Meet Sean Mundy
Sean Mundy Sean Mundy is a photographer & digital artist based in Montréal, Canada. In his work he aims to create conceptual imagery through photography and digital manipulation that pulls from the surreal and the symbolic while remaining rooted in reality. His approach allows him to explore themes such as division, isolation, and conflict in diverse and unique ways. Sean entered the NFT space in early 2021 and in July 2022 Sean reached an all-time high, selling his piece ‘Sigil’ for 7 ETH on SuperRare.
Could you tell us about your story and how you got introduced to the NFT space?
I've been creating visual artwork with a camera since 2010, but only began to be more serious/committed around 2013/2014. I grew up playing music in bands and writing stories and such so I was always a creative person, but once I devoted more and more time to photography/digital manipulation, I realized that this was what I wanted to focus much more of my time on.
I began working with a local gallery here in Montreal (Galerie Youn) and several other galleries internationally (Yellow Frame Gallery in Tel Aviv and Mortal Machine Gallery in New Orleans) starting in 2016 and have been doing freelance work as well as part time work for local small businesses shooting e-commerce images.
What inspired you to start creating NFTs?
In late 2020, I began seeing many 3D artists in my city (most notably FVCKRENDER and Aeforia) posting about tokenizing artworks, and NFTs in general. I had no idea what they were, but when I did research, I saw almost exclusively that the artworks were 3D based, and couldn't really find any photography.
Then, Nate Hill, a fellow photographer/digital artist friend of mine, introduced me to SuperRare and encouraged me to get involved in the space, and thanks to him I devoted some time to learning the basics about Ethereum/smart contracts/NFTs, and was accepted onto SuperRare before the 2021 boom (thankfully) in early January of 2021.
What was the first NFT you created?
The first NFT I created was 'Barriers IV - Video', released on SuperRare in late January, 2021.
Which tools do you use to create?
I use photography, digital manipulation in photoshop, and stock images.
What are your biggest influences or sources of inspiration?
My biggest inspirations would be Storm Thorgerson, Nicolas Alan Cope, and many other films/directors/painters/photographers/illustrators. I find inspiration in pretty much anything I can and then mold it to my liking.
What has been the most rewarding part of being involved in the NFT space?
I would be lying if I didn't say the financial aspect; it has provided me with another revenue source that brings me closer to being a full time artist, and without NFTs, I would be struggling to earn a living even more.
Before NFTs, I relied solely on licensing, commissions, and print sales, but thankfully NFTs have provided another revenue stream, and likewise knowing that there are collectors/individuals out there that value my work enough to support me to such a level is incredibly humbling and encourages me to continue to push forward.
That being said, during my time in the space, I've been fortunate enough to develop friendships with artists and collectors alike that I wouldn’t have if I wasn't in the space, and for that I am extremely grateful as well; there are definitely some bad actors in the space (and crypto in general), but there are also incredibly kind hearted supportive people and if you're lucky enough, you'll encounter and befriend them.
What advice would you give to someone starting out as a creator within the NFT space?
Study how others release artworks, how they format their posts, their pricing, edition sizes etc, study everything. Releasing work on a consistent basis is a good idea regardless of medium or if you're in NFTs or not, so if that means taking a break once in a while from socials to work on many pieces to then slowly release them but at a regular pace (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly etc), do what makes sense for you.
Developing any semblance of a content strategy is a good idea as well, showing BTS footage, insights from your process, posts like these help people see who you really are more than just what you make.
At the end of the day all these platforms we use are social platforms, so unless you're lucky enough to be a silent stoic type and have everyone love your work, you should try to let others into your world and be the digital equivalent of a host at a party, but the party is your work.
How do you cultivate a relationship with collectors?
All my relationships with collectors have come from my art first. I rarely reach out to collectors unless a collector has made it clear that they're into what I do; they already have hundreds if not thousands of people trying to cultivate "relationships" with them (more often than not, thinly veiled attempts at becoming close so they can sell their work), and I've never wanted to add to that.
The power dynamics between an artist and a collector are abundantly clear and as an artist if you think collectors don't know what you're doing by showering them with compliments and non-stop praise, they do. They're just normal people who like to support certain artists, so treat them accordingly.
Many are very quiet/aren't too conversational, whereas others are extremely open and share their thoughts constantly, so there isn't really a rule of thumb for cultivating relationships since everyone is an individual, just be a real person and hopefully they will respond well.
What do you think are the biggest opportunities within the NFT space in the coming 5 years? Culturally, artistically and financially?
I'm not much of a prognosticator, but my guess would be that NFTs will likely become much more commonplace, but will require a bit of a rebranding. Simply using "Digital Collectibles" alone would help a lot, since when 95% of the public thinks of NFTs, they think of Bored Apes and CryptoPunks, when in reality NFTs can and are so much more.
I would imagine the baseline tech/principles of NFTs will spread to many more industries outside of tech. Music still feels incredibly slept on, and I wouldn't be surprised if larger artistic enterprises (museums, etc) would tokenize many classic artworks and store them on their own blockchains for provenance, providing digitized versions of timeless physical pieces.
As a creator, is there something that you feel is missing in the current NFT space?
I would love to see a platform/protocol that distributes earnings to all creators on the platform when a sale is made, even if it's an additional 2% tax on a transaction that is then divided between all members on the platform/protocol in question (a lot of meme coins had this function back in 2021), this way when one person wins, everyone can at least benefit from it a little bit.
The gap between artists that sell for massive amounts of ETH and those who struggle to make regular sales is quite pronounced in the space (much like the traditional world unfortunately), but with blockchain tech and smart contracts there are at least ways to equalize this chasm somewhat between those who are essentially the 0.1% of income earners on the planet and those who struggle, and I think that would be an awesome idea for someone to implement.
What’s the best piece of advice you have been given?
I haven't had many conversations with people that would give me advice unfortunately, but a quote that I've found extremely helpful is "suffer the pain of discipline or suffer the pain of regret"; when you break choices down to a binary like this, it really helps shape the decisions you make and forces you to come to terms with the long term consequences of your decisions and how they will affect you and your life.
What is your favorite meme?
Hard to pick a favorite, but this one is always a classic for me.