How HUG Is Empowering Artists Through Discovery, Opportunity, and Education

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In an period the place expertise is driving the evolution of all the pieces, together with artwork, at an unprecedented tempo, artists are in quest of platforms the place they cannot solely exist however thrive regardless of ever-changing algorithms.

One such platform, born amidst the tumultuous backdrop of a worldwide pandemic is HUG, which has proven itself to be a beacon for equal illustration and alternative for all – a platform that gives a platform.

To totally perceive the gravity of what HUG is doing for artists in and out of doors of the Web3 house, we caught up with its co-founders, Randi Zuckerberg and Debbie Quickly, and like all story price listening to we thought it finest to begin initially.

One Message and One Mission

Whereas HUG could have been fashioned in 2022, it actually began a number of years earlier because the world confronted a worldwide pandemic that will carry forth modifications within the lives of practically everybody on Earth, together with Zuckerberg and Quickly.

“Many could not know this… however after Fb and earlier than NFTs, I used to be a Broadway actress, after which producer,” shared Zuckerberg, including “Covid shut down most of the exhibits that I used to be engaged on, and that resulted in me immersing myself in NFTs as a solution to marry my passions for each arts and expertise.”

She additional defined “Earlier than I knew it, I ended up turning into a mentor to many digital creators. All of them had been battling the identical factor – feeling challenged by the algorithm, and on the whole feeling unseen and at occasions misplaced on the best way to scale their creative enterprise.”

Desirous to scale the prevailing help she was providing to creators, Zuckerberg set out on a seek for a co-founder with a imaginative and prescient for making a “thriving and sustainable ecosystem that will permit artists and artwork lovers to help one another.”

As destiny would have it, Quickly was additionally on that exact same search. Having fallen in love with Web3 when navigating a mid-pandemic transfer from Singapore to LA, she determined to place her background within the finance and start-up sector to the aspect for a second and sought out kickstarting a profession within the NFT house.

“I put a want out within the Meta Angels Discord,” she defined, including “To my shock, Randi discovered and responded to my message there one entire week later! We each are captivated with leveling the enjoying discipline for anybody to achieve arts and expertise, so this actually was a match made in heaven.”

Sharing her aspect of the story, Zuckerberg defined how Quickly was nonetheless going by an anon identification once they first met but when you already know something about early Web3, that was typically seen as a plus! “We obtained onto a Zoom name a number of days later, and instantly hit it off,” Zuckerberg shared, including “As I used to be attending to know Debbie, I used to be blown away by all of her thought management items that she was placing out on Twitter, and knew that there couldn’t be a greater particular person to embark on this journey with.”

Embark on a journey they did. Zuckerberg expressed, “In a nutshell, HUG’s mission is to assist all artists turn out to be inventive entrepreneurs, and we’re doing that by means of discovery, alternative, and schooling.”

What began as two like-minded people with a shared imaginative and prescient finally grew into 200 individuals with a shared trigger, and from these 200 passionate people, has emerged a various neighborhood of over 3,000 artists from over 85 totally different international locations.

Quickly defined that “We’ve deliberately flown underneath the radar and prevented being surrounded by moments of hype. As an alternative, we’ve been in keeping with our mission from day one, and have adopted a extremely intentional and inclusive strategy to constructing our neighborhood.”

Neighborhood Assets

In an area the place practically all the pieces of worth is hidden in secret alpha teams or housed behind a token gated membership, HUG has dared to do one thing radically totally different, offering free assets for each artists and collectors alike.

These assets aren’t fast threads on X that you need to bookmark for later or a halfway-finished hook to get you to purchase into one thing on the finish. As an alternative, HUG has devoted a major period of time and assets to supply full-length guides and paperwork put collectively by its analysis crew.

Explaining why this was and is essential, Zuckerberg shared that “I’ve at all times been a agency believer that belief needs to be earned, not given. We by no means need to extract worth earlier than we offer it, and providing these free assets is one among our methods of constructing belief inside our artist and collector neighborhood.”

Additional driving the importance of this determination house, Quickly shared that “Accessible schooling has at all times been a core perception of ours. Notably in Web3, the place the expertise is evolving sooner than the common particular person can sustain with, we imagine it’s our duty to demystify these traits and make them simple for everybody to know.”

On the time of writing, HUG has seven full-length guides and workbooks up on its website underneath the Assets tab. These vary from “The Ultimate Artist Marketing Handbook Vol 1.” to  “The Art Collector’s Companion: An Interactive Workbook” – once more, out there freed from cost, as HUG believes anybody constructing within the house ought to be stewards and never gatekeepers.

To this finish, the platform has lately had the chance to associate with TransientLabs, one among its many like-minded companions, and ran a six-week-long Innovation Lab program that launched over 200 artists to dynamic NFTs by way of Transient’s no-code tooling.

Following the discharge, Quickly shared “We noticed a number of artists touchdown their first-ever commissions by means of HUG. The result of that was many completely happy artists, and even happier collectors, who had been delighted to accumulate a personalised, one-of-a-kind paintings” – which incorporates Quickly herself, as she commissioned a hand-painted soccer from artist and Ladies and Weapons founder, Sara Baumann.

Energy in Profiles

Whereas discoverability can typically be used as a buzzword within the Web3 artwork realm, HUG has seemingly embraced each facet of the phrase and made it a part of its core mission. This has been achieved not in a broad method however quite by means of a really particular and thought-out strategy.

“From day one, we got down to construct the inclusiverse.” 

-Randi Zuckerberg

“From day one, we got down to construct the inclusiverse, which was actually our manner of describing a universe… or metaverse if you’ll? The place everybody feels included,” shared Zuckerberg, including “I’m proud that on the high of the HUG homepage, you will notice a banner calling for us to have fun various creators from all walks of life. These communities ought to be celebrated and really feel supported 24/7, 12 months a 12 months, and never simply in particular months.”

This mission additionally strikes a chord near house for Quickly, who shared that “As a latest transplant to America and a girl of colour, that is deeply private as effectively.”

She additional expressed “I do know many individuals prefer to say that Web3 doesn’t care about race, gender, and so on., however the actuality is that many unconscious biases nonetheless keep it up from the normal arts and expertise worlds. By acknowledging that from day one, we might be intentional about the best way we design HUG, each from a product and neighborhood standpoint.”

This has been exemplified for the reason that inception of HUG, because it continues to function as a community-curated platform. Quickly defined that this has been achieved by means of a thesis of community-driven and decentralized curation by which the members vote for which artists ought to be onboarded to the platform and which artists ought to be chosen for numerous sourced alternatives.

Early on, HUG acknowledged the necessity for a platform that gives a platform. Because of this, it has developed complete profile instruments that assist artists to get eyes on and likewise profit collectors trying to sustain with their favourite creators.

“We’re biased, however we positively imagine that [artist profiles] are an artist’s finest software to getting seen, shared, and celebrated,” mentioned Zuckerberg, including “Not solely are you able to accumulate probably the most wonderful, considerate opinions from appreciators of your work, it’s also possible to showcase your whole portfolio of labor, each inside and out of doors Web3. We are able to’t wait to maintain upgrading these Artist Profiles, and convey further performance and interactivity there.”

Along with this, HUG boasts an “Artist Updates” tab, which Quickly “Permits artists to share essential updates on to the e-mail inboxes of their followers.”

She joked “Whereas we love the gm vibes and neighborhood discourse on X, generally artists and collectors simply desire a devoted place to share and uncover artwork on the market. At the moment, lots of of artists are posting their updates to HUG every single day.”

Highlighting probably the most important facets of the Updates software, Quickly known as out {that a} majority of NFT marketplaces are inclined to showcase creators which can be trending based mostly on buying and selling quantity, which in flip unfairly disadvantages rising artists.

“What we have now constructed permits artwork to be appreciated for the way it emotionally resonates, versus merely its financial worth,” 

-Debbie Quickly

Past the Digital

With the royalties facet of NFTs being but once more in danger as a consequence of shifts in stance from quite a lot of main marketplaces and loopholes created by aggregators, we requested HUG what they’re doing to organize their artists for this modification and to our shock, it’s one thing they’ve nearly anticipated in a way, from inception.

“Artists didn’t get up one morning due to NFTs and determined that they had been artists,” mentioned Zuckerberg, including “As an alternative, they’ve been artists for years, even many years, earlier than NFTs existed! As such, our view has at all times been that NFTs ought to be one among many ways in which artists ought to look to monetize their paintings and that it’s fully okay to shift priorities from one solution to one other relying in the marketplace and even what evokes and excites them.”

She additional defined, that in help of this, not solely has HUG printed quite a lot of assets on the subject however it has additionally launched mechanisms like its fee function, the place artists can opt-in to obtain fee requests by means of their HUG profile.

Different initiatives embody merchandising alternatives in addition to Open Name alternatives for each bodily and digital exhibitions, like its most up-to-date and ongoing name in partnership with the Seattle NFT Museum.

A Brilliant Future

As thrilling as all the expansion detailed above is, Zuckerberg and Quickly have shared that HUG is simply getting began. In reality, because of a $5 million USD seed spherical led by Ohhsiny’s VC fund with participation from OKX and L’Oréal, HUG is now positioned to speed up its progress.

“These funds assist us construct out our product additional, and to actually flip HUG from a spot of discovery to one among social commerce,” defined Zuckerberg, including, “We already really feel like we’re serving to artists and collectors join on an emotional degree like by no means earlier than, and these funds will assist us lengthen that relationship from one among appreciation to one among patronage, and assist artists construct sustainable companies out of their work!”

Wanting ahead, Quickly described HUG as “the Fb meets Etsy for a brand new era of creators who’re inquisitive about blockchain and rising expertise,” joking that, how may they not be with Randi of their nook?

Quickly additional defined that as creators shift into an period the place they’re not promoting their work in a single single medium however quite in a variety of mediums, on-chain or in any other case, HUG desires to assist them discover these choices and supply a one-stop store.

“Equally, we imagine the customers of the brand new era can even buy artwork throughout a number of mediums,” shared Zuckerberg, including that “Purchasers of NFTs nonetheless purchase prints for his or her wall, and equally, we hope that by permitting artists to specific themselves by means of a number of mediums, we are able to persuade each single artwork lover to additionally turn out to be artwork collectors and curators on the blockchain.”

Encouraging phrases from the “Mom Hugger”

“First off, I’ll say that bear markets come and go. Once I was on the frontlines of Web2, there was the identical quantity of uncertainty and extremes of euphoria and despair. Being on the earth of rising tech is at all times scary and overwhelming, however it is usually an unimaginable alternative to be taught. My recommendation is to maintain exploring, continue to learn, preserve creating, and extra importantly, keep in mind to have enjoyable.” Zuckerberg continued.

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