Let's Talk Curation #1 | William Peaster
William M. Peaster
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May 13th, 2022

JPG is kicking off a new series of posts where we interview some of our community’s leading curators in order to learn more about their work and how they approach curation.

First up is William M. Peaster, who writes the Metaversal NFT newsletter and serves as JPG’s first community manager. So far he’s curated or contributed to over a dozen exhibitions on JPG, including The Found Robbies, Non-Fungible Poems, and Green Day.

1) Why did you become a curator? What’s your journey to curation been like?

When I was a teen, I was a diehard musician. And then I went to university for creative writing, which remains my great love. So I’ve viewed myself as an artist first and foremost for a long time, and I’ve spent much of my free time over the past decade creating — or rather mostly practicing so far — poems, fiction, plays, and more recently naive art drawings.

My latest Manifold Studio mints
My latest Manifold Studio mints

The act of conscientiously curating is a much newer thing for me. Of course, in various ways we’re all “always already” curators, as there are curations around us everywhere in our lives. For example, over the years I’ve amassed a collection of rare books, but I’ve done so for my personal satisfaction and in a rather unconscious manner.

My rare (previously discarded!) copy of "The Devil to Pay in the Backlands" by João Guimarães Rosa
My rare (previously discarded!) copy of "The Devil to Pay in the Backlands" by João Guimarães Rosa

As for curation as intentional second-order creation and organization, that’s something I’ve come to through NFTs. I was in crypto doing newswriting work for a few years before NFTs really exploded in popularity over the 2020-’21 period, and it’s been an amazing time ever since because the NFT surge has allowed me to explore my creative interests and my more technical, professional interests in tandem.

All that said, my work and creative experiments during the ‘20-’21 boom made it clear that the NFT ecosystem was teeming with financial possibilities but also that so much more work needed to be done to expand, contextualize, and deepen appreciation of the cultural value of NFTs. That’s why when JPG’s founders invited me to contribute to the curation platform, it felt like a perfect fit and also the start of my journey as a curator in a direct, intentional sense. And I’ve been hooked and learning fast ever since!

2) How do you approach the curatorial process in your creative or professional work?

I’m newer to curation, so I’ve been getting a feel for the process in recent months by simply diving into curatorial projects on JPG. So far I’ve done a lot of educational and editorial stuff, like the CC0 Compendium and What is the Lootverse. I also really enjoy highlighting the works of artists that I think warrant more attention, so I’ve made galleries exploring the canons of Dun and Bard Ionson for example. Altogether, I’ve turned to curation as another avenue for appreciating and teaching others about NFTs as cultural objects.

3) Who are your top 3 favorite artists right now, and why?

I may or may not manically maintain and agonize over “Top 10” lists of my favorite books, movies, artists, etc. on an ongoing basis so … 😅 yeah admittedly I love to think about these sorts of questions, and also I find them incredibly hard to answer at any given time. Too many great choices to choose from in any category!

For now, though, I’ll make it simple by noting three of my longtime, all-time favorite cryptoartists: aBlu, sisirist, and Manards.

I love aBlu because in his vision and style I see the grace of a brilliant master. This is his Thoughts in Prague:

I love sisirist because their works and poetry routinely mystify me in the best ways possible. This is their obsoLescence:

Lastly, I love Manards because, among other things, I’m a huge fan of his excellent interpretations of past masterpieces. This is his Soul Catcher:

4) What advice would you give to web3 creatives who are wanting to dive deeper into curation but aren’t sure where to start?

When it comes to curating NFTs, you’re limited only by your imagination.

That said, a great way to start getting a feel for how to approach things is to look at what other web3 curators have been up to lately. JPG’s been fortunate to have amazing beta curators who have created dozens of excellent exhibitions by now, so I’d check some of these galleries out if you’re ever looking for new curatorial ideas.

Beyond that, follow what you find fun and interesting and you’ll always have good ways forward.

5) Do you have any upcoming curatorial projects we can be on the lookout for?

Absolutely! Over the coming months, I’ll be working on completing more editorial JPG exhibitions like the CC0 Compendium and the PFP Compendium. I’ve also got a “What is the Supverse” gallery in the works that will chart out the ongoing worldbuilding efforts in and around the Blitmap project, so stay tuned for that!

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Feel free to take the conversation deeper or ask questions in the JPG Discord any time. Also, make sure you’re subscribed to the Substack newsletter to stay up to date with all things JPG 📸

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