In this interview, Gabriele, also known as donborto.eth, a film photographer, AI enthusiast, and creator of the Polaroid Walls NFT collection, discusses his background in photography, his journey into the world of NFTs, and his experiences working with AI. He shares his inspirations, challenges, and creative process in creating his NFT collection, as well as his thoughts on the future of NFTs and the impact they will have on the art world. Gabriele also provides advice for aspiring artists interested in exploring emerging technologies and mediums like AI and NFTs, emphasizing the importance of experimentation and pushing the boundaries of art and technology.
NFTs matter because they represent a new way of thinking about digital ownership and value. – Gabriele
Can you tell us a little about your background and how you became interested in photography and art?
My name is Gabriele, and I’m known as donborto.eth in the NFT world. I am a film photographer and an AI enthusiast. My journey began with posting travel content on Instagram, as I was inspired by others traveling to beautiful hotels and resorts. My IG followers started to grow, and more hotels became interested in my content. This gave me the opportunity to collaborate with hotels around Europe, such as Nice, Hamburg, Berlin, and Brussels. I never thought I could turn this into a career. During the first COVID lockdown, I thought a lot about what I should do with my life and what the possibilities were. I decided to concentrate my energy on photography full time. As I improved my skills, I started to reach out to more models and agencies.
What inspires you as a photographer and artist, and how does this inspire your work?
I love summer, and when people see my images, I want to give them the feeling of summer.
Can you talk about your experience exploring AI and how it has influenced your creative process?
I started to explore AI at the end of January with Copy.ai, Chatgbt, and Midjourney. Midjourney, in particular, helps me expand my creativity to find the best prompts for building my Polaroid Wall collection.
What motivated you to create Polaroid Walls, and what was your inspiration for the project?
Polaroid Wall was born in mid-February. I was scrolling through NFT Twitter and saw a lot of Polaroid images, and that’s when the idea popped into my mind. Polaroid Wall has been an experiment since day one. Before the drop, I improved a lot on how to guide the AI for what I needed.
How does Polaroid Walls work, and what can people expect to experience when they view your NFTs?
Polaroid Wall is an NFT collection generated by AI of Polaroid images with my editing skills. I don’t expect anything from people. Everyone has a different opinion on AI, and if they like what I create, I’m happy.
How did you incorporate AI into Polaroid Walls, and what challenges did you face during the creation process?
Polaroid Wall was hard to elaborate. People think that you can write four things on Midjourney and then get what you think in mind. It’s way different from that. I start on the Midjourney explore page to find what prompts to use. After a few experiments, I had my first Polaroid. I was happy, but I felt like I missed something. One day, I noticed that I could search singular words, so I immediately tried to find “Polaroid.” I looked at them and finally found the perfect prompt to generate Polaroids. OK, now I have the prompts to generate Polaroid, but models aren’t always perfect. Eyes might not align, teeth, hair, fingers, etc. I used the same method as I found the Polaroid, looking for what people wrote for models, and implemented it. The same method applied for dress, way of shooting, angles, etc. The day before the drop, I saw Midjourney V5, so for the Polaroids, I wasn’t 100% sure I used the same prompts. They turned out wild good, so I switched some of them. You see 101 Polaroid in the collection, but in my archive, I have almost 300 AI Polaroids.
Can you talk about the importance of NFTs in the art world and how they are changing the way artists create and sell their work?
NFTs matter because they represent a new way of thinking about digital ownership and value. In the past, digital content has been difficult to monetize because it is easily replicable and shareable. NFTs, however, allow creators to create and sell unique digital assets that can be bought and sold just like physical assets.
For artists, NFTs provide a new way to monetize their work and reach a wider audience. By creating and selling NFTs, artists can receive royalties every time their work is resold, providing a new source of income that is not dependent on traditional gatekeepers like galleries or auction houses.
For collectors and investors, NFTs represent a new asset class that has the potential for significant growth in value over time. As the market for NFTs continues to grow and evolve, it is becoming increasingly important for investors to understand the potential risks and rewards of investing in this emerging asset class.
What sets Polaroid Walls apart from other NFT projects, and how do you see it evolving in the future?
Polaroid Wall is unique because it is an experiment that combines my editing skills with AI-generated images. It is constantly evolving, and with Polaroid 2.0, holders can create their own unique Polaroid by mixing two or more Polaroids into one. After April 19th, holders of Polaroids can have a new unique Polaroid with the fusion of what they collected.
What do you hope people take away from your NFTs, and what impact do you hope your art has on the world?
If people feel summer watching my photography, I consider it a win. If my grandchildren learn about web3 in school, and there is my name, that is the impact I want for my art.
How has the NFT community influenced your work, and what do you think the future of NFTs looks like?
The NFT community influences me every day, and I am constantly learning and experimenting with new ideas. Twitter is where all artists post their art, and you can pick up a little bit from everyone and experiment on your daily work.
Can you tell us about any upcoming projects or collaborations you have in the works?
Upcoming projects for AI: Polaroid 2.0; for photography: I have several shoots already booked, and summer is around the corner, so I’m preparing something at the end of September. As a creative person, I will continue exploring AI, and I have started using Adobe Illustrator as well.
How do you balance the technical aspects of AI and NFT creation with the artistic and creative aspects of your work?
AI accelerates a lot of things for my work, especially the business side with emails, copy, ads, reaching out, and how to write in the most effective way as English is not my first language. Creative side, Midjourney, and the creation of Polaroid Wall helps me on mood board, photography angles & styling.
How does your background in photography inform your approach to creating NFTs and working with AI?
Photography and NFTs are the perfect match, and without my photography background, I could not have created Polaroid Wall with AI.
Can you talk about any challenges you have faced as an artist working with emerging technologies like AI and NFTs?
On a daily basis, people think that NFTs are a scam, maybe because they only see the news, but that is okay. NFTs are a life change for most of us. Living creating art is the dream for all of us, and I think it’s possible. AI is a strange vibe. During the process of Polaroid Wall, I was afraid to see all these photos created that looked like the reality, questioning if this is now what we can have in the near future. I think most people are afraid of this. My community is half pro-half against AI
What advice do you have for aspiring artists who want to explore new technologies and mediums like AI and NFTs?
My advice to aspiring artists who want to explore new technologies and mediums like AI and NFTs is to do it. It’s scary at first, but when you learn and earn quickly from these things, you will have plenty of opportunities. The journey of an artist is a long and winding road, filled with ups and downs, successes and failures, and moments of inspiration and frustration. It’s part of this process, and you have one life, one shot, so try everything you can.
How do you see AI and NFTs evolving in the art world over the next few years, and how do you plan to adapt and grow with these changes?
I see AI and NFTs evolving constantly, with new things being built and creative people inventing something new every day. The NFT world is like a whiteboard, and you have a pen to write. AI will have a massive impact on our lives, also in real life, so you need to adapt and go with the flow.
How important is experimentation and pushing the boundaries of art and technology in your creative process?
Experimentation and pushing the boundaries of art and technology are essential in my creative process because if you don’t learn, you will never grow and improve.
Can you discuss any social or political themes that you explore in your art, and how do you hope your NFTs contribute to these conversations?
I don’t like to create art for social or political themes. I’m more for vibing and creating what I like.
What do you think makes a successful NFT project, and how do you measure success with your projects?
A sold-out project is the apex of an NFT project, but every NFT project I create, I analyze what I did well and what I did wrong to improve for the next ones. Success isn’t determined by having a sold-out project, some sales, or nothing. Success is determined by the ability to move small steps every day and learning from your failures about past projects and experiments. When you are ready to drop, see what works well and replicate it, look at what you did wrong and try different methods. Success is the journey.
Can you talk about any ways in which you use data and analytics to inform your creative decisions when working with AI and NFTs?
I have a notebook of all my previous NFT project drops to see the good and bad things. I analyze this data to improve my future projects. Maybe I have to invent an AI tool for this. It could be an idea!