In the constantly evolving world of Web3, a dynamic wave of artistic talent, builders and creators has emerged to shape the digital landscape. Web3 can be dubbed the new land of opportunity for those who want to realize their dreams, monetize their passions and even impact change. Among these visionaries, the AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) community is part of this evolution to be at the intersection of the decentralized internet with their cultural perspectives and creativity.
As a Korean-American and third culture adult myself (I have lived in Hong Kong, China, Macau and South Korea collectively for over 10 years), it is of utmost importance to me to amplify and support the AAPI community. In this article, we celebrate 10 incredible artists, content creators and designers from the AAPI community to highlight their contributions to Web3. From groundbreaking NFT artists to fashion designers to builders in art and fashion, these 10 individuals are helping to build a new path at the intersection of culture, technology and artistry to redefine the future of the decentralized world.
Debbie Soon is the co-founder and chief growth officer of HUG, an inclusive social curation and education platform for artists and creators in Web3. Soon is Malaysian-born, educated in the U.K. and U.S., then resided in Singapore before making Los Angeles home. She launched three multimillion dollar businesses from scratch in media, esports and ecommerce, founded Southeast Asia’s first boutique indoor cycling studio and managed over $1B in investments for a Singaporean sovereign wealth fund, before pivoting into Web3. Soon met HUG co-founder Randi Zuckerberg on the Meta Angel’s discord before founding the HUG community. The HUG platform amplifies the voices of artists and creators through artist profiles and partnerships and by promoting DEI in Web3.
Jayoon is a Korean-American Artist who was born in Seoul, South Korea and raised in the south. Currently, she resides in New York, having gone from working in tech to pursuing her passion of art. Her work is inspired by various cultures and customs that shape individual and collective identity. Specifically, her use of traditional Korean clothing, Hanbok, can be seen in her artwork through colors and motifs like the tiger and rainbow colors.
Saphera Peters is a South Asian artist born and raised in Canada. Before getting into non-fungible tokens (NFTs), Peters worked in the mediums of illustration, graphic design, photography, fashion and more. Peters is inspired by her South Asian culture to use bold colors, movement and traditional imagery in her art and storytelling. Because she did not see positive representations of South Asians growing up in mainstream media, Peters uses her art to reclaim her identity and empower others with similar stories to be proud of their culture.
Tori Hong is a queer Korean-Hmong-American artist who began her career as an indie artist. She went from creating digital illustrations, murals, printed goods and community art spaces to NFTs. Hong’s vision is to bring her unique perspective on culture through Art. In 2022, Hong hosted an NFT fundraiser for Myanmar with a collection called “Spring is Endless” to raise funds for indigenous women & children displaced by the military coup. The fundraiser raised approximately $5K to support the Karen Women Organization. She is currently pursuing her MFA at RISD Rhode Island School of Design.
Founder and CEO of MAD Global and Future+, Ashumi Sanghvi is a force to be reckoned with. She is a British South Asian multidisciplinary creative, producer, curator and entrepreneur with a career spanning four continents from Mumbai to New York, to Florence and finally London. Sanghvi is also a keynote speaker, panelist and podcast guest who speaks on innovation and the importance of diversity when creating new digital realities and translating luxury in the metaverse. Sanghvi’s event during NFT NYC April 2023 connected culture with technology across both Web2 and Web3 brands. She is also a mentor for Outliers Ventures x Farfetch Web3 accelerator, ambassador for Mission Impact, advisory board for Metaverse Fashion Council & Metaverse Fashion week and much more.
Korean Canadian digital artist, entrepreneur and advocate of the Techism movement, Krista Kim’s work explores concepts of digital consciousness fortified by her interest in technology and how it impacts human perception, media, social structures, and communication in both the digital and physical worlds. Kim had the first "metaverse home” for sale as an NFT, wrote a metaverse essay for the New York Times, was chosen by Louis Vuitton as a #Louis200 visionary in celebration of Louis’ 200th birthday, contributes to Vogue Singapore as a metaverse editor and much, much more. Kim also founded 0 studio with Peter Martin, an Emmy-award winning AR Filmmaker and director. 0 is an innovation lab and Web 2.5 Metaverse Studio to develop the future of realistic digital humans and immersive experiences in an open and interoperable metaverse. Kim’s mission with 0 is to amplify and scale virtual wellness programs by utilizing the metaverse through personalized avatars, storytelling, interactions and programming with key partners.
Emily Yang, more widely known as pplpleasr, is a Taiwanese multi-disciplinary based in NYC. From digital artist with credits in feature films (Batman vs. Superman, Wonder Woman, Star Trek Beyond) to commercials and gaming, she went viral in 2020 by creating animations that she launched as NFTs. Her work is influenced by animated films, underground music, video games and traditional Chinese and Japanese art. When an offer from Apple was rescinded during the pandemic, Yang created pplpleasr on instagram where she started creating animations to promote decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols and the rest was history. Some notable achievements include selling a DeFi animation for $525,000, creation of Stand With Asians Community Fund to support AAPI causes and donation of over $700,000 to the fund. Yang is also the founder of PleasrDAO an NFT collective for charitable causes and decentralized film platform Shibuya that aims to help filmmakers finance and distribute films.
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Stephy Fung is a digital fashion artist, educator and content creator. Her family is from Hong Kong and she is based in the U.K. Fung’s work showcases vibrant colors and pays homage to her Chinese heritage. Her designs have been a way for her to explore and express her British Chinese identity with modern techniques and traditional Chinese elements. She has partnered with brands such as Dell, Snapchat, Glenfiddich, HighSnobiety, The Fabricant, Jo Malone, Vogue Singapore, Selfridges and more. Fung also shares her design process and helps educate her community about digital fashion through her social media accounts, whether through live streaming on Twitch or breaking down digital fashion through short-form videos. If you are interested in becoming a digital fashion designer, or just want to know more about the industry, Fung is one to follow in this space.
From corporate marketer to creator, Swan Sit describes herself as a contemporary operator sitting at the intersection of consumer attention and digital transformation in both Web2 and Web3. She previously led digital marketing at Nike, Estée Lauder, and Revlon before becoming a creator herself with 3.7 million followers. Sit is an independent board director at the publicly traded companies Edgewell and Novabay, an advisor at AF Ventures and co-founder and CMO at Ani Energy, an energy drink company launched by TikTok stars Josh Richards and Bryce Hall. Sit's list of credentials goes on — she was named one of Entrepreneur Magazine's 100 Women of Impact, NFT Now’s Top 100, Unstoppable Domains Inspirational Women and Brand Innovators' 40 under 40 and Marketing Women to Watch. Her takes on being an advisor, creator and Web3 are simple, insightful and packed with knowledge. Most recently she partnered with Vivienne Tam to showcase her New York Fashion Week Show both IRL at Spring Studios and in the metaverse via Vatom.
From graphic design to jewelry design to Web3, Korean American Yoon Ahn is a force to be reckoned with. Based now in Tokyo, Japan, Ahn founded Ambush Design Studio to design album covers for her husband VERBAL, who is a Japanese music artist, as well as many others. Ahn then began her entry into fashion design by designing couture jewelry accessories. She then co-founded AMBUSH high fashion jewelry with her husband in 2008. AMBUSH has collaborated with major brands like Nike, Louis Vuitton, Off-White, Gentle Monster, Sacai, BVLGARI, Converse and many more. She also has under her belt an LVMH nomination in 2017, and she was appointed the jewelry director at Dior Homme. In 2020, Ambush was acquired by New Guard Group, which was later purchased by Farfetch. Ahn is bullish on Web3 and is actively building in Web3 in both digital and physical fashion.
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Janey Park is a Web3 content creator (writer, speaker, video creator) and brand strategy consultant. She is on a mission to help others jumpstart into Web3, especially through fashion and beauty.
This is not financial advice. If you don't want to spend money investing in crypto or Web3 — you don’t have to. The intent of this article is to help others educate themselves and learn.