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Peter Bowles on the Foundation of NFT Arts, His PR Career, and AR/VR in Crypto
BY ERIC P. RHODES - Eric is an award-winning Crypto Art artist, renowned Trash Art artist, and creator of the iconic NFT collection, Unofficial Punks. Working exclusively in the Web3 space since 2019. 💬 Follow Eric on Twitter
Peter Bowles is a seasoned PR specialist, an early adopter of online marketing, a pioneer of viral marketing, and the founder of NFT Arts.
From setting up an account for the youngest blogger in the world to creating a Bitcoin college foundation for a baby, Peter Bowles is known for his PR stunts. He was one of the early adopters of online marketing and he managed to create several viral campaigns, beginning in the early-2000s.
Peter likes to be early on stuff, so it’s no wonder that he already dipped his toes into the ocean that’s crypto art.
While most people would just open a crypto exchange, Peter’s plans are much more ambitious. He wants to open a gallery. An NFT gallery. One that would show the people what NFTs are. A platform that would allow Joe Average to dive into the world of crypto art.
Can you explain what NFT Arts is?
Yeah, no problem, especially since so many people think that we just sort of showed up on Twitter, asking people to share their art.
NFT Arts is a virtual NFT gallery I’ve been working on since October, where artists can post their work and attract potential buyers. Ever since I discovered NFTs I started looking for a way to become a part of the space. I’m still pretty much new to it.
Initially, I thought about opening up an exchange, however, I wanted to do more than that. That’s why I decided to go down the gallery route.
My main goal was to try to open the eyes of ordinary people and teach them as much as possible about NFT art. The NFT Arts website is there to give people a springboard into NFTs and crypto art as a whole.
Are you building your VR world?
For now, it’s an ordinary web page, with background information on each piece we have in our gallery. But yeah, we’re looking to build a universe of sorts on cyber.io. I’ve done lots of work over the years on Virtual Reality.
Someday, I hope that we’ll be able to create a full VR experience. I’m also hoping that we’ll be able to create VR exhibitions for other organizations as well. Let’s say Guggenheim wants to host an NFT exhibition, they can call us directly, and we’ll be able to set it up.
What did you do before NFT Arts?
I’ve always been into the media. All of my life. I wish I enrolled in school for media. However, I studied business and economics in college. Once I started becoming interested in sociology, I dropped out of business.
Sociology is great because it gives you an interesting view of the world that allows you to predict where trends are going. It’s one of the reasons why I was so good at predicting things.
While still in college, I did one of my first PR stunts. My cousin had his first child, a baby girl called Robbin. I was too lazy to walk up the big hill to go and visit them and bring a card. So I decided to set up a blog. I just thought that it was a crazy idea. A blog for a newborn.
Blogging was still in its infancy back then and blogger.com was pretty popular back in those days, so I set up a blog that said “I’m the youngest blogger in the world.” When I woke up the next day, I saw that there were a ton of comments in my guestbook.
One of the comments welcoming the child to the platform was its creator, Evan Williams. The entire story went viral pretty soon. I don’t think we used the word “viral” back then either.
You were treating marketing as conceptual art?
That’s it. After college, I ended up becoming a publicist. I’ve done lots of PR stunts in my career. If people are interested, they can check the link tree I got on Twitter. It’s in the bio.
Anyways, after a few years in public relations, I set up an agency called Dynamite PR. My partner and I ran the agency for years, doing PR for clients across the world.
We had a lot of fun. Once the crowdsourcing craze started, that’s where we earned most of our money. I think we worked on more than 100 Kickstarter campaigns. After a decade, we decided that enough was enough. About a year and a half ago, we sold Dynamite PR to another agency.
I had to leave the world of marketing. One good thing that came out of that is that I minted the article, which announced my exit from the marketing world.
Are you comfortable talking about your recent time off?
Yeah, I’m happy to talk about it. For the first time in my life, I hit a wall. Just when I started working in the NFT space, I basically had a breakdown. I had to take six weeks off. I wanted to get the gallery up and running, but things just weren’t going my way.
I think it’s important to pay attention to your mental health. You never know when you’re going to burn out. It’s funny, when I was having my breakdown, I was constantly asking for Steve Wozniak. I met him once and he gave me his business card.
This card now sits proudly on my desk.
Anyway, one day, I decided, what the hell, I’ll simply email him and say, look, this is what I’m going through. Amazingly enough, I got a reply. Obviously, he said he was very busy. But he’s still the Woz and he included a link to a song. I listened to it and it inspired me a lot.
I’m feeling a lot better now. I’m going down this difficult path, and thankfully, I got a lot of support from my family and friends. The NFT community is helpful too.
What’s your ultimate business goal?
I’d love to have a real-world NFT gallery in London, where you could just walk off the street, enter, and interact with the art. Some pieces might be framed, some might not. Some of the pieces would be there in 3D while others would be VR experiences.
And I think, when you look down the line, AR will probably be the main way people interact with crypto art. In the future, Apple, or another similar company will release really, really advanced AT glasses. I’m excited about AR.
How did you get in touch with the RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan?
Do you know about the Cameo App? I wanted to get some promotion for NFT Arts and I was looking at different people that could help me. I thought the RZA would be a great fit because I’ve heard that the group supports NFTs.
Also, I consider the $2 million Wu-Tang album a piece of NFT art. It’s basically proto-NFT.
It was bought by Martin Shkreli. Remember him? He was the guy that bought the rights for medication and raised the price 500% or something like that. Yeah, he got arrested, and now the album is sitting in the Department of Justice apparently. How crazy is that?
Anyhow, I contacted the RZA to announce the launch of the website and I asked to give a shout-out to all of the NFT artists out there. He loved that.
What kind of art do you have in the gallery?
Some of the pieces we have in the gallery we’ve got off commissions. Other art was given to us. For example, one of my close associates is a professional photographer. He worked with numerous tech companies throughout the years.
He’s been close to people like Steve Jobs, Tim Cook, and Elon Musk. He donated some of his photographs, which is great because not many people are doing this. There’s a community of photographers in the NFT space, but it’s pretty small.
What is The Satoshi Collection?
It’s a traveling gallery owned by NFT Arts. It holds a lot of high-value NFT art. Someday, it will hopefully hold the best NFT pieces out there, which will then be displayed in real-world galleries and shared in AR and VR experiences.
The Satoshi Collection is partially decentralized and partially centralized. A part of the collection is for sale, and a part is not. However, every single piece of the Satoshi Collection will debut in real-world and VR galleries over the next 12 months.
What does your gallery bring to the world of NFT?
I’m really hoping that we’ll help NFTs step into the real world. As soon as things get better, I’m planning to put on a VR exhibition in Paris. I think in 2022, you’ll be able to come out for a crypto exhibition. Maybe even earlier.
You got this thing called GLAM exhibits. GLAM stands for Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums. Basically, we’re open to exhibit the works we own almost anywhere. Hopefully, these institutions will start approaching us to host NFT exhibits.
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