How does environmental awareness access different dimensionality of web3? How are the mechanisms of nft’s in terms of art and utility working to support & bring attention to the alleviation of climate anxiety? Maya Frost enjoys the grittiness of working with older AI programs, regularly donating proceeds from her work to partnering non-profit organizations. Her current work evaluates humor and surprise as necessary, remaining open to new communities in mindfulness, art, and education.
Maya Frost is an artist and activist. She uses art and storytelling to raise funds for climate solutions and spark engagement in web3. As a change strategist, she has partnered with women in 12 countries to implement initiatives that protect local ecosystems and build more resilient communities. A preschool educator who has taught in five countries, Maya now lives in Buenos Aires, and is the delighted grandmother of three preschoolers.
- How would you describe your artistic style?
My work is whimsical yet provocative. I like to poke playfully at ideas and cultural norms, and find that humor and art are a powerful combination, especially when related to climate awareness.
- What drew you to NFT creation versus traditional canvas-based art and how are you using multi-media in this space?
In the past, I have had a big studio space for creating large paintings. These days, my husband and I share a studio apartment in Buenos Aires. We actually love the simplicity of it, and turning to digital art has been a liberating shift for me! As a minimalist, I love the fact that I can create art, and then sell and send it anywhere in the world with just a few clicks. As a climate activist, using very little in the way of resources is important to me. (And for those who are worried about the impact of NFTs on the environment, I have resources on my website about how to create green NFTs that actually support climate solutions.)
- Please describe any constraints or freedoms that you have working within this artistic field.
The way I choose to create AI art requires quite a bit of tweaking, editing, and curating, which is what makes it so fun. Though I have recently started playing with DALL-E 2 (I got into the early beta version), but it generates images so accurately and specifically that it takes the joy out of my process! Using several simple AI tools together forces me to make artistic choices that lead to truly unique results. I choose to use free apps and software, a basic Android phone, and a Chromebook. I find that limitations increase my creativity.
- Are there any artists that have inspired you? Most underrated? What specific elements do you admire?
AI artists like Refik Anadol and Memo Akten are doing incredible public art that inspires audiences all over the world. But this is a new field that feels open to all, and I especially appreciate the diversity of the artists. I am currently cheering the innovative work and perspectives of Soungwen Chung, Mimi Onuoha, Sarah Mehoyas, Louise Crnkovic-Friis, and Sofia Crespo.
- Can you tell us about your project? What is the most exciting thing that you are working on?
I work on several things at once, with collaborations that overlap with my own projects. For myself, I enjoy creating a limited series of no more than 12 pieces, and donate a percentage (25-50%) of proceeds to a non-profit organization doing work that is tied visually or thematically to my work.
My most recent project is Place of Worship: Nature. It’s a series of 8 NFTs that explores the idea of natural landscapes inspiring awe and reverence, much like a hushed cathedral or holy temple, with arching shapes and vibrant blocks of color evoking stained glass windows. I have two more series ready to launch in the coming weeks. It’s a thrilling time to be in this space. I am working on a collection of nature-inspired PFPs (profile photos) that I am very excited about. I recently wrote an article, published in The Solutions Journal, about how changes in crypto are getting both activists and artists excited about the potential for NFTs. I also do virtual talks and conferences on climate and NFTS.
- How many NFT’s will be minted? Can you talk us through your creation process?
With the PFP collection, it depends on the needs of my partners, as it’s a collaboration, but I am thinking perhaps 100 pieces. I can’t imagine doing a 10,000-piece collection or even 1000 pieces. I am impatient and have many ideas, so it’s more fun to dive into one thing and then move on to the next. I truly love the creative challenge of coming up with a concept and developing a series that has a clear message. For me, there has to be an element of humor or surprise. My first series, RegenerAIted, was inspired by memories of my childhood spent in the forest in rural Oregon. I wanted to recapture, or regenerate, that childlike sense of wonder I felt upon discovering something miraculous in my wanderings in the woods. Another series, VenerAIted, launched during the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, was a playful but pointed provocation to venerate the Majesty of Nature rather than the lifestyles of the royals. It featured what appeared to be tiaras and crowns growing naturally in a forest. Once I come up with an idea for a series, I dive into the AI artmaking process. Sometimes it takes a while to land on the right look and feel, but once I find it, I run with it!
- A lot of web 3 is focused, from my limited experience in the space, on the goal of the metaverse. The metaverse in a way is technologically balancing the human experience. This is limiting in several ways. How do you see yourself balance or value web 3? Elon Musk seems to value earth in a way that dooms all resources to divulging to the Mars spectrum. How do you see crypto in a conversation with nature where even the name seems to connotate a disconnect from human connection to earth as well as climate change?
What most people don’t realize is that there is a whole world of non-art NFTs that are being used to keep track of trees planted, plastic particles removed from oceans, carbon sequestered in forests, and nutrients returned to soil through regenerative agriculture. The verification and transparency provided by blockchain technology is transforming climate solutions, and is already having a profound impact on our ability to track and improve how we restore the planet.
To be honest, I am not that focused on the Metaverse other than to celebrate it as a way to dramatically reduce travel for work, conferences, and other events. Companies like Ernst & Young, with offices in dozens of countries worldwide, have invested in building surprisingly beautiful and well-designed Metaverse spaces where remote workers and leaders in various country offices can meet in a remarkably useful. pleasing, and social setting.
- Who should we follow?
I follow #eco tok accounts on TikTok. It’s inspiring to see young people jumping into climate action. For discovering NFT artists, I follow @nft_fineart and @nftartdaily on Instagram. I meet the best women artists on Twitter Spaces, like Abstract Artists with @MelShapcott, @LesleyGrainger and @AlishaAnglinArt, Women+ Web3 with @AmetaverseA, @WiBT (Women in Blockchain Talks) with @LaviniaOsbourne and RugRadio with @LoriGraceAZ.
I am most active on LinkedIn, which has a wonderfully supportive community for women NFT artists (many who are also on Twitter), including Fernanda Boccard, Leila Pinto, Mel Hearts, Emily Carrig, Carly Long, Yolanda Velandia, Alyse Sue, and so many more.
- Any hidden desires for future projects?
Always! Everything I do is inspired and informed by nature, with an eye toward raising funds for climate solutions. There’s room to play, but also a sense of urgency. At this stage of my life (I’m 62), my work is focused on climate for the sake of my grandchildren and their peers.
Also, I find that more of my work is focused on helping people make the inner shifts required to do their highest work for the greater good. So many of us are suffering from climate anxiety that manifests in different ways, and tapping into that and LEVERAGING it can be a powerful shift that inspires and energizes us. So, for me, my greatest joy is bringing my background in not only writing but mindfulness training and education to focus on the positive steps we can take to make our lives richer and our planet healthier! In offering my RegenerAIted series, for example, I wanted to spark (or regenerate) that same childlike sense of wonder I remember so vividly from my years spent wandering the forest on my family’s rural property. What would make me stop in my tracks and imagine new worlds? What might make me smile and appreciate nature in a new way?