So, you have just become famous on the Internet. Now what? This is the situation Emily Yang faced in March 2021. Best known in the NFT space like pplpleasr, Yang was another type of fame. Rather than going viral on social media, Yang’s fame came with a payout of half a million dollars.
After Yang’s monumental 310 ETH (about $530,000) sale of NFT, titled x*y=k, the budding artist was rocketed to Web3 stardom. Not only did she become a niche internet micro-celebrity overnight, but her influence immediately spread throughout the NFT space, propelled by the creation of her own DAO.
Much like other NFT success stories, Yang’s newfound notoriety was the culmination of years of creative production and continuous adjustments to extenuating circumstances. And while internet fame can be exhilarating, it’s also incredibly fleeting. So how is a person, especially someone active in a space that thrives on anonymity, supposed to react to having their whole life made public? As Yang says, the key is to stay humble and curious.
“I simultaneously gained a lot more confidence, but also realized how much there is to learn,” Yang said in an interview with nft now. And while she’s neither the first nor the last to emerge from apparent darkness in the NFT space, her whirlwind journey to glory is truly unique.
The origin of pplpleasr
Yang laid the groundwork for his identity as a multidisciplinary artist before his name became trending on Web3 Twitter. In the days before her influence on the “high-quality meme generator”, she was inspired by Pixar films, seeking a career in 3D animation after graduating from UCLA with a degree in Design Media Arts. in 2015.
Having found work as a visual effects artist in her post-college years, she designed elements for feature films like batman versus superman, wonder womanand Star Trek Beyond. His accomplishments in and for production studios eventually landed him a job offer in 2020 as a digital artist at Apple. But when the offer was canceled in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployed Yang pivoted, seeking new ways to support herself.
At that time, pplpleasr was born on social media. Yang joined Twitter in 2020 and got involved in the DeFi summer, which seemed natural given her background knowledge and interest in crypto. The DeFi summer was a period of the sunny months of 2020 that saw the crypto industry awaken to the promising decentralized finance (DeFi) sector. Throughout the summer and fall, Yang went viral again and again from the original animations she created for top DeFi platforms like Pickle Financing, Harvest financing, SushiSwapand others.
After a short stint as a full-time meme generator, Yang was commissioned by Uniswap to create an artistic rendition of the newly updated decentralized exchange (DEX) algorithm. Little did Yang know that his whole life was about to change, because with the Uniswap (x*y=k) video auction looming, a group of pplpleasr superfans took steps to pool the resources and winning the 310 ETH bid for the chunk, creating the PleasrDAO in the process.
What comes after NFT fame?
As of this writing, it’s been over a year and a half since Yang burst into NFT stardom. While his name may not make daily headlines, his drive to create something unique and lasting is as much a part of his stardom as his early accomplishments.
With PleasrDAO as part of an ongoing mission to collect culturally significant digital art, and the Fortune Journalism PleasrFund – partially funded by proceeds from Fortune and Yang’s NFT magazine cover collaboration – still making an impact in the NFT space, Yang has seemingly settled into her life as a public figure. No longer trying to make ends meet, she spends her time building the collaborative decentralized storytelling project Shibuya with another renowned crypto-artist, Maciej Kuciara.
“After the Uniswap NFT and Fortune cover, I was trying to find a little more purpose for my next big project. And I personally wasn’t very interested in any of the ongoing NFT projects,” Yang said. “I have a little more interest in longer form content and storytelling, so selfishly I wanted to find a way to channel that.”
Through Shibuya, Yang and Kuciara launched White Rabbit, an anime series featuring a plot dictated by those who collected “producer passes” in the form of NFTs. As a project that Yang says is the culmination of her career so far, Shibuya seems to serve as both a passion project and a logical next step for the evolving designer.
“We kind of want [Shibuya] to be the A24 of Web3. Think of any film or IP A24. You just associate A24 with good content,” Yang said. “I think high-quality content in the Web3 space is lacking right now. I think it has to do with the fact that a lot of people in the space don’t come from a content creation background.
As Yang and Kuciara are well versed in the ins and outs of the animation production process, the lack of quality content in Web3 and their expertise in the field are certainly driving factors behind the project. And as Shibuya grows, Yang says she’s more than happy to stake her reputation on the platform’s ability to become a reliable source of decentralized entertainment.
Dealing with the highs and lows of being an NFT hotshot
When Yang isn’t focused on building the future of decentralized storytelling, she can often be found traveling, whether for NFT and Web3 events, collaboration opportunities, or just for fun. Her nomadic and energetic nature helps to highlight the humanity shared by all within the NFT space, regardless of status or prestige.
The pace of the NFT space can often seem too fast to keep up with, prompting many to try to be plugged in 24/7. But Yang says she believes patience and learning over time still has value. This belief no doubt helped her navigate the amazing nature of her own rise to fame.
“A lot of us forget this notion of delayed gratification…I think by attending high profile events, you realize how small we are,” Yang said. “Web3 can open up many possibilities, but many people don’t realize that in the grand scheme of the world, there is still a giant mountain to climb, and our little crypto and NFT hill is quite small.”
Given the strain the blockchain industry can put on his sanity, tips and tricks from a success story like Yang could prove invaluable to those looking to “succeed” in the NFT space. While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for everyone looking for NFT stardom, Yang stressed the importance of tempering the drive to become the king of your little hill because “the element of staying humble is important. to allow you to climb even more.