A Conversation with artist Rachel Winters House of First’s Remarkable Women’s NFT
On reveal day there was conversation in Twitter Spaces with The House of First team and the Remarkable Women NFT artist Rachel Winters. You can get lost in the sea of images of the entire collection at Open Sea.
There was so much passion and wisdom shared in that space that I hope to have done justice to this amazing process and cause. A few words have been edited by me to ensure coherence.
When you were young, what were some colorful inspirations that led you to become an artist?
It is hard to pinpoint. My mom is also an artist so art was very much part of my childhood. It was always around, There were always places to color and paint it was a very artistic environment. I love color. When I first graduated high school and explored what I wanted to do as a career, fashion design made a lot of sense. In high school I made outfits and loved to dress with loads and loads of color, lots of patterns, and patterns on patterns. I dressed outrageously. Some of those outfits are hilarious. I think that it’s just a combination of life and life is colorful.
What has it been like for you to be involved in your first NFT collection?
This is so crazy and so cool. It is an interesting process because I illustrated everything by traits. I illustrated in phases, for instance the shirt and then the hair. I work in Photoshop and just played around with what I felt looked best — what hair best goes with this hoodie, etc. In this collection there are 12 rare mints that were entirely deliberately designed. But then for the rest, when you get to design on scale to generate a 6000 piece collection, the technology does the final combination. So when it all came together, it is fascinating to see my art in different combinations that I didn’t come up with. It was a surreal experience as an artist and really, really cool.
How do we identify rare NFTs in this collection?
As I said, in this collection there are 12 deliberate rares that are in a “RW” theme. I was playing off of my name Rachel Winter and the Remarkable Woman theme. The RW has a double meaning. I fully assembled everything with these ones. They have special clothes, they have a special background. Six are in all black and white with a color background and the other six are in a full color palette that I deliberately choose. I made them all dressed for winter. As an example, one is a ski bunny adorning a whole ski suit and a puffer jacket. I wanted to keep on going as there were so many more cool things that they could wear. It was an exciting realization.
Can you tell us how you choose the phrases on each image?
The phrases I chose resonated with me and I was hoping they resonated with others. Language is such a powerful tool for change. I have several friends in different countries and I wanted a way to include them in the project. While we all care about the same things the expression has nuance. For example, in the French language you might see the phrase “Liberté, égalité, fraternité ‘’ which is French for “liberty, equality, fraternity” and is the national motto of France. In France today, a big part of the feminist movement is changing that last word to sororite to connote sisterhood and thus be more inclusive.
Another key phrase was Take Up Space. Many of us are in the process of learning how important we are and how we need to show up and claim our space. This was so significant that we almost named the whole collection Take Up Space. To me, along with words like Fiesty and Bossy, this collection presents an opportunity to reclaim these words and embrace them with feminine pride.
Insight from House of First Founder Zeev Klein
I want to acknowledge what an incredible experience it has been working with Rachel and the rest of our team. Creating access to the NFT experience and empowering people to participate has been an immense joy. Starting with the technology piece, this was probably one of the most technically difficult elements to generate the final collection. We had something in the upper bound of about 30 trillion combinations! The actual backend coding was surprisingly one of the trickiest parts. So much credit needs to be given to Rachel in her vision of how beautiful everything can be among these combinations. When you start to look at the trade library and the women and the outfits, it is an interesting piece of complex code.Even with all the math and possibilities, there are some absolute surprises. No matter how many times I see the collection, I marvel at how certain things come together.
Perhaps it would also be helpful to share how we ended up with Rachel and the Remarkable Women NFT collection as part of House of First. When I saw Rachel’s art, it spoke to me in a deep and profound way. There was an authenticity, a vulnerability, a directness to her vision. It made me think of my wife, my mother, my daughter and the world I want for them. I wanted to create an NFT with them and for them. There are artists everywhere looking for a platform to mint. The issue is finding an artist who has something to say congruent with the vision I have for House of First. Like a tuning fork finds the perfect pitch, it was that way with us finding Rachel.
At House of First, we have a commitment to inclusion and accessibility. We believe lingual representation matters. That’s part of where the collection name comes from — each woman features a “remark” on her outfit — making the collection Remarkable! While primarily dominated by English, we wanted to ensure the collection featured phrases from 15 global languages including Mandarin, Turkish, Hindi, German, Korean, Japanese, Hebrew, Arabic, French, Spanish, and English. We want to be ensure a global appeal for House of First, and in fact set precedent as the most globally remarkable collection on the blockchain!.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * *
Disclosure: I am an owner of two Remarkable Women NFT pieces.