Meet the Creator of Real Estate in a Non-Real World
© Digital interior by Kate Whitefoot-Rolls - "ITS NOT A GLAZE, MOM"
Exploring exposure, gender and donut shops in the Metaverse.
“NFTs” (non-fungible tokens) and “the metaverse” have become buzzwords of the 2020’s, and I’m sure we have all heard the stories of digital artwork selling for millions of dollars. For many people however, this world seems intangible and inaccessible.
Kate Whitefoot-Rolls is an artist specialising in digital interiors, creating a collection of works titled “Metaverse Interiors”. She is empathetic about the confusing nature of NFTs, and frank about the hard work related to success in an evolving virtual world, but she is excited about the auspicious nature of the future of this new industry.
Kate, and we at INJECTION, hope that her infectious optimism and dedication inspire at least one newcomer into the world of digital art and NFTs.
How did you start your journey into NFTs? What inspired you to start creating?
Good question! Back in March 2021, and knowing very little, I watched the digital art community go mad about Beeple’s ‘Everydays’ NFT collection being sold for over $69 million. It blew my mind so I started looking into other digital artists, the concept of the metaverse, and art styles such as voxel art, surrealism and vaporwave.
Voxel art is a form of digital artwork whereby models are created with 3D cubes called “voxels”. This style of digital art is similar to pixel art, but with an added 3-Dimensional element to the piece. Vaporwave, on the other hand, is a genre of both art and music, characterised by its ironic, retro nature, that provides a sarcastic perspective of popular culture.
I noticed there was a gap for conceptual, digital interior designs. I absolutely love interior design, so why not merge in and create a digital format ready for when the metaverse takes off!
Currently, I sell my interiors as “art” but, eventually, I’d like them to become realistic digital spaces within the metaverse.
How would people be able to interact with a “realistic digital space”? How far away from this reality do you think we are?
Obviously, it’s my own vision as to how I see my artwork sitting within the metaverse. For example, it’s likely that people will interact within the metaverse through either VR (virtual reality) or digital devices by using their own avatars. This means they will need to move around in digital spaces, and these spaces need interiors. Eventually I want my interiors to be replicated; there is a particular organisation who own land in the metaverse and I know they are currently working with digital architects. They follow me on Instagram and have reached out to me so we’ll see how that goes!
It’s a tricky one in terms of timings. Realistically we’re talking a good few years before the metaverse even becomes well known, let alone any wide-scale uptake! It’s super early in this space.
© Digital interior by Kate Whitefoot-Rolls - "METAVERSE MASTERPIECE"
Where do you get your inspiration for your virtual interior spaces?
Everywhere I visit in the real world is my inspiration. The small ramen restaurant I stopped at while visiting Copenhagen, a London cooking school that I attended for a day, my grandma’s old-style living room during Christmas, a donut shop I visited in New York. I want to make people feel something when they look at my digital interiors, to feel as if they have been there before.
I believe you’re self-taught - did this require a lot of research and practice? I personally find the metaverse and NFTs a complex and confusing space! Was it hard to get your foot in the door?
I’ll be honest, it took me many, many hours of research and practice. I’m still developing my skills in the digital art space, as well as constantly learning about NFTs. I agree it’s confusing initially, but if someone is keen to learn and doesn’t mind reaching out to ask questions then they will eventually get there.
It’s not too hard to get your foot in the door as there are many different opportunities within NFTs: not only do I create and sell my own NFTs, but I also buy and sell from other artists and large-scale collections. So basically flipping JPEGs!
Do you find you are treated differently or face challenges being a female creator, or do you find that gender is not considered in the same way in the metaverse compared with the “real world”?
I like this question a lot. I absolutely believe there is inequality both in the digital world and the real world for female creators - it’s improving but there is still more to be done.
Personally, I choose to use my own face (for my profile picture) and full name as a creator. I’m fully transparent with who I am and I don’t define my NFTs as a “female-led project” because I’m happy to work twice as hard.
However, there are other creators who are anonymous and use their artwork as their voice which I completely respect, and I understand why they have chosen to go down that route. Sometimes you’ve got to play the game rather than be resistant.
Do you ever struggle to get your work seen amongst so many other creators or do you think that the metaverse allows for niches to be more easily accessed?
There are many incredible digital creators, but there is also a lot of noise. So, to progress, I spend every day engaging with other artists and the wider community asking for active feedback and commenting on their work. This is mainly to “be part of it all”, but also to get my art in front of them. I wouldn’t say it’s a struggle because that sounds negative, and I enjoy having these conversations!
© Digital interior by Kate Whitefoot-Rolls - "CATCH YOU ON THE FLIP SIDE"
What are your aspirations and expectations of the metaverse in the future and where do you see yourself within that? For example, do you think you will expand beyond virtual spaces to other forms of digital art? Do you envision this becoming a viable full time job for you (and others)?
To be the best digital interview designer in the metaverse! Whether that be through commissions or having collectors buy my work and be in high demand. Right now I don’t see myself drifting into different forms of digital art as I want to specialise within this genre but you never know!
With the market now, there is an opportunity for it to become a viable full-time job, especially when the adoption of the metaverse increases. I have no doubt in my mind, even though that sounds crazy at this stage because we’re at the very beginning.
Do you agree with the argument that NFTs are going to transform the art world? Do you consider your work a form of art?
Yes, yes and more yes!
Historically there have been written records for famous pieces of art which includes every collector of the piece, their personal details, sale transactions and so on - The Mona Lisa, for example. NFTs are digital proof that a piece of art is your creation. These have already and will continue to completely change the art world.
I do consider my work a form of art!
Do you have any advice for others, especially women, entering and navigating the metaverse and the world of NFTs?
Firstly, just have fun! It’s such a new and exciting space to get involved in, the community is excellent and so many are happy to give advice and guidance. I reply to all DMs from people asking questions so feel free to drop me a message. Happy to help!
Secondly, there will be many - and I mean many - people in your life that will dismiss, laugh and tease you about the metaverse and NFTs in general. However, I promise you these people are wrong, and in the future will wish they had invested into this!