The Constant Climb with kaNO
The shifts and changes that have always characterized the creative industries have accelerated in the last few years with the rise of the blockchain and the introduction of NFTs into the popular lexicon. There are now more new avenues than ever for artists to explore and find themselves a niche in, and this is both exciting and daunting for many young creators. Here to talk about his journey through the creative life and his explorations into new possibilities is the amazing kaNO!
Born and raised in New York and now based in Los Angeles for many years, kaNO is an artist, toymaker, animator, and generally a man of many talents! kaNO is also a family man, a thoughtful human, and someone we are so lucky to host on the podcast and share this space with.
“Part of building a brand as an artist is making a list of things. 'I want to be seen as this type of artist, this what I don't want to be seen as.' So, with the NFT things, I want to do NFTs but I don't want to all of sudden be all NFTs and now I am the NFT guy. I want to balance that, so if I can do them both, which I feel like I can, then I would like to do that. That's the way I have been picking my jobs for the last couple of years.” — @kaNO [0:37:23]
In today's episode, we speak about many different areas of kaNO's life, from how he approaches productivity and time management to his thoughts on education and community. The bulk of the second half of our chat is spent on the crypto space and how kaNO is thinking about his place in this burgeoning area of the art landscape, so to catch it all from a truly fantastic guest, hit that play button!
“I grew up with kids whose parents educated them early on stock market stuff and they always did really well financially, and I never understood it. But that is what is happening right now; people are getting educated in a more interesting and cool way, young people are learning how to invest in things. Maybe NFTs are the hot thing right now and will die down, but cryptocurrencies and investing in things will not. I feel like it is pretty cool that a teenager can look at the world in that way. There will be less and less teenagers working at McDonalds as a summer job.” — @kaNO [0:46:48]
Key Points From This kaNO Episode:
To start off, we hear from kaNO about his attitude towards managing his time and how he constantly works at being productive. With so many different projects and demands, this is a lifelong challenge for any artist and one that kaNO remains dedicated to. He also admits that some weeks are better than others and you cannot always change the tide on a week that does not go your way or a project that is not as successful as you may have hoped.
Education has played an important role in kaNO's journey, having attended an art-focused high school. However, he explains that he was an ordinary teenager in many ways, and was stubborn and unresponsive to many important lessons that he then learned later. He is very interested in the different ways that we might be able to communicate vital ideas about logic and business to the younger generation in a manner that they are receptive to.
As always, kaNO has a number of projects on the go at present, with a new exhibition opening lined up, a couple of toys in the pipeline, and his personal goals around learning more about the blockchain and NFTs. One of the major influences on his attitude towards these new avenues has been his peers and their explorations, and this has inspired him to adopt a slow and steady approach to learning about the blockchain.
Many of us have at least some idea of how NFTs are already changing the game, and how this will continue in the near future. kaNO believes much of this is still unknown to us, and that the communal element is a central one. The actions of big corporate names like Ernst & Young, McKinsey, and Boston Consulting Group lend credence to the assertion that NFTs and the creative blockchain are here to stay!
With the advent of so many new and seemingly interconnected technologies, such as the blockchain and the Metaverse, it is not a stretch to say that we are on the brink of a new cultural moment. kaNO still feels much of this is foreign and believes that artists should think carefully about where exactly they want to dive in and pour their energy. We all have limits on our time and energy and maintaining your reputation and the strength of a creative brand should be a priority.
As the world continues to change and evolve, we can all notice a shift away from purely physical and tangible goods and, in some ways, this is a very empowering trend for the younger generation! Teenagers today are learning way more about investment and applicable skills than what has happened historically. For kaNO, it is all about balancing the need to stay relevant with a strong foundation of artistic practice and craft, a recipe that can truly lead to a bright creative future.