Danish artist Mugaska: my first NFT – an exciting trip to the Metaverse

Danish artist Joanna Mugford, or less formal Aska, in her blog post, admitted she had a big moral dilemma about joining the mad NFT kerfuffle. 

However, as recently my son was teasing me about my generation not understanding the metaverse…. I had to do something… but what? Well, the only reasonable option was to dive into deep waters and mint an NFT. NFT? Mint? What is she talking about?? Don’t worry, I was like this just a few months ago.

What is NFT?

The best way to describe an NFT (non fungible token), is to think of it as a collection card just like football or Pokemon cards. The main difference is that they have only virtual forms and are impossible to fake it. It’s the code behind the picture, which contains data about the author, date of creation etc, that makes it unique. If you try to fake it, by doing a print screen of it and making your own NFT, the picture will look the same, but the code will be different. In theory that is how artists can put a stamp on their work and protect themselves.

When I first heard about NFT, I couldn’t quite understand the whole point of it.  Reading about NFT made me feel very confused in so many ways. Looking at what’s listed on NFT markets, I felt out of context. What the h…are people listing, but most importantly… what the h… are people buying and for 1000s of dollars!

Environmental issue

On top of that, there is a big environmental issue. Big virtual markets, where you trade with cryptocurrency can be very C02-heavy. The number of transactions and complicated procedures at times involve a lot of computer energy and storage, which requires big data centers.  

Greener alternative

Fortunately, If you don’t plan enormous collections of NFT, it’s possible to mint it without huge environmental impact. For instance, the average Solana (SOL) transaction takes as much energy as 3 google searches. That’s reasonable, right? 

Solana (SOL) is one of the cryptocurrencies. The mysterious virtual money that can hyper increase in value or suddenly turn into dust. That’s why trading on metaverse markets is often compared to gambling rather than an investment. These markets are not regulated, which is stated at the bottom of adverts about cryptocurrency, just like the warning on the packets of cigarettes.

Nevertheless, there is some hard-to-explain boom on the trading of NFTs. Is it going to continue or collapse? Nobody knows. However, it’s for sure, that if you have one of those, people will want to hear all about it. In the end, it’s something from the future…

How did I mint my NFT?

One of the markets that use SOL currency is Solsea, where I minted my NFT. I chose to animate a hedgehog from my Rainbow Animals collection.  

As soon as I created my animation, I couldn’t wait to place it in the metaverse… After all it took me a few days to research and figure out the best way. First I needed to register with Solsea and that was easy. The next step was getting a virtual wallet for the SOL. There is a selection of wallets and not all of them work for every cryptocurrency. It’s also important that the wallet is reasonably secure. Once you become a millionaire, you don’t want to lose your greens….so it’s best to have an offline wallet.  As I figured it was too early to worry about that, I choose an online wallet called Phantom.

Having an account on the NFT market and an empty wallet, I needed to get some crypto money. For that I used coinbase. It’s a form of online currency exchange. Basically, you can use your debit card to buy dollars and then exchange them into SOL. I spent 5 dollars and got about 0,14 SOL. Still using coinbase, I transferred my crumbles of SOL into my virtual wallet. Boom! I was ready to mint.

First time minting was a bit of a failure. My NFT turned out unverified and I couldn’t change that. You need to ask Solsea for verification. However they verify only NFTs, which are a part of a collection. So I deleted my NFT, got my money back and created a collection called Rainbow Animals. Only then, I minted my NFT again, but this time inside the collection. Then I applied for verification. I researched earlier than verification is smoother if you upload a proof of making the NFT. So I uploaded a short video of me working on my animation. Easy peasy, I got verified within few days. 

What price?

Oh, I forgot about the eternal dilemma ‘ What P-R-I-C-E should I set? … It’s always difficult to decide the price of your artworks. However in case of NFTs, it’s a bit different. It is so, because apart from the base price, you also set a percentage of royalties on secondary sales. This way, you will profit from each future sale. And if maybe one day somebody will sell it for a million, you profit from it as well. It’s a bit like musicians earning each time, somebody plays their song. 

At last, here is a link to my NFT. If you check the history, you will see that it’s already sold. Now let’s wait for that millions ha ha

Take a look at my NFT here

Check out Rainbow Animals stickers

Read more about NFT on The Verge


Joanna Mugford originally is from Poland but at the moment lives in Copenhagen with her lovely family and a dog. Joanna‘s art is telling stories about here and now, inspired by nature and the good side of life. As a minimalist, Joanna is driven towards sustainable use of art. She is a part of a female Art Collective in Art Escape Studio Copenhagen and participated in #WISE piloting workshops.   

Thoughts and reflections on the WISE by Danish participants

Enriched with numerous coaching techniques as well as practical tasks based on site visits that took place during the project piloting phase, A Practical Training Course in modern entrepreneurship, creative technologies & innovations also focused on adult female learners’ ability to explore their internal needs and desires that may be translated into viable artistic innovations later on. Find some thoughts and reflections on the WISE by Danish participants.

© We Are Entrepreneurs, Denmark

Neuro graphic artist Lina Magdalena Buje: painting helps to express untold

An hour with a brush and paint, even though you’ve never drawn. Transferring emotions and feelings to the canvas without following any painting rules. Speaking in colors when thoughts cannot be expressed in words. All this is art therapy, which is extremely relevant for oncology patients facing psychological challenges. According to psychiatrists, art therapy, which works beyond words, can help overcome even the darkest periods of life.

The Lithuanian artist Lina Magdalena Buje did not practice art therapy in the past, but she taught children to draw. So, the desire to grab a brush and play with paint arose spontaneously. The first series of surreal birds was born back in 2007 after a very difficult loss.

“My child was sleeping. There was paint on the table, so I thought maybe I should draw something. At that time, I had not heard anything about art therapy, that it is a method that can help a person deal with feelings, and express them. My first works were not intended for the viewer. It was a manifestation of my experiences,” says L.M. Buje about the beginning of her journey as an artist.

26 spiritual experiences

About eight years ago, L.M. Buje began to participate in a continuous year-long series of art therapy seminars with other women.

“We studied all topics through personal experience, it was not just theory, but practice. It was a very meaningful trip. This is how I got to know the art therapy methods more closely. Paints, various materials, clay, sand, and other tools were used to help achieve the set goals. The knowledge I gained later came in handy when communicating with some children and adults,” says L.M. Buje about her introduction to art therapy.

My first works were not intended for the viewer. It was a manifestation of my experiences.

The brush ended up in the woman’s hands more and more often. “In the fall, my exhibition opened at the National Cancer Institute, next to the chapel, a place where one goes in search of comfort or hope. Therefore, they wanted the empty walls to become colorful, and the works were exhibited as a mosaic. I deliberately didn’t put titles on the works so that people wouldn’t get attached to them. Everyone sees something special. When a group of friends visited the exhibition, each of them had different associations with the same works. I would list the job titles to them and they would guess which job I was talking about. Don’t want to stick labels. The exhibition “Journey through the desert” consists of 26 works,” the artist explained about her exhibition at NCI.

L.M. Buje says that the aim of the exhibition is not to surprise the viewer. “A person undergoing treatment cannot go somewhere all the time, for example to a gallery, exhibition, or event. Sometimes, when he comes for chemotherapy or radiation therapy, he simply does not have the strength for it. Maybe there is no desire to go somewhere. Therefore, we want the exhibition to come to the patient”, the artist confesses.

Every person goes through a unique journey through the desert, whether it is an illness, or the loss of a loved one, an internal crisis, or life’s challenges. We all experience our deserts at different stages of life with unique challenges and we try to overcome them. In the exhibited series of works, I share with the patient what kind of journey I experienced through the desert. I want a person to see that there is always hope and that the patient is not alone in the journey through the desert,” the artist says.

In the exhibited series of works, I share with the patient what kind of journey I experienced through the desert. I want a person to see that there is always hope and that the patient is not alone in the journey through the desert.

The painter explains that she has transferred her emotional and spiritual experience into 26 of her works. Therefore, the themes of the works differ, depending on the inner experiences.

“This is a neuro graphic art, an experience of neuroeducation classes. I learned about neuroeducation, emotionally mature spirituality, and body-spirit-soul connections. I participated in retreats, and Christian meditation, and I read the Holy Scriptures, I was interested in how the Holy Scriptures can invite a person to be with himself. After such a stay, I would take a brush and paint. The experience of the retreat transferred to my workshop, I would come up with a task and transfer the feeling to the canvas”, the artist says.

Art without rules

The titles of L. M. Buje’s canvases are very diverse, from feelings to states. It wasn’t just a trip, because neuro-graphic art is not meant to surprise or shock the viewer. ‘Neuro-graphic art is intended specifically for the author, who could give meaning to his feeling or the feeling he wants to experience,” L.M. Buje says about how the works of art were born.

The artist is convinced that painting helps to express accumulated and untold emotions, and helps to deal with negative feelings. According to L.M. Buje, art therapy can be an excellent way of expressing emotions for both adults and children.

“I painted a lot of different works. Some very quickly, others slowly. I put several canvases on top, I didn’t like something… Therefore, I gave the same canvas a revival. In our childhood, we were not taught how to express emotions safely. Education could improve a lot if they taught children how to express emotions and recognize them. In the past, it was common to suppress emotions, and self-control was a value. And after all, in reality, all experiences lie in the heart. And then a person accumulates a baggage of unlived feelings. A person carries it with him and sooner or later, it causes consequences.

And after all, in reality, all experiences lie in the heart. And then a person accumulates a baggage of unlived feelings. A person carries it with him and sooner or later, it causes consequences.

Painting is a very safe method of experiencing what is unlived. It is a psychological act, touching the wounds of the past. After all, this is how you can treat children: if the child is angry, you can offer him to “splash” his emotions with paint, offer a larger sheet of paper, or a canvas.

“My artwork, which is intended for the viewer, is like the fruit of my work. However, there are also short-term jobs accompanied by short-term emotions. I destroy those works later. There is a line between art and art therapy. A person who does not know how to paint can help himself even more. When you paint, you need to separate yourself from knowing the painting technique, not thinking about how you painted, or what composition or colors should be.

There are no rules in neuro-graphic art. If the mind is activated, the work changes its purpose,” the artist shares her thoughts.

Since there are no rules in neuro art, L.M. Buje is convinced that anyone can create, because it doesn’t matter if you know how to draw or not. After all, the goal is not to create a work of art. Although sometimes very beautiful works are born during the journey itself.

According to L.M. Buje, people who come to art therapy classes should leave all responsibility and fear to the class leader. After all, his or her task is to introduce people to this journey. And people can only enjoy it.

You don’t have to think that you won’t go just because you can’t draw. After all, even though children cannot read, they still go to school to learn letters. And here we, as adults, say that we will not go somewhere because we cannot afford it.

“Art therapy and the various techniques used in it can help people who are experiencing the spiritual desert and facing psychological problems. This is a way of communication. You can’t lie there. If a person can or cannot name his feelings with words, he cannot manipulate them with strokes.

Moreover, art therapy provides hope for resurrection when a person does something and immediately sees the result. “When he picks up the brush, he leaves a mark on the canvas, the paper, touching the clay in his hands. If a person feels that he is lost somewhere, the visuals reflect that he is here,” the artist sums up.

Illustrations from the personal archive of the interviewee.

Text by Juventa Sartataviciene.

WISE WOMEN WEEK’22 hosts the NFTs created by women

On October 6-12, 2022 the Artist’s Union Gallery, located in Vokiečių st. 2, Vilnius, hosted the international exhibition of NFTs created by women for the first WISE WOMEN WEEK. The first exhibition of its kind merged art, technology, and international cooperation as Lithuanian, Icelandic, Italian, Greek, and Danish authors presented their works.

The non-fungible token (NFT) art based on blockchain technology is a relatively new type of digital creativity, fueled by the general interest in modern technology. NFT is considered an extremely democratic form of art, as it provides opportunities for both professionals and amateurs who seek to reveal and experience art in a different way.

Many people are still getting comfortable with this art form. Therefore, according to the organizers of the WISE WOMEN WEEK, the exhibition of NFTs created by women is a unique experience for those who until now knew nothing about non-fungible tokens and the opportunities they provide for developers.

People don’t understand NFTs, Metaverse, and crypto today in the same way they didn’t understand online shopping in 1995.
Anuj Jasani, entrepreneur, and founder of online business platform BudgetOK™

Mrs. Kotryna Dzhilavyan, director of the Artists’ Union Gallery, says that NFT authors were given the freedom to decide which works to present in the exhibition, so the exhibition is not limited to one theme. The exhibited works and their main ideas vary from political art to states of the inner world, from socially engaged statements to metaphors of femininity or motherhood.

Women from 5 different countries, including Lithuania, Denmark, Greece, Iceland, and Italy, exhibit their works at the first WISE WOMEN WEEK. All of them were united for a joint exhibition by the #WISE adult education project of the Erasmus+ program, aimed at increasing the entrepreneurship of creative women, which is implemented in Lithuania jointly by the Artists’ Union Gallery and the NGO Versli mama.  

However, not all participants in the exhibition revealed their identities. Some introduced themselves under pseudonyms and no one knew who was behind them. It was speculated that a very famous artist might be hiding there.

The concept of presenting the exhibition might seem non-traditional for strangers even though the artworks on the screens are a golden standard for shows of this kind.  Some works of art were created exclusively by computer and represented the so-called digital art. Still, others were more traditional, painted on canvas, or created using collage or graphic techniques.

The visitors could find a QR code next to each piece’s information note, which after scanning linked them to the virtual platform SolSea. There, knowing the rules of the NFT world game, each can purchase a specific work of art.

The WISE WOMEN WEEK hosted NFTs created by #WISE project participants Anna Fríða Jónsdóttir (Iceland), SKaDI (Lithuania), Eglė Stripeikė (Lithuania), 5y7j…9Gmm (Denmark), Pied Piper (Denmark), Anna Giordano (Italy), Celia Sotiriou (Greece), Christina Skaligkou (Greece).

According to the organizers of the exhibition, NFT is a unique opportunity to enter professional art spaces for all those women who do not belong to official professional organizations of artists. In addition, similar exhibitions provide alternative ways to promote themselves and become more known, encouraging creative women to look for non-traditional exhibition forms and solutions, increasing their digital savvy as well as opportunities for additional income. The international cooperation of the #WISE project clearly showed that this is relevant for creative women in all countries because they earn less and their creative careers often develop more slowly than men.

Text by Saulene Peciulyte