Exploring the World of NFTs with Elise Swopes

Digital art and NFTs have shaken up the financial world just as much as the creative realm. World-renowned NFT artist and current Columbia student Elise Swopes gives us some insight into her journey and how she got into creating art on blockchain.

When did you realize your passion for digital art?

I realized I had a passion for digital art when I was about ten years old. I enjoyed using this program called Kidpix on one of those blue iMacs from the 90s. Eventually, I leveled up to teaching myself photoshop and illustrator and designed my first website by the time I was 11. But it wasn’t until 2011 that I began shooting and editing with my iPhone. Since then, I’ve learned video and even became the new splash screen of Adobe Premiere Pro. My thought process is, if there’s an undo and redo option, I’m going to try it.

How did you first learn about NFTs, and when did you create your first one?

I learned about NFTs through one of my friends @JNSilva on Twitter. He’s been into crypto for some time, and I’ve known him for almost a decade through the Instagram photography community. I applied to SuperRare, one of the top platforms for artists, and I got accepted in February, dropped my first piece that same month, and sold for 11 ETH. But it wasn’t until an acquaintance of mine, @beeple sold his art for $69 million that I started learning of its true power! So, I sold my second NFT in march for 18 ETH. And since then, I’ve sold a total of 5 NFTs on SuperRare for a total of 80+ ETH.

What do you see for the future of NFTs? How do you think they’ll impact the creative industries?

The future of NFTs is bright but only if we create a decentralized system of resources for artists that helps with financial literacy, health, and wellness. Ownership, royalties, and access are some of the most exciting concepts of NFTs because instead of the traditional middle man, I.e., gallery, agencies, labels, etc. Artists have much more control over how they release music, support their art, and connect with fans, friends, and followers.

How are your courses at Columbia helping you hone your skills for the future? 

The courses at Columbia are helping me feel a lot more confident with my business and financial decisions. One of my favorite classes so far, Personal Finance by Ryan Smith, created less worry and more hope for the future.