Andrea Reade, is another artist who has made the move from the traditional art world, to the NFT space. I was impressed by her talent as a mixed medium artist, whose work is inspired by astrology and spirituality. This is her story into the world of art and NFTs.
Andrea: I am Canadian; I grew up in a small town called Timmins, in the province of Ontario, in the boonies and wilderness, and lived in the Greater Toronto Area for the last 6 years. It is an amazing city, and the art scene there is incredible! I have a twin brother and a half sister who I love dearly, and I can say with confidence that my family is a major influence of why I got into art. My parents always encouraged me to try new things when I was young, which I believe has transpired into how I approach life today. If something interests you, go for it! Give it a try. Don’t think too hard about whether you’d be good at it or not, you’ve got nothing to lose.
When I was younger, I wanted to become a psychologist and the main reason was because I wanted to help people, to help them heal. I have been through a lot as a child; experiencing a divorce, feeling alone, having little to no friends, feeling like an outcast, and different from the others, etc. It wasn’t until I attended a boarding school for two years in high school in Port Hope, ON, leaving my family behind, that I really got out of my shelI. I did attend therapy as a child, all the way through adulthood, and I still go to this day. Mental health is extremely important, and I feel that we should never be ashamed to seek help, no matter if we are going through something or not. Although being a psychologist seemed like a good fit for a while, I realised that the length of time one has to spend in school to be a psychologist turned me away from pursuing this profession altogether, but I knew in time I would find a way to incorporate my love for helping others in a different way. Initially, I attended a university for architecture after I finished high school (and a victory lap), but ultimately, it wasn’t my passion. I dropped out after the first year and it turned me off from art completely. So much so, that I went on a 10-year hiatus before returning to it. I now feel that my art business was born to carry out my mission of helping others.
When did you embark on your journey into spirituality and how has it influenced your life as an artist?
Andrea: I was always spiritual, but didn’t realise it until I became an adult. My training in martial arts, specifically in the art of Muay Thai these past 6 years, is what really kickstarted my spiritual journey. It is very much about the mind, body, and soul, and this art allows me to feel more in tune with myself, my body and what it needs. Growing up in a town that was always surrounded by nature, it was easy for me to get lost in it. I was forest bathing well every day, and I do feel that my connection with nature has always been very strong because of that. I have been obsessed with crystals, learning astrology, moon cycles, etc. and understanding how all of these play a part. I didn’t go hardcore into it at first, as I felt it was taboo, but I do feel more and more people are becoming more open to it which is great to see. It wasn’t till I met an amazing woman back in 2015, named Mary, who is practically family to me now, that I began to open up to my spirituality. She helped me become more in tune with my own energy, aura and soul that I was ignoring for so long. I wasn’t using all my gifts to my full potential, and she helped me see that. That is when I really started taking it more seriously.
I am not religious; however, I do believe in a higher power, something bigger out there that we don’t see or always understand. I studied more and more of this over the years, until I felt a calling to do art again, and I truly believe that “source” or the “divine” or the “universe” lead me back to my art, which is why everything I create is spiritually based. I connect to my crown chakra (i.e. connecting to the divine) every time I create a piece, which is what heavily inspired my business name “Crown and Palette”. Practicing my spirituality has changed my life in more ways than I can explain, I have never felt more connected to the earth, to the universe than I do now. I have really surrendered to source and found meaning. I have complete trust that everything that comes to me is meant to happen for me at the time it is supposed to, good or bad.
I used to be a big planner. I love structure and organization (very Virgo energy for those who are astrology geeks like me, although I am a Leo, I have my rising ascendant and mercury in Virgo). So with that said, being more connected to source has allowed me to be more comfortable in taking a back seat, and be more open and adaptable to changes that happen. I have long term goals of course, but I don’t think too far ahead anymore. Why you may ask; because honestly, I never expected my life to turn out the way it is now. It is so much better than what I had imagined when I was 15, 20, 25 or even a year ago at 30. Spirituality as a whole has changed my overall view of the world, but also how I view myself. It has allowed me to fall more in love with myself, be more accepting of who I am and be the best version of myself.
When did you get into NFTs and who influenced you to step into this space?
A : I got into NFTs in early March 2021, and I minted my first piece in mid-March. My best friend, Kirsten Mckenzie (midnightmoonvisuals) was the person who encouraged me to get into NFTs, and to explore collage art. Prior to meeting her, collage art was NEVER on my radar. I can go on and on about this amazing woman, she is not only talented but also one of the most supportive, genuine people I know and has always encouraged me to expand my horizons. I met her on Instagram in April 2020, when I started my art business and I do not feel that it’s a coincidence. I truly believe we were meant to meet and connect. She has introduced me to so many talented artists on social media, and once she got into NFTs, she also introduced me to more artists in the NFT space, which has completely changed my life. Sometimes it just takes one person to change your life, and it is her I must thank for bringing so much joy and opportunities into my life. I recommend everyone to follow her, as she is someone you want in your corner! We have a collaboration coming up as well, our first NFT collab! Be on the lookout for that.
What do you use to create your digital art, both software and hardware, and why?
A: All my digital collage artworks are created in Adobe Photoshop and my illustrations are created using the app Procreate on my iPad. I am very comfortable with Photoshop. I started using it in architecture school, and used it on and off over the years. I chose Procreate because it is specifically for iPad, and I am more comfortable working with Apple products.
A key difference I see is how you collaborate with other artists, especially photographers. What made you take this path and how has it progressed?
A: I didn’t initially plan this out to be honest, it naturally came into fruition due to a few reasons. As I mentioned earlier, I am big on community; it’s my biggest driver, so therefore, I feel that offering my support in onboarding artists into the scene is a great way to support the community. I have onboarded a few already, and am always reaching out to creators on Instagram, offering my support in getting started.
One thing that has helped me develop relationships with other creators (such as photographers) is respecting the use of one’s work (i.e. photographs) in my collage work, by tagging/adding in the photographer’s name in the caption. This starts the conversation, showing respect for one’s work and how my work wouldn’t be the same without the model in the artwork as an example. This initiates an opportunity to bring up NFTs and request for a collaboration/partnership, where I will mint the piece myself, pay the gas fee and split the profit once it’s sold. This gives all parties exposure, and a chance of receiving a profit. As much as I do love having license free imaging in my NFTs, I do love working with photographers because I am not only supporting their work, but also setting an example of teamwork by creating collaborative opportunities.
One photographer I have worked with a few times has provided me with his entire portfolio to work with, which is fantastic, and gives me a lot of creative freedom. I have two pieces minted on Foundation now with his photography included in my work. I hope it encourages other photographers who may be thinking about entering the NFT scene to take advantage of such opportunities too.
“The biggest reason I create art is to heal”
Some of your pieces I’ve seen are dark art, what inspires you to tap into this?
A: I am so happy to see this question, as I talk about this all the time with my artist friends. It’s very important to remember when it comes to our spirituality, that we have a dark (shadow) and light self. A lot of the spiritual niche and art on social media tend to lean more towards the “light” self, the side we tend to not push away. But the shadow (dark) self is typically the one we push away, and don’t see as many art pieces tailored to this. I challenge my audience to see and experience those dark parts of us when they look at my dark pieces. It can be uncomfortable for some, but there is no light without dark, and there is no dark without light. When it comes to my art, dark arts come more naturally to me than the light arts.
By accepting our shadow self, we are integrating both light and dark when we do this, and truly accepting who we are as an individual, where opportunities of enlightenment and empowerment can ignite. You cannot have one without the other, so as much as the darker pieces may not do as well from an engagement perspective, that doesn’t discourage me from discovering this side of myself and expressing it with others. There may be a chance that someone who does see my darker pieces resonates with it, and creates a space for their own healing with their shadow self. The biggest reason I create art is to heal, and that means both light and dark self. I intuitively create, which means, I create what I feel in that moment. If I am feeling low, you will see that in my pieces, if you feel power, it means I felt empowered in that moment.
I always encourage artists in the spiritual niche to also explore the shadow self by sharing this more and more with our audience. I feel there will be more of a shift in the collective by accepting those darker parts of ourselves.
The stories behind some of her art
This is the second piece of my Cleanse Collection. The first was sold within 24 hours to Pierandrea (Odysseyoftheheart). His work is amazing by the way, go check him out! I created this one not long after the first piece sold, as I felt so inspired after my first auction on Foundation. This collection serves as a reminder to take time to spiritually cleanse our mind, body and soul regularly. This piece was inspired by Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, beauty, sexuality, and passion. It encourages us to take a ritual bath and celebrate your inner goddess to attract love, beauty, confidence, and self-care. I also added some subtle animation to make it more empowering. I am in love with Greek mythology and this was my attempt to channel Aphrodite’s energy into my art.
I also created another collection called Summer Bloom. This is the first piece of the collection, which is all about celebrating the warm beginnings of summer, including the Summer Solstice. This piece encourages us to tune into the vivacity of the sun, and remember how lucky we are to soak and bask in all of the sun’s fierce, intense, and electrifying energy, experiencing the abundance of its rich fire power that inspires and uplifts our spirits. This was a collaboration with photographer David Hobbs and model Lilith Jenovax, who were such a pleasure working with.
This is the second piece of my Summer Bloom Collection. This piece focuses on the Cancer zodiac season, ushering in the season of sunshine with emotional warmth, and I wanted to make a piece that captures the essence of both these things. I’ve included a rendition of one of the Platonic Solids developed by Plato; a sacred geometry symbol called Icosahedron representing the element, water. Cancer is considered a water sign, seamlessly weaving between the sea and shore, and can exist in both emotional and material realms. I wanted to give it a powerful sacred feminine vibe as Cancer is known to be the Mother of the Zodiac, highlighting their strength.
Looking at your traditional pieces, I was amazed by your work which uses alcohol ink. What made you explore this medium, and where do you see it in the future?
A: Oh, this is a long story, but I will try to condense it as much as I can. I found this medium over 10 years ago on Pinterest. My first “pin” was an alcohol ink piece, which still blows my mind to this day. I kept seeing more and more alcohol ink pieces showing up on my IG feed, and felt that wasn’t a coincidence. For those that are not familiar with this medium, it’s an abstract fluid medium, where you take alcohol ink (color ink mixed with alcohol) on a non-porous substrate/surface such as synthetic paper/acrylic/glass/etc., mixing it with isopropyl alcohol, and using a heat tool to dry the ink, but also to move and manipulate it. I have an IG account dedicated to this work: @crownandpalette_ai for those of you that are interested in seeing the beauty of this medium.
Having experimented with multiple mediums over the years, I feel that this is one of the most difficult mediums I have ever worked with. However, it is such a beautiful one, and can really make some gorgeous pieces in a short time. I wanted to explore the idea of making physical products and less digital art, just to try something new, giving myself another option to explore as I naturally get bored of doing the same thing repeatedly 🙂 This medium is SUPER intuitive. You can’t plan it out entirely, which makes it more interesting and more of an authentic process.
I practiced almost every day for a good 8 months, and made tons of products, sold a bunch online with my Etsy store and on my personal website, but since entering the NFT scene, I have taken a big step back from it. As a multi-disciplinary artist, it’s tricky to work with multiple styles and mediums all the time. It is now more of a hobby. I also hope to take some of my alcohol ink pieces and convert them into NFTs at some point in the future. I just got accepted into Makersplace last week, and feel that maybe this could be an opportunity to do it, but nothing is planned out yet.
You are also a moderator and a community lead for Chestr. Would you like to touch on what Chestr is and what plans they have?
A: I have so many amazing things to say about Chestr. They are one of my collectors, which is how I was first introduced to them in May. They bought my first illustration drawing made on my iPad as an NFT. This was an unforgettable moment for me that I will cherish forever. It felt so good to know that my work resonated so much with them that they bought it within 24 hours of it being on Opensea.
Chestr is a group of individuals who started a community and their own social marketplace to help emerging creators in equalising discoverability, and push the community forward with their various support programs. Some of these programs include: gas fee sponsorships, community curation program, content bounties and Genesis Chest Series. Each of these are offered to the Chestr community to participate in and some also can be offered as a reward for just engaging, supporting, and connecting with creators in the community. They truly believe in the power of community, providing opportunities to those who invest in it. I absolutely love their drive to help the NFT community. I joined their discord group after they bought my NFT, and loved the energy and support here, so I engaged daily as much as I could, and was soon approached to be a moderator and community leader, which I was more than happy to accept. I get the opportunity to help the NFT community in a different way and really feel it is my calling. Their new social marketplace/platform is in the works right now, where the Genesis Chest Series will premiere, and we are in the middle of going through all the submissions for it as we speak. For those who are interested in joining the Chestr community, I recommend joining their discord group. Checkout their link tree to connect.
What is your view on the NFT community ?
A: It is by far, the most SUPPORTIVE community I have ever been a part of. When Kirsten told me this initially, I had a hard time believing it, but in the end, she was right. I have never experienced that kind of support as a creator, and it makes me happy to know that a lot of us have each other’s backs. It’s really a beautiful thing, and such a privilege to experience daily. I really feel I met my soul tribe, and couldn’t imagine my life without them.
What is your 9 to 5 job?
A: I am a Senior Health Analyst for TELUS Health and Communications, working in the Health Benefits and pharmaceutical sector. I have been promoted recently to a Team Lead/Prime come September where I will have more project management responsibilities and more of a leadership role and is very different from my art business. I am very lucky to be able to WFH, so that I can manage both professions in the same place, and be efficient with my time, without the worries of commuting.
What are your future plans? Do you see this being your career in the future?
A: Like I said in an earlier question, I don’t plan as much anymore. But I do plan to continue growing my art business and expanding my horizons as much as I can. I am very excited for what the future brings, as I have had so many beautiful things happen to me inside and outside of the NFT scene in the first year of running my business. I would have never imagined being as successful as I have in one year; all of which happened by following my intuition. I especially look forward to continuing to work for Chestr, and helping them carry out their mission, along with creating more NFTs. It would be amazing to become an artist full time. It is the dream, and I know the right time will come for me when I am ready.
What’s your mantra?
A: Everything happens and works out in divine timing
Some interesting points –
Favourite drink? – Non-alcoholic – peach juice, Alcoholic – Caesar or apple cider
Favourite food? – butter chicken, sushi and pasta
Favourite song/s? – DJs from Mars – The Best of EDM 2010-2020 Mashup, it always gets me in a good mood
Favourite artist? – Claude Monet
Best friend? – lots of besties 😉 they know who they are!
Cat or Dog person? – Dog, but I love all animals!
Star sign? Sun in Leo, Moon in Sagittarius and Rising Ascendant in Virgo
Have you invested in Crypto? If yes, what are they? – Just Ethereum, but then I spent all of it on NFTS 🙂
What time do you wake up? – it varies by the day, I am typically up earlier in the morning Monday to Friday though to work on art, before I start my day job. The hustle never stops 😉
I just wanted to provide some final words, especially to those who are scared to pursue their dreams. Speaking from experience, I was that person who set such limiting beliefs about myself for far too long, thinking that I wasn’t good enough to be an artist. Had I started a lot earlier, there may have been a chance to have a full career in art by now. With that said, I do feel it is NEVER too late to pursue your passion/dreams. I believe that if you pursue what you love and what you’re passionate about, you cannot be led astray. I found my tribe, my life’s purpose and so much joy. I hope this encourages some of you to take that leap of faith.
It certainly was a pleasure to connect with Andrea, and I hope this gives you the encouragement to pursue the world of NFTs, which is transcending boundaries for artists. If you are an artist who is looking to step into the NFT space, get on twitter and start connecting with the community. It’s one of the most supportive groups out there. If you’d like to connect with Andrea, check out her Y.at profile.