For many of his life, 18-year-old Justin Bodnar, higher identified in Web3 as jstngraphics, had hoped to change into knowledgeable soccer participant. However as if to set the wheels of lot in movement, earlier than he might even attain his teenage years, a gap in his coronary heart (fairly bodily, that isn’t simply to be poetic) would put a damper on his desires and successfully change the trajectory of his life.
“When I was younger, I played soccer, basketball, and baseball; but I really started focusing on soccer. But when I was 10 years old, around fifth grade, I had to have open heart surgery,” Bodnar stated in an interview with non-fungible token now. “Apparently, there was a hole in one of the walls of my heart, and the blood was all going to one side. So I had to have surgery for that, which meant I couldn’t play any soccer for some time. That’s when I got into graphic design.”
Artwork commissions throughout a world pandemic
Laid up from surgical procedure and not capable of hit the sector, Bodnar did what any fifth grader would do, and received actually into video video games. As he ascendingly received higher at Name of Responsibility, he determined to document his matches and make edits of his trick photographs. To undertake, he first employed Adobe After Results, which acted as his entry into the world of design. from there, he began making his personal thumbnails and realized he may be capable to make some cash off his quickly rising set of abilities.
“I thought, ‘Hey, I could probably make some money off this.’ At this time, I was probably 11 or 12. I decided to make a Twitter account, and from there, I started selling cheap Twitter headers, thumbnails, really anything for like $10-15,” stated Bodnar. “After a while, I started charging around $25 to $50 or something like that. That’s just what I did up until around 2019 when I really started experimenting with my designs and doing commissions.”
In 2019, though Bodnar was an image of well being and continued to get pleasure from soccer leisurely, artwork had undeniably gained a maintain on his free time as his important passion. And for good motive, contemplating he was now capable of earn a living doing commissions. However in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, issues modified for everybody, Bodnar included. Throughout the yr, he began to essentially give attention to creating his personal artwork, not simply commissions created out of the concepts of others.
Fortunately for him, his timing couldn’t have been extra excellent, and within the fall of that very same yr, he was first uncovered to NFTs. First minting a piece on Rarible, Bodnar sought out different artists on Twitter, establishing a small community of creators in a bunch chat. Though he admits he actually had no concept what he was doing early on, his title began spreading as soon as he crossed paths with a specific celebrity DJ.
Charting a path towards sustainability
After being launched to the social audio app Clubhouse, which dominated the primary half of 2021, Bodnar took half in a number of rooms (talking engagements on the app), with the easy hope of hanging out with associates and possibly getting to speak about his artwork. But, he says he actually didn’t discuss a lot his first few occasions, that’s, till he ended up in the identical room as DJ and prominent NFT creator/influencer 3LAU.
“I was honestly freaking out! But finally, I just thought I might as well do it. So I waited until there was a period of time where no one talking, and I unmuted and just said, ‘Hey, I’m Justin. I’m a 16-year-old 3D artist,’ and 3LAU was the first one to reply,” stated Bodnar. “He was like, ‘Cool, where can we find your work?’ I gave him my Instagram and Twitter, and instantly, my Instagram was blowing up… 3LAU actually Tweeted my art out and tagged me and followed me.”
From then on, Bodnar and 3LAU linked and talked extra outdoors of Clubhouse, which finally culminated within the DJ buying one in all Bodnar’s NFTs in a personal sale. And afterward, Bodnar obtained a pleasing shock when 3LAU requested if he’d wish to create a chunk of canopy artwork for one in all his forthcoming tracks. “It was awesome. Especially because that piece of art went with the first music drop on his platform Royal. So that was kind of cool to be a part of that history.”
Contemplating Bodnar’s continued love of vibrant, emotionally-fueled digital music, being tapped for a 3LAU collaboration was undoubtedly a possible bucket record merchandise checked off. And as his surreal, dreamy panorama NFTs continued to achieve traction, he discovered Possibilities to work with different distinguished Web3 names like Josh Pierce and Dave Krugman as nicely. But, together with his artwork objectives beginning to be achieved, Bodnar realized he had a possibility to shift his focus and change into an inspiration for different younger artists.
“Being a young artist, and getting into the NFT space, it’s not easy. I was lucky getting into the space and having so many people be super helpful. I want to inspire other artists, hopefully, younger artists as well,” stated Bodnar. “That’s kind of my main goal. You know, other than getting into a museum or something like that (he chuckles).”
From attaining six figures in gross sales on SupeRare to a forthcoming assortment set to drop on Nifty Gateway, wherever Bodnar endeavors to take his artwork subsequent, it’s clear that his mission is sound. And much like his vibrant landscapes and impossibly stunning worlds, his personal potential appears to be huge and limitless.
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