Kitana Gallery Header Photo in Twitter

Based Babes creator Babushka: NFTs bridge more real-life use cases for transactions

Kitana Gallery is an NFT collection gallery for artists that have launched projects on OpenSea and Rarible. Recently, they conducted a Twitter poll asking which blockchain to mint their next project on:

BSV overwhelmingly won with 83% of the vote of over 1,300 votes. The founder of the Kitana Gallery is the artist behind the Gopniks project, Babushka. I caught up with her to talk about the current NFT space as well as Kitana Gallery’s next mint, the Based Babes.

Could you describe what Kitana Gallery is, and how it was founded?

Babushka: Kitana Gallery is a passion project, that started 10 years ago as a way to promote digital art (back in the day when NFTs weren’t a thing yet). I was always passionate about 3D art and digital art, but the art industry was always reserved into incorporating digital art as a viable medium, with the issues of copy-pasting and the deterioration of the files (Hito Steyerl has written extensively about this aspect).

Through the years Kitana Gallery developed relationships with creators and professionals around the world, and in the recent year I’ve started moving the project towards NFTs. Now that NFTs are culturally validated it will be way easy for entities like Kitana to onboard artists and creators to platforms that allow them to completely own their work and to benefit from it.

Kitana is here to help curate their work into this medium and to make it easier to make the transition. At the end of the day the killer app of NFTs is empowerment, like crypto is digital cash tokens are the financial rail for ideas.

Why did you decide to start launching projects on BSV coming from Ethereum (OpenSea, Rarible)?

Babushka: BSV seemed like a viable option, as more and more chains are opening up their marketplaces to ETH it’s starting to get some real competition. Chains like BSV creates opportunities for creators to enter the marketplace no matter their financial situation, which really isn’t the case for chains like ETH with gas fees reaching insane numbers some days.

BSV is the closest to how real-life transactions happen, also the community is so great and supportive of new artists entering the space. It’s almost a no brainer, especially if you already mint on ETH or Tezos to expose your brand or art to the BSV ecosystem.

Why did you choose RelayX and RUN as the platform and token protocol respectively to launch Based Babes on?

Babushka: For me it seemed like the easiest way to connect with the community, since the marketplace on RelayX is open and available for anybody. I believe onboarding artists using Relay makes it even easier for future development of the project.

I can explain in very easy steps how to set up your wallet, take out the money and mint your first project which makes it easy for artists to focus on building their audience and putting their work on chain. In my mind this would be the first step, but NFTs can be so much more than just art and it will be interesting to see how creators will start incorporating utility in projects.

RUN makes it very easy, with a lot of developers it is getting faster and easier to deliver great experiences for buyers and sellers. Another aspect that made me look at Relay was the simple fact that unlike other BSV NFT platforms any creator is able to mint and launch on a moment’s notice and I think this captures the real dynamics of markets much better! I’ve seen a lot of people leverage existing trends almost immediately with their mints.

Are Based Babes randomly generated uniquely crafted and drawn?

Babushka: Yes, the whole collection is generated with 142 hand-drawn elements using an 8 layers system, the algorithm lays each layer in the specific order on top of each other to make the final image. In the generative part there is a way for the algorithm to not repeat the elements, making each of the 1234 edition completely unique.

I really wanted to add more BSV lore, and crypto lore in general to the collection (for example @egglrd kindly suggested adding eggs, so I did) as well as focusing on the main theme of the collections which is women in crypto. The goal was to merge all of this and make something very unique for the community.

Could you talk through how the NFTs are generally randomly generated?

Babushka: You can create randomly generated NFTs using JavaScript, I personally used Visual Code Studio. The code part relies on including certain aspects like generating the metadata and using all the layers/elements in the right order, making sure the final images don’t repeat themselves. The rarity is created using Weighted Random Choices (JS).

There is a lot of documentation that can be easily found online regarding the generative part. For the art part I used Clip Studio EX, making elements requires you to think in layers and double-triple check that everything works nicely. Ever since I started doing NFTs I had to learn how to juggle between artist and coder, but it gets easier with practice.

Will Based Babes have utility?

Babushka: I have some ideas on how to add utility to the Based Babes and merge them with my other projects, but we don’t want to use that as a selling point. Right now, we will focus on a few ways to reward holders and initial supporters.

You recently teased a ‘stealth drop.’ Could you talk through the differences between doing a stealth launch as opposed to a hyped communicative launch from a marketing perspective?

Babushka: Well, it truly depends on the scope of your project, a stealth launch takes off the pressure and eliminates the bad effects of FOMO to a certain degree. Which from time to time is very welcomed as a breath of fresh air, it also rewards active community members that turn their notification bell on or are on the look-out for buying at mint price.

In my opinion launching your project stealth style acts very similarly to getting whitelisted for a pre-sale on ETH. From our previous experience overhyping left the launch vulnerable to different “abuse” vectors for the average guy who might just want to mint one or two, hype in advance certainly works better for quick sell outs but overusing this can be damaging in the long run for drops as soon as the music stops, or expectations meet reality. Under-promise, over-deliver.

Will Based Babes have any interoperability with other Kitana Gallery projects or Gopniks?

Babushka: I can’t comment on this at the moment, but it is something that I’ve been considering for sure. Supporting artists from Kitana Gallery will have benefits along the way, it will likely expose buyers to airdrops of future projects. The development of the interoperability will be mostly done in real time based on the interest coming from the community.

Given the lower cryptocurrency prices in early 2022, criticisms of Web3, NFTs and digital currencies in general are gaining momentum. Do you think the NFT markets are in a bubble?

Babushka: NFTs are fixing a problem that has been very prominent for creators in any digital medium, I think they have the potential of evolving the whole crypto AND real-world landscape in bridging more real-life use cases for transactions.

What we’re seeing right now with NFTs is the applicability for creators, the digital art industry was the first to profit from this, but gaming and music are picking up speed this year as well. In time I’m sure we will start seeing more industries using NFTs to explore their true potential. It’s definitely a transition period we are experiencing right now, and I feel like everyone will have a way better understanding and feel for NFTs in 3 to 5 years.

Looking back at everything that’s being build right now many people will probably say things could have been done better or differently. As always, hindsight is 20/20; I am sure that we are under some form of bubble right now, but every technology or medium suffers from abuse, scams and opportunism on their way to mass adoption.

Recently fellow CoinGeek contributor Patrick Thompson wrote a piece stating, “It’s over for digital art NFTs.” What are your thoughts on that given the context of the imminent Based Babes launch?

Babushka: Well I think it truly depends on the context into which that article was written. The title is pretty broad in my opinion, that’s one thing that I can comment on. Buyers need to truly understand the market before buying into projects, expecting pumps out of all art projects they are buying into is a very bad investment strategy no matter how big or little the hype around the project is.

Coming from an art background, “real art” takes years or decades to fully mature into the crazy prices you see them being traded at in real-life auctions, it’s really about time and the context in which the art was created, these things decide how the future looks back at it.

That’s why a project like Gopnikz can truly appreciate in the years to come, as well as the Frog Cartel, Oni Society, and so on. NFT buyers are actually art collectors in this stage of the market, and you need to understand that what you are buying is a bet on the future of specific communities, ideas and generally how healthy commerce and trading will be.

BSV in particular offers people the ability to trade, create and build at the highest velocity of all chains right now, this is the main thing that makes me so interested in it at the moment.

How important is it to maintain a community around the NFTs up through and after the initial sale?

Babushka: Very! The community is the funnel that maintains and grows the market, investing a bit of time as a creator into maintaining relationships with your buyers is very important. I think people underestimate how much value there is into building your community, and it should be seen as a natural extension of whatever project you want to create.

Based Babes are yet another pixel art NFT, and you have also done a pixelized version of the Gopniks. Why do you think pixel art NFTs are so popular (i.e., CryptoPunks)?

Babushka: I personally think that pixel art is having a comeback due to the nostalgia around it. As a creator it’s an easy and lighthearted medium that can offer you a quick way to flesh out ideas.

In the NFT space CryptoPunks (due to how early they were in the space) set the standard for pixel art to be a viable medium. This again has to do with how the art market works in general, where the older something is the more value and influence it can pass on to future communities.

Also, CryptoPunks can’t be summed up to just pixel art, they truly set the standard of how collections are being build right now, their rarity chart is still the standard most NFT projects use when building a collection. They have apes, zombies, aliens, something that I wanted to include to some extent into Based Babes as well.

Thank you, Babushka, for taking the time to answer my questions about the Kitana Gallery, Based Babes and the current climate of the NFT space. I hope the readers learned more about the project.

Secure your Based Babe today.

This article was lightly edited for clarity and grammatical purposes.

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