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Jess Lambie

Melbourne, Australia

Jess Lambie and Her Art Have an Inside Joke with the World.

This isn’t an interview about NFT art. And we don’t really have the space (or the knowledge) to fully explain blockchain, crypto, or that shiny cat GIF that just sold at Christie’s for a billion MongoCoins (it’s like Bitcoin, but bigger).

This IS, however, an interview with Jess Lambie, the talented Melbourne-based artist who is currently gaining popularity in the NFT space. She’s been drawing ever since she can remember—aka long before NFT—but she’s become a whole lot busier now that the digital art world has taken off.

We overcame the 16-hour time difference and chatted with Lambie about her career, her influences, and why we’re in the midst of the second renaissance.

The below interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Courtesy of Jess Lambie.

Hey Barista

I can’t believe we made this happen. I still have trouble understanding a 16-hour time difference.

Jess

Welcome to my life selling NFTs. I’m up at your times at the moment. It’s interesting to say the least.

Hey Barista

The reason why I gravitated towards your work is less about the rise of NFTs, and more that I just like your art. It feels like you and your work have an inside joke on the world and I get to just peek in.

Jess

I’m not going to lie, you’ve kind of buttered me up, because that’s how I develop my art. I wanted it to be approachable. I wanted it to be misleading. I want the audience to be drawn in by the bright colors and the smiles, but when they really look into it, it’s totally satirical. There’s a lot of little hidden fuck you’s in there.

Courtesy of Jess Lambie.

Hey Barista

When was your first breakthrough as an artist?

Jess

It was my first hyper-realism painting. It was 5-years ago now, and it was the first piece I felt like I really nailed. That was a massive moment for me. I had been training and studying anatomy for so many years, and then getting into color theory. And I was still working full-time too. And doing all marketing on social media on CaffeinatedLamb. That was when, for me as an artist, I just started leveling up. And from there it just kept going up and up and up, exponentially. It felt like I spent half my life learning the fundamentals, and then like five years ago I must have hit my 10,000 hours.

Hey Barista

You used to juggle your job in coffee with your art. But now you’re focusing full time on your art. Has that been an adjustment?

Jess

It’s what needed to happen for a really long time. I think I spent too long doubting myself and doubting my ability as an artist, just thinking I was never good enough, because I would compare myself to Frida Kahlo, Dali, Picasso…just your run-of-the-mill artists. It’d be like, “cool, if I’m not that good then I should just set everything on fire and walk away.”

Courtesy of Jess Lambie.

Hey Barista

How did you transition into NFT art?

Jess

So that started through the gallery that I had my isolation exhibition at, Milkbar Gallery. One of the owners has been into NFT’s for a long time. He was saying my pieces would do really well. I started researching, and someone showed me Cryptovoxels, which is a virtual world. It looks kind of like Minecraft, but you can buy digital plots. Then you can just build on your plot. People build galleries, people build DJ booths…it’s insane. You can also sell art and sculptures through Cryptovoxel worlds, so I started building.

Hey Barista

A lot of your recent work is around the Wall Street Bets stuff that’s been happening.

Jess

I’ve always been really passionate about the 2008 financial crisis, just as like a weird, niche thing I’ve always been into, and I’ve always wondered why more people didn’t care. And then, I’m a child of the internet. I’ve been on Reddit for forever, and when Wall Street Bets started popping off, I was like, “Holy shit. This is the revolution. This is what we all fucking needed.” So I did the first comic, which is the one with the two snoo’s fucking the Wall Street bull.

Courtesy of Jess Lambie.

Hey Barista

It feels like that was your big foray into the NFT world.

Jess

Yeah. I did those pieces in a badly drawn style, because I knew that’s what Reddit would like. Then I chucked it up on Twitter, and I had people ask me to mint it. I got a phone call from the gallery being like, “You need to mint that.” And I’m like, “I’ve never fucking done this.” I literally just knocked it all together and figured it out in 24 hours.

Then I did the Fuck Wall Street exhibition. That went off. The entire museum was built in Cryptovoxels.  So yeah, it was Wall Street Bets that inspired me, through them fucking Wall Street, to get into NFT art.

Hey Barista

Who are some of the other artists in the NFT space who you think are doing great work?

Jess

I think people should be looking at Giant Swan for sure, because he’s pushing things digitally in VR. His sculptures in VR are mind blowing. Hipworth, who is another digital animation NFT artist; he’s got a lot of big fucking projects coming up with music in the NFT space. And Shelly Show. She does digital paintings, more in that kind of… fantasy girl with elf ears, probably green, wearing some kind of corset with arrows vibe. Do you know what I mean?

Hey Barista

Sure. Any predictions on what happens in the NFT art space over the next, let’s say, year?

Jess

I genuinely think this is the second renaissance and everyone should strap the fuck in.

Courtesy of Jess Lambie.