🤯What It's Like To Sell Over $500K in NFTs on Nifty Gateway🤯: An Interview with Aeforia
This is the story of the night that changed Alexy Prefontaine’s life.
The Montreal-based artist, known as Aeforia, has emerged as a standout and singular vision among a crowded field of crypto artists thanks to his breathtaking craft and conceptually poignant thinking.
But perhaps the biggest driver of Aeforia’s runaway success this year was his visually stunning and emotionally raw collection “Five Fears.”
Released on Nifty Gateway on February 25, the collection was an expected success, not least because the artist describes the work as his “most personal and emotional work to date.”
“I was animated by this visceral urge to be vocal and honest about the true nature of my deeper feelings,” Prefontaine explains, “which led me to create this series where each piece is a representation of one of my internal fears: Disappoint, Dishonest, Left Behind, Mistake and Vulnerable.”
We sat down with the artist to discuss what it’s like when something so internal leads to such outward success.
Rumfoords: So tell me a bit about this “Five Fears” NFT drop.
aeforia: I’ve been pretty busy with crypto art these past few months. Last week, I had my drop on Nifty Gateway when I released “Five Fears.” And it would be an understatement to say that it was wild. It was life-changing for me, and now I’m finishing my current client work and I plan to push that aside for a few months and just focus on my own stuff. That drop enables me to do so, I can even take some of the money and reinvest it in my setup, buy a new computer and just improve my content.
I’m also on SuperRare and Makersplace. I actually just dropped a piece on MakersPlace which was a collab with one of my friends Malavida. It was a diptych, one on my profile and one on her profile. SuperRare is the place where I share all my editions of one, my stand out pieces from my portfolio, the pieces I feel like are the strongest.
R: Congratulations on the insane success of that drop. How did that feel?
ae: Honestly, I cried a bit. I remember we ordered pizza, because I was with my roommates. I tipped the guy 25%. It felt great to give. I had a few beers, I was eating pizza on the couch, they were watching hockey, but I was not. I was looking at some sort of void, lost in my thoughts. It was difficult to process what was happening because I’ve always done OK financially, but this was something else. I feel like I don’t fully realize what it means.
The next day felt like this huge weight removed from my shoulders. This will let me focus on what I really want to do, and I can also be more selective about the work I choose, at least for a little while. My lifestyle is not extravagant. I live in an apartment, it’s pretty cheap rent, I live with two of my friends, I don’t have a car, my expenses are very low. It’s not going to change my life right now but I know I have this security now because of that drop. When I started to sober up from my feelings, it felt great. That was a great night, I don’t remember much from it though.
R: What were you expecting from the drop before it happened?
ae: Honestly, it was hard to know what to expect. Just like that, in one week, things started heating up on Nifty Gateway. More and more people were visiting the web site every night, 200,000 people up from 15k in November.
It’s so much money, and so much attention, it’s impossible to expect such a thing. No matter what would have happened, if it had been $100k or $200k, that’s still life-changing for me. So, to be honest, I was not sure. I knew that it would do well because people were really receptive to the project, I had so much feedback. I was lucky enough to get reposted by a bunch of my friends who also are successful artists in this space. I didn’t really want to predict how much it would generate, because I didn’t want to have those expectations about money, it didn’t feel right.
R: What was it about “Five Fears” that made it do so well?
ae: I think it’s because people like honesty. And this project was just straight up honest. It’s not every day that someone just does a project about their fears or their weaknesses. It’s something that requires vulnerability. A lot of people connect to that. When I did this project, I was very introspective, but I also realized that what I was coming up with was universal. When you look at the fears and what they mean and if you look at the text that I wrote, anyone to some degree can relate to that.
That helped me connect with my audience and the people who follow my work. I got so many messages from people saying they could connect to what I wrote and that this project helped them be more confident with their own ideas. It was just a very honest and vulnerable body of work and people respect that. Beyond the financial success of it, it’s really more about that connection that I was able to make.
R: Tell me a bit about the process behind these pieces.
ae: Each piece is a figure on a cloudy, smoky overlay in the background with this soundtrack. My process was that I sketched out the very raw essence of each character on paper. Afterwards, I create each character. Each has its own facial features, as you can see the three female characters don’t exactly have the same face and the same thing for the male characters.
After that, I start posing the characters. I base that on the sketches I’ve done and I try to enhance what I had in mind. I make sure the poses evoke the feeling I’m trying to convey. It takes a lot of time. This is some of my favorite work when it comes to poses. They each have their own energy with their poses.
Once that’s done I get into the animation. All the animation is done by hand, it’s not mo-cap or anything. All key-framed. That’s a lot of work.
When that’s done, I bring that all into Cinema4D where I start playing with the lighting, the colors, the textures. There was a lot of texture work in these to make sure that the skin looks tight.
Each character has their own color palette. I wanted to make sure that each stands out on their own. Then I finished with the sound. I wrote the soundtracks, produced them myself. I spent a lot of time scoring my visuals, making sure that the audio was bringing something else to the visuals by bringing this extra layer of meaning.
R: You wrote that “Five Fears” is about your own journey. So what comes next?
ae: It’s a tough question. There are two sides. For this project I’ve been deep within myself. I was able to talk about a subject that was very personal to me. If I go with another personal project, does it feel like I’m recycling myself somehow? And on the other side, if I decide to just do something purely visual or another concept, will people think it’s not as personal and not connect as much with it? I’m kind of stuck between two choices.
Right now it’s hard to decide because I’m still trying to process what just happened with this series. I’m asking myself those questions about what I’m going to drop next on Nifty Gateway because I have another date scheduled for later in the spring. It’s a bit tough to know where I’m going after this. I just put so much into it. It’s the first time I’ve written so much to explain a project. It was all so thoughtful. Now I really wonder what I can do after that, but I feel like I'll find it if I just let myself cool down and I don’t try to force it.