Through Shadows And Simplicity: One Artist's Journey To NFTs

Thao Nguyen has the type of personality that can turn lemons into lemonade in the most beautiful way possible. She is a breath of fresh air — a warm and intricate tapestry that those who spend time with her and enjoy her work get to witness.

Nguyen is a self-taught Vietnamese American artist with an incredible coming-of-age story. Her resilience to shatter cultural norms, normalize taboo situations and turn setbacks into setups for success is something that all of us — especially in this bear market — can be inspired by. Nguyen became pregnant as a teenager and married her high school sweetheart. She gave birth, then went back to school to take her exams the very next week. The couple now have a beautiful family of four. 

Her family's origin story is just a small sound byte of her incredible journey to blockchain art — but to know the deeper story, you will need to engage with her art. She is an artist who loves to express herself and share her emotions through her work.

Shadow Work 1.0 from Isolation of Mind Collection 

In August 2021, Nguyen entered the non-fungible token (NFT) space when someone suggested that she make her artwork into an NFT. Without knowing much about NFTs, she spent time studying and researching the world of Web3. Naturally, like everyone else she joined Twitter, which is currently the lifeline of communication when it comes to Web3. She hustled on the "streets" of Web3 through social media to promote her art and connect with other artists and builders in the space. 

Success didn't come overnight: Even though Nguyen was grinding away creating art and promoting on social media, her NFT art was not selling. She happened to stumble into Twitter Spaces (similar to Clubhouse and a Zoom Call where anyone can host and join as a listener or request to be a speaker) feeling frustrated and disappointed.  On one particular day, Nguyen entered the Twitter Spaces of Lori Grace, an artist, photographer and diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging and accessibility (DEIBA) advocate who regularly hosts Rug Radio Twitter Spaces. When Nguyen requested the mic to share about her experience and even her frustration, she broke down and cried. She was not only welcomed and comforted, but encouraged by this group of new internet friends who encouraged her to keep going. This in essence is the beauty of Web3 — being able to connect with people from all walks of life and all around the world who then become collectors of your art and even good friends. 

Later, in October 2021, Nguyen got her big break when Women & Weapons founder Sara Baumann (aka "Sparky") bought two pieces of Nguyen's art from the collection, Beauty in Simplicity, including the piece entitled Glamorous. Baumann's vote of confidence led to the whole collection selling out. (Ironically enough, Baumann herself has an incredible "shoot your shot" type of story; she replied to a tweet by Gary Vee, which led to her rise, and she now continues to pay it forward to other artists, builders and content creators.)


Glamorous from Beauty in Simplicity

Since her big moment, Nguyen has been incredibly active on social media, Web3 and in the NFT art space. When asked about tips for creators in the Web3 space, she provided incredible tips from efficiency and mental health to time blocking. 

Here are some of the tips that Nguyen recommended:

  1. Be active and authentic on social media. It doesn’t cost anything to share, like and comment on someone’s post. Even if you can’t buy their work, you can support them in this way.
  2. Put yourself out there and be shameless. Share about your work. You are going to be your best promoter. 
  3. Be efficient with your time. Nguyen's preferred schedule is to use the morning to create and market, then the afternoon time to check off random tasks and complete administrative work.
  4. Factor in rest. Mental health is important — especially in Web3.

"Floating Pixels" exhibit at Art Basel in Miami with Art Innovation Gallery

Be sure to follow Thao Nguyen on social media and check out her art!

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.

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