We know that we live in a world that clearly hates women, even though it was built in a society that sustained and sustains itself, on top of our backs. That's why every time a woman proposes to exist and to fight so that others also have the right to be, a revolution happens. Meet Carlota Dochao, founder of NFTitties: “A women-led NFT art drop celebrating boobs in all shapes and sizes”.
Carlota, you've been in the market for a considerable time, and you've even worked in some of the most interesting galleries in the world, collaborating on several innovative projects. Tell us about your trajectory and how you chose art. Or was it art that chose you?
I have always been passionate about culture including literature, cinema, music, and the visual arts and knew since a relatively young age that I wanted to dedicate my professional career to the contemporary art market. It was at my first job at Pace Gallery where I realised I was most attracted to the force of innovation to push boundaries within the industry. I am so fortunate to have worked with some of the greatest innovators in the contemporary art field including artists JR, Es Devlin, Leo Villareal, Studio Swine and DRIFT, among many others. This interest in innovation led me to have an active role in building the venture Superblue within Pace Gallery. Superblue is the first gallery of its kind, dedicated to supporting all forms of groundbreaking experiential art by leading contemporary artists. It felt like a natural progression for me to embark in a critical exploration of blockchain technologies for the creative industries less than a year after the launch of Superblue.
You are the founder of NFTitties, created after more than two years of research on Web3. Can you tell us about what made you interested in the topic? What is the history of NFTitties and how did your research inspire you to develop this idea?
A little over two years ago I started exploring blockchain technologies through the lens of the contemporary art world. There was so much to unpack and discover that I decided to launch a dedicated Instagram account called @blockchain_what where I continue to write my take on news and my thoughts about the impact this technology could have on the creative industries.
There are three core areas that excite me the most about the space: fundraising, community and innovation. Blockchain technologies offer a mechanism to easily and transparently raise funds for a common cause. Launching an NFT collection presents an efficient way to build a community around anything like a cause, an artwork, or an idea. There is a world of potential for the contemporary art world to create new mechanisms for fundraising and community building through blockchain.
I wanted to combine these three aspects and launch a project that would have a positive impact on women, given the gender disparity that exists in Web3 today. The vision for NFTitties is to build an inclusive community around a celebration of women, art, and boobs that raises funds and awareness for important issues that affect women directly.
Each NFTitty is an artwork in its own right, but the idea is that it represents a lot more than just the visual. Each NFTitty represents a donation to charity and a membership to the NFTitties community, with a working community treasury. 10% of all proceeds from NFTitties sales goes directly to the treasury and as an owner of an NFTitty you can vote on and decide on how those funds are allocated. The treasury, with a platform to submit proposals and vote will be kickstarted once it receives 7 ETH.
We know female nipples not only remain “controversial”, but are also constantly the target of censorship. What are the difficulties of maintaining a project that, in addition to being led by women, has as its main focus on “celebrating boobs in all shapes and sizes”, and how does this affect the support you try to give to the fight against breast cancer?
NFTitties started as a playful project that would bring attention to serious issues. At first, I was focused on raising funds and awareness to fight breast cancer. It was only through starting the project that the harsh reality of censorship in the arts became so relevant.
The first launch of NFTitties became a PR nightmare because we were not able to really promote the project in 'serious' outlets such as LinkedIn or use marketing tools that would have allowed us to track business like Mailchimp. In fact, I have had problems with every platform I tried to use to promote the project. There is visual evidence of this on the @nftitties.space Instagram page if you look at the saved stories under: "Banned X". There is evidence of censorship from: Instagram, Twitter, Mailchimp and LinkedIn. In all cases the reasoning is that it 'violated community guidelines'. Instagram would literally stop working for a few hours after censoring a post of mine.
An example blatant sexist bias within the first drop of NFTitties is NFTitty 1.03. The artwork is composed of a collage of female breasts on a male torso. This was not banned by any platform as violating the nudity bias, even though the body is naked and the woman's nipples are completely visible. By contrast, NFTitties 1.17, 1.24, etc were all censored.
My project has now taken a strong stance to advocate against censorship in the arts and it has encouraged me to keep going. I will need to rely on word of mouth and organic growth for now but let’s see where the project takes us!
Can anyone submit their art to NFTitties? How does the process work from curation to the moment the art is coined as NFT and sold?
Given the importance attributed to fundraising and community building, NFTitties caters to anyone interested in supporting our mission, beyond visual artists. I am therefore excited by the prospect of receiving submissions from anyone who believes in the causes we are fighting for.
I made an important decision early on not to include solely renowned artists from my personal network within the contemporary art world. Instead, the first drop of NFTitties is a healthy mix professional artists, recreational artists, and activists. I am so fortunate to have received so many beautiful submissions with incredible testimonies and to have had so many to choose from! Moving away from only showcasing blue-chip artists also removes the risk for the project to become a tool for speculation, a trend that is so prevalent in the NFT art market today.
During the first drop of NFTitties, we selected 31 NFTitties for the 31 days of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. We partnered with the wonderful Keep A Breast Foundation as our charity partner. Each NFTitty was sold for 0.1 ETH each as an open edition for the entire month of October. Some NFTitties were sold only once, becoming a 1/1 artwork whilst others were sold several times over, becoming larger editioned artworks. All NFTitties sold can be viewed on our Opensea profile: https://opensea.io/collection/nftitties-space
For now, curation is fully centralised but hopefully curation will pass on to the NFTitties community once the treasury is established and a voting mechanism is put in place.
In addition to NFTitties, you also maintain a page called “Blockchain, what?”, in which, according to its description, “explores how Web3 X NFTs X Crypto will revolutionize the creative industries”. Can you answer this question for us? How do you think this “tech-salad” is revolutionizing/will revolutionize the creative industry?
Web3 has already had a tangible impact on the contemporary art market. For one, it has expanded the art world’s perception of what art is considered valuable through an unparalleled attention to digital art. We are seeing record prices for digital art, dedicated digital art sales in auction houses, and even a considerable rise in exhibitions dedicated to digital art in leading art museums.
However, the main revolution I hope to see from the advent of Web3 is a shift of power within the contemporary art world. I am not trying to say that I agree with the discourse around the ‘death of the middleman’. I am strong supporter of the structures that exist in the art world, from artists, to art collectors, to art dealers, to art critics and beyond. There is room for everyone to thrive but in a more equitable and transparent manner.
NFTs are a tool (not an art form) that can be used for good. This technology can shift power towards creators, giving them the opportunity to take the reins and decide how their art is consumed. A successful example today is the ability for artists to future-proof their potential financial success through ongoing royalties.
The problem is that the technology is very new and far from perfect. In addition, certain developments are hindering NFTs’ potential positive impact. Taking the example above, there are NFT marketplaces being launched that allow secondary sellers to avoid paying royalties.
Finally, what tips would you give to anyone who wants to start working with art and technology right now?
Art and technology, in the way we perceive it today, has existed for decades. Web3 technology and particularly NFTs has given this art form a new life. This means money is being poured into the space, giving way to a rise of ideas, projects, companies and, consequently, jobs. I would encourage anyone wanting to work in art and technology to seek opportunities that have a focus on Web3.
There are so many problems in the world right now from the very real climate crisis to financial crises to the recklessness of most governments. Following the footsteps of our parents feels like an uphill battle with endless obstacles so it is clear that change is necessary. I believe in the power of our generation to harness innovation towards positive change. Finding career opportunities within projects that share the same values and a desire for positive impact is as important as ever.
Feel free to use this space to put information that you think is necessary and that you would like to be included in the interview, such as future projects, your websites, where people can find you and your work, etc.
If you want to stay up to date with news, ideas, and insights about Web3 for the creative industries, I invite you to follow my dedicated Instagram account @blockchain_what. I am always open to discussing ideas, brainstorming solutions or providing creative direction to projects and always respond to my DMs!
More importantly, please follow NFTitties on social media channels (Instagram, Twitter) to stay tuned for future announcements. Anyone who believes in improving the gender gap in Web3, wants to advocate against censorship in art, or simply believes in fundraising for charitable causes should consider supporting NFTitties. Word-of-mouth and organic marketing is the only way we will be able to make this project a success given all the obstacles we have experienced!