Where are you from? (Provide a little bit of your background, have you moved etc)
I was born in Lithuania but moved to Ireland with my adopted mother as a young teen. At the time of my arrival I didn’t speak a word of English and so it was a difficult transition, especially school. The one place where I found comfort was my art classes. There are no language barriers in art and it provided me an outlet to pursue my passion and further my skills. I really connected with my art teacher who mentored me and helped me grow as an artist.
Years later after a lot of hard work, I was accepted to one of, if not the best art college in Ireland. In the end, I was unable to attend because I moved to New York.
Can you tell us about your background and what lead you down the path to becoming an artist and ultimately experimenting with NFTs?
I have always loved art and it’s been my dream to be an artist ever since I was a little girl. When I moved to New York in my early twenties, everything changed. Many people around me told me that I couldn’t make a living with art and that I should get “”a real job.”” I let the naysayers get into my head and listened to them. For the next couple years I stopped creating art and worked at an animal hospital, law firm and in real real estate. I jumped from job to job and was never really happy.
Finally, one new years eve I made a resolution to return to art. This time however, I promised myself I would never give up. Just a few months later, I launched my own business offering commissioned art. Ever since launch I’ve been blessed by being fully booked month after month. Demand for my work has been so strong I consistently have a wait list of clients requesting custom artwork. I’ve also had the honor of being featured in major publications such as Forbes, Marie Claire and Martha Stewart.
After running a commission art business for several years, I felt like something was missing. I love working with clients to create commission pieces but I also desired to create something that I alone wanted to create. I saw NFTs as an opportunity to create what I wanted to create. I decided to launch a storytelling collection called The Lurkers.
The Lurkers is a 23-piece storytelling art collection. Using a combination of illustration, animation, and music, iamlaurael tells a new part of the story with every piece. The storyline is based on dark spirits called Lurkers who follow children that have bad thoughts or negative emotions. If the children give in to evil, the Lurkers snatch them into the underworld and feed on their darkness. This cycle has repeated itself for ages until one day a very special child, a good child captures one of the Lurker’s attention. Could this be a turning point in the story? You’ll have to follow along @iamlaurael to find out!
When did you mint your first NFT? What platform did you choose and why?
I minted my first NFT, Lurkers #000 Two Worlds back in February. I chose the Solana blockchain because it was recommended to me by a few friends. After doing some research, I discovered first hand that Solana has a strong, passionate and supportive community and that’s what sealed the deal. It’s also one of the most environmentally friendly blockchains as a typical transaction uses less energy than that required to process two google searches. I believed if digital art was to go mainstream and be widely adopted and collected, it would need to be environmentally friendly. Also, gas fees on Solana are almost non-existent so from a usability standpoint, it just made sense.
Can you tell us one thing you cannot live without? (and why)
I can’t live without creating art. Being an artists is what I was put on earth to do and I will continue creating for the rest of my life.
Who is your favorite artist(s) (Non NFT)? What about their style resonates with you
My favorite non NFT artist is Pascal Campion. I just love his style and the ability of his pieces to evoke emotions.
Who is your favourite NFT artist? What makes this artist unique?
I honestly could not choose just one. There are so many talented artists across the different blockchains. I appreciate a wide variety of styles and am finding new artists that I love every single day!
What made you pursue NFT art?
After running a commission art business for several years, I felt like something was missing. I love working with clients to create commission pieces but I also desired to create something that I alone wanted to create. NFTs were an outlet for me to fully express myself and create solely for me.
What is the one NFT you wish you had purchased but missed out on
I have FOMO on so many 1/1 art pieces daily! However, one NFT project I missed out on was Solana Monkey Business. I wasn’t even in the space at the time this project minted. Since joining Solana, I’ve witnessed how strong of a community this project has. I also fell in love with the pixel art. As a female, there are limited options when it comes to PFPs as most are better suited for males. Luckily enough, someone listed the SMB I was watching below floor price and I scooped it up without giving it a second thought. I’m so glad to have finally joined this community I thought I had missed out on!
If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go? Why this location?
I would travel to Ireland. Ireland was home to me for many years and I also have friends and family there. There’s nothing more important to me than them and so Ireland would top my list. It’s also a beautiful country that constantly inspires my imagination and fuels my creativity.
What are your other passions besides art? Why?
My biggest passion besides art is my love for animals! I’m a dog lover and a dog mom to a three year old yellow lab named Lenny. When I started working as a full time artist, I actually combined both of my passions by creating a lot of pet portraits for customers. I also ran a fundraiser during COVID in which I illustrated peoples’ pets to raise funds for local animal shelters. I raised nearly $12,000. Just like art, animals (dogs especially) make me so happy.
Do you make other forms of art?
During my artistic career I’ve experimented with different forms of art but now focus solely on digital illustration. I create all of my work using an iPad or a drawing tablet.
Are you self taught or trained?
Besides taking a few classes in school I am entirely self taught. When I purchased my first digital drawing tablet, I watched a few YouTube videos but for the most part, I learned on my own.
How did you come up with your specific style?
Before creating 1/1 art NFTs, I worked as a full time commission artist. I started years ago with a very minimalist line art style. Over the years, I developed my unique style which consists of squiggly line work and flat color textures that come together to encourage the viewers imagination. I now create what I call “”storybook illustrations”” by using my style to tell stories through a single image.
How has your style evolved over the years?
It took me a long time to develop my own unique style. In fact, it took years and countless hours. It started as a minimalistic line art style and morphed into more detailed, colorful works that tell stories.
What is coming in the near future?
The Lurkers is my genesis series on Solana. The Lurkers is a 23 piece storytelling collection. Every piece in the series tells a story and when viewed in order, they come together to tell an even larger narrative. There are only 4 pieces left in the series which will be auctioned off in the coming weeks. I think because this art series tells a story, there are lots of avenues I can explore to take it even further after completion. The end of the collection may just be the beginning for The Lurkers. Follow me on social media to come along on the journey.
If you could collaborate with one artist who would it be? (and why)
I can’t reveal that at this time – but I can tell you I’m working on something!
What was your greatest failure and what did you learn from that?
My greatest failure was stepping away from art several years ago when people told me it was not possible to make a living from it. I learned however to never give up and that my purpose on this earth is to be an artist.
What is your biggest piece sold
In US dollar value, my biggest sale was nearly $15,000 at the time of the sale. My biggest sale in crypto terms was at my last auction in which Lurkers #018 sold for 200 Sol.
How much did it sell for
see above – largest USD sale was nearly $15,000. Largest sale in crypto terms was 200 Solana.
Do you have any upcoming drops?
The Lurkers is a 23 piece storytelling collection. Each piece is put up for auction and there are only four pieces remaining in the series. Upcoming auctions are announced on my Twitter page and can be seen here as soon as they are scheduled: https://exchange.art/series/The%20Lurkers/nfts.
Link to Website
Social links and NFT marketplace links
Twitter – https://twitter.com/iamlaurael
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/iamlaurael/
Marketplace – https://exchange.art/series/The%20Lurkers/nfts
Anything else you’d like to share?
iamlaurael was the first female 1/1 artist on Solana to break a 100 Sol sale. She was also recently featured in @CozomoMedici’s newsletter.