Immortalising the emotions of the present — in conversation with Ashu Dodani

Steph Kunkel
January 2, 2023
“Web3 allowed me to connect with more poets across the globe” — Ashu Dodani

Ashu Dodani captures emotions felt in the present in his poetry, but in discovering web3, he found a way to immortalise them on the blockchain. The multimedia artist speaks to Steph Kunkel about working with Amazon Prime and Garnier and choosing a life of poetry.

“Let's start again to reclaim our throne,” concludes Ashu Dodani in his poem Art Dox, created alongside the generative artist Jcode. That drive has motivated Ashu throughout his professional career, from working with Fortune 500 brands like Amazon and Garnier to Bollywood films like Saand Ki Aankh, Toofaan, and Breathe Into The Shadows.

As a creative marketer and a poet, Ashu seeks to capture moments and emotions of the present. Inspired by nature, abstract visualisation, and spirituality as well as the great poets Rumi, Pablo Neruda, and Gulzar, Ashu’s poetry speaks to human compassion, love, and kindness.

“Poetry has always kept me going in life.”

— Ashu Dodani

And from scribbling his thoughts on paper to writing in web3, Ashu’s poetry has grown from print through every evolution of the internet. Poetry has been the one constant. “Poetry has always kept me going in life,” he explains. “It kept me alive.”

“Let's start again to reclaim our throne.” Art Dox #8, by Ashwini Dodani and Jcode. The pair collaborated to create a visual expression of Ashu's octave poem, Art Dox.

In the autumn of 2021, Ashu describes how he "brushed across" web3 and decided to launch his first collection of poems, The Universe is Calling, that November. It led him to experiences that he describes as life changing. “I got into web3 with little to no help, but my curiosity about turning digital art turning into something on the blockchain forever really got me intrigued.”

Since that period, Ashu has collected more than a thousand pieces from hundreds of artists. “I think the community is something that makes web3 what web3 is. I truly believe in the spirit of the community and those who are actionable about improving the web3 experience; these people make all the difference.”

Nodes of Niceness embodies the spirit of Ashu’s poetry: humanity and empathy. “I created the Nodes of Niceness collection in a fleeting thought that I could combine minimalistic art and poems that portrays the message of kindness, love, compassion, and goodness.”

Cells, by Ashwini Dodani, of his Nodes of Niceness collection. “Turn around, the time is now. Stay put, the time is now.”

These themes are reflected across Ashu’s poetry, embedded from the very beginning of the creative process. “Poetry comes naturally to me. Most writers might write the poem first and then decide the title, but for me it’s the other way. I am inspired by a thought, theme, or emotion that runs from experience and then expands into a complete poem.”

Ashu’s free verse and flowing style allows the audience to easily connect with him, as though the poems are a deep conversation between close friends. There is a tenderness in Ashu’s words that allows the viewer to feel at ease and comforted through the metaphors and personification that adds familiarity to his work.

That's a style that has not changed since moving into web3, though Ashu suggests that creating in the crypto ecosystem has given it greater depth, connecting directly with more artists and poets in a more meaningful way.

“Entering a new world of technology and accessibility through web3 allowed me to connect with more poets and creative writers across the globe,” he explains, recalling experimentation across different formats and forms of media, as well as collaborations with other artists, to leave an impact in the digital realm. His collaboration with Jcode is just one of many: “the possibilities are endless.”

“Art has its own flesh and bones.” Art Dox #1, by Ashwini Dodani and Jcode.

Reflecting more broadly on web3, Ashu is optimistic about how we will look back on 2022, despite the many business failures that came to a head. It is in that same year, and that cycle more broadly, where the world began to experience the impact that blockchain can have. “I feel 2022 was a very important year for web3. The world is learning about the possibilities of web3 and opportunities it brings in crypto, technology, and data.”

On a personal level, Ashu is finishing the final seven poems of The Universe is Calling, which will eventually number 60 unique works, as well as continuing to work on Nodes of Niceness. “My web3 goals are to innovate poetry NFTs and connect with more artists across the world,” he summarises. “With my poetry and expression, I want to make this world a better place in the little ways I can.”

“I am inspired by a thought, theme, or emotion that runs from experience and then expands into a complete poem.”

— Ashu Dodani

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Steph Kunkel
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Steph Kunkel is a US-based writer, choreographer, and brand/marketing specialist. She is an art enthusiast with a passion for all things creative. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, drawing, and dancing.