“I had to learn, no matter the conditions” — in conversation with No Hate

July 23, 2022

NoHate is inherently an artist with a societal message; one of inclusion, tolerance, and peace. With rugged determination, the former shoe-maker is forever learning and refining his craft as a 3D creator. He sat down with Signal to discuss his journey in the web3 space and how his eagerness to learn has helped him stand out.

Deep in the heart of thriving Lagos, Nigeria, an up-and-coming artist forges illustrations into cutting-edge 3D art. Known by his pseudonym NoHate, his raison d’être is to be a beacon of inspiration and show fellow artists, through his craft, the limitless possibilities of NFT technology.

‘Street-smart’ is how one would describe him. He thinks deep, moves fast, and isn’t afraid to fail. A multi-faceted artist, he learnt his first craft cobbling shoes, a physically demanding job which he began at age nine. Now twenty years older, he’s acutely aware that having a single skill is risky and “won’t get me ahead of my peers.”

To diversify and augment his business, he began experimenting with NFTs. “The push for me was RTFKT launching and the Beeple sale. My original idea was to incorporate art into what I do offline, adding my digital skillset to physical craftsmanship. After joining NFT Twitter, I realised I needed to diversify and explore other parts of 3D art.”

“3D is hard, but you have to keep going.”

— NoHate

Becoming a skilled 3D artist is challenging; illustration, modelling, lighting, and rendering must all be mastered. Intricate knowledge and compositional layers are crafted together for a desired outcome. The journey to becoming a celebrated 3D artist is for the curious and resilient, those who like to be challenged and won’t give up despite the circumstances. “3D is hard, but you have to keep going. I had to learn, no matter the conditions, and add more skills to my work.”

Early in his journey, he discovered Twitter’s ‘Spaces’, specific social rooms allowing artists to shill and share their work. Coming out of his comfort zone, he forced himself to go up on stage and talk about his work to large audiences. It was uncomfortable to do, but through this process, he learned there were several missing checkboxes if he was going to be successful.

Yellow, by NoHate, from his collection Code of Colours.

“After doing spaces, I realised I had to work on my modelling skills and most importantly on my people skills. It’s crucial to be known in the space, and I’m not known like some of these big artists, but people see me showing up and get to know me over time. You cannot be fearful; you need to be known.”

After three months of spending countless hours on Twitter, Discord, and spaces, he sold his first piece, Solitude, to @benson_apah who he had met online during these months. This sale convinced him that he had the potential to make it as a full-time NFT artist. “That sale email, the feeling that comes with it. I said when I get my first sale, I will scream but in fact, I was just completely silent and shocked.”

Today, he has two standout collections, Harry & Ginny and Code of Colours. The former is a deeply personal collection based on an experience that he no longer talks about. His voice softens over Zoom; it's clear to see he wants to move the conversation on.

Instead, we discuss Code of Colours, a collection celebrating his journey into the space. Developed and created over the course of three months, it sends a clear message. “This collection is about me celebrating small improvements and my achievements. I really struggled to use colours and was scared to mess them up but in Code of Colours I completely changed that.”

The standout piece, ‘Covered’, depicts a Muslim woman draped in an off-white burka contrasted against a colourful red, black, and yellow background. Being Muslim, he wants to share a message that even though these women may come across as shy, they are deeply courageous. 

Covered, by NoHate, from his collection Code of Colours.

Much of his work and even his artistic name ‘No Hate’, shares a societal message; one of inclusion, religious tolerance, anti-bullying, and a path towards peace. When asked, what do your friends and family think about his new career, he explains, “some of my friends ask if I am coming back to work or whether I will continue just selling pictures. My mum on the other hand wants to make sure I can take care of myself.”

Current bear market conditions are tough for artists. Inflation is soaring, crypto is down, and art sales volume is flatlining. Against these conditions, he continues to show up every day because he understands what can be achieved. Although collectible trading is quiet, he views this vertical as critical infrastructure — eventually, profits, and the traders like Lord Truffington who make them, rotate into art. During bear markets, he acknowledges that “the easy way is backing out. Turning up is hard, but I know what the space can be in the long run.”

“You cannot be fearful; you need to be known.”

— NoHate

Ultimately, he wants to blend his physical shoe craftsmanship with digital 3D rendering and create his own sneaker brand. He believes NFT technology gives anyone the freedom to dream as wide as they want. “Do the work and one day you wake up with your dream come true. What I can achieve is limitless, I don’t care about the destination, I’ve taken the decision to submit myself to the process and there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

No Hate understands the power of blockchain technology, community, and mastering craftsmanship. More than that, he understands the next prominent 3D artist will not be anointed by the industry. They will be born and moulded by the opportunity that is NFT technology and the winners will be the artists who are authentic, commit to the process without expectation, and actively make real friends and connections along the way.

“I said when I get my first sale, I will scream, but in fact, I was just completely silent and shocked.”

— NoHate

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After a career in financial consulting in London, Sig directed her attention to blockchain technology and spent some time as a Solidity developer. Her work focuses on web3 because she believes in the opportunity for curious individuals to unlock their creative potential. Away from her computer she is passionate about long-distance running.

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