Hello world! (:

Welcome to my 6th attempt at starting a journal. Or 7th, I don't remember. I always wanted to share the thoughts and process behind my work, but every time something happens and I stop. But it won't be the same this time.

Why do I think this time will be the right one? Well, because this is no longer a question of choice.

Pretty dramatic intro, right? Maybe dramatic is not the right word, but I hope this intro kinda hooked you into wanting to know who I am, what I do, and above all, why I say I no longer have the choice. But first of all, let me introduce myself :)

A little introduction of O'Plérou 𓅠

A picture of a baby O'Plérou
{here you're supposed to say "Awwww"}

My name is O'Plérou [read o-Play-rue], and I'm an Ivorian artist/designer/creative explorer currently living in Morocco. Thinking, learning, creating and testing new things have always been my favorite activities and are the reasons why I'm today pursuing a creative career.

Born and raised in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, I spent most of my life there being the weird kid in most social environments I had to go to: I was (and I'm still, most of the time) extremely calm, talking with a too quiet voice, standing too stiff and looking rigid… In a setting where most people are warm and friendly, a tall ice pole easily stands out.

[Wait, am i oversharing?]

But that tall pole with good grades had a passion for something that was his fire under the ice: Art.

Choosing the creative life

Drawing was my main hobby, and I couldn't imagine myself give it up because I had to study and find a job. I knew creativity was part of my life path, and I had to follow it. I was too scared of regretting not taking the chance of trying, but I'll write about that in another article.

During the last year of high school, I told my mum that I wanted to go to the Fine Arts School of Abidjan. Despite her concerns because being an artist is thought to not be a lucrative career in Côte d'Ivoire, she agreed.

Unfortunately the Art school was not what I expected, so I quitted and went to a Design school instead, where I learned Graphic Design, Web development and discovered Digital Art.

Infinite Hands, artwork by O'Plérou. It shows a pair of hands forming the infinite symbol.
<infinite hands>, 2017

At that time I experimented a lot and made multiple art projects — you can still see public ones on my @oplerou.archives Instagram account — and started my currently most "famous" one, Zouzoukwa.

I found out I love to merge my interests in my work, and also create projects people could relate to/learn from. My art is like a kind of visual diary where I explore my feelings, experiences, thoughts, and is at the same time an experimental lab where I test ways to express my creativity.

But the "problem" when you have that kind of relationship with your practice is you don't focus on developing a unique & consistent style — that may attract collectors —, but you may end up with a body of work being too diverse to look like it was made by the same person. And you may be seen as not "pro" enough. Ouch.

The Blessing and the Curse of having an Explorer Mindset 𓁺

VII. whitelashes, 2018

I have a lot of interests. I love to learn, and I can't keep doing the same thing for a long time unless I have a specific goal. I also quickly get passionate about subjects that light sparks in my mind, and I can spend hours working on projects that inspire me. The cool side of having a brain wired like that is being able to ~easily generate ideas, and make cool projects mixing your interests — if you actually work on them —, but the downside is feeling inadequate in a world where specialization is taught to be the "right" way.

Even in the creative fields of Art & Design, especially in academic environments, we are told to choose a specialty and work focusing on it to become an expert in the field. But I don't want to be an expert.

I want to explore multiple fields, see how they could interact, create projects at their intersection, and work with experts to expand them. But building projects can be exhausting if you can't fund them.

Earning a living as a creative generalist on the Web

Being able to make a living from their work and have the freedom to keep creating is the dream of most artists/creatives, and I'm not different. It can be hard, and even harder when 100% of your work is digital, you live in a country where you can't use Paypal to receive money, your creations seem too diversified to easily be marketed... However it's still possible, thanks to the Internet.

Posting my work on Instagram helped me to reach an audience and be contacted by clients. But with the current state of the web, most of the value created by my work is captured by the platforms where I post. Earlier in the article I mentioned the Instagram account where my first digital artworks are posted, but you can't see all of them if you don't have an Instagram account.

The ideal solution would be to be supported directly by my supporters, without any middleman. And this is now possible thanks to the amazing world of Web3.

Discovering Web3: a game-changer for creators 𓇳

{The picture has nothing to do with web3 but it's okay}

Around the end of February I read an article about Non-Fungible Tokens, a blockchain-based technology helping digital artists to make money from their work. I was of course intrigued, and after reading tons of article on the subjects, following people on Twitter, applying to programs, I discovered a full ecosystem made to back the creator/communities economy (I will write more about that in details later).

As a creative using technology as his main medium, this could change my life. I have so many projects and ideas I want to build, so many people I could help, so many things I could do.. And yet I still feel like I'm locked out of heaven's doors. But the truth is I'm the only one locking myself out.

Because I don't share my ideas, because I don't interact with the community, because I just observe and don't actually act. This has to change. I no longer have a choice. My projects will not be built with my 0.07 ETH.

This is why I decided to share my journey, my story, and write about it to get more people into the next step of the Internet. Welcome to my digital home/lab/factory, O'Plérou Studio.

Introducing O'Plérou Studio 𓈌

The name

A studio is an artist workroom, and this website will be the digital version of mine. I will publish here my projects, the thoughts behind them, my inspirations and my web3 journey. I will also share tools/tips/guides/resources in multiple subjects like Web3, Art, Design, Typography, Psychology, Finances and more (:

What can you expect to see here

  • Articles & Guides related to Web3 (NFTs, Social tokens, DAOs...)
  • Books/Resources/Recommended articles & videos
  • Updates/Work in progress of my projects
  • Articles about the Creative life

This is my first step of trying to interact more with the world, and letting people enter my universe. I really don't know what could happen but thank you for reading and being here!

Nice to meet you :)

– O'Plérou