How to Fill The Void in the NFT Space with Sergio from INFTSPACES

Spotify Podcast Episode: How to Fill The Void in the NFT Space with Sergio from INFTSPACES

In episode 20 of Freedom with NFT’s, our guest Sergio Cuculiza shares with us how to fill the void in the NFT space with Sergio from INFTSPACES.

Sergio founded inftspaces with partners Martin Wawrusch (CEO roji) and Maria Bertrand to help bridge the existential rift between the physical and metaverse through NFT’s and events. Providing a collective of artists and galleries to wow the senses in an infinite art environment. Together inftspaces and Roji Studios will be introducing world renown analog artists into the digital/NFT environment helping bring more art enthusiasts into the world of NFTs and crypto.

Sergio Cuculiza is also a co-founder in the non-profit and tech company Beautify Earth and now executive director for the 501(c)3 charity. Beautify Earth’s mission is to beautify communities, neighborhoods and schools, inspiring by developing creative environments and colorful spaces.

Sergio is adamant about designing and creating for the greater good, always aspiring to create meaningful social change through his approach.

[00:00:00] Lauren Turton: Sergio it is an honor to have you on today’s episode of freedom with NFTs. How are you on this beautiful afternoon?

[00:00:07] Sergio Cuculiza: Thank you, Lauren. I am doing well, you know, kicking butt, taking names, working as everyone else in the industry is. So excited to be here. Thank you for having me.

[00:00:17] Lauren Turton: Absolutely. I am excited to dig into everything that you’re working on right now, but before we do that. I’m curious to know what’s your background in?

[00:00:26] Sergio Cuculiza: I’m actually a practicing architect by day. And I also work for and started a nonprofit charity called beautified earth together with those efforts we fund and project manage public art, typically street art throughout the world. Actually, we are located in Los Angeles, California, but we’ve done murals all over the world in the thousands.

And I’ve done so for almost 10 years. So the art scene and I have a pretty extensive background. And as we all know, the NFT scene has quite encapsulated by the art scene, if not even overly influenced by it, which I’m very fond of. And beyond that, I have a little bit of crypto and tech experience mainly through my contacts.

[00:01:09] Lauren Turton: Thank you for sharing about your background. I’m digesting everything you said. What an interesting combination and how amazing you’re able to use your past experiences in the NFT space. And so let’s dive a little bit into your journey into NFTs. When did you first hear about them?

[00:01:29] Sergio Cuculiza: Twofold, I was watching an NBA top shot on a segment.

And I was enamored by that, I mean, humongous basketball fan. Along with that, I have a couple of very close friends of mine that are very deep in the art scene. And at that time they had started talking about these JPEGs that they were investing in. And of course they didn’t refer to them as JPEGs, but that’s how my mind was, you know, began to interpret it and quickly got in and I learned about the world of NFTs, got into NBA top shot and quickly started realizing the fruitful nature of these almost devices, right? These devices of transactional possession, both from a validation standpoint of what you’re owning, but also a record standpoint of what you’re owning and I thought once I understood that and it did take me awhile to understand it.

And definitely still takes me a while to explain it to people. But once you have that aha moment, quickly realize the potential of this and how we’re just scratching the surface of it.

[00:02:26] Lauren Turton: So after you first heard about NFTs, you became involved in top shot. What were your next step?

[00:02:33] Sergio Cuculiza: Fail and learn, you know, I’m a big believer, you got to stumble and fall and pick yourself up to succeed. No one ever succeeds from the beginning. And I’m also a big believer in, you got to know what you’re getting into. I also feel that sometimes you have to just take a shot in the dark. Right. But as you do that, you have to be progressive in your ideal.

So that’s what I did. And luckily I had some friends, like I mentioned in the industry and also in the art world that had begun to take advantage of the NFT platform. And since then I’ve encouraged every artist I know, to be able to do so because of the ability and the community that it can facilitate for them.

I don’t know if everyone’s aware of this, but in the art world, very famous artists makes a work of art. It gets sold and they never reap the benefits of that again. Whereas, in the NFT world, you can set up artists to be rewarded for their work in perpetuity. And that to me is that’s game changing. Just that concept.

And again, that’s just the corner of what NFTs are. So I did spend that time learning. I spend that time understanding the community, seeing what people are looking for, what is happening, why are people latching onto this and something that I was very influenced by was positivity in the industry. Coming from a nonprofit background, I typically have to beg people to do the right thing or to see the right avenue, even for as obvious as it might be for some, it’s not for others.

In this case, the space almost started off this way, which to me is extremely impactful. It’s almost like if you’re not creating a community and worldwide benefit. Like why do you even have a seat at the table?

[00:04:17] Lauren Turton: I definitely realized that very early on in my journey into the NFT space is like you said, how strong the communities are, how giving how helpful.

So I’m curious to know with your background and what I will say is the traditional art world. And now where you’re at in an empty space, what advice would you give to artists who are dipping their toe into the NFT waters?

[00:04:44] Sergio Cuculiza: It’s a phenomenal question. And one that doesn’t get asked fairly enough, right? We’re always asking why anyone should just get into the NFT space, but not someone who’s actually wanting to protect their art to start on almost a personalized journey that artists a lot of times have trouble starting off. So tiny step back on that question. My background had beautified earth, we essentially manage artists and we would find them opportunities, both to paint a wall and also to explore their art.

But a lot of times artists aren’t always taught how to conduct business. Infact, myself, even as an architect and having gone to art school, I never was taught how to conduct business. It was something you’ve learned on the fly. And so I think this is a phenomenal avenue, not only to learn business on the fly, but also to protect yourself as an artist and as a designer. I think there’s an important facet to understand that you don’t just have to be an artist to be in the designers very much can be in this space as well. Some will view the two by the way, as exactly the same. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But I think that’s also valuable because now people who did graphic design, people who did calligraphy, people who, well, it depends the style of photography, right? That could be both graphic and design and art, but you’re shifting the rift between what is design and what is art, and also providing so many new avenues for people to connect with your audience members. And so when I have talked to my friends that are artists and want to get them involved in it, I always tell them, learn, look at other projects, see what’s working, find the holes and see where you can fit in to fill those voids. You know, there’s so many voices, like we think that the market’s over saturated and in a way it is. But I also saw a funny tweet the other day, a person I follow who talked about how many versions of captain crunch cereal they have in their cupboard.

And they’re worried. And they were laughing because they’re like, and people are worried about oversaturation. There’s always a different flavor that will fuel someone else. Right. But what we shouldn’t be worried about that we should only be worried about the things that are stopping us doing. And so if they can get eyes on these projects, they can see where they fit in.

I encourage them to give it a try and I encourage them to do what they do best focus on there art. Focus on something that means something to them and explore that with their tight-knit community and with the NFT community and see what resonates, I think what’s great about this space is it can be forgiving just because a project might flop today.

Doesn’t mean that in two months from now, it might not take off. And people are constantly making tweaks, making minor changes to their work as they progress and seeing what works and seeing what doesn’t. I have my own beef with that, to some extent, because I do believe half-baked ideas shouldn’t just be going out there just to beat a running clock, but baked ideas that need trial and error definitely should.

That’s my biggest advice is bringing forth what they know they do well and trying to champion that and then letting that evolve over time.

[00:07:50] Lauren Turton: Thank you. I love the evolve over time aspect of this, because I know during my short journey into the NFT space, I took action in the space on August 17th. After two months of research, I’ve seen a lot of projects get dropped, and there’s this sense behind it, of it’s going to sell out now.

And it’s like no, you need to be patient. You need to build community. You need to make connections. So I love that you touched on that. I think that’s an important aspect for new artists in the NFT space to understand, because on the front end we see on the different Instagram accounts at NFT, for example, or the other big ones out there, you see the highlight reels of, oh, this project just made X amount of money.

This NFT sold for X amount of money. And I think a lot of people are getting caught up in that excitement, that hype, that emotional rollercoaster, but they’re not understanding building community, making connections and everything that goes into having a successful project. So thank you for sharing that.

Something that I would love for you to talk a little bit more about is the aspect of unlockable content. I know when I first entered the space, I didn’t know that unlockable content was a part of the deal. And that blew my mind when I found out about unlockable content. So I’d love to hear your take on that.

[00:09:18] Sergio Cuculiza: Yeah, actually, I’d like for you to elaborate on that a little bit too, because I’m a bit unfamiliar with a lot of unlockable content, other than what I have kind of just played around with my own NFTs that I found that had that. So sometimes they’re just code. Sometimes they’re just derivatives of the images.

But beyond that, it’s a little new to me.

[00:09:37] Lauren Turton: I’m glad that you brought up your knowledgeable unlockable content codes, et cetera, because on my end, the only type of unlockable content that I’ve put out there is I’ve included an eight by 10 print of my work. I have included a signed copy of my number one best-selling book, soul career clarity, and I’ve included a 30 minutes business expansion session with me, not sure if you know, but I’m a business coach outside of the NFT world. So In my unlockable content, that’s what I’ve included.

[00:10:11] Sergio Cuculiza: That is phenomenal.

[00:10:12] Lauren Turton: Thank you. And I’m glad that you shared what you’ve seen with unlockable content, because I don’t think people realize you can add an extra layer to your NFT.

You can include unlockable content. A friend of mine included a pair of nunchucks as his unlockable content because his art piece had his dog. A drawing of his dog and his dog had nunchucks in his hand. So he included a pair of nunchucks in the unlockable content.

[00:10:43] Sergio Cuculiza: Wow. Like virtual or physical?

[00:10:45] Lauren Turton: Physical.

[00:10:46] Sergio Cuculiza: Oh, you gotta be careful where you send those.

My friend is a nunchucks artist and he in California was not able to have them shipped here for example. Because I guess it’s illegal.

[00:10:57] Lauren Turton: Because it is probably like some type of weapon. Yeah, that was so interesting for me to find out is that there is the aspect of unlockable content. So as an artist, it’s not just a digital aspect.

You can add prints, you can add other aspects to your work, which I think is important for people to know as they enter the space. So I want to switch gears a little bit and I want to get into the projects that you’re really excited about.

[00:11:23] Sergio Cuculiza: Yeah. Wow. How long are the list? Just a quick step back, because you have a very interested about the unlockable content.

How do you use yours in the sense of do you market that you have that unlockable content and you make it clear?

[00:11:35] Lauren Turton: Yes. When I’ve been posting on my Instagram account, I’ve been sharing that I’ve uploaded a new collection and this collection includes unlockable content and the unlockable content is, and then I listed out same as on my Twitter.

So I am marketing that unlockable content is part of the value of investing in that NFT.

[00:11:55] Sergio Cuculiza: Okay, jumping into projects that I am excited about. So, I guess I’ll put a hash tag disclaimer or Astros disclaimer, whatever I am an owner of all the ones that I am the most excited about. And that’s because I believe in if you’re excited about something, but your money, where your mouth is and the follow it through, you know, if I’d be more worried about the people who talk about things that they’re excited about and aren’t involved in, unless it’s a, for example, a mechanics. So it’s just, you know, unattainable, like I’m sure everyone today wanted to be involved with the Metaverse for one reason or another. And you see the emotional sentiment that people put on the timeline, whether they got them or not and it transfers.

And, the first one I’m going to talk about might not be that well known, but is very well-known in tight-knit communities. And they’re called the cryptovenetians and the crypto new yorkers. They’re part of a group called bright moments that started in LA, started in Venice, California, and they started bringing in people off the street to mint in real life. And I’m a very cool experience. I got to mint my own and I’ll actually be going to New York to mint my crypto new yorker new Yorker in about a month actually. Got to plan that. And it’s a very cool experience, very cool group, a very art centered. They are backed by art blocks, which to me, I think someone foundational like that is a good curatorial entity to me is very valuable.

I take that as like blue chip stock. There’s value behind a name and I very much feel the same way in the NFT world. And another one that I’m very excited about and actually I just minted my own gods of rock is the tools of rock. They are album covers that are all super pretty and generative and just cool to look at.

And basically from the album covers, they generated gods of rock. All of this is rock themed, and they’re going to be hosting events in the metaverse like where you can go out with your rocker and go see a show and stuff like that. And they have like seasoned passes for concerts and shows like that. I mean, what their dev team has put together is quite impressive.

The idea that their floors, so attainable is a joke, but they just keep putting out fire after fire, after fire release. So excited to be part of that.

[00:14:05] Lauren Turton: I’m curious, you said something that our audience might not know what it means. What’s the metaverse?

[00:14:12] Sergio Cuculiza: Oh, that’s a great point. And I’m sure I’ll be touching base on that a little more.

The metaverse is essentially your VR worlds, your virtual worlds, I guess they’re not all VR because you can use a web browser for example, to enter them. But you have your somnium space. You have your crypto voxels to central land and sandbox, all these different worlds where you can essentially buy a plot of land, activate it, build upon it and curate it. A lot of people make art galleries. A lot of people do quick little games and things like that. And it’s quite fun, definitely worth digging into. If you have a VR headset, it’s even crazier. We were at a metaverse party a few days ago, and there was a pole dance in the VR world. It was a VR pole dancing experience.

And I’m like, this is insane. This is like, this is where we are now. So definitely be on the lookout for more things that are happening in the metaverse, because they’re only expanding. It’s quite impressive.

[00:15:11] Lauren Turton: Thank you for sharing what the metaverse is. I know when I first entered the NFT space and I had heard that, my mind was blown and it was a little far fetched for me when I first found out about it, it seemed wacky crazy.

I didn’t understand it, but now that I am much deeper into NFT is a totally understand the value in it. What is happening in the metaverse and where it is going. So it’s something as people enter the NFT world. At least drop in and dig into what the metaverse is all about. So you understand, especially in conversation like this, when people talk about the metaverse, you know, what they are talking about.

So thanks for sharing a little bit about that. I’m curious to know what is the third project you’re really excited about?

[00:15:58] Sergio Cuculiza: The third one I’ll break into two quick ones. We have byopills and G balls. And I think something that will be very similar across the ones that I named is they’re almost all very art central.

They all have something unique about them, even the crypto Venetians and new Yorkers, they are pixelated art, but they support a lot of independent artists minting, for example, in doing that in real life, which I think is a unique community tool, right. That has a utility to it as well. The BYOpills is just insane.

The pills themselves are so cool. The idea that you can trip images and things like that, and eventually take that with your avatar in the metaverse, your avatar being kind of your three person in the metaverse and what they’re creating, I believe their entire team comes from video game background too, so they know what they’re doing.

It’s not a surprise. And then G balls is a completely, have you seen them?

[00:16:48] Lauren Turton: No, I haven’t.

[00:16:49] Sergio Cuculiza: They’re so rad. It’s this artist that based out of London, his name is a kid eight. He used to do album covers for rappers. And so he’s got a very like gritty street style. So he designed these little cherubs. Cherubs are like this little demon children, right, with ski masks and all this like grungy type accessories and attributes. But the artists fire really good work. And you can see the laborious effort that he put into it himself as an artist. And he’s represented that really well.

[00:17:18] Lauren Turton: Thank you for sharing those projects, we will list them in the link of the description of this episode so that the freedom with NFTs audience can dig into those.

I’m curious to know Sergio, what are you working on right now?

[00:17:30] Sergio Cuculiza: Throughout all this. And it had so much involvement with artists and some of these teams. I wanted to find my place in this world. It’s something that is inspiring me every day. It’s something that has an impact on your life. And I believe very wholeheartedly that if you are not making strides to fit in the things that impact and influence you into your own life and you’re missing out very big.

So we created myself in a couple of partners, it project called inftspaces. We pronounced that infinite spaces and that what we are cultivating is essentially an artist collective. The collective of both artists and galleries that will be throwing events and curating experiences in the physical.

And the metaverse simultaneous. Our goal is to literally be that bridge that will connect the riff between the physical and the virtual world. We actually have our very first event here in Los Angeles. The weekend of November 11th, we are also doing a VR world and some samayam space at a gallery. That’s run by a gentleman named Artific, which is called Artc coffee.

And he’s actually in the process of developing our own gallery in the space which is wicked.

[00:18:44] Lauren Turton: Wow. Congratulations. That’s so cool. I love hearing about you bridging the gap between the digital and the physical. That’s super exciting. So if we want to attend your events in LA, how do we find out more information?

[00:19:01] Sergio Cuculiza: Great.

I’ll be happy to drop a link. It’s and you can RSVP. The cool thing is too. If you RSVP and you show up and again, you can attend physically or virtually, it doesn’t matter. You get a free NFT and we’re actually curating an NFT with one of our featured artists. One thing I do want to stress is that this show is it’s an art show.

It’s not, you know, we have an NFT drop that’s associated to it, but it is an art show. We have four featured artists that are all famous and very legitimized artists in the United States and around the world, actually, one of our artists is flying in from Barcelona.

[00:19:38] Lauren Turton: Wow.

[00:19:39] Sergio Cuculiza: And we have four other guests, artists, or joining us and some of them, even with international backgrounds.

So it’s extremely exciting. We will have physical artwork. We will have digital artwork. And we will be minting live our first NFT, which will essentially be token into our daw and allow you the ability to join our collective.

[00:20:02] Lauren Turton: Wow. That’s super exciting. Super, super exciting. And congratulations. I might have to try to come up from San Diego for that event.

[00:20:10] Sergio Cuculiza: Definitely should, shore a little ride away. It’s going to be very cool. We’re going to have an interview. We’re going to have some reveals. There’ll be some open bar. Can’t provide that in the VR world. Sorry, virtual people, but the virtual world will be super cool too. Planning on doing a pre party with some music and some dancing.

We’ll see if we can get the virtual pole dancer at the event. And there’ll be some Easter egg hunts too, in the VR world, which will be cool. Essentially, what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to trigger an heightened involvement in the VR world through this as well. And again, participating gets you a free NFT, and if you buy art at the event, so not our art, but the art from the artists, you will also be gifted, additional NFTs.

I should say gas is on the mentor. I wish I could provide everything for y’all, but there’s some pretty bad-ass NFTs, they are like fine art curated. So there’s been a lot of love put into them.

[00:21:03] Lauren Turton: I’m curious. No. When you were curating this event, what do you look for in the artists that you choose to work with?

[00:21:10] Sergio Cuculiza: That’s a great question. At first. It was who would say yes it’s honestly, we had to be a little more localized than we might want to be in the future, just because it is our first event. We do want to do it here at home. It just was easier to facilitate. It made more sense. Again, my background in the public art world helped a lot.

I knew people that we could trust and that we could do this with. But yeah, so it’s having an audience, having an exposure and then having both physical and digital art were the main things that we were looking for. And moving forward, those will continue to be the things we look for. We want to start a collective, but it means from an artist standpoint, you gotta be willing to put in the effort to make it worth your while we will make it worth your while if you make it worth ours, it’s gotta be a give and take relationship everyone has to win.

[00:21:57] Lauren Turton: My biggest takeaway from what you just shared is having physical artwork and digital artwork for any artists who are listening to this right now, please take action in the NFT space. The industry is already here where in order to be a part of certain things, you need to have the digital aspect as well as physical. So you’ve heard it here on freedom with NFTs. I don’t want you to look back in time and say, oh, I wish I would’ve taken action sooner. You heard it today. Having the physical and digital aspect of your artwork is sought after. Sergio, thank you so much for your time today. You’ve shared so much value, so many golden nuggets, so many takeaways before we wrap this episode up. Any last words, like to leave with the freedom with NFTs audience.

[00:22:47] Sergio Cuculiza: Thank you so much for having me. This is a fun conversation too. And I appreciate not only your enthusiasm, but how you harp on a lot of these items.

And you’re so right. If you want to get involved to protect yourself as an artist, to start working within as many realms and fields that you can, that you can yourself control, learn about those avenues, too. If you need help getting into to the NFT world, there’s so much help out there. We want to position ourselves as infinite spaces to do the same.

So feel free to reach out, happy to help wherever I can, even if it’s just setting you up with someone. But that’s definitely something we want to help facilitate, but yet learn, get involved and see community and your give back to the community, a central focus in what you’re doing. Because I want that to remain the norm in this industry.

I think it’s very valuable and I’m very appreciative of that.

[00:23:32] Lauren Turton: Thank you so much for that. And how do we get in touch with you Sergio?

[00:23:36] Sergio Cuculiza: Sure. So it’s @inftspaces on either Instagram or Twitter. We’re very active. We’re growing our discord. So please join. We’re doing giveaways there of our own NFTs. Yeah, reach out to us through our website. It’s

[00:23:50] Lauren Turton: Thank you so much, Sergio. It was an honor to have you on today’s episode of freedom with NFTs, for our audience who is listening, new episodes drop every Wednesday at 5:00 AM eastern standard time. I’m your host Lauren Turton make sure to like subscribe, rate and share with your audience. I’ll see you on the next one.

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