Article written in collaboration with @The_MissLeo.
If you spend any time on the Internet whatsoever, it’s impossible to miss that memes have evolved from the jokes they once were into customized, grassroot marketing campaigns for everything from T.V. to technology. Each template of catchy images and quippy phrases becomes imbued with enough meaning to go viral and bring the life-giving publicity smaller businesses need without the traditional price tag.
The cryptocurrency industry is no different, where hundreds (if not thousands) of start-ups are constantly trying to catch the eye of potential investors, both big and small. While these memes are an effective way to promote a business, they are designed not from a place of artistic expression but rather as a poorly crafted and simple approach to familiarize brand-awareness. This is why we were so inspired when we discovered the opposite in the Shiba Token mural by StayseaArt in Miami, Florida.
Shiba Token, at it’s heart, is a community-focused, cryptocurrency with consistent growth in the past weeks, both in the price of the token itself as it is on the number of members (past 10,000 at the time this article was published). The concept that a group is only as great as the sum of its parts is a ruling influence here, allowing each individual to look into their soul and discover how they can set $SHIB apart in the flood of meme coins, following $DOGE’s parabolic success over the last few months.
StayseaArt has accomplished exactly that. So we took some time today to learn more about her and what inspired her to give back to this community.
(The following are StayseaArt’s redacted answers to a letter with a few questions prepared by our team)
Wynwood’s walls as the canvas
What can you tell us about the Miami Art scene in Wynwood, and the cultural context where you created your SHIB mural?
The art scene in Wynwood is an ever-changing ecosystem of countless artists from all over the world. The lifespan of a mural here varies, but it’s usually less than a year. It’s as volatile as the crypto market. Some last a few years and some only a few days! Wynwood has been a revolving door of art and culture for a very long time – From various bars and restaurants that host amazing art events to the live music scene, etc. It’s a hub for all things art! Being that I am from South Florida, I’ve watched it grow and evolve through the years. My first Wynwood mural was over 6-7 years ago
Can you tell us a bit about the creative process you followed for this mural, from concept to execution?
This mural concept came about after a piece I had done for a collaboration called the “Permanent Vacation Mural Project” during Art Basel 2020. It got tagged/bombed up after just three weeks of life. I wanted to make something in its place that is fun and meaningful to the crypto community, specifically SHIB, as during this time Miami had been integrating Bitcoin more and more into its culture.
I asked my good friend Cortney Cates (@ogmediainc) to work alongside me in creating this piece and she is also a SHIB supporter! We had such a great time working together on figuring out what to include and exclude, we wanted to share this project with the intent that any passersby in Wynwood would be able to stop by and check it out and learn at the same time. We know plenty of people that aren’t familiar with everything will stop and think, “What is SHIB?” “What does HODL mean?”
We wanted to draw positive attention to the growing community. I believe in the SHIB project and love that it is community-based and driven by people who want to see it succeed! Yes, it started as a meme coin, but it does have a plan provide a service and it is set to release ShibaSwap very soon! It’s also super awesome that they are philanthropic and even guided the community to support a new Shiba Inu rescue! It’s also just fun for me to be involved in the best way I know how to be… through art!
The colors were based on the unmatched beauty of a Miami sunset and all of the vivid vibes we have here. I normally utilize bright colors in my work and will flow contrasting colors around to flip the eyes a bit. It creates a more striking visual impact. We added in a graphic and layered blend of words and acronyms associated with crypto to encourage onlookers to DYOR (do your own research) and learn for themselves about this growing technology.
What was your favorite part to make in this mural?
My favorite part of creating any mural is the process. Watching it evolve from start to finish. Talking to people who walk by while we work. Leaving a lasting impression for the community – for as long as the mural survives, anyway!
Cryptocurrencies as a source of inspiration
When did you learn about cryptocurrencies and how did you find about SHIB in particular?
Oh boy. This is my one regret in life. I always said I’d never have any regrets but here’s my story… I first heard about Bitcoin in 2009 when a group of friends and I were sitting in our Art Collectives warehouse in between Little Haiti and Miami’s Design District, discussing this new idea of a decentralized virtual currency. Half of us said “ok I guess that could work” and the other half, including myself, said “well, that seems sketchy” or “I don’t know enough” and especially the “I don’t have the extra income to waste on this if it’s a scam.”
Needless to say, I was a lot younger and didn’t really have the expendable income as I was still in college and even $100 was a lot of money at the time. I couldn’t rationalize putting it into something that I didn’t understand. It was still so new and unheard of that we had no idea of the FOMO that was going to follow us in a few years. I dove back into crypto again in 2016 when I was a little older and had a slightly better understanding of blockchain technology and smart contracts.
It got to a point to where I hosted a few speakers at the Crypto conference here in Miami circa 2017/2018. I was working the event and ended up seeing some friends of mine who had bought Bitcoin back in 2009. They said “Hey Stacey, you’re on the wrong side of the table!” Which haunts me to this day.
Then I started getting more involved in crypto on social media, which is where someone told me to check out SHIB in January 2021. Upon reading Ryoshis’ medium article “All Hail the Shiba”. I saw something special and different in this community. Something that made me feel that spark again. The creative juices were flowing and that’s something special for any artist or creator to feel. The limits of decentralization that are being pushed, and how it’s all expanding even further through the ideals behind this experiment is so exciting, I can’t wait to see where it all goes and to be a part of it.
There are more that 4,000 cryptocurrency projects out there. What do you find so interesting about SHIB in comparison to other cryptocurrencies?
I hold many different cryptocurrencies to support the numerous projects and visions. Having a diverse portfolio is key and discovering new projects is not only inspiring, but fun! When I first came across SHIB, it was from that article created by Ryoshi Research I mentioned before. There were a few things in this vision that stood out to me.
Not pushing a central figure or organization, fair distribution and opportunity for all -with the creator spending $0 and taking nothing except what he wanted to pay for just like any other person, community and volunteer based, where any individual can get involved based on what one can contribute. And also being a decentralized experiment in spontaneous community building.
The community I’ve found since entering this project is absolutely something I’ve never experienced. I’ve not met anyone in the physical realm, but feel connected to them in ways I cannot explain. We all see the vision and have become a family of sorts!
The community, and dreams for the future
What are you working on now?
2017 was when I first heard of NFTs, but I was still in the mental place of being an artist and I didn’t understand the transition of art from physical to digital. I finally started to understand NFTs more when I realized how beneficial it was to arts of all kind and, beyond that, it can be used for anything unique, physical or digital. It’s so important, being able to take control back for the artist and the fact that its peer-to-peer, tracked through the blockchain is so great! Once the transaction is done, it is forever, and you can see everywhere your art goes, it’s an awesome future for creators worldwide!
NFT Mural Collective is a community created by myself and a few other muralists/street artists. We want to create an open space to bridge the gap for other muralists and street artists who are ready and willing to enter into the NFT atmosphere. Street art by nature has a limited lifespan… it could be 5 years or 5 days… but it now can live forever on the blockchain and continue inspiring countless more people daily. Within this project, I will be minting murals of mine that no longer exist, creating digital mural packages in NFT form that translate to real world structure, as well as create AR/VR scenes within the mural work.
In addition, I have a few other amazing murals lined up to paint for private homes and businesses here in South Florida which I plan to make NFT Collectibles from in the next few months.
Can you tell us about your experience in the SHIB community, and their reception to your work?
My experience has been super positive! The #ShibArmy is definitely a unique animal and overall the space has been very open, warm and welcoming. I decided to create this mural for fun and to help uplift the community even more. It’s been received very well! Everyone loves it!
When SHIB takes off and money is no longer a concern, what will you do with your time?
I can’t wait to have the time to just create for the sake of creation but there are other endeavors I would love to explore as well. I’ll have a surf retreat space somewhere in Central America and host art workshops and surf tours. I look forward to having more time to teach myself new skills and level up in all aspects of my dreams. Definitely will have a doggo rescue there, too. Help my friends and family out. Live in passion and paradise and support others.
- @Staceyart at Instagram
- @ogmediainc at Instagram
- @sandroabate at Instagram
- @streetartpedia at Instagram
- @sylvierobert at Instagram
- Creative Commons Images:
- “I think I had one just like this when I was a kid… (Wynwood District, Miami)” by hecpara is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
- “Miami – Wynwood: Wynwood Walls – RETNA” by wallyg is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
- “Miami – Wynwood: Wynwood Walls – Os Gêmeos” by wallyg is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Note of the editor: While we did our best this time to add the proper credits to the images, some of them might not be correct. We will update if we find any omission or error.