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Wildxyz is Building The Home For Experiential Art
Interview with J. Douglass Kobs, Wildxyz's founder and CEO.
I'm excited to have partnered with Wildxyz to interview their founder —Douglass Kobs, and learn more about their spatial, experiential, and immersive art focus. Over the past year, they have worked with outstanding multidisciplinary, 3D, and generative artists, and their curatorial board consists of Casey Reas, Deafbeef, Mitchell F. Chan, Nancy Baker Cahill, and more digital art pioneers.
Bonus: All newsletter readers can access Flower Sand by Yuma Yanagisawa's allowlist.
An AI-generated imagery and motion simulation that depicts the beauty of nature generated by algorithms, representing our connection to the natural world in the age of artificial intelligence (more details about the collection at the end of this issue).
Let’s jump into my chat with Douglass…
Wildxyz is the community where you create, collect, and explore experiential art.
Our mission is to put artists at the forefront of designing the spatial internet, so we can power a new wave of expression and possibility. You can collaborate with boundary-pushing creators in our artist residency, collect curated experiential art on our platform, and experience immersive works produced by Wildxyz, all in one destination.
Could you tell us more about your background before Wildxyz?
Before Wild, I was the CEO of Apartment List for 14 years, a company I founded. Last year, the company did nearly 2% of all the rental moves in the US.
I led the team through multiple funding rounds, including their latest Series D, and now serve as Chairman. I’m also a creator, music producer, dad, metaverse evangelist, art collector, and sports enthusiast.
What inspired you to create Wild?
We believe the future of the internet is going to be a spatial one – and the most creative people should be at the forefront, so we decided to build a platform dedicated to doing just that via NFTs.
I also wanted to create a dedicated space to foster incredible talent in and outside of Web3. A space dedicated to artistic collaboration, community building, and critical thinking is the key to helping artists succeed.
Expecting an artist to be able to do it all on their own is a lot – from creating the work itself to promoting it, marketing it, and branding it. There’s so much that goes into creating work and being able to leverage the experience, knowledge, and network of fellow artists is invaluable.
Put simply, we believe we’re stronger as a team than anyone could be individually, and we’re excited to provide the environment and the space to do that.
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After finding success in Web 2, what’s the biggest challenge in building a Web 3 or NFT company?
I’ve been always excited about consumer experiences and marketplaces, and that’s why Web 3 and the new creator economy were very appealing to me. Nevertheless, in Web 3 there are multiple advantages, but also multiple challenges.
Every creator and founder is trying to navigate the macro and market fluctuations. This isn’t easy, but at the same time forces us to create an environment where we have to be ruthless in prioritization.
What makes Wild NFT different from other digital art?
Wildxyz, first and foremost, is focused specifically on the genre of experiential art. We support it through a few initiatives– the first being our artist residency, which is an application-based program through which artists learn, connect, collaborate, and receive support from our team as well as fellow artists. The program is pretty hands-on and high-touch, and we’re fortunate to be able to work on a curated basis with our artists in residence.
Unlike other art platforms, we also create our own art– including an exciting collection we’ll be releasing later this year– stay tuned
We also offer support in other forms, specifically on the technical, design, and marketing side, to help set our artists up for success and to provide value-added resources, especially around experiential art.
Finally, but perhaps most uniquely, we’re focused on building for the tech that’s coming and creating immersive, interactive experiences that allow people to engage more deeply with our artists' work.
There’s a lot going on behind the scenes with our technical team that I’m very excited to share.
What's the artists' curation process?
The artists apply to be a part of the residency. We then review applications on a number of criteria, in particular, evaluating their focus on experiential art. We are also excited to employ the support of our newly established Curatorial Board, which includes Deafbeef, Casey Reas, Holly Herndon & Mathew Dryhurst, Mitchell F. Chan, Nancy Baker Cahill, Harm van den Dorpel, Gabriel Massan, Maria Paula Fernández, and Serwah Attafuah.
The Board will not only support in referring artists, but they will also determine collections on Wild that will receive the distinction of ‘Wild Signature.’
“The Wild Residency is an incredible opportunity for artists to share creativity, ideas, and energy. The program has created meaningful connections in my art practice that will continue to shape my career.”
Mitchell F Chan
What are you currently excited about?
We have some amazing NFT drops coming out this month, including Flower Sand which I am excited for your community to have allowlist access to!
We also have a collection coming out later this summer with a legendary crypto artist you likely know and love – more to come soon.
Flower Sand by Yuma Yanagisaway Allowlist
As said before, Douglass and Wildxyz were keen enough to offer allowlist spots to my readers for Flower Sand NFT collection.
This is a 100 pieces AI collection that goes live on June 15.
Flower Sand is a collection consisting of 100 moving image works. It explores vibrant colours and fluid movements inspired by nature, using AI-generated imagery and motion simulation. Using leading generative AI models such as Stable Diffusion and Midjourney, the generated AI flowers are diverse as well as sophisticated. Repurposing them with fluid particles results in generative sculptures. The work depicts the beauty of nature generated by algorithms, representing our connection to the natural world in the age of artificial intelligence.
Reserve your spot here:
After getting to know Douglass and the Wildxyz team (many of whom used to work at top entertaining brand companies like Disney and Roblox), I can tell you they are super ambitious and driven by their mission. It seems the right time to foster critical thinking and support for spatial, experiential, and immersive artists.
I can’t wait to see what comes next from them.
Until next time,