Yam Ben Adiva is a multidisciplinary artist, the founder and creative director of Yambo Studio, and a co-founder of NFT and digital collectible ecosystem, Dissrup. Collaboration is at the heart of Yam’s design philosophy. Working with a globally distributed network of artists, Yam utilizes expertise from a variety of fields to create tailor-made digital worlds for clients ranging from Apple to Nike, infusing the DNA of pioneering brands with his own trademark blend of dreamlike imagery and hyper-vibrant colour to create surreal environments that remain consistent, yet independent of the limitations of a single visual language.
READ Our Q&A with YAMBO Below
Yambo, Genesis (Detail)
What have you been up to, what have you been working on over the last year?
Over the past year, I have been juggling the full-time running of Yambo Studio, my CGI-oriented design studio, which works with digital artists to produce creative content for big brands, and a new project, Dissrup — which has come about in response to my changing perspective on the role of the creator in the global artistic ecosystem, as a product of the rise of NFTs. Dissrup shifts the focus onto the creators and the art itself, allowing artists to build economies around their practice, and help them monetise it directly, without the need for client work.
Since the end of 2020, I’ve been working with an amazing team to build a dApp on the Ethereum blockchain. The result is Dissrup, a creative ecosystem that leverages blockchain and NFT technology to deliver advanced NFT artwork and collectibles experiences (drops), as well as a space for artists to mint and sell their own digital artwork. We have collaborated with several artists to create bi-weekly drops — the first of which arrived on September 13th 2021. We are now on our sixth release, and the platform is growing and evolving quickly, which is very exciting.
Tell us a bit about your art practice and any key themes throughout your work
During my childhood, I would frequently communicate with people online via mIRC, an Internet Relay Chat client for Windows created in 1995. I think that Yambo Studio, and my artistic practice, is driven by a similar motivation to build connections and friendships with talented people from around the world. I think something inside me has always been attracted to this idea of Global Collaboration. When I realised that working with others in this way was raising the quality of the studio’s output, it became obvious that this approach was the future of the studio, and the strongest way to continue growing. I seek out great talent online, and if something/someone catches my attention, I just drop the artist a line to start up a conversation about working together.
I think that this method of collaboration has really changed my personal style. Constantly collaborating with other artists has shaped the way I approach the process of creating: every artist has their own style, tricks, and techniques, and by constantly working with other people, my personal style has evolved in a way that it otherwise wouldn’t have.
As a general overview, I’d say that my work could be summarised as the intersection between photorealistic rendering qualities, and surreal visual worlds — saturated, abstract and playful.
What have NFTs enabled for you? (economically, creatively, community wise)
I would say that primarily, NFTs have given me the freedom to focus on the art of creation itself, without the need to fulfil client demands. Having focussed on client work for the past decade, this is a huge shift for me; to be able to put the power in the hands of creators, myself included, is really great. In addition, the community aspect of NFTs is majorly different from anything I used to know. There is so much going on every day, and people are starting to focus on the digital world faster than I ever imagined.
I also think that beyond their economic significance, NFTs have also enabled me to learn a lot about blockchain & cryptocurrency, building a dApp from scratch has been particularly eye-opening in this regard. This is a huge plus, as I have always been interested in the technical side of the blockchain, and its great to fully dive into it, and understand it in its all its complexity.
What advice do you have for other artists/collectors trying to break into NFTs?
I can only relay some of the lessons that I learned over this past year. The most important thing to know is that selling your art as NFTs wont happen in a day. Some people just try to mint something, forgot about it, and hope that it will suddenly sell, and they will become a successful NFT artist overnight. The reality is very different, it’s a game for the long run, and patience is crucial. Mint your best work, communicate with people who appreciate it, support other artists, and keep cycling through this process over and over again. There is so much going on out there these days that it’s very hard to catch people’s attention at the beginning. You need to focus on the art itself, and work hard — I’ve been working 12 hours a day for over a decade: it takes time for the work to start paying off!
Do you have a favourite NFT in your wallet / project you idolise and why?
While most of the hype around NFTs is centred on PFP projects and 10K collections, I truly believe in the value of 1 of 1 NFT artworks for emerging artists. I am proud to own 1 of 1 pieces by great artists like Joan Garcia Pons, George Tyebcho, rvyaltsevvvvv and Borja Alegre.
Can you share any plans for upcoming projects?
Dissrup will be my main focus for the coming year. Over the past 3 months we’ve been focused on the launch of the project and it was great to be welcomed into the space the way we were. Currently we have a lot of projects and plans for the coming year. We hope dissrup will become a major player in the NFT space. On a personal note, I plan to find more time for my personal artwork which I really had to put aside last year. I Plan to release my crypto-carpet (a physical hand-made wall carpet with a digital representation) on Dissrup, as well as a series following the artwork I created for Satellite.
In your crystal ball, what are your predictions for NFTs in the next 5 years?
I believe we are going to see mass adoption of NFTs & digital collectibles. As the digital community grows, collectibles will become a part of mainstream culture. Users will build and enhance their digital identities and personal spaces on the new grounds of the metaverse, blurring the boundaries between physical and digital.
I believe this is only the beginning of a major shift from corporations owning our data, to personal ownership of the items we will be using in our physical and digital life. As more people begin to own NFTs, the biggest players will have no choice but to allow us to use them across the metaverse — the emergence of the metaverse will change the cultural landscape on a huge scale.
Don’t miss seeing Yambo NFTs at Satellite 2022
A month-long, digitally immersive and sensory experience Bringing together over 40 NFT artworks from leading influential Australian and international artists, in Bondi Beach this March.