t see curious and we forget and we we get stuck in our ways. And I always go back to that because there’s been so many times you can shift you when I moved to Minnesota and hit rock bottom and wanted to give up photography would have sold like cameras to pay rent. You know, just recently over two years ago, when I bought into crypto sold all my cameras and got really good at trading, and was making so much money that I was like, Maybe I shouldn’t do photography anymore. And then NFT showed up and full circle, I’m right back into where I started. So I feel like the universe will pull you to where you need to go. And I know that’s kind of like the lowest corny shit to say, but it’s a fact it just does. Because it has happened to me so many times where I’m like, done with photography, I have to make money I have to help a family survive, and then it gets pulled right back in and who the fuck would have thought that I would get into stock trading and crypto. And then all of a sudden discover a clubhouse or while running flat or Scientology rooms on clubhouse is a joke trolling at night. And all of a sudden find a photography in a tea room and get sucked right back into a trading knowledge, my knowledge in photography galleries and put it right back into a full circle use six months later. And the site it’s just it’s cyclical, and the universe will pull you right back to where you’re supposed to go. And maybe I wasn’t meant to be a photographer. Maybe I was just you know, like, who knows what I was meant to do. But what I do know is that every single time I try to quit It heard go, I can’t do this anymore. I get sucked right to suck back in because it’s a passion. It’s an obsession. And I think a lot of artists are at us, you know. And that’s, I really believe that because the majority of the people that I’ve met that and I didn’t know a lot of artists before clubhouse in this whole scene, Lord jority of us are addicts. We, we get obsessed or shit, whether it be Twitter spaces, Twitter, tweeting, likes, clubhouse, whatever it may be, we all get addicted to something. And so I would say to those that are discouraged or want to give up, the best thing you could do is what I’ve learned recently, which is start from scratch, ever heard of like someone who is allergic to food, and they can’t figure out what they’re allergic to. So they just start from the bare bones of literally making potatoes and they bring in kids carrots, and they bring in cucumbers, they slowly bring in things until all of a sudden, they’re sick again. So I would say start from the bare bones again, I deleted Twitter a couple of weeks ago, I delete all social media because I was just down, I was just now stealing it. There’s a lot of toxicity in the spaces fucking with my head. And I’m like, this isn’t dogs flood anymore. And if it’s not fun, I’m out to deleted everything started from scratch, not shooting anymore, just literally waking up in the morning, working out swimming, getting healthy, eating healthy. And all of a sudden, I’m filling that thirst to get back into Twitter to get back in the spaces and starting to become fun. Again, I’d say throw everything away and start over again, starting from scratch is one of the best things that I think we don’t realise that we have the capability of doing as humans, we can start and adapt very quickly to anything, which very few animals on this planet can do that. But as humans, we’re capable of adapting. And I feel like failure is something that we need to try harder and strive harder for it fail faster. Because the faster you fail, the quicker you’re going to get to actually being successful. The girl named Rachel Wood who says us on spaces and I love it when she says that fail faster. I love that because it’s the truth, fail faster. He I am learned so much more from my failures and a half from from my successes. And I will continue I think to fail because it ultimately gets me to that point of success. And I know I say success is just continuing to fail. Do what you love. And that really is it. Just do what you love. And eventually you will find what makes you happy. And that is what makes you happy is literally doing what you love. You’re already made successful. And so yeah, I just I continue to preach to all the artists because it’s like a lot of artists within the space they’ve been there for like two or three years. They’re like I haven’t sold anything and it’s like wait till you’ve done this for 15 years opened up multiple galleries had people shit all over your art laugh at your art telling you you kid you have no Photoshop skills that you’re terrible that I could take this on my iPhone, all that shit go through it all. Come back to me 15 years later, and then tell me why it isn’t selling. I’ll have sympathy then maybe, but right now, grind, grind it out, because it’s not easy. It’s it’s all about learning the conviction within yourself and when you find that it won’t matter how much art you sell, because you’ll be stoked that you continuously make art.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  53:07
Man Hallelujah. Amen. Amen to that. I mean, like, geez, you know, just drop all that wisdom there. And I love I love how you say you know, about failing, you know, embracing fail because I feel like that it’s impossible to get to have success without fail. It’s just part of the journey. And, you know, it’s it’s it really opens up the perspective you know, you say you say this that nowadays with everything that we have on our hands on our laptop and everything that come you know, the next day next hour right all of these services, we are so used to you know, overnight success right and we are expecting that and you know, people are expecting to see that especially in the in the in the NFT world, you know, from the bull run that we had, and I love that what you say there you know, like well, if you haven’t sold that, sold any NFB yet, you know, in the past two, three years, like brand new now, it’s cool. Until

John Knopf  54:20
don’t have expectations. Just be prepared. That’s what I always say in any situation. It’s like don’t expect shit. You don’t deserve anything. Let’s be honest. None of us deserve anything. We’re not entitled to anything this entitlement shit in his den. It’s not about deserving, it’s about earning and therefore don’t expect just be prepared for the worst and for the best. And ultimately, you’ll probably come out ahead because of that.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  54:45
Data is so well put Nah, that’s that’s awesome. And I love it. I love that. What a wisdom that you have, you know you have put together in this pause 15 years in this journey and I’m just so happy that out I met you today or yesterday, we literally I mean, this is what I love about the web three, allows me truly just exchanged message. And now I’m here with you.

John Knopf  55:10
I mean, support Eagles do this was a call that the web three spaces like you can message someone and they’re just like, yeah, what’s 500%?

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  55:16
Now? I want to ask you this one thing, right? You know, when you get into the web three, I feel like the cool one of the coolest thing about the web three that separates from the web two, or, you know, the traditional way of doing things. Of course, you know, the technology there, you know, the provenance and ability for us to track us as an artist, so forth. But one of the most powerful thing that I see in the web tree is community and collaboration, right? I feel like in the past, there has been a lot of competition, a lot more competition. And, you know, there is still some of that in the web through you, right. But I see a lot more collaboration, a lot more people working together with each other, to make things happen. And what what do you see what do you what’s your definition of, of community of, you know, of community and collaboration? Because I know that a lot of people are throwing that word out there without, you know, a deeper meaning behind that. So I’d love to hear your take on this.

John Knopf  56:30
Yeah, you know, let’s just go back in history to 2021. A decade ago, in web three, you know, that collaboration and community is, you know, the eight market is what it is today, because of collaboration and community. And I think a lot of people forget that, because it’s just like a bunch of Wall Street bed pumps. And it’s like just craziness. But before that, the only utility to the age was a bathroom wall that you could write on. And that was it by pixels. And the shapes were shit, there are $200 and nobody cared. It was just fun. It was just a fun thing. But what created the market today with the derivatives, you know, like, well, we got the apes immediately opened up a clubhouse room, and then all the artists started the all the clubhouse artists were making derivatives, you know, like, immediately, it was just like, you know, Dario and like, I think Savannah and like gr, like, all these guys are just making like, all these different trips, I don’t know, it’s Sunday and dropping all the shit, just artists, okay? Like artists in general, they were just like, they would go into town that make a derivative. And that’s like, everybody was so pumped about this, because you add the IP for the age. So you could do that. And this is where the collaboration that community came in, because we’d hold these rooms for 10 hours a day, just talking making noises, raiding rooms, you know, going into Gary V’s were gotten blocked by Dane Cook one day for raiding his row, like, we just we would take over a stage and like for Oak at the time, like he was like, you know, really famous on call bow. So like, he would jump into a room and they would immediately laud Him. And then he would bring us all up on stage slowly. And then he would use like, you know, cold water like banana. And all this would change our PFPs age. So we’d like well, I like to scrape it, like, like, like four year old daughter at the time was just like any other room just like it was thing to do. She’s gonna grow up thinking her dad is insane. Like he’s on conference calls, just screaming like an eight before in the morning. It was like, but this is what created the entire community around the age the market, what you see today would pumped into 150/8. That was the market that was celebrities buying bags from markets that we created by just a community of us just having fun. We never expected this to happen. We didn’t pump up like this is our bags, everybody should buy him. It was us reading rooms, celebrities see them, you know, derivatives flying everywhere, being able to use it for whatever you want it. That was the core of the NFT community that created the pump and dump market that exists today. But the pump and dump market was just based on that fuel that that that bull run where you see money will come scams. And I think right now like you said, the community is so different. The collaboration definition is so different. Because it’s not what it was on clubhouse, it’s not artists getting together and using each other’s art to collaborate, you would have never seen that 100 years ago. But now you see that right? Because all of a sudden, we were artists during the pandemic lowly shit, found each other as a bunch of other artists and said we should collaborate to be able to sell our art. That was all it was. It was like a beautiful moment. So when you think about what’s transitioning today, which is, you know, this ultra trading zone, you know, everyone trying to get their bags. It’s a it’s a moment it’s a it’s a blip within the art community. It’s a blip within the revolution of you know, what is art, you know, it’s the Renaissance, right, shall we call it a digital Renaissance? It was a beautiful time when art was just literally all of us. Were just trading gas back and forth. We were we weren’t trading like we were trading eath there was no collectors we would just buy each other’s work. And if you release something your friend will buy and then he release something he’d buy it but he was just like this funny thing. So it’s like the community back then is so different than it is but it will I think true transition back into what it was may not be the ultra small community that it was back then. But I think, you know, the core definition of what the collaboration and community was what what you saw, historically, it was what created the aid market today. That is, I think the epitome of what the NFT community can do, is they just get together, they have a bunch of fun, and all of a sudden a projects worth, you know, a million dollars. And that’s what’s so crazy, I think is like, that was just a bunch of artists hanging out on a virtual space talking back and forth. I mean, you know, pranks you own 10% of the collection at the time, you know, Blau had bought 100 of them, it was giving them away on clubhouse. It was, it was a crazy time back then. And it was like, it was just for the love of it. It wasn’t for the money because there was no real good money in it just that it was just a good time. We were just hardest having fun. And I feel like yeah, the community has been lost to this narrative of pumping dumps by dA that was the core definition of what it was when

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  1:01:06
Yeah, man, I feel like this this is this is a good kind of conclusion to to you know, the whole conversation we had today about passion about love, right? When you have a love and we pour it into that wanting it you’d never know where it can it goes and this is the one example where community of people just, you know, sharing hanging out doing what they loved the most and then it grows out of it. Right and I mean, we we never would have expected where it where it kind of go, but it does and it’s it’s amazing. In Oberliga managing

John Knopf  1:01:44
the board, he just sucks so like the reason we use them as PFPs and like Sir wearing them is because at night, you know, we would get bored like during clubhouse days, we would spend six hours a day on clubhouse, convincing everyone that crypto wasn’t a scam, that NF T’s were real and that we were artists actually being able to survive off of NF T’s we were onboarding people all they look, we were answering questions every day. Can I get a foundation in like, like it was always the same questions? How does this work? And do they own the rights to your work? And can they printed like was always a sale every day? We were literally like, like the ask advice help for like the NFT world. And so at night to blow off steam, we would put on like cop avatars or like you know, animal avatars and go raid rooms that we put on cops, they put on sirens ago it’s takeover room. So when the eights came out, we were like, well, yeah, at least we owe these identities. At least we own these avatars. Let’s do something with these and raid rooms. So that’s how like, that whole thing started with us just answering questions on clubhouse and being bored at night and blowing off steam by creating, you know, a raid ovo a troll. Like we were just like, we were just a bunch of trolls just literally just trade a stupid market that we never thought would actually take.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  1:02:54
Yeah, man, it’s, you know, I love how it builds a community. And I feel like now we know with this quote unquote bear market, I feel like this definition of communities actually strengthened again, because, you know, during the bull market, everyone is just saying it without a meaning behind it. But now, the people who are still here, I feel like the people who probably we’ll be here for a long, long time, you know, because this is the toughest in the market right now. So yeah, very, very glad to see you know, that I’m still part of it, that we are still part of it, you know, because we know that it’s going to be there for a while. But John min min is this been such a great interview, I has so much wisdom so much, you know, inspiration coming out of you. So thanks a lot for sharing a lot of that. Thanks a lot for opening up and sharing some of the difficult stories that you know coming to your life. I know it’s not easy to be vulnerable sometimes and open up so it’s a big inspiration for me to hear a lot of that one thing one question that I always ask all of my guests in in the podcast is that if you have one single advice that you could give that you could that you would live off live off or you know that you would give to your younger self what would that one advice be?

John Knopf  1:04:24
Or to say because it’s like Les younger self would have never listened to me see people younger yourself to be let go go put

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  1:04:31
yourself who are you?

John Knopf  1:04:34
Bless, I will hit you know, like, if I could give like some advice to the kids and probably would never listen to you either way. But you know, I would say be patient and be honest, like the hardest thing is a kid but be patient because we all want that instant gratification that we’ve been raised to get it you know we have instant the internet instant videos. We don’t have to go to the video store. We’re gonna have to go to the music store, buy music, it’s everything’s instant. So we’ve all bought that instant success. We all want to that, you know, everyone sees the YouTube influencers instance, we all want it. Why do you want it to get rich Kate, all I can say, be patient with all of it will come and do time it you will learn along the way. If you just got all the successful out once you just gonna, you’re gonna waste it. If I had gotten all the success of like in my 20s or 30s I promise you I would have blown it all away some strip club partying because I was a child. I’m glad that I got this success as I got older, because I know now what I want to do with it, and how I want to change things for my life and my family and my legacy. So be patient. And the second store the second thing saved nothing for this one back. It was sounds crazy, your parents will never tell you to do that. Save nothing, man. Go all in. Because if you don’t risk it all, you will never find out if it was worth it. You’ll always go, I could have done this much more and maybe I would have made it I can tell you and almost 40 years old. That leads to regrets. And you don’t want that shit in your life. So do everything you can to make something work. If you really love it. Save nothing from this went back.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  1:06:17
That is one hell of an advice right there and 100% Man I think you know, if we always look back, I mean, it’s important to look back into SAS and learn from it by we always look back. Although hell we know where we want to go, you know, probably gonna hit a tree or something, right?

John Knopf  1:06:36
You do not know your direction, you might not know exactly where you want to go, that might be the case. But if you follow what you love, you follow your heart, you’ll eventually get to where you’re going. I never knew where I was going, Dude, I had no direction, did not know where I wanted to be with my photography, but I followed what I love. And it eventually led me into getting me nowhere needed to galleries. And you know, ultimately being able to sell my art to sustain my lifestyle. So I think it’s it’s a it’s a tribute to being able to just follow what you love and look, you may never ever sell your art. But if you’re doing what you love every single day, you get an up you’re doing it because you love it. I don’t think that necessarily matters. I think that’s just a bonus. Because I know like as someone everyone could go that’s easy, bro you just sold you know, a fortune worth of art last year your you’re happier. I can tell you that hasn’t changed anything. Like yes, it has changed my life in the sense that like I’m able to not stress about money. But that hasn’t changed my lifestyle that hasn’t changed me doesn’t change who I am I’m not different because of that you can ask almost anybody that met me on clubhouse from day one to who I am today after selling all the needs of everything. And the same asshole that I was two years ago and nothing has changed. And I have to like really like emphasise it you can’t let money change you you have to find that balance and therefore if you find what you love before you find an income for it, you’ll find that conviction within yourself to just keep going no matter what and then you’ll decide whether or not you want to do it for the money or because you want to do it because love it

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  1:08:09
100% I feel like money is just a multiplier you know if you’re passionate and money will help you with your passion if you’re greedy you’re just become greedy. You know it’s 100%

John Knopf  1:08:22
it was Johnny Cash who said at best you know money only thing money did for me is now I don’t have to stress about money or anything it just stresses me in a fuck out

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  1:08:34
Well, John, it’s been a really good conversation man. Thanks a lot for being here sharing your wisdom and all of this story. It is so it’s very inspiring to hear your journey now for the people who want to learn more about you and connect with your work with with your story with your journey. What is the best way for them to to find you

John Knopf  1:08:57
you could just go to my website you know my name Jane and go to my twitter John now photos but yeah, that’s pretty much all available online. Just google me there’s another John Neff out there that’s like a billionaire that started a pharmacy shout out to him he bought my book and my art love that guy. Love all the John offs out there. They’re good people. We’ve actually like collaborated a bunch of us so we’re all friends but you know, the majority like there’s just me and the other John off on Google. So just Google us you’ll find one of us. No way. That’s

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  1:09:25
that’s actually really cool.

John Knopf  1:09:28
I hit him up like five years ago, bro. And I was like, Hey, not doing so good in this art thing and OSI you’re a billionaire. Want to ask some advice, man, you’re another John NOF figured we know we’re brothers homies and he literally respond he’s like, Yo, what up? He started Chinese like I bought your book and some art let’s do this. Let’s do a wild. Yeah, so I started reaching out there John Dawson like meeting up and stuff. I met another one in Minnesota. We’re friends. We smoked weed together. It was pretty cool.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  1:09:55
So you got the John album club now.

John Knopf  1:09:58
Oh, John. I’ve got like quick side Story I moved to Minnesota could not find wheat. Google jammed off in Minnesota found one on Facebook, messaged him and I was like, Hey, bro, just moved to Minnesota. Looking for some weed. You got me? He’s like, Yeah, actually I do. I went over to his apartment dude is driving the same car. I’m driving back in like my hometown. And I’m like, get to his house two times read. He’s like, got you bro. Like we’re friends. I was like, this is just it. He comes to a gallery opening. Like he shows up. My sister meets and we’re like, this is John off and she’s like shutting Kimbell. No way. I love the job milestone are all that is awesome. That is awesome. Well, John,

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  1:10:42
thanks a lot for it is a lot of input A lot, a lot of, you know inspiration in this and weekenders. For those of you who are listening, you know, check out his work. Check out his music count. He put together as some of the most amazing photos out there some of the most, most amazing art out there. And yeah, look, you know, as you see, as you hear in this podcast itself, he’s such an inspiring person, inspiring voice in this in this space. So make sure you follow Him, connect with them and learn a thing or two from him and, you know, be patient like John said, be patient, it will come in due time. All right. Well, thanks a lot for tuning in. And I’ll see you guys next week. Thanks a lot. Thanks a lot, John. And I’ll catch you next time,

John Knopf  1:11:31
bro. Thank you so much for this. This was incredible.


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